Back when I started with terry flats 10 years ago, there weren't a lot of other cloth options available. I was the only one I knew who used cloth (everyone thought I was crazy!), and I even used pins, before discovering the genius of Snappis. I know I wasn't the only one using cloth in the world, but sometimes it felt like it!
A couple of years (and another baby) later I stumbled across Mother-ease and Tots Bots fitted nappies while surfing the internet for new folds for my flats and my eyes were opened to the wonders of Modern Cloth Nappies. But, still, no one I knew in real life had heard of them and they still thought I was crazy!
I'm sure when I told them I'd found cloth nappies online, they thought THIS sort of line:
Fast forward another few years and I was using LOTS of fabulous brands (including some delicious customs), and while a lot of other mums I came across still had no idea what modern cloth was, I discovered some who know what I was talking about! Not only that, I actually started to run into real live mums who used them! Even people I know started to use them!
Those of you who have been on the cloth journey for a while have probably observed the same shift. Awareness and acceptance of cloth is growing. Yay!
There's not a lot of research into recent cloth nappy use in Australia. Last year CHOICE Magazine issued one of its periodic reviews into disposable nappies, and decided, given the growth of cloth, to include a small review of modern cloth nappies as well. This is what they had to say about cloth nappy use in Australia back in March 2010:
"In previous years we found the great majority of parents (95%) are using disposable nappies. But there's been a shift. One in five of our disposable nappy trialists told us they are using cloth nappies or a mix. And a recent CHOICE Online poll showed 40% of over 1000 respondents preferred cloth nappies. Recent research from the University of Queensland showed that home-washed reusable nappies, washed in cold water in a front-loading washing machine and line-dried, are the most environmentally friendly option."
As cloth nappy retailers this was, of course, encouraging - it's nice to know you're in a growth industry, even if it is still very small! Well, new research has just emerged from Canstar Blue, the rating company who are better known for reviewing banking products and this has confirmed what CHOICE revealed.
Canstar recently undertook a survey of disposable nappies available in Australia and as an interesting byproduct discovered something interesting about cloth nappies:
"Our latest consumer satisfaction survey has revealed cloth nappies are making a comeback, with almost one in five Australian mums surveyed choosing them to help protect the environment.
"Our first disposable nappy survey showed some interesting insights when it comes to this staple item for mums. Although most Australia mums are most loyal to disposable nappies because of their convenience, a significant percentage of women are choosing cloth nappies instead because of their low impact on the environment."
This is great news for our babies, the environment and all the WAHM nappy businesses out there. I think most of us have known cloth was well and truly back for a while :-), but it's nice to have it confirmed by the 'mainstream'. Hopefully this will help build acceptance to cloth as a viable option for parents who would like the choice.
Disposable Nappies Review & Compare, CHOICE Magazine 16 March 2010
Disposable Nappies Survey, Canstar 5 May 2011
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