My non-toxic baby guide to disposable nappies
Emily is a mother to baby Isabella, who is beginning a journey to find non-toxic baby products in a world full of disappointingly unsafe chemical filled ones. We’ve re-posted her article on disposable nappies:

I’ve been meaning to look into nappies for as long as my blog has existed. There have however been a few things that stopped me from getting to it so quickly- Firstly, nappies don’t have an ingredients list on them and so it is much more time consuming and difficult to investigate and assess their toxicity status.

I feel like at the moment, I’m in the best position I’ve ever been to test nappies. (READ: Over Christmas, Isabella got gastro for 10 days and so I started breastfeeding her day and night. Now, she breastfeeds almost continually each night and I haven’t got around to night weaning her again. – we previously used the Jay Gordon method successfully if anyone’s interested, though it’s never easy and you have to be really ready to do it.) Anyway, at the moment, I have a super hydrated baby who feeds all night and is in the same nappy from 7pm- 7am. Those morning nappies are HEAVY and we’ve had our fair share of leaks I navigate the brands!!s a!

Absorbency in a nappy is important to all of us and so I have carried out an at home absorbency test on a whole range of nappies (the results and photos are below!). I would never go back to a mainstream supermarket nappy now and am kicking myself a bit for not having investigated nappies earlier. We’re all on a journey and sometimes we just have to go at our own pace.

I wish I’d been able to get to this point earlier, but it’s important to not beat yourself up and to use that energy to promote action instead. I’ve since found some truly awesome nappies and would NEVER go back to the others now I know more.

How is a nappy structured?
The ingredients of what makes up a nappy varies dramatically between brands, however the essential structure is the same.

Absorbent Core

The absorbent core is designed to pull moisture in and keep it away from the baby.

Outer layer

Is waterproof to prevent leaking.

Inner layer

Sits right against the baby’s skin and is designed to be soft and to stay relatively dry.

SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer)

it has an amazing ability to absorb liquid- it can suck up 300 x its weight in water.

Disposable nappies

What to look for when choosing

Less nappies used. Less residual waste

What are the ingredients in nappies to avoid?

Bleach with chlorine which can leave small amounts of carcinogenic Dioxin residues

Unsustainable Packaging Use unsustainable forestry to make the wood pulp and packaging

Not biodegrabable and have a horrible impact on land fill

Synthetic fragrances (Endocrine disrupting phthalates are often hidden in synthetic fragrances and used as preservatives as well)

Formaldehyde containing glues holding them together

How do you compare nappy brands?

Looking at the non-toxic status of nappies is difficult. Nappies don’t have ingredients lists on their boxes and I had to email companies and search their websites. A lot of supermarket brand nappy companies didn’t reply to my emailed questions. I can understand why… If you knew you were going to give answers like “yes, our nappies are bleached with chlorine and contain phthalates” you wouldn’t reply either!

Unless a company is forthcoming with how non-toxic and eco-friendly they are, I make the assumption that they are not, otherwise I’m sure they’d be telling us how wonderful they were! (Which I’m guessing is why the eco-nappy companies did write back and the others didn’t!)

Even if a nappy is non-toxic, it still needs to perform its function well as otherwise it’ll leave your baby with nappy rash which isn’t healthy either.

I have tried samples of all of the below brands. Some brands I only got a sample pack of 2, so I could feel them and try them for fit and use one on Isabella overnight and then I used the other for the absorption test.

I think it is also important that a disposable nappy is eco-friendly. We shouldn’t just be concerned about what chemicals make contact with our baby when the use of a product has the potential to come back and bite in their future world too. (And let’s face it, we go through a HUGE amount of nappies per child before they are toilet trained!)

I’ve also included the cheapest prices I could find the nappies for, which are the prices they are per nappy (size 4) when bought in bulk – newborn nappies are always cheaper than this in each brand. A lot of us mums aren’t back to working full time yet or are paying child care fees and so cost has to be thought about at least!

Absorbency test
Like what you see in the old school nappy ads, I got a certain amount of coloured water (that way you can see how far the liquid is spreading.
  • 1. You will need 4 nappies to test 300 ml of liquid
  • 2. Pour quantity of water evenly over the front part of the nappy
  • 3. Stretched out the nappy to let the liquid distribute and absorb. (leave for 4 minutes)
  • 4. Press and rub the nappy to help liquid distribution and simulate body weight and movement.
  • 4. After 5 minutes, I pressed the nappy with a piece of paper towel to see how much residual fluid was left and not absorbed into the nappy

The Results