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Monday, August 1, 2011

Bambino Mio Nappy Challenge Day 1

Our challenge kit from Bambino Mio arrived on Saturday morning. As The Boy was spending the weekend at his grandparents house, it gave me a good opportunity to have a proper look at the contents before I officially started the challenge today (Monday), and I must say on first appearances I am overall impressed, but do have one reservation, though we’ll go into that later; don’t forget, as well, that the whole point of this challenge is to see whether Bambino Mio products can convert me from being a full-time disposable nappy user with my almost-1-year-old.

The Challenge: “ … is designed to demonstrate how easy reusable nappies are to use and also to show that by using just one reusable a day will help not only reduce waste going to landfill, but will save you money in the long run.”

Now, I’m not going to claim to be a wonderful, 100% organic, vegan eco-warrior mum. Sorry; that’s just not me. Having said that, I am conscious of turning lights off and not just for the electricity bill saving (though being on a key meter does have that effect too) I use the big, canvas type re-usable shopping bags (I adore the comedian Tim Minchin, and in my head I’m singing his song Take Your Canvas Bags ... as I’m doing the weekly shop) I do my recycling like a dutiful good member of society.

Since having The Boy, our household waste has definitely increased; a large amount of this is nappies. When I was pregnant, I found the Bambino Mio “Birth to Potty” range, but it was expensive and I wasn’t sure what size to get if I just got a basic set – The Boy was a lot smaller than I had expected him to be at birth, and as it happened I could have got a fair amount of use out of the ‘Newborn’ size (up to 11lbs) I dithered about trying to decide, we couldn’t really afford it and there was a fear of What if I spend all that money and it’s rubbish? I didn’t know anyone else who’d used the Bambino Mio range, and while it looked fantastic there was a voice in the back of my head that kept reminding me that there are lots of products that love marvellous and wonderful and life-perfecting, but you end up finding out two weeks later that they’re really not all they looked. I brought varieties of disposable nappies because it was familiar and easy; as plenty of people pointed out, I would have enough to do in the first few weeks and months of becoming a mum for the first time, without adding the stress of trying to wash and dry re-useable nappies too if I didn’t have to.

The Boy now is 23lbs and 80cm tall. He is broad but his lower half is slender, and I’ve always found issues with disposable nappies fitting him well. Most of them I have to try and do up so tightly around his middle or there’s a big gap at his back. A lot of the time the cheaper nappies don’t go up high enough around him and by morning the front is pulled down and so saturated that they’ve been on the point of leaking. The Boy sleeps now, on the whole, from about to about . I’m not saying that’s every single night without fail, but on the whole that’s about average. So I admit the nappy has a lot to take.

I’ve been very fortunate that The Boy hasn’t suffered with nappy rash too badly so far – I’m interested to see whether that changes at all with using a reusable nappy, even for one nappy change in a day. (I’m hoping that if anything it makes it even less likely) He’s a real fidget (he has been since I was pregnant) he’s constantly on the move, even when he’s asleep – The times he’s ended up widthways and upside down in his cot, blankets all over the place, are too many to recount them all.  Add to this that sometimes, if he doesn’t want me to change his nappy (for instance if he has got a bit of nappy rash and it’s sore) he will fight like a banshee to try and stop you cleaning him up and putting a fresh nappy on. Considering his age (and his size) he can be very argumentative about it all and it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, and for this reason I am slightly dubious about using reusable nappies, because if I’ve got all these different bits to put on isn’t that going to be even more difficult if he’s being moody about having a nappy change? People must cope, surely, so hell we’ll give it a go!

Inside the pack:

2x prewashed mionappies – made from 100% cotton, a highly absorbent and breathable fabric, perfect for nappies.
1x miosoft nappy cover – made from a water resistant material and provide a comfortable and snug fit.
50x mioliners – 100% reusable and flushable and are used to retain solids and reduce moisture seeping back onto baby’s skin
miofresh – a nappy sanitiser which kills bacteria allowing you to wash your nappies at a lower temperature
1x mioboost – can be used to increase absorbency when needed, ideal for overnight and long journeys and is made from a highly absorbent microfibre with a stay-dry top later, helping to keep moisture away from baby’s skin, simply place on top of the nappy inside the cover.
1x scoop (for the miofresh)

The Miosoft nappy cover is a white background with multi-colour dots in playful colours but it isn’t in-yer-face bright and bold like so many kids things. The Miosoft (the cover) is size Large, in the 21-27lbs category. The Mionappies are size 2, which is for babies 16-35lbs. Also included in the pack is a USB stick with some videos about the nappies and how to fold. The lady on the video introduces herself as Jo, and I know from reading the letter included with the Bambino Mio pack that she is the co-founder of the company, along with her husband Guy, and that she is mum to three children and has used the product herself. Needless to say, she makes all the different ways of folding look effortless; I pay special attention and copy the folding technique specifically for boys, with additional padding at the front, as The Boy does end up with the front of a disposable nappy particularly wet first thing in the morning. In addition, I practice the fold to provide additional leg coverage, in the instance of babies who are breastfed or are more prone to loose bowel movements. Since The Boy certainly has his moments I think that one is beneficial to know too! Jo makes folding the different pieces together look easy – the Mionappy is folded as required, fits quickly and neatly into the Miosoft, and with the addition of a Mioliner it’s ready to go just as quickly as a disposable would be. I think I’ll need to get the nappy all sorted out and arranged before I attempt to get it onto The Boy due to his tendency to be so wriggly, but I’m certainly willing to give it a go.

The first thing The Hubby said when he saw the system was “It’ll be bulky, won’t it?” To be honest, I can see his point – add together the thick, folded up Mionappy with the Miosoft I can see that it is probably going to be a bit bulky, but not to the extent that traditional terry towelling nappies would be, and I don’t think there’s going to be much difference between it and a disposable once it’s on. I think trying to visualise how it will fit when you’re just sitting there with it makes it difficult to see how bulky or well fitting it might be. In addition, if you consider that for overnight or long journeys you have the additional Mioboost, this is certainly going to make it chunky, but as that is only meant for overnight and long journeys, does it really matter? Baby should be asleep anyway!

I’m impressed with the idea of the Miofresh – simply add it to your washing powder drawer in the machine to wash the Mionappies at standard temperatures with no need for soaking or pre-washing. As you remove and dispose of the liner, which should take the worst of the mess, it’s fine to put the Mionappies in the wash with the rest of your normal washload, which is handy for me as I’m only using two Mionappies, and for one nappy per day, which isn’t enough to warrant a full washload nor would I be able to get them washed and dry in enough time. Since the machine is always on at least once a day anyway, adding the Mionappies with the Miofresh won’t be too much difficulty, as long as the Mioliners do as well as I hope they will and keep most of the mess off the nappy itself, otherwise I think I would probably soak & hot wash separately.

For Day 1, during part of the morning while he was awake, but mostly while he napped upstairs, I watched the videos and read the information and practised folding. After his nap, he had lunch, we went to the supermarket and we collected The Hubby from work on the way home. Back at home, The Boy needed changing, so I proudly demonstrated to The Hubby how to fold the Mionappy with boys in mind, with the double thickness at the front, and we put him in that for our first ever test.

It is bulkier than a disposable, but not as bad as an old style terry towelling nappy. The first problem was that the shorts he’d been wearing all day were very difficult to get over the bulk of the Mionappy, though they’d fitted easily when he was wearing a disposable. The Boy didn’t seem uncomfortable in it, but he was moving slightly differently as he was crawling around the bedroom floor: He adapted quickly to the difference in the way it fitted compared to what he was used to, and enjoyed his playtime just as much as any other day until it was time to go downstairs for dinner.

Dinnertime takes a while for The Boy – everything is a distraction and it can take anything between ten minutes and an hour to eat a main course alone. Today it took forty five minutes for him to finish all his dinner, and much of that time was spent bouncing up and down in the high chair and beating the tray with his fists and various pieces of food. If he’d wet the nappy he was certainly now testing out how well it would absorb with all his bouncing! After dinner he sat and chatted with The Hubby for a while, then we went upstairs to run his bath and settle him for the night.

At some point he’d made a little mess in the nappy and as I was clearing up the used baby wipes and removing the liner from the nappy, I did think to myself that this was perhaps not going to be the easiest job in the world should a proper messy nappy happen in the Mionappy. I know that’s part of the testing, but to be honest I’m a bit wary of that. I don’t know as I’m ready for The Boy and his flailing legs with a nappy full of stuff I’ve got to mess around with getting the liner out of!

While the Mionappy itself was quite wet at the front, it had retained the moisture well. I noticed there were no red marks around his legs or tummy as I usually get with disposable nappies, especially in warm weather as it was today and he gets hot, but there were no marks at all after wearing the Mionappy. The only trouble I’ve found with it already is that The Boy keeps undoing the Velcro of the Miosoft if I try to leave him wearing just the nappy!

I like the idea, and I like the theory and I admire people who do use reusable nappies all the time and have done in the past, I’m not sure how practical it really is and this is why I’m doing this, to see whether I’ll change my mind and become a complete Mio-Convert! After Day 1, I’m not sure whether that will be happening, but 6 days remaining a lot could change!

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