Living by the sea in Essex, UK, means lots of messy play for Sarah and her two-year-old son, Alfie. This includes adventures by the shore and in the countryside – but, ever since Sarah has been striving to make more eco-friendly choices in her life, it also means lots of recycled fun and cute cloth bum photographs of those activities. Today, Sarah takes us through the changes she has made to her daily arts and crafts time, and her journey to becoming a cloth mum.
Welcome, Sarah @lifeasamumandnanny
I am Sarah, a single mummy to my two-year-old son and our Cavapoo dog. I also work as a nanny for two school-aged children and my son comes along with me; he loves coming to work with Mummy and he gets his own little playmates. We live in Essex by the sea and enjoy going out exploring our local woods and countryside. Alfie loves nothing more than a muddy puddle or an opportunity to get messy.
Since having Alfie, my views have changed and I have started to become more eco conscious on the choices I am making when buying products and the impact we are having on the world for our children, opting for more reusable products where possible.
The first area I decided to work on was the fact that we do a lot of arts and crafts activities at home. I found a lot of products are so expensive and get used so quickly, creating unnecessary waste which really put me off. Then, I realised that actually a lot of our recycling and rubbish could be reused. I started saving any packaging we had and using this for our activities.
Toilet rolls are great for craft activities as they can be painted and turned into a whole range of different animals, a skittle set, tunnels for rolling balls through and many other options. We also do a lot of junk modelling, so Alfie will paint or draw on old boxes and we can turn them into boats, robots, animals, anything the mind imagines really. I have used old boxes to create posting games for him and colour sorting activities. I also purchased reusable drawing products such as water painting books and reusable chalk books instead of normal single use colouring books.
I then started looking at other changes I could make. I was always put off by cloth nappies before having my own child and, even for the first year after having him, I just imagined these old-fashioned squares with pins, and the thought was not something that appealed to me. Just after Alfie’s first birthday, a friend started promoting cloth nappies and that’s when I discovered that actually they weren’t like these images I had of them.
I started to do more research into them and purchased a few second-hand nappies to try. I began to fall in love with them as I realised that they were actually very similar to disposable nappies in the way of fitting them. We found what brands gave the best fit for Alfie and I loved the patterns and choice that were available and, soon, my stash started increasing and I had enough to switch to cloth full time.
Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to switch for night time nappies as we still haven’t found any that work for us overnight but I feel so much better that we only use one disposable nappy a day now. We’ve been using cloth nappies for a year now and I wish we had started sooner; however, I am still pleased with the amount of disposables we have saved from landfill in that time.
The best advice I would give to any mums starting out on their cloth journey is not to buy too many of one brand before trying them as what works for one child may not work for another. I even found as Alfie grew that certain brands started to suit him better than others.