Good riddance

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 August, 2006, 12:00am

I'm finally about to kick a five- year habit that has cost me a fortune, potentially harmed the environment and left a bad smell in the air.

Yes, I'm nearing the day when nappies will be gone from my life. After a ceremonial burning of the remaining few, that will be it. No more nappies. Ever.

It leaves me wondering what I'm going to spend the extra money on. After all, two packs of nappies a week for five years has cost about $52,000. I could have bought a car for that, or taken up a serious nicotine habit.

The waste has been enormous. Our little family has left behind a mountain of used nappies. We're responsible, in our small way, for contributing towards global warming and the gradual destruction of the Earth.

That being said, if I have another baby now, I won't be rushing out to buy washable nappies. That's a huge step back-wards. I'm not fooled by the introduction of the user-friendly, waterproof nappy cover. No more pins, maybe, but at the end of the day you still have to wash, dry and reuse the terry cloth.

Nothing will induce me to wash smelly terry-towelling nappies and reuse them, however fashionable and eco-friendly it is. As a mother of small children I have enough to do already. Besides, reusable terry nappies are more likely to leave your baby with nappy rash. Which means more crying, which means less sleep for you.

For me, the proponents of washable nappies come into the same bracket as those super-mums who frown on you for not breastfeeding your baby for a year, or for producing shop-bought baby food. These are invariably the same mums who can't wait to tell you how advanced their progeny are, who deny their children any form of sugar and never lie in bed with a pillow over their head hoping that someone - anyone - will get up and give the baby the first bottle of the day.

Of course, there are also mothers who quietly get on with using terry nappies without making a song and dance about it. Even so, it was with great interest, and even a little joy, that I discovered that the Environment Agency in Britain had recently found that terry nappies are just as environmentally unfriendly as disposables. They both involve the destruction of trees and plants and they both contribute in their own way to global warming.

So, the next time someone smugly suggests you do your bit for the environment by kicking the disposable habit and revert to washable nappies, you can smile to yourself in the knowledge of their mistaken self-righteousness - and throw yours into the bin.