***** IMPORTANT EDIT !! *** The lovely people at Smartipants had a good giggle at my review because it turns out I've been putting the nappy on backwards !! That's actually really impressive because it still works ! As they say, that makes it totally dad and grandad-proof ... not to mention trainee reusables mum-proof ! Oops !!
Smartipants is a reusable, washable nappy that has only just arrived in the UK but which is hugely popular in the States. It is described by the manufacturer as "the world's smartest one size fits all reusable diaper" and "the true evolution of the modern cloth nappy" but, to be perfectly honest, it all sounded too good to be true.
But I really wanted to be proved wrong. I love switching to eco-friendly options wherever I can around the house but they have to work as well as the less green alternatives. I was expecting reuseable nappies to be bulky, difficult to put on and horrible to clean up. I'd also been warned to expect that reusable nappies are never going to be quite as absorbent as disposables. I therefore came to this review as cynical but hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Well, first of all, if you think of cloth nappies as something extremely complicated to master and have bad memories of being poked with safety pins as a child, you can forget all that ! The Smartipants are so easy to put on. It's blatantly obvious (more so than with disposable nappies) which side is the front or back and there are whole rows of press studs so that you can choose the exact size you want for your baby or toddler to be nice and snug. Yes, that's right - baby OR toddler - these nappies really are one-size-fits-all. That's great news because they are quite expensive (as are all reuseable nappies) but being able to use them from day one right through to potty training actually makes them vey good value.
Having never used them before, I thought all reusable nappies needed complicated add-ons like liners and waterproof covers and goodness knows what else. Well, they don't ! It's as simple as putting a toy nappy on a doll ! Compared to disposables, they are quite bulky but the extra padding didn't seem to bother 19-month-old Pierre at all, whether he was crawling, sitting or walking around.
I will admit, the first attempt was a total disaster and the nappy leaked so much that Pierre was soaked through and I had to totally change him. But then I read the instructions and remembered what I'd read on various cloth nappy websites (when I was debating trying reusable nappies before Pierre was born) and realised that they need to be washed before the first use to become properly absorbent. Doh ! My fault then !
On all the other occasions, they didn't leak at all - even when Pierre fell asleep and I didn't get to change him for over five hours. Each time, the absorbent pad (that fits really simply inside the sleeve at the bottom of the nappy part) was absolutely soaked with wee but his clothes remained dry - which is better than some of the disposables we've tried.
On to what I thought would be the worst part - cleaning up after a poo ! Again, I was absolutely flabbergasted at how easy it was ! You just throw it in the machine as it is and the pad magically detaches itself during the washing process. I did choose to rinse the pooey bits off in the sink before throwing it in the machine but that's no worse than when one of the disposable nappies leaks all over Pierre's bodysuit. You can either put them on the radiator to dry or put them through the tumbledrier.
I won't be running out to buy a load more because Pierre is now 19-months-old and is starting to take an interest in his potty so I couldn't justify the cost. However, if you buy them to use them from day one, especially if you're planning on having more than one child, depsite the initial outlay, they would work out as good value for money, and that's without taking into account the ecological benefits of using washable nappies.
For anyone who has ever been put off by the supposed downsides of reusable nappies, I highly recommend you buy just one to give it a go. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well they work and how simple they are to use.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £13.50 for one, £38 for a 3 pack, £145 for a 12 pack
for more information : http://www.fill-your-pants.com/one-size-nappies/smartipants.html
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