I read an article on the BBC News app yesterday where a young woman was interviewed. She lived with her partner and their baby. Her partner had 2 jobs, trying to make ends meet, and the woman also had a factory job. Nevertheless they were still short of money, and the woman complained that it often came down to a choice of heating the house for a few hours per day or buying nappies for the baby.

It took me back to our younger days of struggling to make sure the bills got paid while living on one wage. Sam worked all day as a maintenance manager in a factory in Ealing, and at night sold seafood around local pubs. I had a baby and a toddler to look after, and soon learned to scrimp and save. I bought clothes at boot fairs or we had cast-offs from Sam’s sisters and their children.

When I read the article I was surprised that the woman in question bought nappies. I just looked up the price of a bag of disposable nappies in Boots, and the average price now is about £13.50 for 50 nappies. My sons sometimes had 8 or 9 nappies per day, and so you’re looking at over £50 every month! What happened to the terry nappies (and liners) that you pinned to the baby’s undercarriage, topping it off with a pair of rubber pants? One set of terry nappies lasted for both my sons, although they did wear a bit thin after being used for 4 years. There was an initial expenditure for around 25 nappies and a nappy bucket, and then all that was needed after that was the disinfectant tablets that the nappies soaked in overnight.

During my first days of being a new mother I remember retching at the smell of that nappy bucket in the mornings. Sam, with his strong stomach that never up-chucks, took over the job of rinsing out the nappies each day before he went to work, and then all I had to do was get them washed and dried. In the summer it was easier as I just hung them on the washing line, but in the winter or on wet days I remember nappies drying on a wooden contraption that you could winch up over the cooker.

It seems that modern women do not want to be bothered with terry nappies, but hey, they could save quite a bit of money by washing them out and using them again. However, they’ve moved on and it’s a throwaway society now, and sad to say that millions of soiled nappies must end up filling landfill sites all over the country. It’s an awful thought when you think about it, but of course many young women don’t think about it. They’d rather pay out £50 every month.

And another thing when I’m on the subject of incontinent babies, many do not seem to be toilet-trained until they are over three years of age. My two both used the potty by the age of two, as I took the time to train them. My own grandson, aged 2 years and 2 months, wears disposable nappies that pull on like knickers. I say nothing and smile a lot, but it doesn’t seem right to me – he should be toilet trained by now. I would have used the summer to let him run butt-naked in the garden and chase him around with the potty. Anyway… what do I know? I’m only his grandmother.

Sam once came home from work and asked me what I had been doing. I had been in the thick of potty training. I pointed to our 2-year old and replied that I had been watching his willie all day. Sam laughed, causing me to laugh, and that caused our toddler to laugh even though he didn’t know what he was laughing at. Happy nappy days, lol.

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