gNappies reusable nappies
gNappies is one of a new hybrid breed of nappy systems on the market that offer either a fully reusable option or a disposable option for when convenience really matters. Although it’s one of the pricier reusable nappy systems around, its stylishness, quality and ease of use (once you get the hang of it) will really win you over.
Already available in the USA as gDiapers, gNappies (as they’re branded in the UK and Europe) were developed by an Australian couple looking to minimise their own contribution to landfill when their first son was born.
The gNappies system is made of three components: one, an outer ‘little gPant’ made of cotton; two, a snap-in washable and water-resistant liner that means the gPant itself can often be used beyond one nappy change; and three, the nappy bit. This final element makes gNappies stand out from other systems as it offers parents a choice of inserts – either a reusable hemp-and-cotton-mix cloth (gCloth) or a fully biodegradable disposable absorbent pad (gRefill).
As a novice to reusable nappy systems, it took a few false starts to get to grips with the different elements and make them work for 8-month-old Ferris and me. But once I understood how to use the system and worked out the logistics of disposing of the dirty nappies, I actually started to enjoy using gNappies – not something I’ve ever said or thought about disposable nappies before!
The gPants are sold individually (roughly £14.95) or in multi-packs (for example, £24.95 for a pack of two or a starter pack for £109.95). They’re available in Small, Medium and Large so a snug fit – the key to making the gNappies system function without leaks – is possible all the way through your baby’s nappy-wearing years.
Although the gPant comes in three sizes, the washable gCloth insert and disposable gRefills are sold in two sizes – Small and a combined Medium/Large – so once you’ve invested in the cloths they should last a while, freeing up some budget for the refills. For newborns there’s a special Tiny size with a built-in cloth so the whole item is washed as one.
What we love
The feel-good factor. Knowing that each time you use gNappies there is one less disposable nappy heading for landfill is a real buzz. Of the components, it’s in the fully biodegradable gRefills that the gNappies’s green credentials come most strongly to the fore. Wet nappies (using the refills) can be added to a compost system if you have one, flushed away or thrown into household rubbish. The refills break down in an impressive 50-100 days versus disposable nappies that can take 500 years to decompose.
Not having to compromise on convenience was a relief – I found switching between reusable and disposable inserts relatively easy.
The range of colours is really appealing and special styles, such as a denim effect or frilly pants for girls, are occasionally available to freshen up the look. The cuteness of the little gPants made them a hit in our household. Even Dad remarked (unprompted) that he liked the colours and thought the pants sturdy enough to double as shorts on a hot day with just a T-shirt.
The pants are slim fitting and not bulky as feared.
The pants dry quickly so can be ready to use again soon after washing (the maker recommends you keep six to eight pants in circulation for full-time use of the nappy system).
What to watch out for
It’s all a bit confusing to start with. There’s plenty of info online and on the packaging but working your way through the overdone g-branding can be quite baffling. If you’re a novice to reusable nappy systems like me, you’ll need to devote some time and head space to understanding how it’ll work best for you. Starter packs are available for newborns but if you come at this with a slightly older baby, you’ll need to think carefully what to buy in order to prevent the cost from adding up.
It’s a shame that the gCloths don’t arrive ready to use – when you’re keen to get going, this can be frustrating. At the time of testing, the makers recommend washing and drying them six times as hemp becomes more absorbent this way. Since then, the makers have managed to reduce the number of washes required for the hemp down to three, which is really good, but still does mean you won’t be able get started immediately.
gNappies are marketed as a sustainable nappy system and as with most green products, there’s inevitably some degree of compromise. The gRefills are impressively biodegradable and most certainly reduce your contribution to landfill but the emphasis on machine-washing and tumble-drying can feel counter-intuitive for an ethical decision.
Who are gNappies reusable nappies best for?
Parents prepared to commit to a reusable nappy system but who still want or need that added convenience.
gNappies are a stylish new nappy system for those wanting to make an ethical choice, but still keen to have the convenience of disposable inserts when required. To make the investment worthwhile, start using it as soon as you can, and be prepared to wash those inserts before you get to use them.