I was first introduced to flat nappies when my sister used them on my niece, who is now twenty-six years old. So it was a long time ago, I was a teenager, and babies were the last thing on my mind.

I certainly changed a few of those nappies and didn’t think it was so difficult. In fact trying out the different folds was fun. But twenty years later I didn’t ever think cloth nappies were an option until I went to visit a friend in Cumbria who again was using flat nappies. This time though, with a wonderful wee invention called the ‘nappy nippa’. There were no more safety pins and it wasn’t necessary to close your eyes and hope for the best anymore!

So when I was expecting my baby I knew real nappies were an option, and one I wanted to pursue because of cost and definitely because of the environment. A friend recommended a particular make and we used them the majority of the time until my son was toilet trained. My partner and I enjoyed using the nappies, two part, birth to potty and found them pretty straight forward.

My friend told me about the Real Nappy project Coordinators Role, I applied, and the rest is history. I have been involved with the project for two years and it is still brilliant. Every parent who comes to the project is at the start of their ‘nappy journey’ and it is so lovely to be part of that.

Approximately 9,500 babies are born throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians every year which means there are lots of new parents who every day are keen to find out about real nappies, a real alternative to disposable nappies.

Parents most frequently come to the Real Nappy project at the beginning of their ‘nappy journey’, often overwhelmed by the information online. Through our experience of talking to parents we have found they are often looking for: impartial information that is free from confusing jargon; the opportunity to try the nappies, to see and feel them without spending large sums of money and talk to a real person who has used real nappies. We encourage people to be tactile with the nappies themselves and fact-ile with the real nappy users who will answer as many questions as you can ask.

All of these things the Real Nappy project can offer. We do talks, we hold events and we can give parents the opportunity to try some of the nappies currently available without spending lots of money. We have two project incentives trial packs and lending kits. The aim of the trial pack is to provide parents with a sample of good quality, reliable nappies, a wrap and accessories to help parents make an informed decision when choosing reusable nappies. There are four types of nappies in the pack, each pack also includes a wrap. Lending kits are available to borrow for three weeks. There are eight kinds of nappies in the kits: We supply nappy buckets, laundry meshes, reusable wipes, paper and fleece liners, and waterproof wraps - everything you need!

We also can give advice over the phone and by email. The project has twenty fantastic volunteers who are all parents who have used real nappies so between us we are able to answer all queries.

So what are the benefits of using real nappies?

Cost savings: Real nappies could save you £500 compared to disposable nappies even when the cost of washing them is taken into account.

Easy to use: Gone are the days of pins and complicated folding!

Funky: Real nappies come in a variety of styles, colours and patterns, to suit you, your baby and your budget.Many real nappies are shaped to fit, fasten with Velcro or poppers and are covered with a breathable waterproof wrap.

Reliable: Real nappies are absorbent. Shaped nappies are elasticated around the waist and legs and offer excellent containment particularly for new born babies. Waterproof wraps offer a second layer to protect against leaks.

Real waste reduction: By choosing real nappies you could reduce your household waste by half and reduce the 8 million disposable nappies that go to landfill everyday in the UK.

Next week is an exciting time for the Changeworks Real Nappy project. We have extended what we do in order to offer a more comprehensive service to parents living in Edinburgh and the Lothians and also generate some income for the project. The Duncan Place Nappuccino on Thursday 26

January at Duncan Place Resource Centre, Duncan Place (just off Duke Street) from 10-11.30am is ‘new & improved’.

In partnership with Little Froggie (an independent nappy retailer run by Ingrid Leloup), the Real Nappy project will now be able to offer parents the opportunity to place orders and buy new nappies from the following manufactures: Lollipop; Little Lambs; Tots Bots; Blueberry; Nature Babies; Bright Bots; Wonderoos and GenY.

Great value second hand nappies will also be available to buy, in addition to nappy accessories such as liners, nappy nippas and meshes. Parents will also be able to drop off donated nappies at the event or thereafter at the Changeworks offices, in the knowledge that their resale will be of benefit to the project.

The new, improved Nappuccino will continue to offer parents free advice and information from parents who have experience of using real nappies. Different types of nappies are available to see and parents can apply for, and collect, trial packs and lending kits.

So if you have a baby or are about to have a baby and are interested in finding out about real nappies why not get in touch or take a look online? Or why not recommend it to a friend that's pregnant?

- Leslie