The nappy collective

Interview with Sandra Jacobs The Nappy Collective.

“Motherhood is a challenge and mothers have an innate desire to help each other. When you’re a new mum you get inundated with advice from everyone, it’s often with the best intentions because people experience motherhood and they want to make sure it’s a good experience for others.” Sandra Jacobs, Nappy Collective.

If you’ve followed this site for a while you may also know I’m a mum of 3.  My 2-year old is still in nappies and the 4-year-old wears them at night. Although I’m in a situation where buying them doesn’t break the bank; truth is I’ve been caught without a spare nappy more times than I’d like to admit.

This stress is a daily reality for many parents. Not because they weren’t organised but because they simply can’t afford the necessities.

That’s why I’m excited to share the work of Melbourne mum Sandra Jacobs and her go-getting friends from The Nappy Collective. 

They collect left over nappies and re-distribute them to support families in need.


Sandra nappies are expensive for many families who are just getting by on single parent’s benefits, low-income workers or even average income workers?


Parents that can’t afford nappies, go without food to buy the children nappies. In some communities they buy maybe one or two nappies at a time, the cost is really expensive and they can’t afford to buy in bulk, so they pay maybe two or three times more than say a middle class person who can buy a box of Huggies or go to Costco. They can’t get ahead.

A lady from a (welfare) organisation called me and said, “sometimes the parents use their spare clothes as nappies.”

If they’re not soiled and they are just wet you get parents who leave the nappy on for days and the babies have nappies down to their knees. Could you imagine the subsequent health issues that come with that? The child is miserable and it compounds a stressful situtation.


It may even cause toilet training issues because the parents are unwittingly putting more pressure on the children to get out of nappies?


Most children in the organisations The Nappy Collective gives nappies to tend not to toilet train as quickly.


How did you come up with the idea for The Nappy Collective?


I was doing some volunteer work with a women’s shelter and I found out that in Australia one woman is killed by her husband or partner every week. I was really shocked by that and disgusted and no-one really knows those numbers. That’s 52 women a year.

You were searching for a way to help reduce the stress?


I thought, “I wonder if anyone else has a few nappies at home and if we did some crowdsourcing then we could donate an impactful amount to some of the shelters.”  Initially we just driving to people’s houses to pick them up and getting them dropped off at kinder and then a friend said, “why don’t you just get everyone to drop the nappies off at my shop.” In two weeks we collected 1500 nappies. That was the beginning of The Nappy Collective!


What do you think it is about motherhood which makes us acutely aware of the experiences of other women who are struggling?


Motherhood is a challenge and mothers have an innate desire to help each other. When you’re a new mum you get inundated with advice from everyone, it’s often with the best intentions because people experience motherhood and they want to make sure it’s a good experience for others.

Being able to donate the nappies is an opportunity to be able to connect with other mums that are in a disadvantaged situation.


Do any of you have a background in enterprising ideas?


One of the girls on the committee is very involved in philanthropy already, she’s on a number of committees another is a merger and acquisitions lawyer so she does a lot of work for not-for-profits – she’s been instrumental in our structure – we have a chartered accountant and I’m a financial advisor. All of us are fairly community focussed, so that’s how we’ve managed to get traction so quickly.


What can we do to pitch in?


Let people know about us. One of the things we are hoping to do this year is roll out a party plan.


Great idea!


You can register to have a party in your home. You can invite your mother’s group, friends or whatever and collect the nappies. A great way to engage in areas we don’t have collection points.


Is there a a story which has particularly touched you in relation to the impact the nappy collective is having?


I think just the women who are fearing for their lives and running out the door with not even their toothbrush, never mind a box of nappies. Statistics show the demographic of children who often come through refuges are newborns to two year olds so most of them are mums with babies and toddlers. It’s devastating that they’re on their own and by the time they get there, they’ve usually alienated their family and friends and they have no-one. A lot of the time they are at risk of their lives, so if we can take one stress away that frees up some time and energy to focus on something else.

Like loving their child. Bravo girls! 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Nappy Collective


Donate your leftover nappies, Volunteer your time, skills or help sort or pack nappies


Apply to become a collection site, for 2 weeks, 3 times a year