Twelve weeks into being a mum of two and as you’d expect I’m exhausted but feeling very grateful for my happy, healthy family. I thought I’d share my cloth nappy journey so far. I mean, the straight up truth, poo stains and all.
I won’t write up all the reasons why you should use cloth nappies, firstly this post would be far too long and nobody has time for that and secondly because the chances are you’re reading this because you’re already invested in the idea of using cloth. So here it is in a nutshell - every baby uses an average of 5500 nappies before they’re potty trained, if you’re using disposables they’re ending up in landfill and it is estimated that each of those nappies will take 500 years to decompose - that’s a horrifying picture right there! As a mum I just can’t live with that and as a business owner it goes entirely against the Dinki Human ethos, the use of disposable plastics and toxic chemicals has a deeply damaging effect on our planet.
I used cloth nappies with my first born four years ago, and although I would have happily recommended them to any new parent I learnt some lessons, and after some reflection I wanted improvements this time around. I realised I out up with a lot of issues like leaking and as a result did a ridiculous amount of laundry. Obviously when you choose to take on the cloth nappy challenge you expect more laundry but I’ve realised the amount of leaks I put up with before was unacceptable and unnecessary. And here’s why, I made the mistake of going with one brand and one type of nappy only, I wanted to keep things simple, I did a lot of research and decided on an all-in-one nappy system suited best. I didn't want to spend loads of money on different systems and brands, I was definitely looking for a one size fits all approach. I realise now, that was too restrained and I made things too hard for myself by being too rigid - what can I say, I’m stubborn!
Anyway back to the present day! My second babe and second cloth bum baby is a far easier experience. This time around I had experience, I did more research and discussed my options with knowledgeable people and was all in all better informed.
I started focussing on newborn days. With my first born I was ready and raring to go with my cloth nappies, but as soon as she had one on I realised it was HUGE, my average sized baby with not going to fit into them for some time - cue quick trip to the pharmacy for the most eco-friendly disposables we could find in newborn size (we went for Naty Nappies). It wasn’t until she was 6 weeks old that we could get away with using them, by then the thighs were a little thicker and the tummy a little wider!
This time around I covered the newborn days with a combination of traditional terry towelling and the Little Lamb newborn bamboo nappy. Both of these are secured with Nappy Nippas or Little Lamb Nappy Fasteners and covered with a waterproof cover. We used the Little Lamb Newborn Nappy Wrap and the Bambino MioDuo Nappy Cover. This method worked so well, they're so soft on baby’s bum and I was really impressed with how absorbent they were. No leaks - happy parents!
I did a 'how to fold cloth nappies' infographic to demonstrate my favourite folding technique.
Twelve weeks in and I’m still using these options - she will grow out of the Little Lamb Bamboo Nappy soon but the beauty of the towelling options are, they will grow with baby - you just adjust your folding techniques to allow for growth and more movement once those crawling and folding days begin.
At about 6 weeks old, baby was ready to start using the other options in my cloth nappy collection.
The Grovia Buttah O.N.E is a bulky option - particularly while baby is so little, but she’ll grow into it! With all all-in-one nappy options there are snap fastenings used to increase or decrease the length of the panel according to baby’s size. The first, smallest size sort of pinches the panel together and secures with a snap, so the nappy is bulkier but shorter and so fits nicely around the thighs. As baby grows you can use the other snaps to allow for growth and therefore the nappy is less bulky as it is re-distributed around the bum.
I’m so impressed with the softness and the absorbancy. This all-in-one option is a long-lasting one as it fits 10-35lbs and comes with two fastening options. The velcro fastening has additional tabs with snap closures. This gives the velcro some added longevity as it is usually the velcro that wears out first. I found this with the Bambino Mio all-in-one (Miosolo) nappies I used with my first born, although we’re still using them (only with added absorbent liners) the velcro and elastic around the leg are a little tired. The Grovia double fastening option means you can place the velcro tabs where needed and use the snap fasteners, as the likelihood is those velcro tabs can stay put for four weeks or so without you needing to pull them off all the time.
We also use the Grovia Buttah All-In-One, again a super soft and very absorbent option. To be honest there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two, just the methods of fastening - both work well!
We are also loving the Baba and Boo One Size Pocket Nappy. They’re also super absorbent and there are super soft liners included for extra leak protection. They're covered in snaps so it’s so easy to resize accordingly. They’re available in a host of different prints. I’m so picky when it comes to prints and I often find cloth nappy brands have a bright and fussy aesthetic. Where possible I went for plains, monochromes and geometrics with the odd elephant or whale print chucked in!
This brings me nicely on to the other brand we love, Pim Pam. These all-in-one cloth nappies have the best prints in the cloth nappy market, they’re totally up my street! Our fave from the first collection was the ‘Dawg Party’ print - so cute! I also bought the ‘Palm Springs’ changing mat as it’s so gorgeous!
To compliment our cloth nappy collection we use Cheeky Wipes reusable, washable wipes. I have loads of these and I chose black to hide stains but I’ll confess, hubby says the fact they’re black is a pain for exactly that reason, if you can’t see the poo it’s hard to know where to fold as you’re wiping. Anyway, these wipes come in handy for nappy changes, spit ups, sick and dribble. I’ve seen great systems where you have a tub of wipes that have been moistened in water and a couple of drops of essential oils, but in all honesty we haven’t adopted that system yet. I’d rather wet the wipe each time but I’ll persist and find something that works well for us soon I’m sure.
We also have a roll-up change mat from Bare and Boho which is handy as it packs up small. We don't have plastic and foam changing mat, we prefer a less bulky changing mat you can move around the house with you and can stick in the wash (it pains me to think how many of those foam changing mats there are sitting in landfill).
Another essential is a waterproof bag allowing you to keep soiled nappies contained in the nappy bag whilst you’re out and about, we have a Bambino Mio bag.
When baby is eating solids nappy changes will be all the more ‘eventful’, as more ‘substantial’ poos will need to be flushed down the toilet. We have Bambino Mio liners left over from our first born, these can be placed inside the nappies and effectively catch the poo so you can lift it out of the nappy and drop into the loo (the poo NOT the liner - the liner will need to be chucked away). This saves having to rinse poos off the nappies, some people use the shower head to rinse down the loo (if your bathroom is set up to allow that) and some people use the loo flush. That’s all a bit much for me to be honest.
There are so many helpful resources out there to help you take on the cloth nappy challenge, I’ve listed some below.
It's also worth checking if your local council is running a cloth nappy initiative, with the massive volume of disposable nappies being added to landfill every day it is in every council’s interest to encourage parents to use cleaner alternatives. It’s in all our interests!