What’s it Cloth about?

Did you know the average child goes through 7000 nappies in their nappy wearing years? 

It takes 300-500 years for a single nappy to decompose. Wow. This is serious. 

It has taken me a while to make the switch but I knew with my second child I’d be using cloth nappies from birth. 

Let’s get one thing straight, reusables don’t have to cost the earth. Nappies vary in price from £5 – £20 new but you’d be surprised that you can buy a lot second hand. No it isn’t gross, they are clean and you can clean them too (its called strip cleaning in the reusable world). By purchasing a few different styles second hand you don’t need to invest too heavily and can see which ones you like before laying out on new. Alternatively, plenty of the cheaper cloth options are great. A lot of the cloth community still swear the old school Terry towels and muslins are still the most effective and affordable. 

Also, please google your council plus real nappies to find out if they have a scheme. My local council offer a free bundle of cloth nappies worth £100, all I needed to do was upload a birth certificate and they were sent straight to my door! A great FREE way to get starting on reusables! 

But hey, what a mind field it is out there! HOW do you start? All-In-Ones, prefolds – Terrys and muslins, 2 part systems, pockets, size 1/2/3, liners, boosters, inserts!?! Wtf! Theres more jargon I am still learning. 

I went and bought a selection of nappies new and second hand. I didn’t get prefolds for my newborn as I thought I’d not like them, although now with hindsight I think they are probably the best and most affordable if starting from birth. If I have another baby then I would opt for them to start clothing straight away. The first few weeks my son was born I used mostly disposables and only a few reusables. This was mainly due to the nappies I had not fitting right and I was concerned my little man was uncomfortable with his cord stump covered. I don’t know if this is true or not but I won’t beat myself up, a few weeks in disposables is nothing compared to a few years. Plus newborns pee and poo? constantly and I don’t think my initial stash could have handled it. Which is why I think prefolds would have been a good birth nappy option but c’est la vie I didn’t go down that route. 

What I currently use are AIO (all in ones) birth to potty (BTP) – Bumgenius Elementals, Bumgenius Freetime, Bambino Mio Solos and Tots Bots Easyfit star. I also have a number of 2 parts; size 1 Little lambs suitable for a newborn that weighs less then 8lb, pockets BTP – Alva, Little and Bloomz, and Molivia and BTP Tots Bots Bamboozles with Motherease and tots bots wraps. I really like the pocket nappies as I find them less bulky. 

Now if you’re totally new to cloth nappies I could be speaking Klingon. I know the terms are confusing. When I first started my research I thought I’d choose one type of nappy and that’s it. But actually they are all different and I’m glad I bought myself a selection. I think I started with 8 nappies and then added more of the ones I liked. 

My current favourites are the pocket nappies. A pocket nappy has an opening inside to add a thick insert this soaks up the wee and draws the moisture away from babies bum. I have found they seem to do the best job at keeping my boy dry and last the longest between changes. Now I’ve been advised this may change as he grows so I’m doubly pleased I have a selection to work with. Just because these are my faves doesn’t mean I’m not using the others, they are all great! 

Now on to one of the biggest questions… what about the poo? My baby is EBF meaning that shit goes straight into the washing machine. Its important to add here that there is a strict washing routine with reusables. Run a rinse first, do a long (non eco) 60 wash no softener, if you can still see detergent bubbles in the wash run another wash. The soap affects the absorbency. Once a baby is weaned then put the poo in the toilet. Then repeat wash routine above. It is simple. A little more work than a disposable but its not hard. When you have at least 20 nappies you have enough to cloth full time. In order to wash twice a week you’ll need about 30 nappies to handle the rotation. 

Next BIG question, don’t you end up using more water and energy so there’s no real benefit? No. I think this article does a great job explaining the two nappy routes.

If you’re considering making the switch but are still confused here is a translation of the terms I understand (still a student):

  • Liner – Every nappy no matter its design requires a liner. They can be disposable or reusable. They are for catching poo, protecting nappy from said poo and keeping baby skin dry. I personally prefer reusable fleece liners, they seem to be best at wicking moisture away from babes bottom. 
  • AIO – All-in-ones – All the components are in this nappy, meaning you don’t need to add any inserts, unless you want to. You just need a liner. 
  • BTP – Birth to Potty – Literally means a nappy that it suitable from birth to potty. Nappies vary in what birth size they are suitable for, the majority from around 9lbs but some state from 8lb or 10lb. 
  • Pocket Nappies – These can be BTP or come in different sizes but all have an opening to add an insert to absorb wee also classed as 2 part nappies. 
  • Inserts – Inserts are placed inside pocket nappies and come in a variety of fabrics – microfibre, bamboo, hemp and I’m sure others. Each fabric have their own positives and negatives, some being more absorbent so the nappy lasts longer but then they may take longer to dry once washed. 
  • 2 parts – These are nappies that are made of a 2 part system. These include pocket nappies that have a separate inset and fabric nappies eg cotton or bamboo that do not have a waterproof shell so require a second part, a waterproof cover called a wrap to keep clothes from getting wet. 
  • Wrap – A waterproof cover placed over 2 part nappies. There are a variety on the market, always worth looking at reviews. 
  • Night time nappies – A more absorbent nappy suitable for the night, especially when a booster is added. 
  • Booster – added to night time nappies but also can be added to any nappy you choose to boost the absorbency and make the nappy last longer between changes. 

Thats it! That’s all I know (for now) I hope this has been helpful! 

Disclaimer this is a novices list! For a reusable Queen head to The Nappy Lady, find a local nappy library or if you want to give reusables a go; consider purchasing or hiring a mix starter kit that contains a few of the bestsellers out there and don’t forget to google your council!

Don’t forget to check out our range of clothes suitable for the cloth bum in your life! www.talulalittle.com


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