Cloth Nappies – When, Why, How.

Before Aidan was born we were firmly in the camp of the cloth nappy. After speaking to a few friends who cloth bummed, we made the decision to wait until he was around a month old and then to cloth in the day and use disposables at night. Pretty much everyone I spoke to said they found using cloth a night to be inconvenient and disruptive.  We ordered a tester kit from Totsbots which had a couple of options to try out.  We also got a few second hand nappies from a friend. Perfect! We had already saved money and we had everything we needed right? No stopping us now!  Well not quite.

We tried on and off but we just couldn’t get it to work for us, every nappy leaked and we were going through clothes faster than ever before so, we stopped.  We tried a biodegradable nappy which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as absorbent as the Tesco or Aldi brand ones that were sooooo much cheaper. We had to ask ourselves a few questions.  Why do we want to cloth nappy? Why is it not working? How can we make it work!?

We wanted to cloth nappy for two reasons really.

1. Cost. Sure the outset can be expensive if you buy all new nappies and if you’re like every other cloth bum mum/dad and can’t resist all the adorable prints, yes you could end up spending a lot of money. But in the long run you save money and if you use the nappies again for a second child you’ll end up saving even more!

2. The environmental cost. We know that nappies and baby wipes are really bad for the environment.  It’s really hard to justify using disposable nappies and wipes.

Here’s an article on The Nappy Lady from Totsbots about plastics in disposables vs reusables.

Why was it not working? The two main reasons it wasn’t working for us were that the nappies we had been given had been well used for 3-4 years and two children prior to ours. Cloth nappies, of course, do wear out and sadly many of the ones we had been given had done just that. The ones that hadn’t worn out however, were still leaking.  When cloth nappies are put under pressure by clothes or straps, like in a pushchair, they can leak.  We hadn’t taken Aidan’s, now larger, cloth bottom into account when dressing him.

So how do we make it work for us?

We bought more nappies.  We were able to make the second hand ones last us while we slowly replaced them, we now have around 15 nappies which we wash every other day.  We upped Aidan’s clothes size.  He’s now usually in a vest one size up from what he “should” be in and we are conscious of how tight trousers are on him. And finally, we persevered, and we got the hang of it.

We’ve now been full time (during the day) since January and it’s become so easy for us it’s a wonder that we ever did anything different!   We would definitely do it again next time round, probably from day one if we can get enough newborn sized.

To avoid this post being too long I’m going to go into a bit more detail on some of these points in separate posts.  I’ll add links to those posts into this post, so bookmark it if you want to see more details later.

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