Real Nappy Week: Why Go Cloth

What lies beneath that adorable nappy...
FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not use cloth nappies exclusively. I admit this below. I give full props to
those who are 100% cloth. I also give props to those who use cloth 25% of the time -- we are all doing what we can for our own reasons! 

This week is Real Nappy Week, so I thought it would be good to talk about cloth in general.

Regardless if you use one cloth nappy a day or 40 -- you are making a difference whatever your motivation for using them. Don't be discouraged, there is plenty of help available if you know where to look!

 There are many reasons to use cloth nappies.
  • Money Savings: It may not seem it in the short term but throughout the duration of when you would be using diapers (birth to potty) - using cloth saves money. Let's assume you by 20 cloth diapers are £10 a pop, thats £200. According to the internet, the average number of nappies used in a babies first year is 2,500 (crikey). Looking at Amazon, the average cost of a Pampers diaper is about £0.11 per diaper. That's £275. And that's the first year ONLY and of course no child abides by averages... your mileage may vary. You can also save money by buying cloth diapers secondhand (I know it sounds gross, but you obviously wash before use and ensure you are buying good quality ones). In doing this I paid approximately £8 per nappy. Of course this is not taking into account money spent on energy for washing -- but let's face it. With babies you are probably doing laundry every day anyways... 
  • Environmental: This is my main pull. If one child is using 2,500 nappies in their first year... well I will let you try and grapple with the annual diaper disposal for your city/town/country. It's simply staggering. And with landfills getting full the last thing we need is more things that cannot decompose taking up space. Most of the diapers today are composed of materials that do not biodegrade. Check out the basics of disposables here. Some companies are going more green such as Mum & You (the core is 100% biodegradable but the other layers are not) or Eco by Naty (fully biodegradable) but of course that is reflected in the cost (£0.11 vs £0.15 per nappy)
  • Sensitive Skin/Allergies: There is some weird (but amazing in a science way!) stuff in disposables. Some babies have sensitive skin and/or allergies that do not take kindly to the disposable nappies. My mother used cloth on us because the disposables gave us diaper rash. 
  • Cool Designs: You have to admit, there are some damn cute adorable cloth nappies out there. Some can fetch a pretty penny

What I Wish People Told Me Before I Went Cloth

Brexit means Brexit, but Birth does not mean Birth 

These poppers to a new parent require a PhD
to operate correctly...
I started using cloth when my baby was about 3 weeks old and was getting quite flustered. Every diaper was leaking. I had no idea what I was doing, and if what I was doing was wrong. I finally went to Nappy Ever After, a store in North London which is all about cloth diapers. I brought a few samples of the different diapers I owned (again I was buying second hand and really had no idea about the different styles) and tearfully asked for her help. It was then she informed me that although the birth to potty diapers SAY birth to potty, in reality your little one needs to be about 10 pounds first. Well, minimoose was nowhere near that. 

So, I waited until about a month when minimoose hit a about 8 pounds. Lo and behold, cloth started to fit. Less blow outs. Less destroyed clothes. A much happier mummy. A few of them still don't fit but I have found my stride and have those ones stored until he gets bigger. 

Pockets and Sleeves and Hybrids.. Oh my!

Another thing I should have researched more is the dizzying array of cloth diapers out there. Most of the ones I have are 'all-in-one' or pocket diapers. The pocket diapers require 'prep' (eg stuffing them prior to wearing). I usually do this in bulk when minimoose is sleeping and I am watching a show. It's a bit monotonous. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to use each cloth diaper type. Don't be like me. Do some research. This way when purchasing, you know which ones you want to look at and which to pass on. 

Set a Timer

This is my main gripe about cloth. The absorbency for cloth is not as good as disposable. Well it does the job, but it's a one (ot two) and done affair. And it does not draw moisture away as good as its counterpart, so the baby gets fussy quicker. I set an alarm on my phone for 45 minutes as soon as I put a cloth nappy on. I would rather cut the poo/pee off at the pass rather than let the meltdown ensue. This is also why I use cloth at home but disposable everywhere else. I have the time/patience at home to deal with cloth, but not so much when traveling or out and and about. 

What You Can Do

My rainbow of nappies... 
So if you live in London, there is a whole website dedicated to cloth nappies and getting started. You can also request your free trial pack of nappies (which is about  £50 value). If your council is not listed, do not fret. I contacted mine directly and they had a similar offer. Councils outside of London may offer similar (for example here is one from Bournemouth Council), so again, if you don't ask you don't know!

If the price of cloth is a bit daunting, you can check out eBay or Facebook marketplace for second hand nappies. There are also groups you can attend where they have information sessions about the world of cloth diapers and also buy/swap (also get to see the goods with less pressure to buy). There is a group of ladies under the instagram Nappy Neighbours (sorry again London based) that seem to do monthly meetups. 

If you don't feel cloth nappies are your bag, you can switch to cloth wipes! We got two packages (50) of Cheeky Wipes from friends and I now use them over cotton balls/wet wipes. I have a collapsible water bottle and small tupperware container (to hold said water if needed) in my diaper bag which I then use to wet the wipes. When done I put in a wet bag then empty when I get home. I wash them with my cloth nappies (adding in a scoop of Miofresh along with detergent)  


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