Getting started with cloth nappies

iStock_000017817383XSmall

Cloth nappies are fabulous. They look super cute, come in amazing designs and are soooo much better for the environment. I’ve used them with both of my girls and I’m a big fan. So about six months ago, I thought it would be a great idea to have some reviews of cloth nappies on Kiwi Families. I spoke to some of our friends and organised 3 or 4 brands and off we went. Since then, we’ve had a phenomonal amount of interest and have ended up reviewing 14 different nappies from 10 different brands!

If you’re wondering why you should think about using cloth nappies, here are some great reasons:

  • Cloth nappies are a a positive choice – you’re not choosing drudgery over convenience, you are choosing a healthier option for your baby, your family and your community. Using cloth nappies actually helps you to feel good about yourself!
  • They’re better for the environment- you’re not filling landfill with waste that will stay around for decades. Kate Meads – The Nappy Lady, gives some excellent information about the environmental benefits of cloth nappies on her website.
  • They are super-duper cute! You can get them in a million gorgeous designs that look so sweet on your baby’s tushie.

So, we love cloth nappies here at Kiwi Families and over the last few months, our reviewers have had a great time trying nappies, comparing nappies, talking about nappies, writing about nappies. And we’ve learnt some things that we think you should know if you are thinking about using cloth nappies.

  1. The most important thing that I would tell someone looking at starting out with cloth nappies is ‘different naps for different chaps (or chap-esses)‘. Some of the nappies I have LOVED have been the nappies that other reviewers have LOATHED. Some nappies that worked perfectly for me have been troublesome for others. And that’s ok… it’s like anything- don’t let it put you off cloth nappies, just look for one that works for you. The *most* important thing is that the nappies fit your baby properly around the leg. If you have a baby with skinny legs (never a problem for mine 😉 ) make sure that you can do the nappy up tight enough.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fiddle around with the set up of our nappy. I virtually always put extra liners into the nappies that I use because I’m a bit slack about changing them. It’s taken me some trial and error to figure out the best set up for each nappy I use but it’s worth figuring it out so that you know you can rely on the nappy. Different babies wet (and poo) differently at different times of the day and it’s also worth considering this. I know that the times I most often experience leaks are when my baby has also soiled her nappy.
  3. There are some important things to consider before you invest in nappies:
    • Where do you live? If you live in the deep dark South, you’re not going to want to choose a nappy that takes a long time to dry as it’ll drive you mad in the middle of winter – trust us on this one. Bamboo and hemp liners are more absorbent but they take longer to dry so if drying is going to be an issue, choose a nappy with microfibre liners and use multiple of these.
    • Thing about your personality type. Some of our reviewers found pulling the liners out of the pocket nappies kinda gross, where as it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If you’re the squeemy type, maybe think about a wrap-type nappy where you can just shake the liners out without having to touch them or an all-in-one nappy where everything is all together.
    • What’s your budget? It’s lovely to have gorgeous designer nappies but if you’re low on budget, you might like to consider some of the cheaper nappies or mix and match a few.
    • Kate Meads, The Nappy Lady, suggests getting a couple of trial packs of different styles and brands of nappies so that you can try them out or have a good look at them before you invest in a bigger pack. Most parents end up using a combination of different brands of nappies because the modern nappies are all so unique.
    • Invest in good quality nappies. Ask around, read reviews, talk to people. You’re going to be using the nappies a lot (hopefully!) so you want them to work well for you. Nappies are like knickers- you don’t want ones with horrible elastic that doesn’t do the job!
    • If you’re thinking about cloth nappies but are not sure, many businesses run cloth nappy hire schemes where you can try them out before you commit to buying a set. Give it a go- you might just get hooked!
    • If your really keen on cloth nappies, you could get some friends to buy you some for your baby shower… a great way to get gifts you know you’ll use!

And we’ve some advice for to make your life easier once you are using cloth nappies as well:

  • Use flushable nappy liners- this was recommended by many of our reviewers. I’m not talking about the absorbent pads that you definitely have to use with the nappies, but flat liners that you can peel off the nappy and, if they’re covered with poo, flush down the toilet. I’m told that many suppliers of these liners don’t recommend washing them as they could end up blocking your washing machine but I’ve washed mine for about three years and not had any trouble. Be aware, though, some brands of liners are washable and others just get all bunched up when you wash them. It’s worth experimenting with them.
  • Get a big plastic bucket with a lid to keep your nappies in before you wash them. Most brands of nappies don’t need presoaking so a dry soaking is fine. One of our reviewers recommends one with a snap lock to make it child proof and handles for carrying it around.
  • Put on a wash of nappies at night time so that they’re all ready to hang in the morning. That way, you’re not worrying about getting them dry in time.
  • Don’t hesitate to use the drier – it’s still more sustainable than disposable nappies and it means that you can keep using the nappies through winter when they’re tough to dry outside.
  • Make sure that the nappies are really, really dry when you use them.
  • Nappies can be prone to a build up of residue from washing detergents so it’s important you use one without brighteners, softeners, perfumes or other enzymes. If you find that your nappies start to smell, that’s probably your issue. Look for a very mild eco-detergent or nappy specific detergent- they’re also better for your baby’s skin.
  • Give yourself an incentive…For example: “because I am using cloth nappies then I can afford to…..”

We’d love to hear your stories about cloth nappies- feel free to add your comments below.

Happy Cloth Nappy Week!

Rochelle Gribble

Rochelle is mum to three gorgeous daughters. She wishes she had more time to garden and read the newspaper in peace!

Join more than 20,000 families

As we build a strong community of like minds:

  • Get the best tips from the best experts
  • Recipes, parties, crafts and activities
  • Special offers, competitions and more...

Sit back and relax and let us deliver to your inbox.

Categorised: Babies, Grown Ups

You might also be interested in:

Nappy overview

For a new parent choosing a nappy can be overwhelming, so we help you choose between traditional flat cloth nappies,…

Going natural with nappies

Going natural with nappies in NZ reviews your options for natural nappies, natural wipes, wipes and natural washing powders. When…

Modern cloth nappies

Modern cloth nappies (re-usables) are convenient, cost effective and kind on the environment. We review the pros and cons of…

Using cloth nappies at a childcare centre

When my children each turned 18 months old, I decided that a couple of days a week for them at…

Welcome to Kiwi Families

We bring thousands of families together to learn from each other.

Join a community raising great kids: