With my first child, I had admiration for those who used cloth nappies, but didn’t even consider having a go myself. With my second, maybe it was feeling a pang of environmental guilt while watching BBC’s War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita at the number of disposable nappies and wet wipes that we consumed with our first, maybe it was the Blue Planet effect, maybe it was that if other mums could do it why couldn’t I… anyway, I thought I’d at least look into them. I headed over to Nappuccino baby group in Exeter (pre-covid) with my no-longer-new-born in my arms, to borrow a cloth nappy trial kit, feeling a little apprehensive. This was the experience:
Borrowing a trial kit couldn’t be easier
Jen, aka the Nappy lady at The Baby Room in Exeter, came over with a cup of tea and a nappy ‘bin’. Jen took out each nappy in turn and talked me through how to use it, what are the benefits of that particular nappy, how to wash and dry it and the differences between them all. I have to admit, I was starting to get a little overwhelmed (or bamboozled if you want a cloth nappy pun) by the choice and started to fumble at the notion of choosing a type of nappy to trial. “No, you get the lot!” Jen reassured me “So you can try all the different types and see which suits you best.” “Phew!”
How do the nappies actually work?
Jen packed the nappies, wipes, liners back into the bucket and gave me a blue folder of all the info I needed to know but was struggling to retain (she knows how mums’ brains work) and, after entering my details on the ipad, I was armed with a whole bucket of reusable nappies for 2 weeks, all for free. Over lockdown, Jen made this video about how all the different nappies fit together so the trail kits could continue. Her video explains all the different types brilliantly..
How we got on
While it all seemed rather daunting at first, actually the reusable nappy thing is much simpler than I’d imagined. They all pop, fold or are pre-stitched together and it’s pretty obvious what does what. Personally, I immediately discounted the terries (the big fabric squares that you fold to make a nappy and then put a waterproof layer on top) as I wanted to keep it as simple as possible to ensure it was a positive experience. However, I have been told that they are the workhorse of nappies and the cheapest too. Those who love them really do love them. And there’s no longer a giant pin that you have to avoid stabbing your gorgeous baby with, but instead a natty ‘ninja’.
I started by just doing the cloth nappies at home, generally after my baby had had his daily poop so I didn’t have to deal with that. I was pleasantly surprised at how much wee they held and actually how easy it was. We ventured out and it was still ok. I then started to do it all day and the poo wasn’t too terrifying either – it just seems to peel off the liner and plop down the toilet. Maybe it’s after having gone through potty training with the eldest, but it didn’t seem to ewwww me quite so much. And with every disposable nappy I didn’t use, I felt a little bit good about it.
To go out – you have your normal nappy bag and a second ‘wet or dirty’ bag (provided in the kit) for the dirty one. At home, pop all the dirty nappies and wipes in the nappy bucket and when you have enough just chuck them all in the washing machine (no need to soak like previous generations had to). But wait, ewww nappies still with a bit of poo on go in the wash? Yes – just like their soiled clothes after a poonami – this blog post by Baba & Boo really helped me understand that it is the function of a washing machine!!
By the end of the two weeks, was happy and confident and had found my preferred type of reusable nappy.
On returning the kit to Jen, she signed it back in and asked how I’d got on. She genuinely wanted to know and there was no push to buy – however, if you do decide to do the cloth bum thing then after you have had a go with the trial kit you get 20% off the price of the reusable nappies up to a total of £20 – a nice added bonus!
I am so glad that I experienced the trial kit. Such an easy way to see if it’s for you with no financial risk. And having Jen there to ask a question to over messenger is invaluable. Now, I’m really keen to start with a couple of cloth nappies and am just trying to decide my favourite prints (I do fear that I may get addicted to the gorgeous prints). In the meantime, I’m committed to using reusable wipes at home. Baby steps.
I wrote this a while ago. Since, we have been using reusable nappies regularly, but not always. I’d say I’m a flexi-cloth nappy mum! There’s no doubt that reusable nappies are a bit more of an effort than disposables, but I love the prints and the nappies look so much nicer than a full disposable hanging down and the self gratifying feeling of knowing that you’ve saved plastic and chemicals from landfill is pretty good too. But there are always disposables in the house, despite vowing to myself that the current pack will be the last one I buy! Reusable wipes on the other hand, I will sing their praises to anyone who will listen!