Newest Review: ... for my baby Charlotte, I spent hours adding things into my basket but before I checked out and paid, I checked out the reusables as the... more
Get Using Them Reusables.
Reusable Nappies in General
Member Name: arleek
Reusable Nappies in General
Advantages: Good for the environment, cute,
Disadvantages: Too much choice
Quite a difficult task I think and as I write this I am wondering if I will be able to finish this piece and come up with a convincing conclusion without making it all sound too complicated.
When I first became pregnant, I was researching everything from breastfeeding to nappies to baby activities, everything and anything I could think of to prepare myself and my child for a very enjoyable future together. But one of the main things I focused on was looking at the huge array of reusable nappies available and because there was so many different sorts on the market I really wanted to make sure I selected wisely, because they didn't come cheap either!
So after much deliberation I opted for Motherease Onesize Stay Dry (a bit of a mouthful). The reason I chose these was because they were a birth to potty system which meant my daughter would be wearing the same nappies from when she was born up until she was potty trained. This was because the nappies had various adjustable poppers which would allow me to adjust the sizing of the nappy as my daughter grew.
They had a 'stay dry' lining which meant that the moisture in the nappy would be sucked away from my daughter's bottom and thus keeping her dry. I wanted this lining because I'd heard so many stories of baby's bottoms being wet and getting nappy rash so this was a big concern for me. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have been stressing about having a stay dry lining as a baby having a wet bum does not equate to nappy rash. It's the poo that causes all the rashes!
These nappies also needed a waterproof outer to keep the moisture at bay. These had to be bought in different sizes because they were not adjustable. So I bought 4 small, 4 medium and 4 large. The ones I chose just had Velcro fastening around the waist and had no adjustment around the legs, something which I found I needed later on in my daughter's life.
I ended up buying a full set of these nappies (20), including 10 night time booster pads, a nappy bucket and a wet nappy bag, and it all came to just over £250. It sounds a lot of money (especially if you were to buy them singly, they are between £8 and £10 I think), but if you think that these are going to last throughout your child's nappy life, then it really isn't a lot of money to be spending, and you are saving money in the long run.
So I found these nappies easy to use and very absorbent, especially during the night with a booster pad inserted (you will find most cloth nappies need an additional booster pad at night).
I did, however, have a couple of issues, the first being that the wraps supplied started to fail somewhat, my daughter used to get leakages around the legs. I think this was mainly due to the fact that she was quite a slimline baby with slender thighs, and because these wraps were not adjustable around the leg it was not possible to get a good leak proof fit around her legs.
So this was when I moved onto Nature Babies multiwraps. These are made from PUL (waterproof breathable material) and have poppers around the waist and legs so you can adjust the wrap to fit your baby exactly. I found these worked really well over the Motherease nappies, and the fact that they came in some wonderful designs was an added bonus.
Another issue I had with the Motherease nappy was that they sometimes took a while to dry and after 18 months of constant use, started to retain a slightly cabbage type odour which would be emitted from my daughter's bottom area as soon as she did a wee...it seemed that when the nappies became wet, they just became extremely smelly. A few washes (one after another) seemed to keep this at bay, but I was not so happy about having to wash them numerous times when she hadn't even worn them, if you see what I mean.
So I found this quite disappointing, especially since I was now expecting my second child and these are advertised at being good for 2 or 3 children!
So now that I realised I was going to have two children in nappies and was now quite short on cash (due to me not working) I needed to find a cheaper option so I that had enough nappies for two babies.
The cheapest available was of course the traditional terry square. I went for quite a budget make at first (Junior Joy) because I was just going to test them out on my toddler before the new baby arrived and I wanted to practise my folding techniques. So I think I paid approximately £20 for 20 nappies plus 4 newborn wraps which I thought was pretty good value.
When they arrived I was quite disappointed, the wraps just looked rubbish and a complete waste of material so they were resold straight away as I just didn't want them. And I really didn't expect to actually be able to see through the nappy. They were unbelievably thin and not very good quality at all, but with me being a complete novice in the terry square department, I just thought that this is what they must be like.
So I tried them on my toddler and I had to change them less than every 2 hours because they really weren't very absorbent at all. So I was quite disappointed in this and thought I would have to choose another type of nappy, but I looked to the trusty old internet and did a bit of research and found a better quality terry square, and by now I was writing on Dooyoo and had earned enough miles to redeem a voucher so could afford to splash out on some Zorbit terries from Amazon, at the time they were £30 for a pack of 12, but I have recently seen these for about £20.
When these arrived I was much more impressed and satisfied with my purchase, they were lovely and soft and really quite thick - you couldn't see through them at all! So on trying them out on my daughter, I found them to be very absorbent and she could wear them for 3 hours at least, and they worked fine over night with an additional booster pad. So I thought I was set for toddler and baby, both in nappies.
However, I found that I really liked using the terry squares, much more than the Motherease shaped nappies because you could fold them into a shape that suited your child, and because they fastened with a nippa you could get a tight snug fit. Whereas with the Motherease you had to rely on the poppers and sometimes they didn't quite have such a snug fit around my daughter's tummy and often they tended to sag, giving her bum quite a square saggy type shape (not very nice to look at basically!), and the smell issue was really beginning to put me off.
So before the baby was born, my daughter was wearing my terry nappies full time, which meant I would need to buy some more to make sure I was fully equipped for two children in terry squares!
So I went back to the internet and found some smaller terries which I thought would be perfect for my newborn and would mean I could potty train my older daughter, and by the time she was trained, the baby would have grown out of the small terries and would be into the bigger ones and everything would work out perfectly (so I thought anyway).
The smaller terries were made by Little Ewe and were 40x40cm so were quite small but were perfect for a tiny newborn bottom. They were also lovely a soft and thick and were really absorbent, not that you really need much absorbency when your baby is small because you are changing every few hours anyway. But I was really happy with these, and they were great for overnight use, even without a booster pad.
Unfortunately my daughter grew out of these quite quickly (probably before she was 3 months if I remember rightly) so I still had two children in nappies and not enough nappies (unless I forced myself back to Motherease which I really didn't want to do).
But then I had a brainwave and suddenly remembered my Junior Joy terry squares which were disgustedly stuffed into the back of my toddler's wardrobe. These were perfect for the baby because she was still too small to be wearing a full size terry, but because these were so thin, they could be folded down to a newborn fold and not be too bulky! They really did a good job on her and I was actually really pleased that I had purchased them (after my initial disappointments).
But as she neared about 5 months of age, she was getting pretty big and these were now no good, they couldn't contain the moisture and I had to discard them (they now are used for mopping up clothes, window cleaners...anything really). So onto the Zorbit terry squares she went, but I really was in need of topping up my supply of squares as I now only had 12 decent ones and my toddlers was somewhere near being trained but was still wearing nappies at night.
So for my toddler I looked into Pocket Nappies because I'd always wanted to try them out but never bothered because I thought they were quite pricey and I wasn't sure if I'd like them. But because I wanted a couple of night time nappies for her, I thought I would sample a few of these types.
The first one I tried was a Fuzzi Bunz and I was really disappointed with this, the outer just wasn't waterproof so I'm not going to discuss that one any further.
I then tried a couple of Blueberries, which I am thrilled to bits with. I have done a review on them so I won't go into detail here of all the ins and outs of them, but basically they are a pocket nappy with a lovely fluffy outer and they come provided with an insert which is absorbent enough for a few hours wear, and even overnight on a half potty trained child. I also bought a Slinki Minki, which doesn't come provided with an insert but you can stuff it with anything (including useless terry squares!). It does its job, but is rather bulky.
So now I was sorted for nappies for my toddler as she was only wearing them over night and I was quite satisfied with the pocket nappies I had chosen.
The beauty of pocket nappies is that they can be as absorbent as you want, whatever suits the occasion. You can fill them to the brim for night time use, and have them a lot slimmer for day time use, this is very handy for an active toddler, who perhaps doesn't want to be running around with a lot of bulk around their bottom.
These are also a genius idea for anyone who's children are going to be cared for by other people such as Grandparents or nurseries, because you can stuff them beforehand and they can be put on just like a disposable (Velcro tabs across the front), no fiddling, no fuss. They also have the advantage of being taken apart for washing and drying, enabling a quicker drying time than some bulkier nappies.
So back to the terry squares, I had 12 and needed to top up my supply which would mean I would not have to worry about washing them so often. I couldn't afford any more Zorbit ones (no more Dooyoo miles...) so whilst in Boots one day I spotted a 6 pack of terries for £9.99 so I thought I would give them a whirl.
They looked really nice and fluffy and do actually work really well. They are not as thick and absorbent as the Zorbits, but they are perfectly adequate for daytime use. The only drawback was that in the pack of 6, 2 of them were actually rectangular in shape and had loose threads, so that was really disappointing.
Now I had a total of 16 functioning nappies for my younger daughter and that was going to have to do for me as I had grown tired of searching for the perfect nappy at the perfect cost, and everything at the moment was running smoothly with regard to washing and drying. So that was me done, no more nappy purchasing required.
So, after having trialled a few of the various types of reusable nappy available, I have actually reached some sort of conclusion. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are many many more different types of nappy available than the ones I have tried, so this is nowhere near a fully informed review, but I think it gets somewhere near to perhaps helping someone make an informed decision on what type of nappy to try.
Surprisingly,I actually realised that the traditional terry square was the best option for me, and had I known that in the beginning I would never have spent all that money on the Motherease nappies.
The beauty of terry squares is that they are simple yet effective. You can fold them however you want (look it up on the internet for the various folding techniques, you will find one to suit you and your child), and you can make them as tight or as slack as you want. If you have an active child, then the tighter the better.
When it comes to washing and drying, the terry square will always come out on top as well. I just wash mine at 40 degrees, over night because I put them on a long wash, and then they are ready to peg on the line in a morning. If it is a particularly windy day then the fluff is blown back into the nappies and they are lovely a soft again and are usually dry before lunch.
On a non-windy day, they are usually dry by mid afternoon. Simple.
I think what also helps a great deal to get a good nappy system is getting a decent wrap that works. I swear by Nature Babies Multiwrap, I think these can fit over most cloth nappies and I seriously have never had a problem with them, they are so versatile and look really cute too. They also dry in no time.
To be honest, when choosing a reusable nappy system, it really depends on your circumstances. For instance, if you are the type of parent who is constantly out and about with your child, then something like the Pocket nappy would be best because you can prepare them all in advance and the nappy changes are quick and easy. And again the pocket nappy is well suited to someone who may be going back to work and so the child's carer will have no issues about reusables, pocket nappies can be changed easily by any cloth novice.
If you are someone on a tight budget, then terry squares would be the best option, they are by far the cheapest and most versatile. They can be somewhat fiddly if you are out and about. Folding a terry square in a public nappy changing room is quite difficult as your baby is usually laid on the only surface available. I find it easier to fold them before we go out. These are also best paired up with a decent wrap, if you get a good wrap that works then you really can't go wrong with these.
Something like the Motherease shaped nappy is good for anyone who doesn't want the fuss of folding, or the fuss of stuffing a nappy.
But like I said, it all depends on your circumstances, your budget and of course personal preference.
I'd just like to add at the end here, that cloth nappies really are not all the hassle some people think they are. They have fitted into my daily routine perfectly, the washing and drying of them is really no hassle. A dirty nappy just goes straight into the bucket and then I usually wash them every other night.
They hang outside on the line to dry, or if it is raining, they are inside on the airer (which to be honest does annoy me a little bit as it just gets in the way, but I can't have everything - no tumble dryer).
Cloth nappies also do not cause nappy rash (unless your child is allergic to wash powder). I have only seen one really bad case of nappy rash on my elder daughter, and I think this was because she had done a poo and I didn't realise, so it was festering in their causing her little bum to get sore.
So if you are thinking of using reusables, do not be afraid.
Embrace the cloth!!
Summary: Just give it a go
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