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
I don't wear paper pants... and neither does my baby lol
Reusable Nappies in General
Member Name: rhianjo
Reusable Nappies in General
Advantages: Many choices, soft cloth next to skin, no chemicals next to skin
Disadvantages: You have to like washing!
This is a huge topic to try and review sensibly but I hope that it will provide some useful information to anyone thinking about whether to use cloth nappies. I'm going to write it as I would have liked to have read it while I was looking. Then I'll put a little section on what I have and how I use them.
Types of nappy
There more types of nappy than you probably realise!
Prefold (needs you to fold the nappy after washing, and use nappy nippas to secure. I have never used these myself so won't concentrate on these).
Fitted (made of an absorbent fabric that is held in place usually by poppers, but needs a separate waterproof wrap over the top).
Pocket nappy (like a disposable nappy no second layer is needed it's all integral but the booster pads need to be stuffed into it yourself after washing. Usually held by poppers or velcro)
All in one (the booster pads are sewn into the nappy, no second waterproof layer is needed. Usually held by poppers or velcro)
All in two (booster pads are sewn into the nappy but it does need a second waterproof layer. Usually held by poppers or velcro)
Reusable nappies aren't just for the daytime either there are specific night nappies you can buy as well that are more absorbent to cope with the long period between changes.
Why use them? Well from a personal point of view I didn't like the thought of throwing something away several times a day and clogging up the landfill. But more importantly I don't use paper pants myself so I didn't want to put my baby in them full time. (Disclaimer: sometimes you can't avoid it!) I wasn't too concerned with the cost saving benefits but that is a nice bonus. You can buy nappies second hand using websites like usednappies.co.uk or clothnappytree.com
There a huge number of fitted nappies on the market and also free patterns available on the web if you feel creative enough to make your own. Fitted nappies are either sized (i.e. you will need to replace them with bigger nappies as your baby grows) or one sized (i.e. birth to potty they will expand up to about 32lb in weight). The big disadvantage to a fitted is the need to put a second waterproof layer over the top. This is fine when your baby is small but once they are wilful and wriggly it gets slightly more difficult. I use fitted nappies over night because their big advantage is they can soak up a lot more urine meaning there are no leaks in the morning. To keep his bum dry I have cut up an old fleece blanket and put a couple of layers of fleece next to his skin.
Many different fabrics are made into wraps. Fleece (think your outdoor fleece), wool (treated with lanolin so it repels moisture) or a waterproof fabric like PUL. There are some beautiful wraps available in minkee or other materials that then use an integrated PUL layer to make it waterproof. I use PUL wraps mainly with some beautiful fabric wraps for day use and showing off. Wraps can be plain boring white or as colourful and gorgeous as you like. It depends on your budget and how many you need. They can be sized (which will need replacing) or one size to take your baby through to potty training.
I love pocket nappies they are the best idea in cloth nappying as far as I'm concerned - they leave no room for excuses over the difficulty of getting a nappy on a baby, they are exactly like disposables. They have a pocket sewn in to them which is used to put the booster stuffing in that will absorb the urine. Usually they are lined with fleece that will keep your baby's bottom lovely and dry. I have noticed that my son's bumgenius nappies often keep him dryer than some makes of disposable.
There are loads of fabric possibilities these are my favourites.
Bamboo: super absorbant and keeps really soft after washing.
Hemp: super absorbant but can harden slightly after washing depending on your water type I find them quite hard personally I prefer a bamboo hemp mix that stays slightly softer.
Microfibre: really absorbant and dries really quickly, absorbs liquid quickly so is really good to use with something like hemp that absorbs more slowly.
Fleece: wonderful at drawing moisture away from your baby's skin and keeping them dry. Good to use a fleece liner in your fitted nappies. Pocket nappies are often lined with fleece. Thick fleece fabrics are often use as pretty outer layers but fleece does bobble after lots of washing.
Minkee: so gorgeously soft you won't believe it. This is a fabulous fabric you will spend most of your time stroking it lol.
Essential things if you are using cloth nappies:
Nappies! I use bumgenius version 3 as my stock nappies and it cost me £280 for 20 nappies which is enough to wash every 2-3 days. Don't forget second hand (especially for fabrics like hemp or bamboo that needs lots of washes to be more absorbant) I have bought many to try second hand for a fraction of the price (about 4 fitted nappies and 2 pocket nappies for £30). Buuut I have also splashed out on lovely custom nappies from weenotions (weenotions.co.uk) a one size pocket with lush embroidery costs around £18.
Nappy bucket (don't be taken in by the expensive buckets many nappy shops sell I bought a cheap plastic bin with lid in my local DIY shop for £2 it does the job!)
Nappy bucket mesh bags (not essential but does mean you can lift the bag out the bucket and put it straight in the machine. I bought mine from the nappy needs shop on ebay £4.99 I think)
Washing machine (would hate to do it by hand lol)
Extra booster pads (I have half a dozen extra to allow for drying time etc.. usually around £10 for 5 depending on the fabric. Look at ebay tho' I had a bargain 5 microfibre inserts for 99p)
Washing powder (worth going with the powders recommended by nappy shops but remember you only need a quarter of what you would usually use)
And seriously that is all you need!
My top tips
1) Don't use too much washing powder you will get leakage as it affects absorption if you do have any problems do a couple of extra rinses at the end of the wash
2) Make sure you adjust the fit around the legs if there is gaping to stop leaks
3) Dry pail your nappies in a bucket there is no need to soak
4) Don't worry about staining a day in the sun will help sort that out
5) If a nappy doesn't work for you then sell it on usednappies.co.uk the money you get can be put towards something else
My system for using reusable nappies:
For the daytime I have about 25 nappies, mostly pocket nappies with one or two one size fitted nappies.
I have 5 fitted one size nappies for the night time and one upsy daisy night time pocket.
I wash my nappies every 2-3 days using the following cycle: cold rinse, 60oC wash with 30-50ml of washing powder depending on the size of the load, extra rinse cycle once a week. I line dry them in the sunshine or on an airer indoors. I rarely tumble dry I am too tight!
If using nappy rash cream use a fabric or paper liner inside to prevent cream build up in your nappies this might make them leak.
Best nappy shops I use regularly:
www.babykind.co.uk: for any nappy or accessory
www.mothercare.com: some nappy choices handy if you have a discount code
www.southwalesnappies.co.uk: can get money off if live in Monmouthshire
www.nappyneeds.co.uk: also check out their shop on ebay
I hope I've covered most things...! We re-wear all our clothes after washing why not do the same with nappies?
Summary: Cloth nappies seem complicated - but it's easier than the old terry and pins!
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