All about cloth nappies

All about cloth nappies
I asked a lot before taking the now unrepentant decision to make use of cloth nappies/diapers. Here is a summary of the main concerns I have encountered. I hope this convinces you to make the decision which can help save our planet. 
 

In a nutshell

Cloth nappies aren’t a lot more work. Before I had a baby I thought it would be an ordeal to invest in cloth nappies, but that we would consider it once the baby was here. After the baby was a couple of weeks old, I knew I wanted them ASAP, primarily because the amount of landfill garbage we were taking out was huge. Here I will list some pros and cons after using them for more than a month. I must point out that I really do not feel the need to go back, and the last few disposable nappies that I had are still there, unused. 
 

PROS

✅ Saving the environment. A baby uses around 2,500 nappies in the first year of life. That’s a lot of nappy waste saved.
✅ Reusable from birth up to potty training, thus saving tons of money.
✅ Gentle on baby skin without nasty chemicals that come with disposable nappies.
✅ Fun to wear and you don’t need over pants to hide them. In hot weather, the baby looks dressed up in just the nappy.
✅ Can be reused by other children (button nappies last much longer than velcro ones).
✅ Childcare centres are just as happy to change reusable nappies as disposable ones – I’ve asked.

CONS

🚧 You have some extra work but it’s still very doable. Mainly, you would need to do the laundry an extra couple of times a week (with 18 nappies).
🚧 They are bulkier than disposable nappies and I’ve found my baby to be more comfortable if trousers are a size bigger than for her age.
🚧 You have to fork out an initial investment of about €250 but after that, costs are minimal, and ultimately you save much more in the long term. You can start with fewer nappies so that you don’t spend a lot at first. You can even start with one or two nappies to see how it goes.

 

Type of nappies

There are four types of nappies and since we’ve chosen pocket nappies, I’ll focus more on those.

Pocket Nappies

We decided that pocket nappies work best for us for the following reasons:

  • The nappy inserts (that absorb pee) can be dried separately and the outer waterproof shell can be saved from long exposure in the sun or avoid going into the tumble dryer.
  • You can add additional inserts during the night to prevent leakages. Most nappies come with two inserts but supplementing it with an additional one, for example, a hemp insert will make sure that everything is contained. 
  • The pocket feels like a secure place for the inserts and they are less likely to move or slide to one side.

Other types of nappies

  • All in one – Inserts are attached to the outer shell thus they have to be washed and dried collectively.
  • All in two – Similar to the pocket nappies but with no pocket, the inserts are placed on top of the outer shell. I felt that these might be less secure than the pocket nappy.
  • Wraps – Similar to the traditional cloth nappy with an outer waterproof shell.

Caring for cloth nappies

I’ve tried different things, and probably every carer will do the same to see what works best for them. Here are some options I’ve tried while I’m always experimenting and learning from other parents. 

Washing

  • I store dirty nappies in a dedicated laundry bin with a lid so that the smell is contained. I’m sure the bin is familiar to people in Malta since it was made available to all households to help in separating waste.
  • Soiled nappies need to be first sluiced or rinsed and should never be placed in the laundry basket with poop in them. Baby’s liquid poop can be washed away under some water. Solid poop can be sluiced in the WC with a dedicated scrub brush. You can avoid this step if you use disposable nappy liners, which will contain the poop and then need to be thrown away. 

 

  • I dress the laundry bucket with a laundry mesh bag so that the nappies can be thrown all at once in the washing machine. I find it’s best when this mesh bag is emptied or left open so that nappies can come out of it and get washed thoroughly when in the washing machine. 
  • It is important not to leave nappy laundry idle for longer than 3 days so that nappies don’t dry up, resulting in a persistent smell of ammonia.
  • Different nappies might have different washing temperature requirements. My nappies have a 30°C indication but I sometimes wash them at a higher temperature for a better clean. 
  • The best washing machine cycle seems to be one which has a pre-wash and a rinse cycle at the end. If you have few nappies and would like to wash them with other clothes, such as towels, first give them a short cold rinse cycle on their own.
  • With 18 nappies, I wash once I have 3 or 4 diapers left which is enough time for the laundry to dry up.
  • Use normal non-bio baby detergent without fabric softener.

 

Drying

  • I’ve found that the easiest way to dry them is by placing them on a clothes horse that is taken outside in the sun. This allows you to quickly bring them inside, in case it rains.
  • The outer shell is hanged inside out and secured with the button. This protects the waterproof layer from the sun.
  • In case of wet weather, the inserts can be dried in a tumble dryer however I’ve found they also easily dry inside overnight on a clothes horse in an aired room. The outer shell almost comes out dry so it will quickly dry even inside.
  • The sun helps remove any remaining stains left on the nappies.

How does it work?

  • Once nappies are clean, prepare them where you use them. You can prepare them with the inserts inserted or otherwise insert the inserts before each nappy change.

  • If using a liner to catch the solids, you can also prepare it inside the nappy.
  • The buttons that adjust the height of the nappy only need to be done once and do not open during washing.

Baby changing

  1. Remove the dirty nappy from the baby just as you would with a disposable nappy. If you are using a disposable liner, throw it away.
  2. Clean baby and put on a clean nappy. The only difference is to secure with pop buttons.
  3. Place dirty nappy in the dedicated laundry bin or a waterproof bag if you are outside the home.

Where to buy

While Amazon has countless options (we were gifted this brand) we really like the local Maltese supplier Ikkuluriti and their eco products. This shop also hosts frequent online workshops where you can learn more about cloth nappies.

You can get 10% off your order at Ikkuluriti by using coupon code rodytenpercent on checkout.

 

Final suggestions

  • If you’re still unsure about cloth nappies, start small. I started with one nappy and disposable liners and washed this nappy with the other baby clothes.
  • Ask relatives to buy them as a baby present. The closest people around you will be happy to purchase a gift that will be used so much. They are also great baby shower gifts!
Comment below if you have questions or have found other methods to work better for you. I’d love to hear from you! 
 



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