5 Things | Switching To Cloth Nappies

Summer 2018

Cloth Nappies were never something I was interested in - my mum (my greatest source of parenting inspo) hadn't done it, I had never met another parent in real life who had even expressed an interest in wanting to give it a go and in total honesty, I had no real reason to hate disposables as luckily, we'd never leaked, never had a reaction to them and never been so strapped for cash that buying them was a struggle. That was until someone online pointed out that every single disposable nappy that has ever been used is still on this planet somewhere and it made me feel a bit sick. I am aware of the environmental impact some of my decisions have, especially with so much attention on single-use plastics in the media recently, but this was one area where I had totally buried my head in the sand.

So, we made the switch to cloth! Now we are comfortably in the swing of things, I thought it may be helpful to share the info I now have incase anyone else who had toyed with the idea of making the change needed the confidence to give it a go! I am by no means an expert and still learning new bits and pieces all the time but I guess I want to reassure people it's probably easier than you think and I wish I had found a 'dummies guide' before the kids were born

Here are 5 things about Switching To Cloth Nappies:

1. Where To Start
I found the whole thing very overwhelming to begin with as there is so much choice. There are lots of nappy libraries out there for you to trial all the different types (2 parters, All In Ones, velcro or poppers?, what material liners, more brands than I can care to mention) but I am lazy and instead sat on the sidelines of facebook groups and read as much info and opinions as possible until I felt I had enough to make a start. So much is reliant on personal preference, size and shape of your baby and of course their weeing habits, you're not really going to know what works for you until you give it a whirl.

Again, out of sheer laziness, I wanted to trial AIO's (all in ones) first as they seemed like less faff because it was all made up for me. We went with the Totsbots Easyfit Stars purely because they were the patterns I liked the best and reviews were fantastic (I watched this video here and also had more personal thumbs up from ladies on instagram).

2. Money
Switching seems very expensive to begin with and I can see how this can put people off, especially as it can be quite a costly mistake if you end up with a brand of nappy that just doesn't work for you. Just one nappy is within the £15-£20 region which, when you think of how long you can live in disposables for on that amount of money, is enough to make you shudder. However, if you are using them from birth to around 2-3, the amount you will actually save is astronomical and even more so if you go on to use the nappies for subsequent children.

In my own very personal opinion, I didn't want to buy second hand from a stranger but buying pre-loved nappies is the best way to keep initial costs down. Instead, we decided to switch gradually by buying a couple at a time and increased our stash as I got more confident with the whole process. My first few nappies were bought on Real Nappy Week which was a big reason as to why we started when we did but you can buy discounted trial packs at Totsbots all year round.

Our council (Hertfordshire) also offer a cash back incentive for anyone with a child under 2 which was also a huge factor in us taking the plunge to switch. I was given a refund of £50 on our nappy purchases but they do also offer a free starter kit instead which a friend has now taken up (which came with Close Pop-Ins and Totsbots nappies). It is certainly worth checking if your council offers a similar scheme and if they don't, asking them to start one!

Inside an Easyfit Star

3. What We Use
Totsbots Easyfit Stars
So as mentioned before, the first nappies I started collecting were Totsbots Easyfit stars which are all-in-one nappies and we get on with them brilliantly. The soaking-up part is all sewn into the nappy so you literally just put it on as you would a disposable - it is that simple. We got on with these easily, have never had a leak and they were slimline enough that we didn't need to size up on leggings so I chose to just grow this collection. We use biodegradable liners when he's due a poo (he's quite easy to predict thank goodness) which makes it easier to tip into the toilet and prevents staining and we've never needed to boost these and they last 3 hours atleast. About 2 months in, we had enough Stars to pretty much cloth full time during the day but I was still leaning on disposables at night time and if we were staying away from home the entire day/overnight.

Totsbots Bamboozles*
Whilst I was looking into my next purchase, we were amazingly contacted by Totsbots to review their bamboozle nappies. I had already purchased one of these myself but had not been brave enough to give it a go so the timing could not have been more perfect. From my aforementioned Facebook group stalking, I quickly realised Bamboozles are the go-to nighttime nappy for most cloth-bummers due to their ability to withstand the whole night. These are the softest and most absorbent nappies in the world - hands down. They come with a booster already poppered inside and require a waterproof cover layer (a Peenut Wrap) to hold it all in so you pop them on like you've put on two nappies so quite bulky (personally, too bulky for day time and I'd size up on pyjamas). We also use a fleece liner which allows wee to go into the core of the nappy and yet keeps Ted's bottom dry over the long spell. He still feeds overnight but these last the 12 hour stretch which is amazing.

Customer feedback had been that they loved the bamboozle prints so much it was a shame to cover them up with the Peenut Wrap (Totsbots waterproof cover) so this brand new collection comes with matching covers and boosters and they are cuteee - I can't decide on my favourite but I'm pretty sure Ted's is the 'ducky'.

Totsbots Peenuts*
The best things about the Peenut wraps is they can be worn during the day too by poppering in a bamboo core that suits your baby (small, big, or both for maximum absorbency). These are much better value for money as you can just replace the pad inside the wrap instead of the whole nappy at change time if it's not soaked through so you don't require as many. They are also wonderfully slim-line and dry much faster than the easyfits.

Bamboozle nappy with booster

Matching Peenut Wrap (L) and Bamboozle (R)

Matching Peenut Pad (L) and inside Peenut Wrap (R)

Peenut Pad inside Peenut Wrap

4. Washing Routine
This was, by far, the thing that scared me the most about the switch - there seem to be an awful lot of do's and don'ts when it comes to washing nappies and of course there is a lot of conflicting advice circulating around the internet. I based my routine on the Totsbots care page here, this guide from Babi Pur here, and this guide from The Nappy Lady here. Surpisingly, I've not noticed a drastic increase in the washes we are doing, just adding in the extra rinse cycle really and once you get into a routine with it, it certainly doesn't feel like any extra effort

This is our current routine but I will always welcome advice if there is something we could be doing better!

1. We store nappies in a tub in ensuite bathroom. Due to us having a small amount of resuable nappies compared to some, we have to wash (at minimum) every other day for now. As our stash grows, we will have enough to keep us going longer between washes

2. With only nappies, in the machine I use a rinse cycle with 'no' temperature (this is the symbol on my machine) and no detergent.

3. Again, due to the small amount of nappies I am washing at a time at the moment (3-5), I add stuff to bulk the washing machine up to 2/3's full. I use towels, flannels, the kids bedsheets - anything that could do with a nice, long wash and in a family of 4, it's not been difficult. I add Ariel non-bio powder and a scoop of Totsbots antibac potion directly to the drum and wash on a cottons wash at 40oC with an extra rinse at the end

4. We are in a shared garden so if we're in, I dry our nappies on a rack outside but if we're out for the day, I hang them up in the window to get all that glorious UV. Occasionally, if I've been short on time, I have left the easyfits in the airing cupboard overnight but they don't dry as nicely.

Any questions please ask!

5. Saving The Planet
So much pressure is put on us to make sure we're doing enough for our planet but actually I believe we are entitled to at least try and every little bit we do does help. Even just giving one reusable a go will save a nappy going to landfill and  If each person that read this blog did only that, it would all add up pretty quickly and do you know what? I feel good for playing even just that small part. My next mission is to swap to reusable wipes and when mother nature returns, to also use reusable pads as these all require the same wash routine as the nappies. Speaking of washing, if there is any doubt about 'extra' water usage, you're always welcome to give this a little read - https://www.sacnu.com/water-saving x