Oh, I love cloth nappies, so much! I am such an advocate for them and I think people have picked up on this because I have had so many people ask me various questions about them lately, so I thought this would be a good topic to relaunch the blog with. They are just so easy to use these days. In fact I think they were always easy to use, maybe people just got a bit daunted by all the folding of the old terry flats, and this gave the impression that they were difficult & time consuming – but guess what? NO MORE FOLDING. So here is a post covering all the questions I have received via email, PM’s & messages on the Julilah facebook wall.
|My clothesline on a sunny day!
What are cloth nappies made of?
The absorbent core of cloth nappies is generally now either Bamboo or Hemp. There are still quite a few nappies that use cotton as their absorbent core but I tend to think Bamboo is the most popular. Bamboo is a gazillion times better than cotton, not only in nappy use but also environmentally. I will write a post on how much I love Bamboo one day, but for now let me just highlight these points. Bamboo takes 4 times less water to grow than cotton, this is because it holds the water and uses it as it needs… translate that into fabric and the same thing applies. Bamboo will hold 4 times MORE liquid than cotton when used as an absorbent core. So as a crop not only does it not use as much of the worlds most precious resource but it also is grown without the use of pesticides, the crop can be intermingled with other vegetation and it grows quicker than cotton. As a yarn Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and is breathable and oh so very soft!
What is your favourite brand of cloth nappy and which do you use?
Okay, let me just preface this answer with (like a good pair of jeans for a woman) different brands work better for different body shapes. I am pretty firm in my opinions about what ones work for me, but my children are long legged and slim compared to the average baby. Some cloth users have quite a few different brands and are happy with them all, and others (like me) just experiment and find the ones they like and then buy up on just one or two brands.
Prefolds: I just LOVE prefolds. They are easy and last and last and last. The prefolds I have are cotton and sewn in China. I got them when my first child was a newborn and I wasn’t really educated about cotton not being quite as absorbent and wasn’t as aware about factory conditions in China. It’s for this reason that I am not even going to mention the brand of the ones I use because I don’t really want to advocate for them, but I will link to the ones I would get now IF I was starting my stash again. HAVING SAID THAT, we have a good stash of prefolds. They are more like the old fashioned cloth nappies but a lot easier to use (don’t need all the folding) and even the cotton ones are A LOT more absorbent than the cotton terry flats that our parents/grandparents would have used.
The are used with waterproof PUL covers or wool soakers (or even the old school pilchers). They are great for around the house because they wash and dry so quickly.
|Booroi Prefold Nappies & Covers
|Julilah Wool Soakers
If I didn’t already have a stash of prefolds I would be buying these
ones from Booroi and the covers
that go with them. OR if you love them (which I do of course) buy these
handmade wool soakers from Julilah.
To find Booroi on Facebook go here
AI2 (All-In-2s or Covers with Snap in Boosters): My absolute favourite cloth nappies are AI2s OSFM (One Size Fits Most) WeePantz Nappies.
Now I have tracked WeePantz pretty much since the business started because (and this can be taken as a disclaimer) they are made by a good friend of mine who is a WAHM in Victoria. But this is the honest truth, I have tried quite a few brands of cloth nappies for day times and these
are by far the best on my son.
The OSFM snap up the front so you can have the rise and the leg size reduced with just a few snaps and therefore can be worn at all ages. The boosters are mega ample with 4 layers of bamboo, and they are much larger than the boosters that come with most cloth nappies. They also have a top layer of microfleece which draws the liquid away from the skin, which means much less chance of nappy rash. And the fact that the boosters are sewn together while still being able to split open for drying is a genius idea.
To find WeePantz on Facebook go here
For Night times I use IssyBears – Their Everybears OSFM
are great for nights with the extra night time booster. They have snaps at the front to alter the rise as well like the WeePantz so they are also OSFM. And the covers for these (when used without the boosters) can also be used as swim nappies (although best not to put them in chlorine pools – strictly for beach use!). They are pocket nappies which means the cover opens up at the front and you put your absorbent layers inside the covers. The absorbent layers are all sewn together so you have one massive day booster and then an additional bulky night booster. This makes the nappy quite bulky (but let’s face it, night nappies ARE going to be bulky). Also, because the boosters are one big wad of fabric, the drying time is quite long. Now also, for these I have to use my own microfleece liners, because if I don’t I find my son gets quite bad nappy rash after a few nights. I am not sure why (maybe his wee is just really toxic or something) but it only happens with these nappies… But by using the liners I have found a way to avoid it and the nappies are REALLY good so I keep using them.
Their every day nights are brilliant. They are a pocket nappy like the IssyBears but they have 4 individual layers which can be folded together (in whatever order you like really – I put the microfleece closest to the skin) and put them inside the shell. Because of this, they have a normal drying time, rather than all the absorbent layers being sewn together.
To find Bear Bottoms on Facebook go here
How many cloth nappies do you have?
I have about 18 prefolds, 6 covers/soakers, 8 WeePantz AI2s, 5 IssyBear and 1 Bear Bottom. I also have made about 10 microfleece liners and about 5 double layered bamboo “boosters”, which I use if I know I’m going to need a bit of extra absorbency in my cotton prefolds (like on a really hot day when my kid decides he has the thirst of an elephant!).
How do you look after your nappies?
Everyone cares for their cloth nappies slightly differently, but the general consensus is that you should put any solid waste in the toilet (did you know you are actually required to do this with disposables as well???), and then chuck the nappy in a dry nappy bucket (THAT’S RIGHT, NO SOAKING IN YUCKY NAPPISAN). Then when you have enough for a load, put them in the washer with only a half amount of laundry wash (an environmentally friendly one, because they have less nasties, and you need something without a softener in it). To dry hang everything on the line. If you are opposed to the energy it takes to hang clothes on the line, use your drier, but make sure the waterproof covers are put on the cold air cycle or they are hung out and the rest put in the drier.
But seeing as everyone is different, here are the top tips for washing/care from my cloth mumma lovin’ besties:
Terri says: Don’t soak. Don’t bleach. Use only a small amount of phosphate free powder. Use cold water. Rinse and spin cycle first. Dry pail. Don’t use the dryer if you can help it, and if you do, use only for the inserts. Don’t use fabric softeners. Dry in the sun on a clothes airer, that way you can bring them all in at once if it looks like rain.
Louise says: do a canesten was every now again and then just water washes (no detergent). oh and for panadol stains use velvet soap. coconut oil is best for bots and mcn safe 🙂 [Julilah note: Coconut oil can be used in place of some nappy rash creams]
Meghan says: Be careful not to use certain nappy rash creams/powders. [Julilah note: this is because some creams can tend to clog up the nappy and make it less absorbent].
Kate says: Wash in bicarb and avoid detergent build up. If using washing powder strip wash with dish detergent to remove build up.Use sun to remove nappy stains. Oh and dry pail.
Claire says: use the octopus hangers from ikea!!! 🙂 and make your own polar/micro fleece liners.
Well! Wasn’t THAT a mammoth cloth lovin’ blog! But I have had so many questions about cloth nappies over the last month it was definitely a conversation we needed to have. I hope it was helpful and interesting for you, and if you have any more questions, please feel free to leave a comment (either here or on facebook) and I will track down an answer for you!