Even before I was pregnant with Oskar we knew we would want to try reusable nappies on our baby.
They are better for the environment, cheaper for you and are so blinking adorable! To two people who care passionately about the world around them and try to live as eco-friendly as possible, it seemed like a no brainer. But then when I got pregnant and we started to venture more in to the world of cloth nappies, it was like stepping in to a minefield - so many different brands, systems, parts, it was like a whole new world. So with this in mind, and the fact that every time I post a picture of Oskar on social media I am asked questions about where to begin with cloth nappies, I thought I would write it all down in to a post!
So firstly, why cloth?
There are two parts to this - cost, and environment. Cloth nappies have a large outlay, usually in the region of £100-200 but then quickly the benefits are seen. It costs less to wash reusable nappies over the years that a baby wears then than it does to keep buying disposables. On the odd occasion we have bought disposables we have gone for a brand which report to use no chemicals, and have a kinder impact on the environment. They retail for around £10 for 52 nappies, which would last Oskar around a week. So if we plan for potty training to occur around the 156 week mark (3 years) then we could've easily spent £1560 on nappies alone. Cloth nappies cost around £15 each and we currently have about 24 nappies in use. At £15 each that would be £360. Of course then you have to factor in the cost of washing too, but research says even with the cost of water, electricity and washing detergent, reusable nappies still come in significantly cheaper.
Second of all, it's the environmental impact which really spoke to us. Less water used even when all the washing is taken in to account, less plastic, no chemicals next your babies skin, and less going to landfill. "Biodegradable nappies" are a bit of a myth, there is yet to be any proven nappies that actually biodegrade, despite packaging claiming otherwise.
They are also better on your baby's skin, and look adorable!
What type do you go for?
There are so many options! Birth to potty, pockets, two parters, wraps, inserts, boosters...The list goes on. We wanted something that goes on easily like a disposable nappy, something that we didn't need to take ages folding or stuffing, something easy to wash and that we didn't keep needing to replace as he grows. Therefore, we went for birth to potty nappies, so called because they should last until your child no longer needs nappies. There are many brands who offer these nappies but our favourite are Totsbots, Close and Milovia.
How do you wash and dry them?
We use Totsbots 'Potion' a washing detergent designed specifically for nappies which also means we can wash nappies at 30degrees. It smells amazing, like Lush's Snow Fairy Shower Gel. Dirty nappies are stored in a large Planet Wise wetbag, which is double layered so all smells are kept inside, and then the whole thing goes in to the wash every 2-3 days.
To dry the nappies we simply put them in the airing cupboard or over the radiators, and if we wash nappies last thing at night, generally by morning they are ready to go again.
How do you deal with the smell? And the poo?!
Isn't dealing with poo part of being a parent?! In our experience it's no worse in a cloth bum than it is in a disposable. Generally before putting a cloth nappy on you place a liner in it which catches any poo, and means it can simply be dropped from the the liner in to the toilet and be flushed away. And if you drop the dirty nappy, minus liner, in to the wetbag, then there are no lingering smells either.
How many do you need?
Our advice to anyone wanting to try reusable nappies is to start small and go from there. Full time cloth users have around 15-20 nappies. But it doesn't have to be one or the other, many people use a combination of both, some people use cloth at home but not when out and about, some people start off small and then go on to cloth full time. In our minds, every time you reach for a cloth nappy then that is one less nappy going to landfill, so buy a couple and see how you get on. Supermarkets are beginning to sell some cloth nappies, and they are available online from gorgeous sites like Babipur too, it doesn't need to be an expensive choice to make if you aren't sure. Like most people though, once you realise how awesome cloth nappies are and you start looking more in to it, then you get a little carried away with the gorgeous prints, and then it's not quite such a money saving scheme after all!
What about clothes? Do they still fit?
The answer to this is yes and no. Some brands, like H&M, Frugi, Maxomorra and other Scandi brands are cut for cloth bums, so it's simple. You can buy vest extenders to make normal sized vests a little longer in the bum area, although we have never needed to, and a lot of people buy a size up in trousers and roll the legs up, although we've never needed to do that either. Generally Oskar's clothes fit nicely over his squishy cloth bum, but if we really want him to wear something that just won't fit, we put him in a disposable for that day, it's no big deal.
So that's that, a brief venture in to our world of cloth bums. You will find that everyone does it slightly differently, everyone has their own washing routine, their own way of storing nappies, their own favourites. But all of the products mentioned above, are available at Babipur. If you would like to step foot in to the world of cloth nappies then go to Babipur and use the discount code 'Buddy' to get 10% off any order. Give cloth a go, you may be very pleasantly surprised!