🌟 Like all parts of our lives, there are always tales to tell about our journeys 🌟
Like the day my partner was almost attacked by a coyote just outside of Yellowstone National Park while taking dark sky pictures. He snuck up on us real good that coyote!
I was particularly interested this week to read on a cloth nappy social media group about people's experiences with the world of cloth nappies and "what they wished they had known before starting".
It made me reflect on my cloth nappy journey (which is still going thanks to my 16mo), what I could reflect on but also how different my journey has been from other people's.
These are the most common comments that people were making about their own journeys:
1. It's easier than you think it is.
And I totally agree with this! 🤲
I had doubts whether I was going to be able to cloth full time while working full time and with a partner not especially keen on "dealing with the poos". And sure, it does take making a new habit to clean up the nappies before washing, doing your prewash and then the main wash a couple days later. But you are doing more washing due to having a baby regardless of doing cloth nappies or not.
My partner has come around to it since then as he's realised how much better it has been for our wallet 💰 and the environment 🌍!
And to be fair, I'm pretty sure NO ONE says they like to deal with the poos!
Tip#1: you only need to remove poo from nappies once babies start eating solids - I didn't know this back then and that would have saved me heaps of nappy rinsing!
Tip#2: you don't need to soak nappies. It's actually bad for the PUL, is extra work that is not necessary as our modern washing machines and detergents do the work.
2. Beware of the fabrics used in the inserts supplied with MCNs.
Definitely agree with these ladies. But luckily, I didn't find out the hard way.
My original nappy stash of Real Nappies was gifted to me by my bestie Siobhan and so all I was using was Real Nappies cotton prefolds. It's not until later than I learned about microfibre.
Tip#3: check before buying nappies what the inserts are made of. You might be keen on a cheap nappy but it will generally come with cheap inserts which will most likely be microfibre or a microfibre blend. This will be ok for a few months but as baby grows, they will outwet the microfibre soon, there will be nappy leaks, frustration for the parents and you will be left with having to buy better inserts and/or nappies.
Checkout this page about cloth nappy fabrics for what to look for: Cloth Nappy Fabrics
I thought this comment was a good summary:
Real Nappies prefolds are made of 100% cotton because it is a very absorbent fibre, is pretty quick at absorbing, quick drying, feels cool and is very durable to withstand the numerous wash cycles. Have a look at Real Nappies prefolds HERE.
3. There are many types of Modern Cloth Nappies (MCNs)
For some info about the different types, have a read of this page on the website: Types of Cloth Nappies.
Because my stash was gifted to me, I didn't really need to buy other cloth nappies as Real Nappies have worked fine for me for both my kids. There are plenty of testimonials on the website that other people have had the same success.
So learning about other types of cloth nappies has been an interesting journey with my daughter Eve, she is my nappy testing baby! 👶
I have had failures with other brands that are said to be the best by other people and definitely cost more than Real Nappies. I also have had successes with other brands but there are things I don't like about them like stuffing pocket nappies with their inserts (and I don't have big hands!), this gal doesn't have time or the patience for that!
I often see polls on Facebook about "What's your favourite cloth nappy brand" and then the same day the same person makes a poll about "What is your least favourite cloth nappy brand".
And the top 3 or 4 are the same in both polls!
It's happened so many times now. 🌈
It really shows that the types of cloth nappies that will work for you definitely depend on your personal preference, family situation, washing/drying conditions, budget etc.
That is why on the landing page of the Real Nappies, I have a list of features to help you determine if Real Nappies tick your boxes.
Have a look HERE.
Tip#4: look at the nappies you think you like. Don't look at the colours or the patterns. But at the type of nappy, the nappy fabrics and how they are constructed. See if you can have a look at them in person at a Baby Expo or market and talk to the retailer so they can answer any questions you might have. From that you can already narrow down to what type of nappy you might want to try.
Tip#5: buy a couple of nappies secondhand to trial with but look for good condition nappies (slack elastics are a no no so ask for close up pictures if needed). Buying new nappies will be a safer investment if you are planning to use your nappies for more than 1 child and also you will not know how secondhand nappies have been treated and washed in the past, so they could fail before you finish using them or might not last for a 2nd child.
4. Nappy fit and absorbency is important and Real Nappies make it easy.
That is one thing that surprises me, the endless questions about fitting OSFM nappies right and if people are getting leaks because they are not fitting properly, and people asking for help all the time for that.
It is something I have not experienced with Real Nappies 💪
The sized nappy system eliminates that guesswork of fitting the nappy as the 4 sizes from newborn through to infant, crawler and toddler already takes care of that for you. The elastics around the waist and the legs allow for different shapes and sizes of babies: babies of same weights can vary a lot in shapes and sizes!
The prefold's absorbency concurrently increases with the nappy size because as your baby grows, their output increases.
Real Nappies also have a generous gusset, this part of the nappy:
This allows for a little bit of extra room to add a booster pad if it is needed. A booster is an additional insert that can be put in the nappy to increase the absorbency and contain a larger volume of urine (example for heavier wetters or for the nappy to be used overnight). The Real Nappies Booster Pads are great for this, as they have 14 layers of cotton fabrics sewn together into a pad.
That is the beauty of a true All-In-2 (AI2) nappy: you can customise your absorbency a lot more, put whatever you want inside the cover and change as you grow in knowledge on your nappy journey 👪
Tip#6: it is important to have a good seal around the legs to prevent leaks. However, if there is plenty of absorbency inside the nappy, a less-than-ideal leg seal is not going to cause major problems as long as the urine is absorbed by the insert before it reaches the edges of the nappy. If the amount of absorbency is "only just" what is needed, then it is more likely a nappy will leak without a good seal.
Tip#7: if you think you are coming to the limit of having a good seal for the absorbency you need for baby (example at nighttime when you might have added extra boosting to last the night), then just start using the next size up Snug Wrap nappy cover with the amount of absorbency you need inside that is right for your baby.
4. Doing cloth nappies part-time is totally fine.
There is a misunderstanding that doing cloth nappies is an all or nothing process. But actually, it isn't at all!
Tip#8: just start. Whether you have 1 nappy, enough for a whole day or enough for a whole week. Just start and give it a go.
If you are worried about hurting your baby if you don't put on the nappies properly or washing your nappies perfectly yet or damaging your nappies: you will not hurt your baby, you will not damage your nappies irreparably! The worst that can happen is the nappy leaking (which will be very disappointing for you and is definitely not normal but is something that can be improved and fixed next time). Nappy damage or nappy rash starts after a longer period of time of not washing nappies properly so a few times here and there will not be the end of all. But it is definitely important to get a good wash routine in place 🧺
5. Real Nappies and the cloth nappy community is here to help when needed.
You are not alone in your cloth nappy journey.
I was doing what I thought was right when I started and after a while some things didn't feel quite right with my wash routine, especially after we started feeding my daughter solid food. I was getting the odd stain and smells and I thought "how can I improve this? It doesn't feel right to be having stains means something is not clean".
I made the mistake of not looking at the Real Nappies website to check my wash settings or see what I should be doing.
Tip#9: check the nappy manufacturer's website for washing instructions. If they are serious about their business, they will have a good run-down of how to do it so that you look after your baby's health and keep the nappies lasting as long as possible with normal wear and tear.
Instead of looking at the Real Nappies website, I asked Google and got all sorts of strange answers about vinegar and soaking and scrubbing. Then I found some more scientific cloth nappy information websites like Clean Cloth Nappies and cloth nappy community groups on Facebook which helped me get back on track.
But as Gina says from her experience, it can get quite overwhelming if you haven't started using cloth nappies and you read all this info. And if you are pregnant, hormones are playing up with you, you are still working and trying to figure this all out, as well as looking after yourself and preparing to welcome a new human into the world. It really is information-overload out there!
Because I had already been using Real Nappies, I could sift through the advice to what was applicable or not, and over-the-top or not 😄
Tip#10: I have been putting loads of tips and resources on the Real Nappies website that is easy to digest in bite-size pieces of information. Have a look at the BLOG section of the website for all this helpful information.
It has been fun reflecting on my cloth nappy journey and I hope that I can help you on yours!
For the sake of your wallet, the health of your baby and the future of our planet!