Aside from the cute prints, environment and potential savings using cloth nappies, there is a lot you need to know before you start your reusable nappy journey. I’m a complete cloth nappy convert with two in fluff. And I still say it to this day that I wish I had researched everything a little more or got some expert advice before taking the plunge. I’m no pro but I thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt about cloth over the past couple of years.
There’s a cloth nappy slang. Clothian if you like. If you’re a newbie in a cloth nappy group you may be overwhelmed by all the abbreviations. Here’s some of the most commonly used acronyms and words to describe cloth:
BTP – Birth to potty
PUL – Polyurethane Laminate, the waterproof part of the nappy
FS – For sale
FSOT – For sale or trade
GUC – Good used condition
EUC – Excellent used condition.
Inserts are what you stuff a pocket nappy with, they can be hemp, microfiber, cotton or bamboo. They can also be called a booster or doubler.
Different types of nappies:
AIO – All in ones are the next best thing to a disposable. This nappy consists of a waterproof outer layer, an absorbent soaker, and an inner layer. It fastens with snaps or velcro and has elastic around the legs and waist.
AI2 – All in two’s have an outer waterproof shell (like a nappy cover) and an insert that gets put into the shell and lies directly against your baby’s skin. Some inserts attach with snaps or velcro, and some get tucked under flaps in the cover.
A hybrid nappy is very similar to an AI2 nappy, it has two parts making up the whole. A hybrid diaper’s insert can be either cloth or disposable.
A pocket cloth nappy consists of a waterproof cover that has a stay-dry lining that acts as a pocket between the lining and the cover. This allows you add an absorbent insert or prefold into the pockets between the two layers.
Prefolds are rectangular in shape and made of several layers of ordinary cotton sewn into three panels – with the central panel having most layers. They can be folded in different ways and are also great to stuff pocket nappies with.
Fitted are nappies that consist of multiple layers of absorbent material. They have elastic along the leg and back and fasten on baby with snaps or velcro hook and loop closures. Fitted nappies do not have a waterproof outer layer, and require some kind of waterproof cover be used.
Tips for anyone new to cloth:
Do not use fabric conditions, it prevents proper absorption and coats the fibres.
Do not use bleach, bicarbonate of soda or vinegar as they can damage the PUL and elastic in your cloth nappies over time.
Natural sunlight will become your best friend. Not only is line drying going to save on energy bills the sun will help erase any stubborn stains.
A number of nappies for full time use varies, I now have 40 nappies (bear in mind I got 50% of these through the blog and have two in cloth) and I’m happy enough to wash them every 2-3 but you could easily get away with 15-20 with one in cloth. I did it for about eight months until I became a cloth nappy addict.
Not all nappy rash creams are safe to use with cloth nappies and can cause the fibres to repel. Coconut oil, mammy milk, and Weleda seem to be the most popular for treating nappy rash amongst the cloth community. A little nappy free time is always best in my opinion, easier when they’re not actively running around your home, though.I’m currently using Peachy Baby soothing nappy cream.
Always pre-wash your new nappies a few times before use so they reach full absorbency and follow manufactures instructions.
You will need a nappy bucket to store your cloth nappies, it will keep the smell at bay until wash day. I just use a plastic bin with a lid under my sink that I got in Dunnes, it’s nothing special.
A wet bag is a must for when you are out and about. You could just get a waterproof beach bag from Penneys/Primark for a couple of euro’s, they do the trick here.
Reasons for leaks:
- Nappy isn’t absorbent enough yet.
- It hasn’t been applied properly.
- Baby may be a heavy wetter.
- Compression leaks.
You can always add an extra booster or change babies nappy more often. Cloth nappies tend to be bulkier than a sposie so I found going up a vest size helped us with compression leaks and I invested a whole 66 cents on vest extenders on AliExpress to help prevent this problem too. Also the more you wash your cloth nappies the more absorbent they will get.
Nappy liners aren’t necessary but they are great for catching poop and helping prevent staining. Not all liners are flushable so always read the instructions.
Cloth nappies hold there value. You can buy and sell your cloth in Pre Loved Cloth Nappies (Ireland) FSOT and Irish Cloth Nappies All Sorts FSOT on Facebook.
If you’re unsure what nappies to buy get onto the Cloth Nappy Library Ireland. You can get a nappy trial or newborn loan kit and try out all the different brands and find whats suits your baby before you build your stash.
Putting on cloth nappies is a little different to a disposable one. If you’re a complete novice this video on how to apply a cloth nappy is invaluable.
Two of my favourite places to buy cloth is on Mummy Hub and Fluffy Bums, two Irish companies run by mums. And my favourite nappies ever are baba+boo. They would be my night nappies, I’ve yet to have a leak on either child in them and their prints are to die for. Oh and keep an eye out during the Aldi Baby events, they do have exclusive Bambino Mio all in ones every few months, a great nappy especially for daddy and childminders.
Never be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of groups, forums, blogs and experts out there who are willing to advise and answer all your questions. Join some cloth nappy groups on Facebook. You will find a wealth of knowledge in the Cloth Nappy Chat Group (Ireland). Most probably one of my favourite groups on Facebook, everyone is so friendly and happy to help.
And finally, I’m no expert, I just love cloth nappies. I remember thinking back even when I told joe about cloth, they all thought I was lo-la but now it’s just our way of life. We’ve stopped hundreds of nappies going to landfill, saved more than a few hundred on nappies and their bums look super adorable.