I have been advocating cloth nappies since baby Roshan was teeny weeny. The more I use them, the more I believe in them. It is a learning process and a very satisfying journey too.
For a beginner, the world of cloth nappies can seem like a minefield. And that is exactly how disposables became a successful industry. It is easy to not have to research or think twice – just buy a packet of disposable nappies that require no prep, no laundry and no maintenance (none of which is actually as tedious as it may sound).
I remember as a newbie, asking my friend Ashleigh scores of questions about the nappies as she had been using it for months. With her help and a lot of research, I finally settled for the cloth nappies I wanted and never looked back.
Here are some of my handy tips for anybody who wants to consider cloth nappying their child:
1. Try them all
There are a variety of cloth nappy brands. I would recommend picking a few popular brands and trying one or two of each before you build or buy your stash. What may suit one baby may not suit another. What your friend may find easier to deal with may not be your cup of tea.
2. Embrace secondhand nappies
The whole idea of reuseable nappies is not just to reuse it on your own child. Cloth nappies have such a long shelf life that there’s a huge second hand market for it where you can buy very expensive brands for cheap to try on before investing. I brought many a brands for second hand before naming my favourites. They tend to come very clean and very well maintained.
Nappy Libraries are also very helpful. Seek advice there. You will be amazed!
3. Always pre-wash
New or second hand, always pre-wash your nappies. New nappies often get better in terms of absorbency with multiple washes. And with second hand stuff, you want to make sure that there isn’t any debris, bacteria or dust (in case it’s been sitting in someone’s cupboards for a while).
Even though rumours abound about all-in-ones not being as efficient as the others, some of them are very good indeed. TotsBots easyfit stars are my favourite British brand – suitable for use overnight or for outings when we know we won’t be back within 2 hours. And always have some ‘all-in-‘ones handy for travel. It makes changing quicker and less bulky to carry!
5. Doesn’t have to be all or none
If you are into your disposables or are finding the idea of going all out with your cloth nappies, then don’t. We still use disposables from time time especially when camping or going for a weekend stay at a friends. So ease yourself into using cloth nappies. Maybe start with night time nappies or pop one on when at home.
6. Let the sun shine on you
The best way to dry your washed nappies is to let them dry in the sun. Sun is known to remove stains and kill harmful bacteria too. In England, sunshine seems like a joke, but the weather in England is, on the contrary, really beneficial for the nappies.
Just sunshine tends to leave the nappies very crisp and slightly rough, whereas a bit of sunshine followed by shade is perfect to keep the fabric soft.
7. Let it rain
Every now and again, it is a good idea to strip wash your nappies. I do it maybe once every couple of months, sometimes I leave them for a bit longer. In England, strip washing simply happens accidentally to be honest.
Strip washing is basically a process where you wash your nappies completely clean of any detergent residue or any general wear and tear to make sure the nappies are as good as new, and it helps improve the absorbency too.
One of the best ways to strip wash is to leave the nappies out for couple of days or more when it is raining. This should be done after the nappies have been washed once in the machine with detergent. Instead of bringing the nappies back home after they have dried, the idea is to let it get rained on for a few days.
This can be done by using washing machine too. Simply wash the nappies once with detergent and then do a few more washes without any detergent. It is just that rain is free of cost.
8. Get organised
Cloth nappying is not just about choosing and buying nappies. Make sure you have a bucket for soiled nappies, wet bags to carry soiled nappies back home when traveling, a non-bio detergent and a washing machine (basic I know)
One other essential I would recommend is an electric clothes hanger. During winter this little technology works wonders.
9. Laundry Routine
Laundry really doesn’t have to be so tedious. Make sure you have a routine though. It is very easy to get used to and if you have bigger kids, they can help too. I wash my nappies every other day (it is especially helpful if you have a small stash). And I do clothes in between. The only time I skip doing any laundry is when it has been raining and my nappies haven’t dried yet.
10. Cloth Wipes
Not only is it environmentally friendly and chemical free, it is also very practical.
Just how disposable wipes can be chucked into the bin along with disposable nappies, cloth wipes can be chucked into the cloth nappy bin after use and washed along with the nappies in the same wash.
The only time I use disposable wipes is when outdoors. So again, it doesn’t have to be all or none. A little bit of both works quite harmoniously for us.
Please let me know if you have any more tips to add in the comments below.