When we had our first baby 7 years ago I disliked the idea of using cloth nappies. I didn't want to deal with scraping the poo off, I didn't want poo through my washing machine. I thought it was all too hard and too messy. It had been sold to me by older parents, who had to cloth nappy due to disposables not being an option, how wonderful disposables were. Quick, easy, clean! How amazing!
I had seen some mothers persist for a while and then throw in cloth nappying. They had spent huge amounts on various kinds of nappies and ended up forking out for cloth and then back to using disposables in the end. This also was a turn off.
But as time went on the reality of disposable nappying sank in, it was extra money we were literally throwing in the bin, with NOTHING to show for it. We hoped to have several children 3-4, crunching the numbers for wipes/nappies over that period was phenomenal. Little did I know at that stage, my now my 7 year old is still in night nappies. The reality of how long my boys would be in nappies began to sink in.
Then one day I read a statistic which was a light bulb moment for me. If we swapped just ONE disposable nappy/day for a cloth, we would save 300kg of land fill/year. That's just ONE NAPPY! Mind = blown.
From that point on it triggered me to begin the move to cloth nappies. I say begin, because for me it did not happen over night. It was a process of trial and error. I started cloth nappies with my middle son, he was a few months old I guess? I cant remember now. I bought up on one big brand but I hated them. I wont name them as many people love them, but they didn't work for us. They leaked constantly, they took forever to dry. It really turned me off. So I sold them all second hand and re-couped most of my costs.
I then thought about what I wanted in a nappy. I wanted to support an Australian brand, I wanted a higher waisted nappy for practicalities, my boys wet high out the front. I needed a nappy that would grow with my child. I needed a nappy that the layers separated out so the sun could get to them and that would dry fast in winter. I wanted to have a nappy stash of only one brand so all the bits and pieces went together. I'm a little lazy, I didn't want to be stuck trying to play "match them up" with 500 different nappy parts. We have since been given various nappies from people finishing their cloth time but I always reach for my Bambooties. They are by far my favorite nappy out of the many I have tried.
After much research I settled the company Bambooty. The nappies are manufactured in China these days but the company is Australian, started by some Aussie Mama's. And from there my cloth nappy journey has gone from strength to strength. I have now cloth nappied two of my three children and these babies are still full of life if we decide to go for a fourth baby. ;)
I used hand-me-down Bambooty newborn sized nappies then baby was tiny. I loved them. They were more absorbent then disposables and I had far less leaks.
I still do disposable nappy the boys at night time once they start sleeping through or start wetting through the cloth. Which ever happens first. But it has been niggling at me to find a better option. I have one night time Bambooty nappy and it is more absorbent and chunkier.
As with many baby products there is a certain lingo that goes along with it. But don't be daunted, its not complicated!
MCN - Modern Cloth Nappy
Its a nappy with a layer of water proof PULL then layers of soakers. They have elasticized legs, are done up with Velcro or snaps and a great option for cloth nappies. These are the style of cloth I'm going to talk about as its what we use. There are other options of the old pre-folds with covers and terry squares and so forth which many people still love and use!
OSFM - One Size Fits Most
This nappy has lots of snaps on the outside and it folds down to very small to medium to large. Personally I was not in love with this nappy on its smallest setting but LOVED it on its medium to large setting and has been the most used nappy we own. You snap in or slide in extra soak pads depending on your child's needs. I think these are the most economical nappy. As you only have to buy your stash once and they snap to change size as your baby grows. I cannot rate these nappies highly enough. They have been amazing quality, durable, reliable, comfortable and are cute to boot as an added bonus.
This nappy folds out so the layers can dry quickly, which is a necessity lets be real!
AIO - All In One
An all in one is exactly as it sounds. Usually a sized nappy where all the padding is sewn in. These babies are easy. No folding, no bits but golly they take a LONG time to dry in winter especially. I'm talking days. I just don't have time for that. But if you are somewhere hot or your happy to have a big stash then give them a whirl.
These are pretty much as they sound. They are a PULL cover with a pocket in which you slide soak pads into. These are easy to pull apart for washing/drying and quick drying due to this feature. You can boost them with extra soak pads also. Pocket nappies are a touch more fiddly.
And now wipes. You can buy expensive specially made baby wipes but the concept of them baffle me. Instead I just stocked up on bulk white cotton flannels. I made them all white so that they are color coded. White = bum wipes. They are easy to nappy-san if I need also. Then I fill a spray bottle with water and what ever I use in babies bath, perhaps a couple of drops of lavender oil if I have some on hand and spray each wipe as I use it. I keep it all on hand at the nappy table, just like you would with anything else.
I keep a big plastic nappy bucket with a tight lid in the loo and pop the lot in there after flushing anything that needs flushing. I don't rinse the nappies, I dry pail. Every second/third day I whack them through the wash on the longest wash with a soak in there somewhere and then hang them out to try. It really does only take a few extra minutes.
Every month or so I pop my machine on a "clean" cycle. My machine has a special cycle in which it does this itself but if yours doesn't I would put it on the longest hottest cycle with a scoop of your usually washing detergent and a cup of white vinegar to give it a good soak and deep clean.
So I'm well and truly converted to the benefits of cloth nappies. To me I don't even think about it now. Its just what we do. Grant often comments how much money we save when we have to pick up a box of nappies for night time, and its true. It has saved us many thousands of dollars. Money we can spend on music lessons, and actually LIVING our life and building experiences and memories as a young family. It may seem expensive to set up for cloth nappies - but don't let it put you off. Bambooty often have huge clearance sales of their end of prints, around tax time and so forth. You can save by buying in bulk also. It saves to keep your eye open. And it is in the long run, a far cheaper option, greener option.
Here is a link Bambooty online shop
There are various second hand buy/swap/sell facebook pages especially dedicated to MCN nappies. Well worth checking out also.