Diaries Magazine

Cloth Nappies 101: Are Cloth Nappies for Me?

By Sjay235 @naturalmommainm
Something I hear, and see online a lot, is "I don't really think cloth nappies are for me". A lot of people are interested in why I use cloth, so I thought I'd have a few blog posts centred round cloth nappies, my reasons for using them, and how we get on.
I'm no expert in cloth nappies, but since Isabelle arrived I've learnt a lot, and I've spent far too much time researching cloth as well. That, combined with the expertise of the lovely ladies from Cloth Nappy Library NI, has given me a good base of knowledge to share with people who are wondering if cloth might be for them, or are just curious to know what drives a seemingly sane person to want to wash poo in her washing machine! At the end of the day, I really don't think cloth nappies are for everyone, and everyone needs to do what they are comfortable with, and what makes their life easiest.
Cloth nappies 101: Are cloth nappies for me?Really, I got into cloth nappies just by reading about other mums using them online. I didn't know anyone in real life who used them, apart from the older generation, so I was pretty surprised to see just how many mums were using cloth nappies. It made me think "huh, maybe this isn't so hard, maybe it is something we could do." I read dozens of posts where people asked questions about using cloth, and saw the 'cloth bum mums' saying it really wasn't that difficult at all, and as long as you can stick washing in the machine, you can probably use cloth nappies!
Whenever I'm talking to people looking to try out cloth nappies, I always say "Give it a go. If it doesn't work, at least you'll know you tried" and that was definitely my mantra going in. We felt a lot of negativity towards our choice to use cloth nappies, simply because most people know nothing about how modern cloth works. But, knowing the benefits, we were very certain that we would make it work, as we felt the benefits to our family were pretty big.
Here are the 3 main benefits of using cloth nappies:
1// Cheaper in the long run:
A lot of people are daunted by the initial outlay for cloth nappies, but if you work out how much you spend on disposables over the lifetime of a baby, and then times that by how many babies you plan on having, it will almost certainly work out cheaper to buy a stash of cloth nappies. Our cloth nappy stash probably cost somewhere between £200 and £250 - and that could have been a lot less in honesty. A quick look on Amazon tells me Pampers cost 15p each. Isabelle wears 6 nappies a day, costing. That £250 I've spent on cloth would keep me in disposable nappies for 249 days - less than a year! And I can use my nappies for any babies we have in the future, making it even more cost friendly! Yes, of course we then have to pay for the washing, but I know the cost of the 3 extra washes I do each week will never add up to the extra cost I would put out for disposables.
2// Better for the environment:
Those 6 nappies I use each day would have to be thrown out if I used disposables. And since Isabelle's favorite thing to do is poo in a clean nappy, often a nappy is taken off again in under an hour. All of those go into a landfill, where they just sit. Not decomposing at all. Did you know - gross fact - all the disposable nappies you ever wore are still sitting in a landfill, in 'perfect' condition? Pretty horrific to think about! Since the UK government is making reduction of landfill waste a priority, this is one thing I can do to help.
3// Better for her bum:
No chemicals around Isabelle's bum, just pure fluff. I don't wear plastic pants, so I don't expect her to either! Depending on the stats you read, cloth bum babies are around 7% less likely to get nappy rash, which is apparently partly to do with cloth nappies being more breathable. Some people say they must be warm, but cloth nappies are actually cooler on a baby's bum - think about how much warmer you are wearing a cheap plastic rain coat than a breathable one.
Cloth nappies 101: Are cloth nappies for me?Those are the most important reasons for us using cloth - we think they outweigh the drawbacks in our situation. Because, it would be a lie to say there are no drawbacks to using cloth nappies - but I think they are pretty small really...

1// I have to change Isabelle more often than if she wore disposables. I change every 2-3 hours, but I know if she wore disposables I could leave her much longer. It's not a big deal though - mummies change so many nappies anyway what's a few more in the mix?!
2// Cloth bums are definitely more 'rounded' than disposable bums, and there have been a few incidences when  her trousers have been difficult to get on. However, I have to say that if that's the case it's usually because I'm trying to cram her into ones which are slightly too small anyway! Her bum is chunkier, so I size up in vests earlier than I may need to - but since I would eventually buy them anyway, it's not a big issue for me.
3// I have to wash them. I know that's obvious, but it has to be said anyway! I really don't find it too much hassle to throw them into the machine every other day, and then hang them to dry, but I know it is something that puts a lot of people off. I've got my little routine so I do one load of washing every day, and it just so happens that every other day that wash is nappies instead of clothes.
So there you go. Those are the reasons why I chose cloth, and maybe some things for you to think about as well. It's never to late to change to using cloth nappies - as even using one cloth nappy every day will save 365 nappies from landfill every year (a favorite saying of CNLNI's founder!).
Over the next few weeks I'll be posting about cloth nappy options, how to go about building a stash of nappies, and the big question....what about the washing?
Do you use cloth? Any pearls of wisdom you'd like to pass on to convince non-cloth users that they really could give it a go?

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