Diaries Magazine

Cloth Nappy 101: Building a Stash

By Sjay235 @naturalmommainm
Welcome back for the second installment of my cloth nappy 101 series! So, you've decided that cloth nappies are for you, now you need to go about building a stash.
This post is about how to go about building your own cloth nappy stash. The last thing that anyone wants to to pay our hundreds of pounds on something which they don't know will work and, ultimately, may not suit you and your baby. So deciding what you need, and how much you want/can afford to spend is key to building your stash.
Firstly, the types of cloth nappy - there are 4 main types of these and, what works for one family may not work for another.
1// Flats and prefolds: these are basic pieces of absorbent fabric which can be folded around your baby (flats), fastened and then a cover put on, or folded down to size and laid into the cover (prefolds). As the flats or prefolds are simply pieces of cloth, they aren't waterproof and require a cover to be used to make them waterproof. This is kind of a more 'old school' way to go about using cloth, but lots of people find it works great for them. It is generally less expensive than other methods, but can be more hassle, and isn't as friendly to those who aren't 100% cloth confident.
2// Fitteds: these are shaped into a traditional 'nappy' shape and usually fasten with velcro (called applic or hook and loop). They are made of various fabrics but aren't waterproof themselves so require a cover. They can be made of various fabrics, and are considered to be pretty reliable and absorbent. They can be slightly bulky, but are pretty 'bombproof' and leak poof.
3// Pockets: these are possibly the most popular type of nappy. They are a waterproof shell, with a stay dry liner attached, and look just like a fabric disposable. They fasten with either snaps or velcro. The stay dry liner is not sewn down totally, and so creates a 'pocket' between the liner and the waterproof outer, which is where the absorbency is 'stuffed'. These normally come with a microfibre insert, but because the pocket is there, you can really stuff whatever you like into them to customise your absorbency. These need to be stuffed, and are slightly more expensive than the options above, which some people find off putting. However, they are great for anyone to use as they fasten on so simply. These come in sized or one size options. One size fits from birth to potty and are more economical.
4// All in ones: these are just what they sound like - everything is there 'all in one'. Nothing needs added, nothing needs stuff, the nappy is all there together, and simply needs popped onto your baby. These are generally the most expensive option, but are really easy to use and come in either velcro or snaps. These usually come in one size options, but some brands also sell sized.
So, which is best? Well, different people like different things. I find that a mixture of everything suits us, as the different types are good in different situations. I use pockets or prefolds mostly at home, but all in ones or pockets are easiest for others to use on Isabelle.
Some people like to buy a whole stash of one type of nappy, but most people seem to prefer having a few different types and different brands. One of the easiest ways to figure out what works for you is to try lots of different types, and your local Cloth Nappy Library can help you out with that. It's a cheap way to find out what works best for your family, with no commitment. (Find your local library here). If you haven't got a local library, then I would suggest maybe buying one of each type of nappy and giving it a go, figure out what you like, then move on and buy more.
If you just Google 'cloth nappy', it will bring up loads of online shops in which you can buy different styles and brands of cloth nappies. Most cloth nappies are bought online, but some shops do sell them - Boots, Mothercare and Tesco often have them in larger stores, but the selection is pretty limited.
There are so many options of brands that there is a real range in price, so you can build your stash for very little, or for as much as you want to spend really. On eBay, you can buy cheap pocket nappies for around £5 each, while the online retailers sell all in ones for anything up to £18 each. If you are getting a variety of nappies, then you can buy some in every price range if you want to, to give everything a go.
I started off buying 1 of lots of different brands and styles of nappy to give them a go. What didn't work for us was quickly sold on using preloved nappy boards (a great place to pick up cheap nappies!) and more of what did work was bought. Now, my nappy stash has a 'bit of everything' in it - prefolds, fitteds, pockets and all in ones, and from the cheap nappies to the more expensive. I use them all, and have found that the brands and styles I now have work best for us and for Isabelle.
Next, how many nappies do you need? When Isabelle was newborn, we changed her up to 12 times a day, and so washed our nappies each day. Now, we change around 5 times a day, and wash every other day. That means I have 10 nappies in use/dirty at any time, and so to make sure I have enough to cover me while those are in the wash, I need another 10. I think a minimum of 20 nappies is needed, although 24 is usually the number given just to be safe. This means 12 in use/dirty, and 12 in the wash/drying.
Once you have decided on which nappies you want, and have bought them, you need to make sure that you have everything else you need to start using your cloth nappies. The main thing you will need is somewhere to keep your dirty nappies - a wetbag or bucket. Despite it's name, a wetbag is just a bag lined with waterproof material, into which you throw dirty nappies. Then, on wash day, the whole thing goes into the washing machine and that's it. A bucket is similar, but has a mesh liner inside which is thrown into the machine on wash day instead. Small wetbags are also useful for when you go out and about, and you should get two large wet bags/mesh liners and 2 small wetbags so that you can wash one and have the other in use.
So, overall, to get you started you will most likely need:
- 24 cloth nappies of your choice
- 2 large wetbags/mesh liners and a bucket
- 2 small wetbags
In summary, there are the 4 main types of nappy, but lots of different brands. You really want to make sure you get what works best for you so, if possible, give your local nappy library a go. If not, just buy a few styles to get you started, and work out what works best for your family. Once you have done that, you're ready to buy your nappies based on your own budget, and then you can begin!
Next up in this mini series will be how to wash your nappies and take care of them - the biggest worry people seem to have.
PS- don't forget to enter my competitions to win some Oxo Tot feeding products  and to win a Bunny Baby baby carrier!

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