Our Cloth Nappy Routine - A simple guide

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We've been using cloth nappies for a year now, specifically ‘Prefold Nappies’. Every day I lay out a white cotton nappy on the bed and hastily pin it around my son before picking out an adorable waterproof cover with anything from monkeys and dinosaurs, to black tartan. It’s nothing cuter to me than seeing my content little Dragon, toddling off with his chunky animal printed bum. However when I tell other mothers I cloth Nappy, a common reply from those interested is.
 

“I am not sure if it is for me, I wouldn't know where to start… How much work is it? How do you find time to wash all the nappies? …and what about, you know… the poo?”
 

I am not an expert or a salesperson, and there are countless of pages dedicated to the various types of cloth nappies. So instead I will simply take you through my personal daily routine and experience, and hopefully in so doing it will give you an insight into the life of Cloth nappying. 


Prefolds: If you do any type of research into cloth nappies, most images that pop up is normally a verity of a ‘Pocket nappy’. These are nappies that looks in every way similar to that of a disposable paper nappy, but is clearly made of fabric. Most people who cloth nappy uses ‘Pocket Nappies’ or ‘All In One Nappies’ but while these are popular, they are not the only option. If you were to ask somebody who were a parent in the early 80’s or before, they will speak of something called ‘Flat nappies’ or their much more convenient cousin ‘the Prefold(ed nappy). These are large flat squares of cotton that has been sown together so they are lightly padded, and is then wrapped around the baby, and pinned with either a large safety pin or in these days a ‘Snappy’. 




Why we chose Prefolds: Most of my friends use Pocket Nappies and are very happy with their choice. Personally when I first began my nappy journey I wasn't confident that I would stick with it so we chose the ‘cheap’ option. A full set of 25 Organic cotton Prefolds and all the accessories you need will generally cost only half as much as that of a full set of Pocket Nappies, (though you can source those cheaply as well, especially second hand). Also you don’t have to worry too much about ‘will this nappy brand I invested in fit or leak’, because Prefolds are individually wrapped around the baby and you can make it as tight as you wish. Lastly had I decided I wanted to go for Pocket Nappies later, you can reuse the Prefolds as inlays. There are of course downsides to Prefolds, they take a little longer to fold and becomes trickier as baby gets wiggly. They are a little bit on the bulkier side of nappies, and there isn't much room for extra padding so might need changing more often. 

What we use 
25 Prefold Nappies: We use Bummis Organic Cotton. 
3 – 5 Waterproof covers: We use Blueberry Coveralls, with poppers. 
3 – 6 Nappy fasteners: We use Snappi. 
1 Nappy Bucket with lid: We use a 14 litre one. 
2 Mesh Laundry bags: We use TotsBots 

Our Cloth Nappy Routine 
This is our personal routine, it may differ from that of another person, but it should give you an insight. 

1.
We take one naked and content dragon and lay him on his back.

2. Then we take one Prefold and lay it flat underneath baby, and fold it tightly around his waist. (There are different ways to fold a Prefold nappy depending on the gender and your need, it’s a bit like Nappy Origami.)
3. We secure the Nappy with a Snappy and make sure it’s loose enough that you can put two fingers between the nappy and babies belly.
4. Wrap the waterproof cover around, secure it, and that’s it. 


When the Nappy is soiled 


1. Take the bucket with the lid and attach the Mesh laundry bag. 
2. As you remove the soiled nappy, just toss it in the bucket until it is full to the top. (We do not use anything in the bucket like Napisan, partially as the nappies never stay longer than 3-5 days) 
3. We wipe baby using cloth wipes [Link].
4. When the bucket is full, remove the mesh without touching the nappies and toss the mesh and everything into the washing machine, turn it on and relax. 

We wash nappies no more than 3 times a week.

Night time 

I have a confession, we are only day time Clothers. We do use paper disposable nappies occasionally, and night time is one of these. While you can layer a Prefold and make is night proof, we have never done so. Little Dragon used to be a terrible sleeper and I tried to limit anything that might cause the slightest disturbance. For this reason we have always bought Biodegradable Paper Nappies for night use, which prevents baby from feeling wet. Our preferred brand is Naty, but we've also used Beaming-baby with much success. 

When we use paper nappies
We do own and use disposable paper nappies, and one packet tends to last us about 3 months. Many who Cloth Nappy are purists, but we keep some disposables for night use and as backup. We tend to buy some of the pricier Biodegradable brands such as Naty and Beaming-baby. Other times we turn to paper nappies are: Long car journeys, as sitting on the motorway with a crying wet baby just isn't fun and during spot of illnesses such as a runny tummy. I've always liked having a packet in the house, just in case. 

One thing I've learned the hard way on my journey as an alternative mum is that, trying to do things differently is fine, but if things gets hard it's no point being a martyr. 

What to do about the poo 
This is the question I often get, and one I don’t always see addressed on other cloth nappy pages, again there are many different ways of dealing with it, and I can only share what we personally do. 

Breastfed baby under 6 months: If it is an exclusively breastfed baby that isn't eating solids, the soiled nappy can go right in the washing machine, this is because its waste is made up of digested milk and is therefore water-soluble. Breast-milk poo will not harm or stain your washing machine. 

Formula fed babies under 6 months: From what I understand having no experience with it myself, formula poo is also water-soluble and can therefore be put straight into the washing machine. The exception is if it is exceptionally thick, which I am told can happen. In those cases the excess is best wiped off. 

Baby that is eating solid food: The good news is that by the time babies eat solid, you will have cloth nappied for 6 months and therefore this part shouldn't be too much of a hassle. Bad news is that the ease of dealing with water-soluble waste is over and you need to dispose of the poo. There are many ways to go about this, some install a bidet water spray  and uses water to flush it off, some wipe, some scrape, but personally we use liners. You can buy biodegradable liners that can be dropped right into the loo with poo and all. The wee goes straight through it, and the waste lays on top. Once babies guts mature, a lot of its waste can resemble that of an adults, and will just fall off the nappy leaving hardly any stains.


And there you are. I hope it will help some, or at least give an insight in the world of cloth nappies. If this can inspire one other parent out there to consider using cloth, then it would make me overjoyed.

Cloth nappying is truly not that difficult. I toss a bag of soiled nappies into the washing machine a few times a week and return to my daily routine without it ever effecting it. It is such a luxury never having to rush to the supermarket because I'm running out, and I don't even wish to calculate the money and waste I've saved.



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19 comments

  1. Thanks for this insight. I'm definitely one of those “I am not sure if it is for me, I wouldn't know where to start… How much work is it? How do you find time to wash all the nappies? …and what about, you know… the poo?” people that you mentioned but with baby2 on the way its something I'm a lot more interested in or curious about. Think there are a few things I would do differently this time round and its something on my list to consider.

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    1. There are so many parenting methods that has an alternative. Of-course not all alternative methods are suitable, but it is pretty interesting once you start looking into other ways of parenting. Pram or carrier, paper nappies or cloth, dummy or no dummy, purée or baby led weaning, etc. At the end of the day, it's all good. :) Good luck with baby no.2

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  2. I've used disposable nappies for both of mine. I so wanted to go down the cloth nappy route but just never got round to it. My youngest is 16m old, still very much a baby in terms of movement i.e not walking and only just crawling. Would you say reusables can be used on an older baby?

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    1. Sorry i missed a sentence out there! Was meant to add that although his crawling/walking is limited - he constantly tries to 'grab himself" by putting his hand down his nappy. Would a reusable be strong enough to deal with that? X

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    2. Sorry i missed a sentence out there! Was meant to add that although his crawling/walking is limited - he constantly tries to 'grab himself" by putting his hand down his nappy. Would a reusable be strong enough to deal with that? X

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    3. Oh yes it is suitable for all ages. :) If you look at the two pictures of the giraffe and/or dinosaurs, you can see they got "poppers" (you can get them in Velcro but clever fingers easily pull those off) . Poppers are very tough, and with a good brand of covers you can make it much tighter than a stretchy disposable. :)

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  3. I've used disposable nappies for both of mine. I so wanted to go down the cloth nappy route but just never got round to it. My youngest is 16m old, still very much a baby in terms of movement i.e not walking and only just crawling. Would you say reusables can be used on an older baby?

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  4. It's a good guide to cloth nappies. We really tried over a few months, but cloth nappies didn't work for us because my son wouldn't tolerate being wet. I had to change them so often it wasn't feasible without buying numerous nappies.

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    1. Hood for you for trying. :D I have heard people say their baby had less of a rash when changing to cloth, and people who like you who said it was worse. Personally my baby has -never- had a rashy bum, a little bit of red, but never a rash. The early weeks are very hard because they do need changing constantly, luckily it gets easier as they get older they seem to have longer pauses between pees. :)

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  5. Thank you for the guide, I had always thought about using cloth nappies but ended up going for the disposables with Dexter. I have a couple of friends that have used cloth nappies but haven't really asked them about it. I think I might try them if we even have a second baby, the only question I have is what do you do when you go out? Do they smell?

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    1. Going out is very much about where you are going and for how long. If just going out a few hours, it's the same as any paper nappy, the only difference is that you bring some Sanitary Disposal Bags, the kind you can get at ant pound shop, and pop the old nappy in there until you get home. For long journeys like in the car or a whole day out, we sometime turn to a paper nappy, but you can stick with cloth.

      As for the smell. No, not really. Firstly baby pee doesn't really smell, a lot of people I know that paper nappy says "They do!" but it's actually your nappy that smell, if the baby pees in the bed or somewhere you will notice it doesn't really smell. Obviously poo smells, and here the bucket helps, it has a lid, you empty it out frequently enough it wont be an issue. But poo smell depends on 3 things, BF baby, FF baby or Solid eating baby, BF baby poo is kinda sweet smelling, unpleasant but mildest of the rest and nobody really noticed it. FF poo smells a lot stronger, and I know people use things like a few drops of incense or things to make the bucket nice, as for Solid poo... yeah proper smells, BUT... you dump 90% of it in the loo so it isn't that much of it in the bucket, and because the nappies are bigger you empty the bucket more often.

      I hope that answer your questions. :)

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  6. I love the little giraffe prints. Very cute!
    Love Hayley,
    Water Painted Dreams

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  7. I don't have kids (yet) but cloth nappies have always baffled me. Thanks for the informative post!

    www.ibelieveinromeo.blogspot.ie

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    1. When you change your baby at least 6 times a day, the attraction of Cloth starts building up. :)

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  8. This is such an interesting read, I was tempted to go down the cloth nappy route but I was just too worried about it all - but reading this I didn't need to worry. I love all of the clothes designs they are so cute!

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  9. Brilliant post! I have to say I used disposables with all my four, but i think cloth nappies are fab - if a bit daunting! Kaz

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  10. I only tried with a couple but couldn't keep up with the washing lol. I'm lazy

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  11. I only tried with a couple but couldn't keep up with the washing lol. I'm lazy

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  12. I only tried with a couple but couldn't keep up with the washing lol. I'm lazy

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