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  • Writer's pictureMidwife Pip

Cloth / Reusable Nappies Q&A

Updated: Apr 16, 2022

After receiving so many questions about my use of cloth nappies with baby Finley I wanted to share my experience to help you consider or navigate your own cloth nappy journey. I am not a cloth nappy expert but am sharing what I have learned along the way in the hope to support you on your cloth nappy journey too!

So here I am answering the top 10 questions that you asked…

1. Why did you decide to use cloth nappies?

There were a few reasons why I decided cloth nappies (and washable wipes!) would be part of our parenting journey.

It is slightly (very) terrifying that 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away every single day and these will take up to 500 years to degrade. 12 million tonnes of plastic waste is entering our oceans each year and I want to support a future where our sea’s can be enjoyed, swam in and our sea life can thrive. Swapping to cloth can save over 4,000 nappies ending up in landfill per child. Even just swapping to use 1 reusable nappy a day will save 365 nappies every year from ending up in landfill. That’s 365 every year that your baby is in nappies- from 1 small, simple swap.

Then there is also the financial saving, lets be real – having a baby is an expensive business so the ability to save some hard earnt money is always welcome. Also, as Finley is our first baby and we hope to be fortunate enough to have another in the future we will be able to use our nappies again literally doubling up on the financial saving!

And lastly, have you seen how cute cloth bums look? Say no more.

2. How easy are cloth nappies to use?

VERY- in short.

I chose to use Tots Bots all-in-ones for day time use these literally go on like a disposable nappy so could not be easier to use. Once dirty- they go into my nappy bucket ready for washing.

For our night time cloth nappies I use Tots Bots Bamboozle System. This is also very easy- a super absorbent and soft nappy goes on and a waterproof outer wrap goes over the top. Arguably a little more work than a disposable only because you are doing up 2 things rather than 1 BUT so much more absorbent which means less changing overnight and that is a big win at 1, 2, 3 or 4 AM.

3. When did you start using cloth nappies?

I didn’t start using cloth immediately from birth, basically because I anticipated it being more work than it is. If we have another baby, I will definitely use them sooner!

I also found whilst Finley was very little, the nappy system I had chosen sat on his umbilical cord and you can’t roll them down as you can with a disposable, so I waited until his cord had fallen off and his legs had filled out and from around week 3 I started introducing them into our routine. I had to sell them to my husband too who wasn’t keen at first, he had visions of complicated, time consuming wrapping systems. However, he is now the biggest cloth fan and it was actually his idea to move onto night cloth nappies too.

Remember, even swapping out 1 disposable nappy a day has an amazing environment impact and you don’t have to do all or nothing you can do abit of both. But be warned that if, like me, you realise how well they work you will likely find yourself using cloth more and more until your full time.

4. What is your washing routine?

I wash our nappies every 2-3 days. Using a pre wash without detergent on 40oc for about 40 minutes followed by a longer 2 hour 60oc wash with detergent. Finley is currently still exclusively breastfed so his water soluble poo is fine to just go in the machine on the nappies without any pre cleaning. Once we start weaning and his poo’s become more solid we will use either disposable or fleece reusable liners which contain the poo and allow you to remove it before washing your nappies.

5. How many cloth nappies do you need?

This will depend on how often you wish to cloth and how often you plan to wash them too.

A general rule is 20-25 nappies for full time.

We are now using cloth full time and have 25 all-in-ones that we use in the day and 5 Bamboozle stretch nappies with 3 Bamboozle wraps for night time.

I also use boosters for our night nappies so have 5 of these. I like to use nappy cream on Finley’s bottom and it isn’t advisable to allow this to come into direct contact with the nappies as it may effect absorbency so I pop a super soft Tots Bots fleece liner in first- these are so soft I am genuinely a little jealous our underwear isn’t that cosy!

6. What washing detergent to use for cloth nappies?

Powder detergents are recommended and no fabric softener as this can impact the absorbency of your nappies.

7. Did you start with day time cloth nappies before using night time cloth nappies?

Yes, I did. I took it even steadier to start with an only used cloth during the day and at home before then using them out and about and then using them at night time too.

8. What system do you use overnight?

I use Tots Bots Bamboozle System at night with a booster. Its just an absorbent nappy with a waterproof wrap and it keeps him leak free all night!

9. How often do you need to change a cloth nappy?

This will depend on how much your baby wee’s, poop’s and the sensitivity of their skin.

I change Finley around every 3 hours in the daytime and at night time his Bamboozle goes on around 21:00 and I change it when he wakes around 5:30 in the morning. He doesn’t sleep that long (if only) he wakes for 1-2 feeds now at 8 weeks old but the benefit of this system is that you don’t need to change at every feed overnight like you may do with disposable nappies.

10. What brand of cloth nappies to choose?

There are lots of brands to choose from and visiting a local Nappy library will be helpful for allowing you to see, feel and learn about the options. I have loved using Tots Bots Nappies and Cheeky reusable wipes. Tots Bots team has also always been super helpful when I have had questions and for guiding me when I felt ready to move onto full time cloth nappies and a night time system.

1 Comment

Nov 17, 2021

That's great that you're promoting local nappy libraries! Definitely the best place for advice.

I'd also add that formula fed babies poo is just as washable as breastfed babies and can be rinsed away in the first rinse too (I always found that info hard to find when I used them with my first!)

Wetbags are handier than using a bucket for storing dirty nappies - you need 2 large ones, but they get unzipped and shoved in the wash with the nappies. No need to clean dirty buckets #win

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