The TRUTH about cloth nappies.

This week is ‘Real Nappy Week’ (23rd to 29th April) so I have decided to dedicate a post to my experience using reusable nappies and maybe expel some myths.

“Cloth is too expensive!”
Yes, it is true that the initial cost of reusable nappies is expensive and not everyone will be able to throw £200 on a bunch of nappies, liners, and boosters. Thankfully, some councils offer incentives to families purchasing real nappies. You are also able to buy cloth nappies second hand at a cheaper price. Some friends and family may also put money towards your stash if you ask.

Furthermore I have done some number crunching. Obviously this is not an exact figure. I took the price of Aldi’s 84 pack size 4 Mamia ultra dry nappies of £4.49. I guessed an average of seven nappy changes per day so one pack will last 12 days. Assuming baby is in nappies for exactly two years, then you will spend £269.40 on disposable nappies. If you buy a more expensive brand of disposables then they will cost more. Smaller pack sizes also cost more per nappy and different nappy sizes have different prices so I tried to use middle ground figures. Newborns and heavy wetters also need changing more often.

So in conclusion it does depend on your baby whether cloth or disposables end up costing more. BUT if you have a second, third, fourth, etc child then you will definitely save money as you can reuse the cloth nappies! Even if you only use one cloth nappy per day or only use them on one day per week you will save money.

“Cloth is messy!”
Changing cloth nappies on a baby is just as messy as changing a disposable nappy. If baby has an explosive wet poo then it won’t be glamorous in either situation. The downside I first discovered with cloth is that you cannot roll the dirty wipes up with the soiled nappy. You need to be near a bin, which is not always available depending where you are. This problem can also be solved if using reusable wipes too because those can be thrown into the nappy bin/wet bag along with the cloth nappy.

“Poo in cloth nappies is messy!”
Newborn poops are usually small and easy to contain and chuck away. It is when baby starts having solids and the poos become less runny but also not quite solid which are less fun to deal with. When the poops come out in a solid lump then there is such a good feeling being able to just flip the cloth nappy over and dump the poop into the toilet to flush away!

“Cloth nappies stink!”
Reuseable nappies will smell if they are not washed quickly enough or well enough. First problem is solved with regular washing and second problem is solved with a strip wash. If you wash nappies correctly in the first place (not too much detergent, not too high temperature, long rinse cycle) then hopefully you can avoid having to do a strip wash.

With regards to storing dirty nappies, they smell just as bad as disposables. Cloth nappies are usually stored in a plastic tub when they are waiting for wash day and this tends to keep odours in. I do not store any soiled disposable nappies in a special pail, they go in an open bin so if they linger too long in the bathroom then there is a definite pong! In this case, cloth nappies actually stink less!

“Cloth nappies are not convenient outside of the home!”
Honestly, cloth nappies are a bit of a faff when you are out and about. Cloth nappies are much bulkier than disposables so they do take up much more space. Secondly, you need to continue carting them around after changing baby and wet nappies expand so they take up even more space afterwards. Once you get used to it though, it doesn’t matter as it is just part of having a baby.

I have read that some people use eco nappies on days out or for traveling because they have the convenience of a disposable, but the green credentials of being biodegradable. Unfortunately, eco nappies are even more expensive than cloth nappies… but planet Earth is worth it!

“Washing and tumble drying cloth nappies is worse for the environment!”
Firstly I’d like to address the tumble drying comment because most manufacturers do not recommend tumble drying nappies, and if a parent must do so, then it is done on a low setting. Tumble drying can shorten the life of a cloth nappy so it is generally avoided and therefore not a worthwhile argument about energy usage.

With regards to washing cloth nappies, Eve from Baba+Boo wrote an interesting article about the amount of water that is used during the manufacture of disposable nappies. Disposable nappies are ‘made of pulp and plastics’ and overall use ten times more water during production than during 2.5 years of washing cloth nappies. That figure is astoundingly horrific and makes me feel much better about washing my reuseables. It is also worth throwing in towels and sports wear into the nappy wash to fill out the drum and ensure you are not doing a small wash just for six nappies. Modern washing machines are also efficient at weighing out the load and using the appropriate amount of water for the wash.

“It’s too much effort to use cloth nappies!”

There is no difference between using cloth and disposable. You put them on at the same time and in the same way. Yes there is the extra step of washing and hanging out the nappies to dry but surprisingly it’s a step I do not mind. I do not feel like I am doing lots of extra washing.

Furthermore, you know when you have to change baby’s nappy but it’s about one hour before bedtime and you know you will want to put a fresh nappy on overnight? Well with cloth you need not feel like you are wasting a nappy as it’s simply washed and reused. When using a disposable for a small amount of wee and then chucking it in the bin, you are adding to the thousands of nappies at the landfill. Think about how many nappies you use in a week and imagine that pile sitting around for hundreds of years before they finally decompose.

Hopefully I have swayed you into agreeing that cloth nappies are not so bad to use. It’s totally worth giving them a try! Have you had any good/bad experiences with resuables?

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Review of Tots Bots Easyfit Star Nappy.

Tots Bots are pretty big in the cloth nappy world. No matter which style of cloth nappy you prefer, they probably have a kit that suits you. Today we are talking about their ‘all in one’ pocket nappy. I say it is an ‘all in one’ because everything is sewn together and you do not need extra bits. The absorbent nappy is there, the waterproof wrap is there, and even a booster is there. I also call it a pocket nappy because you can stuff another booster in there if you want to.

The Easyfit Star looks similar to the Bambino Mio Miosolo all in one nappy. At first glance I thought the Easyfit seemed inferior. After taking it out of the packaging and comparing it to the Miosolo, the Easyfit did not seem as thick or as substantial. I was, therefore, worried about potential leaks. Thankfully I did not need to worry. It even holds messy poop in well!

Plain colourful nappies are priced £16.99 and the patterned fabrics are £17.99. I really adore their new prints and am tempted to get the ‘bee kind’ and ‘kaleidescope’ nappies. The Easyfit Star is an all-in-one that fits 8-35lbs. There is also a Teenyfit Star in the same prints for young babies that fit 5-12lbs. The Teenyfit are cheaper at £11.99. At these prices I do think the Easyfit is a little pricey but I know there are brands out there at the £20+ mark so I guess the Easyfit is more of a mid-range nappy.

Each Easyfit comes with a bamboo core, which is the best material for absorbing babies’ bodily fluids. It comes as a long ‘tongue’ that you can tuck into the nappy. If necessary, it is also possible to pop a booster in. There are four rows of poppers on the front of nappy so that the fit can be adjusted as baby grows. The nappy is closed using hook and loop (like Velcro) fastenings so fit can be adjusted for each baby.

Like I said earlier, I thought the Easyfit would leak compared to the Miosolo because the seams and gusset do not seem like they would have good containment. Fortunately I have been proved wrong (apart from one disastrous poop but I don’t think any nappy would have kept that one in). On the Miosolo I would often find marks on baby’s back as the nappy seam would appear too tight but the Easyfit generally avoids this. The bamboo is nice and soft. It does not seem as thick as the Miosolo but in my opinion feels much nicer to touch. The fact that the Easyfit is less bulky than the Miosolo is also a bonus if you struggle to fasten bodysuits over cloth nappies. They are by no means slim, but are definitely not the chunkiest nappy out there.

Washing is the same as for other cloth nappies and drying time is great because you can pull out the inner core for faster drying. The fold back laundry tabs are not that great. They are a bit flimsy but they do the job.

Overall I think the Easyfit is a good beginner nappy. They are simple to use and will be easy for carers or family members to adjust to. I personally prefer hook and loop fastenings because you can get the perfect fit. The Easyfit looks great and does not appear too bulky. Drying time is speedy so if you wash often enough you do not need to buy too many.

Have you ever tried the Easyfit Star or any other Tots Bots nappy? I have also bought the Peenut nappy to try and am excited to get that review out.

Which style of reusable nappy is right for you?

So you’ve made the great decision of choosing reusable nappies on your precious baby and you go to research brands and the colour drains from your face because there are SO MANY options and you think you might just stick with the disposables that everyone knows about.

I know the feeling. There are so many types of nappies and they seem to run into each other. All in one? All in two? Pocket nappy? Sized? Organic? Bamboo or cotton? Which is cheapest? You can get an all in one organic bamboo one size nappy or an all in one sized microfibre nappy.

Whilst I am no expert hopefully this post will shed a little light and make the world of cloth nappies a little easier to navigate. Also note the terms “reusable”, “cloth”, and “real” are often interchanged.

Real nappies have these basic parts:

1. Waterproof outer, most often made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) but other materials also found. The outer usually has fun prints.

2. Inner absorbent “nappy” part, usually made from bamboo or cotton or microfibre. Mostly plain but some, such as Totsbots Bamboozle, may have prints.

3. Liner (optional), used to catch poo and may be flushable, disposable, or washed and reused. Fleece liners also help remove the feeling of wetness.

4. Booster/insert (optional). If you feel your nappy doesn’t provide enough containment you can add one or two (or more if you don’t mind a bulky bum?!) boosters for extra absorption. Can be made from bamboo, charcoal, hemp, cotton, or microfibre.

5. Velcro or poppers. Some nappies are made with Velcro tabs for an adaptable fit whilst some brands use poppers. It’s up to you which you prefer. Some “birth to potty” nappies have poppers to adjust the size from small to large but close at the waist with Velcro.

6. Wet bag (optional). You will need a wet bag if you plan to go out and about with cloth nappies. You’ll have to bring soiled nappies home so best to keep them in a special nappy bag! You could also use a wet bag at home instead of a nappy bucket to store used nappies until you wash them.

ALL IN ONE.
This is the easiest kind of nappy to use as it is just like a disposable. The inner absorbent nappy is sewn onto the waterproof outer and you put it on baby as you would a disposable. You can add a liner or booster if you wish. Since all the pieces are sewn together you may experience longer drying times.

Bambino Miosolo – prints
Tickle Tots – cute prints
Tots Bots Easyfit Star – plain or printed
Bum Genius elemental or freetime* – plain or printed
Grovia* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea all in one* – plain or printed

POCKET NAPPY.
Pocket nappies look similar to all-in-ones but there is an opening at the back on the inside half of the nappy. You can stuff boosters into this pocket to adjust the absorption level to your own requirements. These are quite user friendly as well and dry fairly fast as the boosters can come out.

Baba + Boo – plain or printed
Little Lamb – one size or sized
Milovia – lots of prints
Wonderoos – plain or printed
Bum Genius original* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea pocket* – plain or printed

ALL IN TWO.
The absorbent part of the nappy can be attached and detached from the waterproof layer using poppers. The absorbent pads can be made from different materials to suit your absorbency needs. Once boosters are attached the nappy is as simple to put on as a disposable. Drying times are fairly fast since you can separate the two parts. These can be cost effective as sometimes you can reuse the outer and just replace the pad at changing time if the outer is not soiled.

Bambino Miosoft – prints
Close Pop In nappy – prints
Tickle Tots
– cute prints
Tots Bots Peenut system – plain or printed
Bambooty Basics* – mostly plain colours

HYBRID.
This style is just like an all-in-two but the inserts are disposable so there is less washing to do.
Charlie Banana* – covers and reusable or disposable inserts
Flip by Bum Genius* – covers and various inserts
Grovia hybrid – covers and reuseable or disposable inserts

SHAPED NAPPIES.
This is a two part nappy. You need to buy a waterproof wrap as well as the actual absorbent nappy part. The nappy can be made from bamboo, cotton, or microfibre. Bamboo is most absorbent but takes a long time to dry. Microfibre is least absorbent but dries quickest. Cotton sits in the middle but can feel crunchy in hard water areas.

Bambinex – bamboo or microfibre
Little Lamb – available in various materials
Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch – bamboo material in different prints

PREFOLD.
These are similar to Terry squares used by your grandmother. They are squares of material that are pinned together. You will require a waterproof wrap to go over the top. They are the cheapest cloth nappy option and dry easily but from what I have heard, are also the trickiest. I have never used prefolds so cannot really comment.

SIZED VS ONE SIZE/BIRTH TO POTTY.
Just like they sound, sized nappies come in sizes for example 7-18lbs or 18-35lbs. One size or ‘birth to potty’ nappies come in one size and tend to have poppers to change the sizing. Sized nappies cost more as you will need to buy a new set of nappies when baby gets bigger but this can be useful if you have two young children close in age. One size nappies should last throughout the whole nappy period but some nappies may not fit well on younger babies and you may need to use disposables until baby is bigger. You can get sized and one size nappies as shaped, pocket, all in one, or all in two styles (ie nappy size then nappy type).

Baba + Boo – pocket nappy for 5-18lb
Close Pop-in newborn – 5-12lb
Tots Bots Teenyfit Star – all in one for 5-12lb

I hope this blog post has made things a bit clearer for you! Any links to brands are not sponsored or affiliated. I have tried to include mostly UK or EU based brands. Any links with an asterisk * are brands based outside UK/EU.

What is your favourite type of reusable nappy? Do you have a few different ones in your stash? If you have never used them has this post helped at all?

Review of Baba + Boo reusable minky nappy.

Baba + Boo are a small family owned business and from reading the blog they sound like they truly care about the environment and sustainability (check out Eve’s reasoning on not giving out Black Friday discounts). They are a brand I’m totally happy to get on board with.

Baba + Boo do a smaller newborn sized nappy as well as a “birth to potty” size. I really love their “elf town” print but it’s always out of stock so I nabbed one from their “hygge” winter collection. It has a minky fabric outer which is a bit like velour to the touch. The inside has a layer of microfibre and a big pocket on the inside for the boosters. Each nappy comes with two bamboo boosters so you can use one or two depending on how much your baby wets.

This it the first reusable nappy I have used that doesn’t fasten with Velcro. There are several sets of poppers on the front to adjust the fit so it is possible to still get a snug fit. I didn’t find the poppers as quick as Velcro tabs but you get used to it. My baby is pretty wriggly and hates having his nappy changed so Velcro is definitely faster. I was surprised that the fit was pretty good as poppers mean there is a ‘set’ size. Furthermore the poppers mean the nappies don’t get stuck together in the washing machine if you forget to fold the tabs. I found the front part of the nappy sat a bit low but did not experience any leakage.

Baba + Boo nappies are a pocket style nappy which means there is an opening at the back of the nappy where you can stuff inserts which absorb the urine. You get two bamboo inserts with each nappy but you can purchase more (or use some from another brand if you already have some). I’m sure I could get away with just one insert sometimes but I’m too afraid to try!

As with all cloth nappies, you should wash these on a low temperature without too much detergent and air dry. Now and again you may need to do a hot rinse but that is true of all reusables. Since you can take the inserts out, these nappies dry extremely quickly. The inserts actually take a bit longer to dry since they are made of bamboo.

Baba + Boo nappies come at an excellent price point for reusables. One standard sized nappy is £12.95 (some seasonal prints will go on sale) or you can buy starter kits which work out better if you want several nappies to start off your stash. The newborn size starts at £10.95 but they obviously will not last you as long. Baba + Boo have some of the cutest prints I’ve seen (moonshine, toadstool). I also think they discontinue some prints each season so best get the one you like before it’s gone!

As a family we are also trying to get into the habit of using reusable wet wipes (when at home at least), not only for money saving reasons but also because they go into landfills (and sewers?!) as much as disposable nappies, so I added a pack of their bamboo wipes to my basket. They are lovely and soft and we just chuck them into the nappy wash or the regular wash. When they come out we keep them in a tub with a homemade solution and they are ready to go. We also use them in the bath or as wipes during a meal. I’ve enjoyed them so much I am planning to get more. They cost £5.95 for a pack of five, which is not the cheapest out there but they are great quality.

Although you can find Baba + Boo on various cloth nappy websites, I ordered directly from the Baba + Boo website. For orders over £40 you get free delivery, otherwise it is £3.95 for standard delivery. I paid for delivery and my order came in less than 48 hours! It came in a sturdy paper bag so could be recycled and there was no nasty plastic in sight. Their commitment to being earth friendly is 100%. I also got a lovely email from the owner Eve thanking me for my order. Now, do you want to hear the best thing?

My friend lives near their listed company address so I figured I could place an order and pick it up from them when I visited her. I emailed Baba + Boo asking if I could do this (I wanted to avoid a delivery charge) however they said it wasn’t possible but they would refund the delivery charge to me after placing the order. How great is that? It gets better though… So I really took my time placing the order. Like four months and they STILL refunded the delivery charge. Such *excellent* customer service. Please support this company if you’re thinking about starting a cloth nappy stash!

In conclusion, these are a great cloth nappy for first time users. They have adorable prints, are a good price point, are easy to use, dry fairly quickly, and the customer experience is wonderful.

Have you tried Baba + Boo nappies? Do you like their prints?

Review of Tickle Tots reusable cloth nappies.

clothtickletots

Hands down, Tickle Tots have the CUTEST nappy prints ever. The original design (pictured here) can be used as an all-in-one nappy or a pocket nappy.

The nappy has a PUL waterproof lining with the mega cute print. There are three sets of poppers along the front so you can adjust the size which makes it a birth to potty nappy. There are velcro tabs to fasten the nappy so this adjustment also helps with the fit. A double layered gusset at the top of the legs prevents leaks. At its core are four layers of absorbent bamboo fabric. If this isn’t enough, there is also a pocket to stuff in some boosters for extra absorbency. One pocket nappy retails for £16.99 but you may be able to get a multi buy deal.

In terms of style these nappies are definitely 10/10. Not only are the designs adorable, but the nappy itself is fairly slim for a cloth nappy (unless you require lots of boosters). I can put these on without worrying about the bodysuit not fastening. Even the velcro crossings seem trendier on these than on other nappies.

Most importantly did they contain the wee? Yes and no. When Emery was smaller I would find that urine would leak out even with the double layer leg gusset. However, as he got older and his thighs became chunkier, the gusset fit around his leg more securely. I would advise waiting until baby weighs 10lbs before using these.

Washing these nappies is the same as for any other cloth (don’t forget to wash them once before first use) but I have to say that they dry awfully slowly. I think it is because of the bamboo inner and even if you turn them inside out to dry, they can take a while.

I’m not sure if there is enough absorbency in these to use during the night, even with an added booster. I suppose it would depend on how much your little one wees at night. I haven’t tried using more than one booster in the pocket so there may be the possibility of using them over night. For daytime use I would suggest getting about fifteen nappies assuming you do a nappy wash every other day.

Overall the Tickle Tots are not my ‘go to’ reusable nappy simply due to the drying time. I like that they are a birth to potty nappy which can save you money but will not be suitable for smaller babies straight away. With the booster insert you get pretty good absorbency and leaks are mostly contained. If you only have bamboo nappies in your stash and have enough nappies to use whilst waiting for a load to dry then these would be a cute addition to your collection.

The Tickle Tots 2’s look like an interesting concept. You clip the nappy part into the outer layer and changed as necessary so I’d be interested to try this style out. Has anyone tried them both? What did you think?