Monday 21 October 2013

Things I wish I'd known about cloth nappies from the beginning

I've mentioned before that we use modern cloth nappies (MCN) for Ellie. It was something I felt strongly about, so I took Mr Fork and myself off to an education class while I was still pregnant. It was an eye opener and very useful, but there are things I know now that I do wish I'd known from the start. Here goes:
  • They aren't that much more work than disposables. With a baby, there is lots of washing - clothes changes, burp cloths, bibs, sheets. What's a little extra work to throw in some nappies?
  • The thought of being up close and personal to bodily excretions may seem gross, but you're actually supposed to flush solids from disposables down the loo anyway (most people don't do this). After a few weeks, let's be honest, you're a parent, nothing is going to seem disgusting after you've seen it all, smelt it all and been covered with it too.
  • Try different brands and types of nappies. There are so many options: snap ins, pop ins, all in ones, all in twos, minky, PUL, sized, one-size-fits-most... and the thing is, you won't know until you try them which will suit your baby. They all have the same purpose, but some are better for tummy sleepers, some work better on chunky bubbas or at night, some are designed to wick away moisture faster or contain poosplosions... and what works well while they're a newborn might not work a few months (or weeks!) later.
  • There is nothing wrong with buying second hand. After all, I keep telling Mr Fork, these things are just pretty poop catchers! As with anything though, do your research. Know what the going rate is for brands and types and quality. Learn what the acronyms sellers like to use mean, and ask questions. Make sure you get full disclosure about any stains, smells, crunchiness etc. Buy from a trusted source where the sellers have some kind of verification and safeguards in place. Of course, this means that you could sell yours off when you're done too. There is a genuine market for these items.
What's not to love about a cute fluffy custom butt?
  • Strip wash. Especially if you're buying second hand. This term is thrown around a lot but it took me awhile to figure out how to do it right. Essentially it's a washing process to help break down any buildup in the nappies and assist in getting rid of stains or smells. If the nappies stop being absorbent or start to stink - it's time for a strip wash. It's also the sort of thing that you only do a few times a year. You do a wash using plain old dish washing detergent in warm water, then rinse, rinse, and rinse some more until there are no more bubbles.
  • Sun! Oh my, the sun is your friend. It gets rid of some truly heinous stains. Sun those nappies well because along with being a fabulous stain remover, it's also a great sanitiser and the fresh air makes those babies smell fresh. (On this point too, don't use a drier. It is not your friend although you'll wish it was as you desperately try to dry nappies during rainy winter weather!)
  • Nappy safe products. Nothing will ruin your (admittedly sizable) investment faster than using the wrong products. MCN are quite sensitive. You don't need to use a nappy cream as this can create a barrier in the inserts to stop them absorbing wetness. If you do feel the need to use something, make sure it doesn't contain zinc. I like MooGoo. Washing powders - you don't really need them, just plain water and sun will do the trick. If, like me, it's habit, make sure you use one without enzymes, as that deteriorates the plastic waterproof coating and rots the elastics. I use Aware, or Rockin Green. Canestan is also handy for killing any nasties.
  • On the topic of cleaning, something like a Little Squirt will be your friend. I held off getting one for ages because I was outraged by the price. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw one pop up on my local Freecycle group. Now I couldn't live without it. If you're handy, I've also heard of people making their own, and it really does make fast work of cleaning out nappies.
  • Hang them right. I mentioned elastics earlier, well you want them to last. So don't stretch them when you hang those nappies. Hang your nappies lengthwise to avoid putting unnecessary strain on them.
So many small, cute things in this picture!
So share with me, what kind of nappies do you use? What influenced your choice? Anything you would change? Any questions I can answer about cloth nappies?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing with me. We've been using Zinc on E's rash around his legs, I'll stop that immediately and now I'll strip wash and hang correctly.



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