Embrace Your Inner Hippie and Go For Cloth (nappies that is)
When it comes to nappies, no one can ever really say they are overjoyed at the prospect of changing them. But the very real fact of having a baby is that there will be lots of wet and dirty nappies so you'd better just get used to it!
I prefer cloth myself personally, mostly because I just don't like the idea of contributing so much crap (pardon the pun) to landfill. I used traditional terry squares and pilchers with The Eldest One and The Social One for quite a decent amount of time, before switching to disposables. But oh the pain of paying for that box of nappies, and the irritation when you suddenly realise at dinner time with toddlers running around being cranky that you are just about out of nappies and have to run (with them!) to the supermarket!
Then there is also the allergy factor. The Boy turned out to be allergic to a few of the brands of disposables, so I ended up having to buy THE most expensive nappies out there for the duration of his toddler pre-toilet trained years. So with Little Miss Penelope I wanted to see what the options were. I really didn't want to buy disposables, but on the other hand I'll admit, using traditional cloth squares is a pain in the butt.
So I did what I do best, and I researched! I looked at dozens of different types of nappies, I learned cloth nappy lingo (it took me the longest time to figure out what MCN meant; modern cloth nappy)! I researched prices and types and I drew up comparison tables. I even sat there one night and figured out just how many nappies I thought the Little Miss would be likely to use in her time before being toilet trained. (Yes.....I was bored....)
I really liked the patterns you could get with the all-in-ones, but I wasn't overly sold on the cost factor. At an average of around $20 each, it gets pretty expensive to buy a proper stockpile! Especially if you get sized fitted nappies, rather than ones that grow with your baby because then you have to buy a whole new set when your baby outgrows the small ones! I didn't like that idea.
So then I stumbled across these. Real Nappies are exactly as they sound. They are real cloth nappies, called a prefold. Basically, they are a rectangle of fabric that is sewn into three sections, with the middle section having extra layers sewn into it. You fold it into thirds and place it inside the cover, chuck a liner on top and you're done! Seriously, these are the easiest things to negotiate!
They are sized, which means you do have to buy bigger prefolds and covers as your baby grows. BUT it is economical. You can either buy the sizes individually, or get the birth to potty pack.
This pack is amazing! It contains literally everything you need to use cloth nappies until your baby is toilet trained. The cost is about $550. Which is pretty reasonable considering if you spend $33 per box of nappies (on average for a box of Huggies), and you use an average 8-10 nappies in a 24 hour period for the first few months, that's a box roughly every 12 days or so. So in just 3 months, it's a cost of approximately $200 for nappies. That doesn't include wipes or creams, just nappies. So over a 24 month period, that's around $1600. And that's a pretty conservative figure really. Bearing that in mind, $550 for every nappy to see you through to potty training is pretty decent really.
We actually got our nappies for about $250. We got the whole Birth to Potty pack from a lady who was selling them on Gumtree. They were brand spanking new. I guess she changed her mind about using them and her loss is absolutely without a doubt our gain. I would have paid the full price though, these just came up a few months before I was due and we seized the opportunity!
But back to the logistics of using cloth. We use cloth wipes as well, because if you are going to chuck a load of nappies in the wash every few days, you may as well include wipes! My awesome Mum made our wipes for us (along with burp cloths and wraps and blankets and quilts - isn't she wonderful!?), so they didn't cost us anything. But honestly, they are pretty cheap anyway. Ours are about 20cm square, and they are simple overlocked flannelette squares. That's it. No fancy anything. They work amazingly. We simply use Johnsons Baby Lotion (the pink stuff that smells amazing!) on each wipe at change time. And yes, that includes pooey nappies as well. It just takes a few more wipes (mostly we just use one at each change).
I bought a good stainless steel pedal bin with a bucket inner and a twin pack of net laundry underwear bags. The kind you would normally throw your socks and undies in the wash in. I line the inner bucket of the bin with one, chuck the nappies and wipes in at each change and close the lid. The liner is flushable and goes straight down the toilet, so there's not usually much left on the nappy. Then we do a load of nappies every two to three days. I pick up the bag with all the nappies in it, and I chuck the whole thing in the washer. So no pulling poopy nappies out of the bag either! I use our normal detergent (which is homemade and I'll post the recipe soon), and a hot wash. Then I chuck them in the dryer for 90 minutes and fold them. It takes maybe half hour extra to collect them up, put them in the washer, transfer them to the dryer and fold. So a half hour every two to three days. It takes no extra time to put them on her.
Usually I have 5 nappies premade and ready to go, but if not, it takes a second to make them up. Really. Seriously. A couple of seconds. And they really aren't that bulky either. Little Miss is now in the infant size, she lasted in the newborn size from 2 weeks up till about 10 weeks. She has plenty of room to grow in this size. She rarely has a nappy rash, except when we put her in the odd disposable if we are going to be out for a long time (and that's only for convenience, not because she couldn't wear it for that long). She wears them overnight with no issues at all, and she has never leaked anything out of them, ever.
In case you couldn't tell, I LOVE these nappies. BEST. PURCHASE. EVER.
And now on to some gratuitous Penelope shots. She's wearing her Real Nappies in all of them so you can see how not bulky they really are.
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