‘Real nappies’, or how a new shopping addiction begins

Until I looked into buying cloth nappies for The Child (while she was still The Foetus), I had no idea so many types existed. The wonders of modern materials and manufacturing, I suppose. And sewing machines. Wow, the number of work at home mum nappy brands is quite mind-boggling. In the end I chose a two-part system, buying a set of Flips with stay-dry (fleece-topped microfibre) inserts.

What no one tells you is that buying cloth nappies can become a bit of an addiction, which I think I have controlled fairly well, having only gone on to purchase a small number of fitted bamboo and a few pocket nappies. While I could go crazy and try even more, The Child will probably start toilet-training in the next year to 18 months, so that would be a foolish purchase. Plus it means I can start buying training pants!

Fitted nappies are good but there’s something about them I just haven’t taken to.

Pocket nappies are easy to use but if you have a slim kid, they leak around the thighs, thus rendering them inconvenient.

Something I did not discover until recently was that in order to wash microfibre inserts effectively in a front-loading machine, you need to rinse them over and over again (not just a couple of times). The only reason I expect our inserts haven’t failed is because they’ve been rinsed just enough to retain absorbency, but in truth, they needed a good strip wash. So we did that, but to maintain the insert at the desired standard, I’d need to rinse for a full day, which uses far more water than I’m happy to.

I was tempted to go out and buy some (frankly not inexpensive) organic cotton prefold inserts, but did a ‘stay up till 2am’ research session and decided to go old school: we are nappying with cotton muslins. I fold the muslin into the same shape as a Flip insert (using a ‘Jo fold’*), and pop a paper liner on top. The Child’s nappy is checked and / or changed every two to three hours and it seems to be working, with no catastrophic leaks yet. Except virus-laden diarrhoea. But nothing will stop that from exploding.

The best thing about nappying this way is muslins are so incredibly cheap compared to purpose-made inserts, and a booster can always be added if needed. If you still use muslins for wiping up anything else (like your kid’s face), just buy some in a different colour.

Yes, in some ways using disposables would be easier, but our bin would be so full. And smell even worse than it already does. So yes, we’re a bit crunchy. I do a bit more laundry and throw out a bit less.

* Fold the corners in like a kite or diamond, then fold it into a rectangular pad.

Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert on cloth nappies. I base what I’ve written on my experience with cloth-bumming one small person. The Child is not a heavy wetter, i.e. she doesn’t pee a hell of a lot, so your mileage may vary.

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