If you have heard my story, you will know that my own cloth nappy journey didn’t start off as well as I had planned. Like a baby learning to walk, I too was learning the ins and outs of not only first time parenting, but how to take on this new behaviour of adapting to another reusable item in life.
Least to say, that I failed miserably attempting to use cloth nappies. I knew no one else using cloth and once I had gone through the handful of cheap ones, I slipped back to disposables.
I now know you don’t know what you don’t know and my failing with cloth nappies wasn’t because I was bad at using reusables, I just didn’t equip myself with the right information and didn’t reach out for any help.
For my second child, I was determined to make it work. And I did. Even though I still came up against my own stumbling blocks…leaks, not getting that fit right, forgetting to wash, I had the correct information and support behind me that I could start a new day again.
From my experience, I’ve put together 7 points I wish that I had known before I started with cloth nappies
1. Cheapest is not always best
The saying if you get what you pay for rings true for cloth nappies. You are investing in something that you want to use over and over again. Investing in a quality brand of nappy will last the distance for at least two, even three children. The upfront cost may seem high, however, it will look a lot more appealing if you have ever added the cost of disposables over the nappy-ing time of your child/children.
2. …however your wallet and your bin will thank you!
By always reusing your nappies, your wallet will thank you for not having to add the cost of a box of disposable nappies to your weekly shopping bill. Your kerbside bin will thank you for not loading it with single-use disposables, especially if you have two kids in nappies!
3. Getting a solid wash routine is gold
Yes, there will be washing (even babies alone will create more washing). To make it as easy as possible, I make my wash routine work around me. For example; before I leave the house, I put the pre-wash cycle on (I will even shoo the kids outside so I do not miss the rogue nappy that needs washing!). Then, when I arrive home, I separate any pocket nappies and inserts and click on the main wash. Done!
If you are looking for more info about wash routines etc, definitely check out www.clothnappyhelp.com.au
4. Stop researching!
What works for one person’s baby may not work for your baby. There are a lot of opinions out there one what brands work best. My top advice: go for ones that you will like to use the best (velcro, snaps, prefolds ,etc.), go for ones that will best suit your situation – do you have limited drying space in the winter and need a quick turnover option? Can you get away with having a large stash to choose from? You will get to know what words from trial and your own preference.
5. The difference between an eco disposable and a regular disposable
I wanted to do the right thing for the environment and when I wasn’t using cloth, I looked at eco alternatives. Even though there are eco labelled disposable nappies out there, when it comes down to it, they all go to landfill!
More on the eco disposable issue here
6. Reusable liners vs flushable liners
As your baby moves onto eating solids, their output will definitely change. Many people use a liner to make solids removal easier and sometimes prevents stains and build up from barrier creams.
Flushable liners actually cause havoc to the waste water system. Whilst they say they are biodegradable, the sewer water pipes are not the correct place to ‘biodegrade’, rather block up the filters and pipes. Using reusable liners allows for easier solid removal plus you can soak/treat the liner. A great option to protect your nappies if you experience stains.
7. It does get easier
Newborns require at least 12 nappy changes a day. As they get older, the number of changes reduces. Plus, as you get to know your baby, you will work out your own rhythm around changing/feeding/sleeping (refer to point one!)
The weeks as a first-time parent can be unpredictable. To some, using cloth nappies can seem daunting and an extra task on top of caring for your newborn. I know how this feels and I have been there. If you are going for cloth and the going gets tough – give yourself a break mumma!
Take 5, catch up and start again next week. When this happened to me, (and I found the will power to get back on the cloth wagon), I would use the weekend to get my act together and have everything ready for Monday to hit the ground running. Better to rest than to throw in the (cloth) towel to make for a successful cloth nappy time for your baby.
Keen to make the switch? I’d love to help you out. Book in your free 1:1 consultation with me – Emma
About the Author: Emma Avery is the owner and founder of Cloth Baby – modern cloth nappies. As a mother of two, she has spent the time to test and trail a variety of cloth nappies, now passing on her insights and learnings so that other parents can use cloth nappies easily and successfully.
After years of spruiking sustainability messages in local and state government roles, she saw a gap in the conversation about modern cloth nappies. Emma helps parents who want to reduce their waste impact on the planet and make the switch to reusables during their transition to parenthood.
A bin nerd at heart, Emma is a guru in all aspects of sustainability. With a degree in environmental management, she continues to communicate the sustainable living message through podcast interviews, pubic speaking, local radio shows, guest blogging and her blog writing on clothbaby.com.au