Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cloth Nappies 101

A good friend of mine recently decided to make the switch to cloth nappies. She wanted to save the planet, save money, and loved how cute ‘modern cloth nappies’ are.

However, she found the process something just short of completely overwhelming. Surfing cloth nappy sites on the internet was bamboozling, visiting the cloth nappy information centre left her more confused that ever. It was information overload.

Cloth nappies (or cloth diapers for you in the US) are actually very very simple. There are a lot of choices though, and you'll go mad if you try to look into every nappy on the market. I know - I tried!

So, here are my very basic pointers for a very simple switch to cloth.

- Firstly, for babies past six months, pocket nappies are hands down the most popular. Don't even worry about other styles. Really.

- For little babies, fitted nappies with a PUL cover are definitely the most popular option for containing that explosive baby poo.

- There is no substitute for actually trying a nappy on your baby. Babies are different shapes and sizes, so there is no such thing as a perfect nappy for all babies. Hire kits are a great option, or see if your friends will let you borrow a few to try.

- Beware of cheap nappies that are sold at mainstream baby shops. Most of the time when I hear someone say that cloth didn't work for them, its because they tried a particularly cheap and nasty pocket nappy you can buy at the Baby Factory.

- Don't soak your nappies. Just take out the inserts, pop everything in a dry nappy bucket with a bit of baking soda in the bottom, and leave till washing day.

- Nappy rash creams are the enemy. They build up on the nappy and will stop them from working. If you need a nappy cream, use a disposable liner or try a product like 'Curash' which is a powder and doesn't create a residue.

- Don't beat yourself up if you don't go 100% cloth all at once. Even 1 disposable a day will be 365 nappies that don't go to landfill. That's a lot of nappies.

- Be prepared to become a little obsessed. Once you see how easy cloth nappies are, and how much less rubbish you put out each week you'll be hooked. Cloth wipes, cloth sanitary pads, even cloth toilet paper ... who knows where you'll end up!

For more information on cloth nappies, Organic Baby has a great section for New Zealand cloth nappies, and will very soon have information on US suppliers as well. The Nappy Network in New Zealand has great information, and operates a number of hire kits, which are well worth investigating. Good luck!


Megan said...

I have to say I was (am) into looking at every nappy out there.
We started off with the old cloth squares and are still using them today. We did have a lot of troubles when Ara was a newborn at night but then we found Moltex and now use one of these a night...we don't compost them and feel that we should as one nappy a night still mounts up.
We now have the pea pod covers which I use with our cloth squares and the pea pod liners as well...the cloth squares just dry so fast that I have not really found anything else...and so many uses for them from mop ups to Ara using them as wraps for her toys.
Oh nappies and the choices.

Anonymous said...

There are really an overwhelming number of products out there!

I used Nikky wool covers and prefold square diapers. I never soaked them either, and stains were really minimal. And those diapers are so soft we couldn't bear to even give them away, because my husband looks on them as a lifetime supply of lint-free cloths :) I never had trouble with rash cream buildup, but I can see how that might happen.

It's hard not to feel guilty over the whole diaper issue. First we used a diaper service, then washed our own diapers (and homemade cloth wipes, which worked great), and then with our second child used disposables because the laundry became too overwhelming. As you say, one diaper a day is a lot kept out of the landfills, so even some effort makes a difference. We usually went with disposables for travel, which felt like a good compromise.

We've just now stopped using any diapers at all, and I am glad, so glad! Now one of these days maybe I'll get out the cloth sanitary pads again...

Anonymous said...

Great post! I love cloth diapering and couldn't imagine using disposables now. At first there was a bit of a learning curve, but now I can attach a prefold onto my wiggling toddler just as fast as I can a disposable.

I am one of those people who went crazy over cloth. Cloth diapers, wipes, mama pads and toilet paper...we do it all!

clareb said...

Have just forwarded a link to this post to a friend with a new baby that wants to use cloth - this is great, thanks.

EcoMum said...

Hi, you don't know me but I am Lianne from Organic Baby in New Zealand! Thanks for mentioning Organic Baby in your blogs. Just to let you know our web site changed in June...we now have a US web site too - just change your link to www.organicbabynz.com