We’ve gone with cloth nappies. I just hate the idea of wrapping raw sewage in plastic and sticking it in landfill. Who actually reads the side of the pack and empties waste into the toilet first? But I also wanted to be realistic and didn’t want to overload the workload when Riley first arrived home. So we started with a bit of a hybrid, gradually increasing the amount of time per day Riley spends in cloth to the point where she’s a daytime cloth and nighttime sposie wearer. We find the disposables at night keep her drier so we don’t have to change her and risk waking her overnight. (Did you know you can also buy compostable disposable nappies?) Cloth nappies make financial sense over time and we’ve not had any issues doing a load of wash each day – quick pre-rinse for the nappies only then add in the regular stuff and wash as usual (warm not cold). It’s all the rage to dry pail now (just a container with holes for ventilation) – no drowning hazards, no bacteria soup, no extra wear and tear on the elastics and believe it or none of the stench I expected. The ‘fun’ ones get a rinse in the laundry sink and then stay there until the nightly wash.
Most cloth nappies nowadays are shaped just like a disposable and close with snaps or velcro and do not take a degree to assemble even if they come in a few pieces. I initially invested in sized all-in-one nappies though because I was scared of all the options. As my baby was born part heffalump, she outgrew the smalls within 6 weeks and was pushing out of the mediums at 6 months. I’ve subsequently purchased multifit pocket nappies that I adore. They change sizes with four easy snaps so suit from itty bitty bubby to toilet training toddler and the outers can be dried super quick (read: overnight) on the clotheshorse whilst the inserts are in the drier. I sold on the sized nappies to finance my larger stash of the multifits. I stuck with a single brand (Baby Beehinds) as they worked for me but found some of their styles fit her body shape better so do grab/borrow one or two of each format or brand you’re interested in and try them first then ramp up to them full time as you find the type that suits. Cloth nappies make the most adorable fluffy butts and come in a delightful array of colors and patterns such that we’ve totally ditched pants in warmer weather. On a moderate day long socks suffice because who’s got time for pants on and off all the time with the amount of nappy changes? Although when it is pant’s weather you’ll usually need a size larger than expected, or to be selective style wise, to accommodate that extra cushioned butt (And why do you have to change a nappy more often when the baby is young and you’re least experienced at it? Mother nature has a wicked sense of humor…)
We also use cloth wipes – cos its no extra effort if you’re already washing nappies. They hold a lot more mess and for any dried on grime we’ve a water spray bottle to moisten them first. A few packets of cheap flannels from a big chain store (we use the 12 for $5 from Baby Bunting) and you’re set. For going out, we’ve a wet bag (waterproof bag) (with monkeys on it) (from Planet Wise) to bring home used nappies. Its got a pocket for clean nappies, wipes and cream, and a lined main bit for the not so clean nappies.
We have 17 nappies and wash every day, but could wash every second day and survive with that number now she’s a bit older. We got a great wash routine from the facebook group Clean Cloth Nappies Down Under and have had no issues with staining, smells or washing out our nappy creams (MooGoo Nappy Balm and Grovia Magic Stick). Beware the temptation to get all the patterns and colors though, as that’ll ruin their cost effectiveness (and yep – there is a heap of info out there that you still save when including water, electricity and washing powder costs).
The whole using cloth nappies process really hasn’t been the grueling ordeal I originally dreaded plus I get the enviro warm fuzzies and to look at a super cute tooshie. And a final benefit: Its therapeutic folding them… well almost… when you getting ‘help’ 🙂