Starting your cloth nappy journey

Beginning your journey into the world of cloth nappies can be overwhelming as cloth nappies have certainly evolved since the days of our grandparents. While the good old terry towelling squares (commonly known as 'flat nappies') are still available through most department stores, a new type of nappy is now available called a 'Modern cloth nappy'. These modern cloth nappies (MCN's) are available through many online and in-store retail companies across the world and new brands are popping up every day. So let's explore these nappies and their features. 

BENEFITS & DRAWBACKS OF MCN'S

Benefits:

  • There is no need to learn how to fold flat nappies, for waterproof covers or safety pins/snappy's to fasten them.
  • Cloth nappies are a complete nappy system.
  • A good wash routine makes caring for your nappies easy.
  • It is estimated that around $3,400 is saved PER CHILD using cloth nappies full time.
  • Cloth nappies come in a range of amazing prints to suit everyone.
  • By using cloth nappies you are reducing the amount of single use disposable nappies that end up in landfill each year (estimated to be around 800 million nappies in Australia ALONE).
  • Cloth nappies reduce your child's exposure to chemical components otherwise found in disposable nappies and they are an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin.

Drawbacks: 

  • The initial outlay cost of purchasing a full time cloth nappy pack can range between $300 and $600 depending on the brand and extras you purchase.
  • Not every style of cloth nappy will suit each child which is why is it recommended to trail a few brands initially.
  • Cloth nappies can become addictive! 

 

Ok, so now we have explored a bit about the pros and cons let's discuss the components of a cloth nappy and accessories

 

CLOTH NAPPY COMPONENTS

    Shell: A cloth nappy shell or cover is the waterproof outer of the cloth nappy.
    Insert: The insert is made from absorbent materials usually bamboo cotton, hemp or microfiber and this is the component that absorbs the urine.
    Lining: The lining of a cloth nappy can be made from a vast range of materials however the most common are suede-cloth and microfleece that act as a water resistant barrier between the insert of the nappy and bubs skin that aids in keeping the skin dry.
    Liners: There are two types of liners - reusable and disposable. A liner's main purpose is to make the disposal of faecal matter an easier process and in turn making cleaning your cloth nappies easier also.
    • A reusable liner is a piece of suede cloth or more commonly microfleece that is cut to fit on top of the lining of a cloth nappy. This type of liner can be rinsed, washed and reused as the name suggests.
    • Disposable liners usually come on a roll or in a packet of anywhere between 50 to 200 pieces. They are usually constructed of bamboo fibres and claim they are flushable (however this is questionable as no real studies have been conducted on the biodegradability of these liners in our sewage system). They work but disposing of the liner once soiled and make the clean up process of your cloth nappy more manageable. 
    Boosters: A booster is an absorbent "pad" that is used to increase the absorbency of a cloth nappy. They are composed of absorbent materials from hemp, bamboo or microfiber to flannelette and even terry towelling.
    Wetbag: A wetbag is a waterproof or water resistant bag that allows you to store your soiled nappies while out and about. They are useful in containing smells and mess.

    TYPES OF MCN'S 

    There are three main types of modern cloth nappies - Pocket nappies, All-in-ones and All-in-twos

    Pocket nappies have a 'pocket' between the outer shell and the inner lining of the nappy. This pocket usually has an opening at the back or front (sometimes both) that allows you to "stuff" the absorbent insert between the layers. These nappies are very fast to dry and allow you to adjust the absorbency as required.

    All-in-one nappies (AIO) are exactly as the name describes. The all-in-one nappy typically has the absorbent layers sewn beneath the lining of the nappy and is connected to the waterproof outer shell. These nappies are convenient as there is no need to connect the inserts or stuff pockets however they can be quite bulky, take a long while to dry after washing and restrict the ability to boost absorbency.

    All-in-two nappies (AI2) typically consist of a shell and a snap-in insert system. The absorbent insert is usually attached to the shell with snaps and is lined with a water resistant fabric to keep bubs skin dry. This system means the inserts can be removed to allow for faster drying and they often offer the ability to boost the absorbency.

    Night nappies are designed for heavy wetting and are often made from highly absorbent fabrics such as bamboo or hemp. These nappies will often require a cover, however there are dedicated night nappies in the styles mentioned above with added absorbency suitable for night time use. Some 'day' nappies will even allow you to boost for night time use with a dedicated night booster.

     

    SIZES OF MCN'S

    There are typically three size options of Modern cloth nappies - Newborn, sized and One-size-fits-most.

    Newborn nappies are made to be a smaller fit for those newborn bubs. The nappies are typically trimmer and not made with as much absorbency as the larger sizes. Newborn nappies are usually made to fit anywhere from 2kgs (yes you can even buy preemie MCN's) to 6kgs depending on the brand and style.

    Sized nappies are as the name describes. Typically they come in sizes ranging from small, medium, large to extra large and some companies make custom fitting nappies and even adult sizes also. These sized nappies have the advantage of not being as bulky in the smaller sizes as they are made to fit bub at each stage of growth and the absorbency is tailored to suit also. The main downfall of these nappies is you will need to upgrade to a new size as your bub grows.

    One size fits most (OSFM) nappies have rows of snaps at the front and on the wings of the nappy to allow you to adjust the size as your baby grows. They often fit from 3.5kgs up to around 18kgs (toilet training/learning age) depending on the brand and style of nappy. These nappies allow you to get the most use and are the best value for money as you do not need to upgrade as bub grows, simply adjust the size with the rows of snaps.

     

    SNAP PLACEMENT

    There are two options when it comes to snap placement and closure of cloth nappies.

    Side snapping nappies have snaps that snap onto the adjustment snaps on the hip area of the nappy.

    Front snapping nappies have snaps on the 'wings' of a nappy that snap onto the adjustment snap rows at the front of the nappy.

     

    HOW MANY NAPPIES?

    The number of nappies required varies depending on your circumstances. For one child in cloth nappies:

    Part-time it is recommended to purchase between 8 and 15 nappies.

    Full-time it is recommended to purchase between 16 and 24 nappies.

    Night time use it is recommended to purchase between 3 to 5 nappies as these take longer to dry.

    If you have two or more children in cloth nappies you may need double the amount.

     

     WASHING YOUR CLOTH NAPPIES

    Remember to follow the instructions provided by the company for each brand of nappy, failure in doing so may void your warranty. Boho babes cloth nappies wash and care instructions can be found HERE. For more complex washing and cleaning problems head to the Clean Cloth Nappies website.

      

    CHOOSING THE RIGHT NAPPY

    There are many things to consider when choosing the right nappy for your bub and as mentioned above you may need trial many styles and brands before you find one that suits your mini human. Here are some things to think about to guide you in the decision making process.

    Do you want a nappy that is quick to dry?

    • Pocket or AI2 nappies are the fastest drying.
    • If you have more then one child in cloth nappies a fast drying option in recommended!

    Do you mind snapping together or stuffing inserts into shells and pockets or would you prefer the convenience of AIO nappies?

    • Take into consideration your lifestyle - will you have time to be snapping and stuffing? 

    Is your child a light/moderate or heavy wetter?

    • If your child is a heavy wetter the convenience of being able to boost the absorbency of a pocket or AI2 nappy will be beneficial
    • A heavy wetting child may also require boosters to be added in nappies for extra absorbency 
    • If you intend to use cloth nappies at night time boosters will be essential.

    Is your child slim or chubby?

    The build of your child will dramatically influence the style and brand of nappy that will suit them best.

    • Chubby bubs tend to suit side snapping nappies or front snapping OSFM in a larger make or sized nappies suited to their weight. 
    • A slimmer bub is easier to fit for nappies. However, some OSFM nappies are made to be larger to accommodate for the allowed adjustments as bub grows. This sometimes means that some styles of OSFM nappies will be too large around the legs for some slim bubs. 

     

    SUGGESTIONS

    Ask lots of questions - most companies love answering questions and guiding cloth nappy newbies through their decision making process. Some companies offer trial packs and these options are a fantastic way to trial a nappy on your bub (usually at a discounted price) before investing in a complete stash.

    Trial packs - Most companies offer a trial pack of their nappies (usually at a discounted price) that allows you to try that particular style and brand on your bub before investing in a full time pack.

    Water sprayer - These nifty little contraptions are amasing! They can be purchased online or at your local hardware store and connect to your toilets exterior plumbing, allowing you to rinse your nappies directly into the toilet.

     

     For any questions in regards to starting your cloth nappy journey or for assistance in choosing the right nappy for you please feel free to contact the Boho Babes Cloth Nappies team.