Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Cloth Nappy Clinic - Cloth Nappy Q&A With Budding Smiles

Beebies Ambassador & fluffy bum lover Hannah answers your Cloth Nappy Queries! 
"I have a dog which everyone tells me will love to eat the baby's poo so have to be careful to keep all nappies away from him anyway so the less time in the house the better."
As soon as you take the nappy off, it goes straight into either a pail (bucket with a mesh wash bag inside) or a wet bag. You can store these wherever you like to keep them away from the dog. Alternatively, you can put disposable liners if you want to put the poo straight into the bin, you can get rolls of thin disposable sheets to place over the inserts or some brands such as gNappies do fully biodegradable inserts so you throw the whole thing away.
"The idea of having dirty nappies sitting in my house until I can be bothered to do a wash feels a bit gross (do they stink?) and a bit more pressure, as does having to carry them home with me if I'm out."

I look at it this way; Disposables will go in your bin and whether you have a specific nappy bin or use your general household one, they end up smelling even with the lid on! You wouldn't be taking every single disposable straight out to the wheelie bin so you'll always have them in your house for some of the time and I genuinely find that my wet bag full of cloth nappies smells a whole lot less than my bin with disposables in. They do take up extra room in your changing bag when out and about, but again you use a smaller wet bag to hold dirty ones in so they aren't in contact with anything else in your bag.
"They look gorgeous but if I'm constantly washing them will they stay looking that nice? How durable are they?"
Believe it or not, there is a huge market for 'pre-loved' nappies and in the picture of some of my stash, about half of them I've bought from new and the other half I bought from other people who'd used them with their children - Can you tell which are which? If you wash them as per the instructions and don't use too much wash powder as it'll build up on the fabric, they can last for years!
"How do I wash them? What temp and with any special detergents? Are they easy to get clean? I don't like the idea of having to touch them more than I have to."
You will get various opinions on precisely how to wash them, but my process is this:
1) Rinse with a couple of drops of lavender oil in water put in the drum.
2) 60 degree cotton wash with half your normal wash amount of non-bio. There are again differing opinions as to whether you should or shouldn't use gels/powders/liquids etc but as a general rule you need to use about half the regular amount to avoid build-up on the cloth. You can get specific detergents from various brands but I have to admit I've not really felt the need to try them.
3) I hang mine outside come rain or shine! The rain can give them an extra strip wash whilst the sun (or even just UV rays on a cloudy day) will help reduce any stains that may be left behind.
"Do I have to do a special wash just for them or do I wash them with other items, is this hygienic? It feels a bit wrong to put poo in the washing machine, wee ones I'm not so bothered about."
If you have enough nappies, you can just do a wash every couple of days which are just nappies. I tend to wash mine every other day roughly, so washing half of my stash whilst using the other. New baby poo is so runny that it's not like putting an adult poo in the machine, it'd be more hassle to try and clean it off first than it is just to chuck them in! Once baby is weaning and doing 'proper' poo, you can tip it into the toilet as it'll just roll off.
How many do I need to keep me in business! Is there a budget range or a bulk pack to buy with everything I'll need? What should I be looking at paying and how much will this save me over say a year of using disposables?
There are so many brands out there of all prices, so it really depends on which ones you get on with. Go to the Council and get a free trial pack but make sure they give you a variety of brands to try - I told them off because they only gave me one brand! Buying new isn't cheap at the onset, but does save you a load over the course of baby's nappy-wearing days. I recently read statistics from Close Parent which state that, on average, disposables will cost £800-£1200 over 2 1/2 years, whereas a full-time reusable kit (depending on brand) will cost £90-£300 from new and can be used for subsequent babies too.
You can buy full kits from one brand or buy individual nappies from a variety, which is what I've done because there are a few I like!
"Disposables look magic on the adverts, I like the sound of 'drawing the moisture away from babies skin' so how do cloth nappies compare to this? Are they good at holding it all in too?"
I can honestly say that I've not had a major leak from using a cloth nappy, only a couple of times where they've become damp but that's more my fault for not changing Toby in time! I have, on the other hand, had quite bad leaks from one of the biggest brands of disposables where a poosplosion has gone right up Toby's back.
Yes, disposables do draw the moisture away, but they can only do that due to the chemicals that are in them. Because Toby can feel that he's wet, he squirms about and that tells me he needs changing and because it's only completely natural fibres on his skin, he's never once had nappy rash.
"I definitely wouldn't win any awards for my dedication to the environment, obviously if it helps its a bonus but my main and only real concerns are how would this product benefit me and my baby."
As I said briefly above, there are zero chemicals in cloth nappies and new fabrics are coming out all the time which are so lovely for baby's skin. There's the long-term financial benefit for you too and you get a baby with the cutest tush in town (except Toby's obviously, I'll share the accolade with you!)
"I didn't know you couldn't use any barrier creams until you told me so what if he's getting sore?"
Oil-based barrier creams can stay on the surface and reduce the absorbency of your nappies, so you can use creams, but make sure they are oil-free.
"Reasons I'm considering using them......
- They look so cute.
- I like the idea of not having to continually buy nappies and wont run the risk of running out.
- I already feel like the four packs of disposables I bought in bulk are taking up loads of room and I know they wont last all that long. Aldi is ages away and they don't deliver so its nice not to have to go shopping for nappies."
All good points! They seem more daunting than they actually are with all the choice that's out there. I don't think you could ever try every type of nappy out there, so I'd say do some research about the different types (birth-to-potty, pocket, all in one, wraps etc) and try a couple of each and see what you get on best with. If you do ever buy some and don't get on with them, they do hold their value pretty well so you can sell it on and buy a different one!

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