I’m back!! Happy to announce we survived the first month with a newborn. Even happier to announce I’ve stuck with the cloth nappy routine since we arrived home from hospital.
Seeing people are only vaguely aware of the whole cloth nappy thing, I thought I’d share with you exactly what’s involved.
The nappy station
Here I have a few covers set up ready to go, plus all my spare liners. I use Green Nappy Co nappies (and Bubblebubs All-In-Two nappies as backup). I use these brands because they are Australian owned AND made. There are also the usual bum wipes (I use biodegradeable natural ones). You can also use nappy liners for your cloth nappies which makes the clean up process much easier (the liner catches the poo for easy disposal). These liners are Peapods and are toilet flushable and biodegradable.
I have two bins; one to hold soiled cloth nappies, the other to hold rubbish (soiled bum wipes etc). I chose pedal opening bins with a lid. Inside the bin is a bucket with a handle. It is kept dry (you do not soak cloth nappies).
I also have Moltex Oko biodegradable eco nappies for occasional use. I’m currently using them at night while my baby is recovering from nappy rash. These nappies have amazing eco credentials however they are three times the cost of a Huggies nappy! (Moltex Oko nappies are around 70c each, Huggies nappies are around 25c each).
Putting a nappy on
This is relatively easy. It depends what kind of cloth nappy you use, but The Green Nappy Co nappy is a fitted system with an insert that simply sits in the nappy cover. I have all my covers set up with an insert ready to go. Often you can reuse the cover and just put a new insert in. There is the option to also place a liner on top of the insert. Above is a great video that shows how the nappy works.
Removing a nappy
I open the nappy and remove the liner (if using) – placing it in the rubbish bin ready to be flushed down the toilet later (if you use a flushable liner). I then remove the insert, placing it in the nappy bin (note the importance of a pedal opening bin!). I check the nappy cover for spills. If its clear I grab a new insert (and new liner, if using) and place it inside the nappy and then place the nappy back on the baby.
If the nappy cover is soiled I put the whole thing in the nappy bin and get a fresh nappy cover & insert.
When the poo becomes more solid I’ll probably come up with an alternative system where I go and flush the liner soon after removing it. Or keeping it in the nappy and flushing it in the laundry toilet when I do the washing (if I can stand the smell after sitting there all day!).
You can choose to use a preventative nappy balm (preventing nappy rash) or a medicated cream if the baby is suffering or recovering from nappy rash. This is important as a wet cloth nappy can be slightly damp on baby’s bum which causes/irritates nappy rash. Disposables are very dry which is why we keep them for occasional use.
I wash my nappies every day. I only bought 4 newborn size covers which can easily all be soiled in one day. The more covers you have the less frequently you have to wash.
Every morning I remove the bucket from the bin and take it to the laundry. I stack the nappies in an inserts pile and covers pile. I then rinse any poo off into the sink. (This is only applicable while it’s runny newborn poo – once its more solid the liners should take care of the poo, which will be put in the toilet and there should be minimal rinsing). I put all the inserts into the washing machine and then fasten all the Velcro together on the covers before putting them in. As per the instructions I use low-chemical eco detergent and only a quarter of the recommended amount. As its winter and I’m not usually able to dry them in the sun, I use a warm wash on a long cycle. In summer I’ll use a cold wash and let the sun bleach the smell out.
I then wipe down the laundry bench and the inside of the bucket with an eco detergent spray. The bucket then goes back into the nursery (before I forget!!).
When the washing cycle is done I hang all the nappies out. The best (ideal) place is outside in the sun. Not only do they dry quicker, but the sun acts as a natural bleach which rids the nappies of any smell and actually bleaches stains out. Unfortunately for me its currently winter so I’ ve mainly had to hang them inside next to the heater.
Obviously I have to time the washing and hanging of the nappies around naps. I have on occasion put baby in a sling so I can get it done.
When my baby got nappy rash we put him into the eco nappies fulltime but quickly went through our small stockpile. I was annoyed to, as an emergency, go and buy a small packet of Huggies to get us through before we could get to the store that sold the eco nappies. I felt the most enormous guilt at each nappy change. The rubbish piled high and I thought about how that was going to take 100 years to break down – how the nappies would probably outlive my baby. This kind of reasoning is how I came to choose using cloth nappies.
I’d say having cloth nappies takes about a maximum of half an hour of my day more than disposables would. It’s really not that much considering how much landfill I’m saving the environment!
I’d love to know if anyone has a better system in place? It’s funny how you come up with your own systems without much guidance even if it’s not the most efficient). Heck, I had only changed a few nappies in my life before having my own baby let alone figuring out a cloth nappy routine! This system came into place after some trial and error but it seems to work for me!