How many children do you have and how old are they?
My eldest, Lily, is 4.5 years old. My son, Alexander, is 2 years old. I am expecting baby number three in December.
When did you first start using cloth?
I started using cloth nappies from day one with my daughter, then had a short break whilst she was in the Special Care Baby Unit for 4 nights. I then resumed until she potty-trained at 27 months.
What made you decide to start using cloth?
A desire to avoid as much chemicals as possible really. I sniffed the insides of Pampers and Huggies and kind of got put off.
Plus, cloth nappies are loads prettier!
Cloth nappies are a lot bulkier than disposable ones. Does this affect the clothing that you were able to dress your children in?
I liked the big fluffy bum look. I never did use any vest extenders and often just sized up if necessary. If clothes were too tight then leaks could be caused. Leaks are part and parcel of real nappies though.
Did you have to buy a special changing bag to be able to fit the bulky cloth nappies in with everything else you also require when going out?
No, I just used a regular sized bag (not a dedicated changing bag). In the early days I used a little case which stored a few clean and dirty newborn nappies and wipes so everything was held in one container.
I love the wide variety of styles and designs available in cloth nappies. What is your top reason for loving cloth nappies?
Probably the prints and the designs, it just makes nappy changing more interesting - although it can make cloth nappy purchasing a bit addictive! With baby number three I am starting my stash from scratch and there are so many new ones, but for the most part I know which ones I reached for most with my older children and definitely know which ones simply didn't work for us.
Which type of cloth nappies do you use and why?
Generally all in ones, pockets and two-parters for night-times. Wraps and muslins for the early weeks too.
What is your favourite brand of cloth nappy and why?
I'm not entirely sure, but with Alexander I really loved the Real Easy Nappy in extra small; kind of like an older-style of Fuzzibunz but with a sewn in absorbancy and tongue, like a TotsBots EasyFit.
For night time it had to be a TotsBots Bamboozle stretch with a wrap.
Before I started using cloth, we had to deal with everything from nappy sores to poo-spolsions (stained clothing included). Have you ever experienced these whilst using cloth?
Poo-namis, oh yes! Especially with nappies with a narrower crotch (think Itti Bitti's). No nappy rash though.
Do you find that other people judge your decision to be a cloth bum mum, and if so, how do you deal with that?
With my first experience of motherhood came my first experience of parenting negativity. Some believed that cloth nappies were going to be a phase of ours, which we would dismiss pretty quickly. My own mother didn't want me to use them, let alone wash them, at her house. We took more nappies with us and a bigger wet bag and just did a lot of washing when we got home and tried to let any comments pass us by.
Do you make other people use your cloth nappies when looking after your child, or let them use disposables if they are more comfortable doing so?
With Lily there was certainly a degree of reluctance to use cloth nappies by some people, who weren't really impressed by them and therefore unwilling to learn... however some people didn't have a problem at all.
Would you ever consider stopping using cloth nappies and moving to the more mainstream disposable brands?
I have done this with my son.
Cloth nappies didn't seem to work very well for any of us when he reached 5 months of age, he leaked all the time. I could have invested more money and time into finding nappies which could have worked better but seeing as I had made than investment a few years earlier, we couldn't justify the costs.
We switched to Naty eco-disposables followed by Sainsbury's Eco nappies which were brilliant but now discontinued.
What is the hardest thing about using cloth nappies?
Probably getting into a routine of having them washed and dried, especially in Winter and especially if you have a limited supply of your favourites.
How do you clean your cloth nappies?
I use a "Super quick" cold wash which takes 15 minutes, followed by a Cottons wash at 40/50/60 degrees (depending on the severity of soiling and the materials) with a full dose of biological powder (currently using Formil 2 in 1 from Lidl for prewashing baby number three's stash) followed by another cold wash/rinse.
Can you use a tumble dryer to dry your nappies (for example in the winter when the weather does not allow for drying them outside)?
We have a washer-dryer so when deemed suitable we use the dryer. Absolutely love hanging nappies out on the line to dry and admire them, but the tumble dryer is necessary in the winter for us.
What do you do when you go on holiday?
Take nappies with us, or depending on the length of holiday, use disposables.
I have found that using cloth nappies is very addictive, I love the massive variety available... Do you find it's the same for you or are they simply functional?
I know my limits and I can't justify owning a library of nappies containing all of the prints of a particular brand. I think my bank account can breathe a sigh of relief there!
Did you / will you be using a cloth alternative to pull-ups when you move on to potty training?
Lily used cloth right up until potty training and we skipped pull-ups altogether.
My son wears pull-ups not from a potty training angle but it makes the whole changing saga... less of a saga!
Will you use cloth in the future on any other children you may have?
Definitely, I can't wait!
I hope they work well for baby number three.
If you could speak to yourself before starting to use cloth nappies, what is the one piece of advice you would give yourself?
Don't worry about using disposables, for whatever reason. They are not the devil; and there is no point feeling at all guilty about it.
Cloth nappies may or may not work for a number of reasons and they can also develop problems along the way which is totally not unusual.