Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Gratitude: Reusable cloth nappies

As disposable nappies continue to fly off the shelves (if they even got on the shelf in the first place – many of my local supermarket shelves are painfully empty every time I drop past), today I’m grateful that my husband and I decided to jump on the reusable cloth nappy bandwagon before our child was born.

Showing off her Winnie the Pooh nappy

When we first brought our baby home, we were using disposable nappies because she didn’t fit into the One Size Fits Most nappies that we had bought. We only used the disposable nappies for a month, but the amount of waste it generated horrified me. We were emptying a 30L bin probably twice a week.

Washing day

When we switched to reusable cloth nappies, our laundry load went up dramatically. Most of my anxiety about using cloth nappies was around how to get the nappies cleaned. But thanks to the goddesses at Clean Cloth Nappies, that got sorted out pretty easily. If you’re thinking of making the switch to reusable cloth nappies, don’t let the laundry hold you back. It’s really not that hard!

Nappies prepped and ready to go

Also, there’s no better satisfaction than:

  • Seeing a drawerful of clean nappies prepped and ready to go
  • Not having to worry about running out of disposable diapers
  • Knowing that this contributes to a lighter footfall on the planet

If you’re considering switching to reusable nappies, here are some answers to FAQs to get you going:

What types of cloth nappies are available and which should I buy?

There are several types of reusable cloth nappies available, including:

  • Flats and prefolds: Flats are the traditional cloth nappy, typically made with terry towelling or muslin. You will need to fold these into a nappy-like shape. Prefolds are similar, but require less folding. I don’t have these in my stash so can’t really comment on how they work. Both are the absorbent part of the nappy only, so will need some sort of waterproof cover to go over the top.
  • All in one: These are, as the name suggests, all in one cloth nappies (often abbreviated to ai1), with the waterproof part and the absorbent part all stitched together. These are the closest to a disposable diaper – simply button or velcro on to your baby.
  • All in two (ai2): These are modern cloth nappies with the absorbent part (also known as the insert) of the nappy separate from the waterproof cover. The advantage of these over the ai1 is that they typically dry faster. Also, since the insert usually takes a bit longer to dry than the cover, if you get a bunch of extra inserts, you can put more clean nappies back into rotation faster.
  • Fitted: This is a kind of nappy that is shaped and fitted like a disposable nappy, but is buttoned or velcroed on to your baby. These are made of absorbent material only, and will need a separate waterproof cover on top.

My stash is all made up of ai2 nappies, plus a few fitted nappies and their covers for night time.

How many nappies should I buy?

The answer depends on how often you choose to wash your nappies, and how many nappies your baby typically goes through in a day. Newborns use more nappies than older babies. I tend to change my baby every 2-3 hours, and she sleeps in her night nappy for 12 hours at night. So that works out to 4-6 nappies per day (excluding the night nappy). I wash every 3 days, and allow 2 days to dry in the winter, so to make sure I have enough nappies, I need to cater for 5 days’ worth, which is around 30 nappies for daytime, plus another 4 dedicated night nappies.

What are night nappies?

Night nappies are extra-absorbent nappies. They can be the same nappies as you use during the day, with extra inserts to boost absorbency, or you can get dedicated ones. I use fitted nappies with extra inserts and a wool cover over the top for added protection against leaks.

How do I get the poop off the nappies?

I use disposable bamboo liners. They help to catch most of poo and if there’s any left in the nappy, I wash it off in the laundry sink with a brush. If you’re in Australia like me, Kmart sells rubber tipped brushes in the laundry section that are perfect for the job.

How do I clean the nappies properly?

Go to the Clean Cloth Nappies website for detailed instructions. You will need to do at least 2 washes – a prewash to get the worst of the poop and pee off, and a main wash to get the nappies really clean.

If that all sounds too intimidating, it’s honestly not. Do give it a try. Aside from the high upfront cost (each nappy costs from $15 – $35), you will be saving money in the long term, and living a more sustainable lifestyle too.

What are you grateful for today?

2 comments on “Gratitude: Reusable cloth nappies

  1. MsAdventure
    April 14, 2020

    I’ve just started using reusable nappies over the past couple of weeks and I honestly wish I’d got started with them sooner! Yours are gorgeous, I love those colourful fleecy ones!

    • Penne Cole
      April 14, 2020

      Definitely. I’ve never regretted making the switch. And yes, those lovely patterns are such a bonus! The fleecy or minky ones are from Baby Bare. They’ve got great prints and really good quality too.

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