I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

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I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  floatingworld on Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:59 am

Ali is one now, and so far we have been using disposables.
The pros are:
- very convenient
- quite cheap (the brand I use here is A$15 for 50)
- pretty absorbent
- Ali hasn't had any nappy rash etc.

The cons are:
- I feel like an environmental vandal
- Nasty chemical smell
- Nasty cartoon characters across his butt
- I worry about him having plastic / chemicals next to his skin all day

SO I have been thinking about trying out some cloth nappies, to use at least part of the time. I would still use disposables if we were travelling, and maybe overnight. I read somewhere (maybe Angry Chicken) that prefolds + Bummi's Whisper Wraps work well, so am planning to get some to try. But before I outlay lots of $ I thought I would check and see if any of you lovely ladies had cloth nappy tips. Have you tried them? What worked? What didn't? Did the washing drive you crazy?

Ali is a somewhat (ahem) chubby thighed baby, and from what I've read this might affect which brands are best to use.
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  amylou on Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:37 am

I cloth diaper part time, and it really is not much of a hassle at all. We use the cloth ones at home most of the time and at night, but I use disposables if we go out or over to Grandma's etc. I can't say though that I have tried a bunch of different diapers because I only have one kind- they are the Bum Genuis one size all-in-ones: http://www.bumgenius.com/one-size.php.
They are really nice and thick and absorbant- the insert is microfiber- and I have had no problems with leaks or anything. The other nice thing is that they fit baby from 7lbs all the way up to 35lbs (or so they say anyway), with adjustable snaps. I went with those because for the price I know that she can wear them longer than the ones that are sized. All in ones are great, they basically go on like all other diapers with velcro tabs and have nice waterproof covers (that are soft, not crinkly plastic). You just pull them apart- the cloth insert from the cover to wash. The only negative thing I can say is that they are bulky- it is hard to get onesies snapped at the bottom over them, unless I put her in a bigger size- sometimes I laugh a bit too because she looks like a little eggplant in her clothes! Razz I would say if you are only doing it part time around 8 diapers to start with should be enough? That is how many I started with. It would depend on how often you want to launder of course. I do a load about every other morning, sometimes more like once a day. A pail I found was key too- I just bought a small trash can with a lid and just drop them in. The really only mildly yucky part is rinsing off poop- I have a diaper rinser thing that attatches to my toilet and I just rinse them a bit. They say though just dropping any solids into the toilet is enough, especially if you breast feed, it will all just come out in the wash! I know that when I was shopping online for diapers some of the sites offered a starter variety pack, so that you could try different kinds..
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  kat on Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:05 pm

Hmm, I've sort of considered using some cloth nappies too, but the problem is that it is pretty hard to change J anymore since he's such a wriggler. So we switched to the pull up pant type disposable nappies a few months ago. They are great (no nappy rash ever and are easy to get on even when J is on the move and crawling) and seem to be the same price as what you pay in Australia (1380 yen for between 40 and 50). I also though feel pretty crap putting out these massive bags of dirty nappies.....

BTW Suzy, what brand do you use in Australia if you don't mind me asking? We tried a bunch while we were back but mainly used snugglers. I've been impressed by all of the Japanese brands actually (they seem much less bulky than the Aussie brands) and they are super sleek until they get soaked with pee of course.

Also Amy I know it's a bit different since Maggie is still a bit younger than J, but how often do you change her during the day? With disposables we really only need to change him about three times - would you have to change more often if you switch to cloth?? Oh and once the babes start walking wouldn't a big bulky cloth nappy kinda get in the way??
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  kat on Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:15 pm

Also Karen Cheng had some good posts on cloth vs disposable nappies.

http://www.karencheng.com.au/2007/11/11/cloth-nappies-vs-disposable-nappies/

http://www.karencheng.com.au/2007/12/04/bumwear-cloth-diapers/

She tried out a brand called Bumwear and they also have training pants which might be an option for us - they look pretty cute!
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  studiotamar on Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:21 am

I'm always one for "all things in moderation" and I started cloth-diapering with the promise to myself that if it made me crazy, I would stop. Well, so far the most annoying thing about it is that baby's clothes are no longer cut for cloth diapers, so sometimes you really have to shove their bums into their pants! That's it. Of course, I should add that I am lucky enough to have a washing machine & dryer in our house - actually, about half a meter from the baby's changing table. If I had to wash the diapers at a laundromat or in the basement of a big apartment building, I think it would be a much bigger hassle.

Another thing is that there is a bit of trial-and-error involved in finding the right type of cloth diaper. Initially I had read mixed reviews of the pocket and aio diapers so I decided to go with the old standby of prefolds and wraps, which are also much cheaper. But those totally didn't work for me. It was hard for me to close the cover so that it would completely seal in the diaper. So eventually I switched to BumGenius and they have been fantastic. Since they are pricey, I found an online store that ships them free (Nicki's Diapers, but I have a feeling it might be US shipping only, unfortunately) and built up our stash gradually. (I still need to re-sell my fitteds and covers but haven't got around to it yet...)

Check out the reviews and boards at Diaperpin.com - that was a helpful site to me. I hope this helps! Ask away if you have any more questions. Smile
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  amylou on Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:07 pm

They are bulky- but the main part of the bulk seems to be in the backside not width wise in between the legs really so i don't think that they would be too hard to walk in- just a guess on my end.. It would be good padding for little butts learning to walk! As far as how often I change Maggie- I would say about 6-7 times during the main part of the day until she goes to bed. She has stopped pooping every single time I feed her thank goodness so that helps. Usually 1 diaper gets her throught the night until she wakes up in the early, early morning. The microfiber inserts are really very absorbant ...I agree too that having my washer and dryer close and available is a real big help.
Adding on here:
I don't think you have to change them more frequently, but it probably will depend on the setup you choose- I think the old fashioned cloth and covers are not as absorbant as the newer materials...
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  floatingworld on Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:25 am

Thanks so much for the information, Amy & Tamar. It's good to hear that cloth nappies don't have to be crazy-making. We have a washing machine, dryer and line at home, so I could probably keep on top of the laundry without too much angst.

Kat: right now I use the Coles own brand nappies for Ali (I think they call them "You'll Love Coles" or something like that). We started off using Huggies, but then when he was about 5 or 6 months old they began to leak overnight, so I tried a few other brands, and I liked the Coles ones best. The Mamia ones from Aldi are also pretty good, but Coles is closer than Aldi. Also: Ali has always been a nightmare to change too, but recently he has got much better. For the first time since he learned to roll over he's staying on his back for changing. Maybe he's worked out that it's over faster that way? It makes life much easier!

This is the post I read about cloth nappies on Angry Chicken (it has a recipe for homemade wipe solution too)
http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2007/06/starting_to_nes.html

And there were a couple of good posts on Ask Moxie too:
http://www.askmoxie.org/2006/03/qa_cloth_diaper.html
http://www.askmoxie.org/2006/04/cloth_diapers_p.html
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  pnksweater on Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:25 am

We started cloth diapering from about day 20. I wish we had started from day one. All of my poopy blowouts, poo-splosions, and dear god no one will let us sleep in their beds again poo moments happened in disposables. We do keep disposables around for travel, baby sitters, and for my husband who gets up at 6 am with Olive. He uses cloth diaper, too, but says that first thing in the morning a disposable is easier. He's letting me sleep in so who am I to argue?

We went the cheapest rout at first, prefolds and PUL lined mother ease covers with Velcro tabs. I used a snappy to fasten the prefold, something many people consider optional. Now that Olive is a wiggler and too big to fasten her prefolds we use Mother Ease One Size diapers and Air Flow covers with SNAPS. I wish I had started using snaps exclusively a lot sooner. The covers look new even after washing them a hundred times. Velcro gets really gross and snags the cover fabric in the wash. Snaps are also easy(er) when chasing a naked bum. However, as with all one size diapers they were crazy bulky on tiny Olive. We didn't really start using them until 12 or 15 pounds. All the folding an layers leads to one huge Diaper. If I could do it again I would've bought some smaller sized Sandies (mother ease fitted diapers).We also use snap in doublers at night, and flushable liners for poop now that she's eating solids.

I heard great stuff about Bummies, but I wasn't too impressed. They didn't last as well as Mother Ease and once you've shopped around it's pretty clear the popularity is due to price and availability. The are sufficient, but nothing special.

The trick to getting really good absorbency is to wash your new diapers many times before use. The older and more worn, the better the absorbency. Synthetics have good absorbancy, but they can get the stinks real bad. If you're line drying, may I recommend NOT buying all in ones. They take a long time to dry. Also, the cost is much higher. You will need fewer covers than diapers, so you can save a bit of cash this way. Buying the set up may give you a bit of sticker shock. I bought stuff in stages, adding my more expensive one size diapers a few at a time.

If you're looking for more information, may I recommend this crunchy web site:Mothering It has advice on everything from fit to laundry soap.
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  pnksweater on Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:39 am

Oh, forgot to add, Olive is cruising now and have noticed no difference in her walking while wearing cloth. If anything, it pads the bum a bit against hard falls.
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  kat on Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:51 pm

wow there really is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to cloth nappies. All that special lingo!!! We don't have a dryer and don't really have a line either - just a few plastic peg thingies to do laundry and right now everything we own clothes-wise is on the clothes pile, so I might wait a while to try out cloth nappies. Although I may just buy a couple and try them out on the weekend.

Thanks for all the information ladies - it is all really helpful!!!
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  floatingworld on Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:22 pm

Yes, that is so helpful... I think rather than buy a whole lot of one brand I'll test out a couple before investing in the whole set-up.
The other reason cloth appeals to me is that I've heard that it can be harder to toilet train babies who only wear disposable nappies, because they never feel wet so they don't have the incentive to get out of nappies.
I will report back on how the cloth nappy experiment goes!
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Re: I'm considering cloth nappies - is this madness?

Post  kat on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:02 pm

Hey ladies,

Well I'm on day 3 of our cloth nappy try out period, so it's still very early days, but I thought I'd post my initial thoughts and reactions. I found an online Japanese shop that carries a bunch of different foreign brands at a reasonable price (although more than you would pay in the US) so I decided to purchase six different pocket nappies and inserts. That seemed the best option since we have no dryer.

My first reaction is that there are so many cute cloth nappies now!! I can see how building up your stash could be addictive.

I bought two bumwear nappies (a one-size with snaps and a pair of training pants with side snaps - you can use this as a pocket nappy too), two swaddlebees with side snaps, and a Blueberry minky pocket with side snaps and a one-size Blueberry with snaps.

I think the one size with snaps take some getting used to - so many snaps and it's kinda hard to know which to snap where and J still doesn't stay still long enough during nappy changes so I have to move quick. I've used all of them except the one-size Blueberry and I really like the ones with side snaps only, because they are just like pull up pants and you can put them on standing up. The inserts seem to be really absorbant but I do think you definitely need to change cloth more often than disposables. J only poos once a day so we can be a bit lax about changing him if he wears disposables. I think his pee output is pretty high too. As Suzy mentioned above, it's probably better if we let him get 'wet' sometimes so it will be easier to toilet train him later.

So I was excited to get the package and immediately change J into the bumwear training pants with insert.....five minutes later he pooed, so my first ever cloth nappy change was a pooey one!!!! Welcome to cloth nappies!! Ha! Anyway since he eats a lot of solids now - his poo is shall we say very formed so it was super easy to throw it down the toilet and it was only slightly gross to rinse the rest off the fleece.....

So the fleece liners are amazing - they really stay dry. It's super easy to rinse out the insert and chuck them into the washing machine with the rest of the laundry - we have no option to use hot water with our wash but that hasn't made a difference yet but it is only day three (will they get more stinky??) We also do NOT have a dryer, but for example the blueberry minky came out of the wash nearly dry - it was amazing and the minky stays super soft to touch - shame you have to put clothes on your babe!! The inserts took a little longer to line dry (overnight) but nothing out of the norm. Oh and I really loved the quality of the Bumwear fleece - it seems much softer and nicer than the other brands I tried. One of the swaddlebees is lined with cotton velour, but it was too small so I'm returning it for another pair of bumwear training pants.

Anyway I just thought I'd share my initial reactions. thanks for all of your input and help ladies!!
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