Cloth nappies: why and how did I start using them?

Before Carys was born, I made the decision that we would be using cloth nappies. I knew next to nothing about them and didn’t know anyone else who used them. So what made me make such a seemingly bold choice? Bizarrely, it is all down to a BuzzFeed article – bear with me. A couple of years before, I’d been idly scrolling on a lunch break and read a BuzzFeed review of period pants. For some reason, I was inspired to give them a go, logged onto Thinx and never looked back. I loved them from the first wear, still do and will write a separate post on that at some point.

Fast forward to being pregnant, I could no longer use my period pants (not complaining) and cloth nappies seemed the natural next step. Environmental impact was really the main driver for me. From that perspective, it’s a no brainer. From a financial perspective, cloth can be cheaper than disposables especially if you use them on more than one child and sell them on afterwards. But they can also end up costing you more as it’s easy to get carried away. There are many other reasons to choose cloth (fewer poopslosions, supposedly easier to potty train, no chemicals, gorgeous prints) and no reason is better than any others.

Reliable, sustainable, beautiful – what’s not to love?

Back to how I started out. A bit of Googling later, I settled on the Bambino Mio birth to potty set, as it was on offer and seemed decent. We followed the simple instructions in the box and got going. Our wash routine was awful, I tried to fit a massive nappy on my 9th percentile 8-week old baby (resulting in a pretty horrid poop leg incident – see below) and we had frankly no idea what we were doing. Considering all that, it went pretty well and we stuck with it. You don’t have to be an expert, change your life or be in some exclusive club to use cloth nappies.

Not my finest hour – she really was way to small for that nappy!

To begin with, I had just 15 nappies, used disposables overnight and washed every other day. I still maintain that cloth isn’t all or nothing. Using cloth just at home, just in the day or even just one a day is still a wonderful environmental switch and people shouldn’t be discouraged by thinking they’re not doing it “properly”.

Since then, I have joined a couple of Facebook groups which have really opened my eyes (and my purse…) and given me some great tips for how to use cloth nappies more effectively and easily. There are some groups which can be overwhelming with acronyms, crazy wash routines that take nearly a whole day and obsession over certain brands and prints. The most helpful and supportive, non-scary community I’ve found is The Nappy Guru Place. Really lovely mamas and papas!

Prettier than a pack of Pampers, right?

Now, I’ve tidied up my wash routine, I invested in night nappies and have a few different types and brands which serve different purposes. Even so, I am still using the original 15 we bought three years later on my second child – can’t beat that value! With baby number two, we clothed from birth using the NCT nappy library hire kit for the first few weeks and feel like we’re much more in the swing of things. Looking back, I wish I’d known a little more before we started but in some ways I’m glad I didn’t because I may never have picked the starter kit we did!

My main message to anyone thinking about cloth here is: whatever your reason or however much you want to dip your toe, go for it! And if you get stuck, find a fellow fluff bum mum (or dad) to give you some pointers – there’s plenty of us out here and there really is a lovely, supportive community to help you out. My inbox is always open. Drop me an email or DM on Instagram if you ever have any questions.

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