Reusable nappies webchat MON April 27th

Join Nappy Lady advisor Wendy Richards for a live webchat about reusable nappies, 12-1pm on Monday April 27th.
Wendy is a volunteer for her local nappy network and has been a nappy advisor for three years. She'll be happy answer any questions about the why and how of eco-nappies during the webchat. Join us then!
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Posts

  • Wendy will be logged on to host our reusable/cloth nappies webchat from 12 noon today. Please feel free to start posting your questions now so that Wendy can get to work on them as soon as the chat opens.
  • Hi Everyone,

    I'm here and ready to help you with any cloth nappy questions. Please ask away.

    Wendy
  • Hi Wendy
    I'm pregnant with my first. I would love to use re-usuable nappy for all the obvious reasons but I am worried I will have enough to cope with. Do they create a lot of extra hard work or is that a myth?
    thanks in advance
  • HI Wendy,
    I'm due to have my second child in June and am seriously considering going down the eco route this time (was a Pampers mum last time). However, I worry about having to deal with buckets of stinking nappies while looking after two kids. Please convince me it's worth while!
  • When parents come to me for nappy advice they often all have very similar concerns. The most common being:

    Cloth nappies will leak more than disposables - the opposite is actually true. With a combination of a shaped nappy and a separate wrap you will have far fewer leaks as there are two layers to keep everything in.

    Using cloth nappies is hard work - This is largely based on what our Mother's had to do, soak, boil wash, iron and fold nappies. These days you don't need to soak or boil wash as the washing machine does all the hard work for you. A 40/60o wash with detergent is all it takes. With a shaped nappy there isn't any ironing or folding to do. The only extra work in using cloth nappies instead of disposables is putting them in the machine and hanging them to dry. In fact many people find their amount of washing goes down when they switch to cloth, as they aren't washing soiled clothes from disposable leaks.
  • Hi Flower Power,

    It really is a myth that cloth nappies are hard work. I have always put a wash on every second night when i had a newborn and this wash frequency drops as baby gets older. My youngest is 18months now and i wash every 4th day.

    I don't soak my nappies i put them in the washing machine for a quick rinse with 5 drops of lavender or tea tree oil to santise them first. Then i put them on a long 40/60o wash. That's it.

    I then mainly hang mine to dry but you can also dry them on radiators, outside or tumble dry them. If you're worried about long drying time there are some nappies that dry very quickly such as the Teddy. Literally a couple of hours on an airer and it's ready to go.

    Wendy
  • Are there any tricks to getting pooh stains out without using a high machine wash temp? As I kind feel that defeats the object. I try to do most of my washing on a low temp for eco reasons?
  • Hi Frantic Mum,

    Benefits of cloth nappies are:

    Fewer leaks than disposablesas i mentioned a few posts ago.

    Cost saving is huge! A set of cloth nappies can vary from ??50 to ??350 depending on what type you go for and how many. The average cost of using disposables on one baby is ??800. If you go on to have more children you can reuse the nappies again. I've used the same set on both my boys and have them put aside for number 3 at some point! So i will have nappied all my children for less than the cost of one child in disposables. When you have finished with your nappies there is a great second hand market for them and in good condition you should be looking to get at least 50% back as well.

    There is also the question of comfort. Older children who use both disposables and cloth nappies often show a preference to using cloth. One baby i know asked for his Teddybear nappy as it was so soft.

    There are also environmental benefits as you won't be putting any nappies into landfill. The latest environmental report has shown that using cloth is up to 40% better for the environment than disposables.
  • Hi again
    Another question! What do you think about liners and stuff that are made of hemp or bamboo? Should I be looking out for those? And if so, why?
  • Hi Fun Mum,

    Stains can happen on nappies before baby is weaned. The most environmentally friendly method is to get them on the washing line for the sun to bleach them. I also find leaving them out on a rainy day and then drying them really helps!

    In winter i've put my stained nappies on a window ledge and again the sun will lift the stains out.

    A chemical alternative is to spray them with vanish before you put them in the nappy bucket. This should stop any stains setting.

    Using a fleece liner can also help protect more of the nappy from breast fed poo going through to the cloth.

    Any stains will disappear completely once baby has been weaned.
  • Hi Frantic Mum,

    Bamboo and hemp fabrics are very environmentally friendly as they do not require any pesticides or fertiliser to grow. This makes them some of the most sustainable crops in the world.

    Bamboo also has other advantages that makes it a great fabric for nappies. bamboo is more absorbent than cotton by up to 80% in the bambinex bamboo nappy. It is also a naturally antibacterial fabric which is perfect for baby's sensitive skin.

    Bamboo is slimmer than cotton which makes a neater nappy as well.

    Bamboo also stays softer than cotton which can go crunchy in hard water areas.

    The downside is that bamboo also absorbs more water in the washing process and takes longer to dry than cotton.

    Hemp also takes a long time to dry and goes very hard over time almost like cardboard. Hemp is being over taken by bamboo in popularity because of this.
  • Many people worry that their bathroom will smell because of the nappy bucket. As long as you have a tight fitting bucket lid you will not have a smelly bathroom. The poo will have gone down the toilet on a flushable paper liner or rinsed off a fleece liner. All that is in your bucket is wet nappies.
  • That's v useful re bamboo. can you also give me an idea of what I need to buy in terms of quantity for a newborn.
  • Coming into summer time and some nice warm days (we hope) many people worry that cloth nappies will be too hot. Bamboo nappies have been tested to be 5o cooler than disposables and microfibre nappies 3o cooler. Cloth nappies are very popular in Australia and their temperatures are far better than ours so this isn't a concern.

    There is currently some research going on in Germany about nappy temperature and male fertitility.
  • Quantity of nappies depends on how frequently you'd like to wash. With a newborn you'll be going through 8-12 nappies in 24 hours (cloth or disposable). So if you're planning on starting from birth (or soon after birth) you'll need 12 -20 nappies. 12 for daily washing and 20 for alternate day washing.

    You'll also need 4/5 nappy wraps.

    If you want to start from birth a great idea is to use folded muslins until baby is 10lbs as these make very neat nappies. You fold the muslin into the Jo fold and fasten with a nappi nippa (which is very simple to use). I did this myself for the first couple of weeks and then had 2 Bimbles for night time. Bimbles are tiny (and very cute) very absorbent shaped nappies ideal for longer sleeps (hopefully).

    You'll also need a bucket to store them in,
    some paper liners - Bambinex or Ultra liners are the best for newborns.
  • What are Wraps, Nappies, Boosters and Liners?!

    ???? Starting on the outside you have the WRAP, this is the waterproof part of the system which stops the clothes getting wet. Different sizes of wrap are needed as the baby grows bigger.

    ???? Inside the wrap you have the NAPPY which absorbs the wee and can be either shaped or flat (for you to fold). Nappies are either available as a SIZED system needing maybe 2 or 3 sizes from birth to toilet training or as a BIRTH TO POTTY system which is one size of nappy and is adjustable to fit for the entire nappy wearing period.

    ???? Inside the nappy and against the baby's bottom you have the LINER, which is designed to catch the poo while wee passes through to the nappy. Liners are either washable or disposable.

    ???? At night most babies need extra absorbency and this is provided with a BOOSTER. Some birth to potty nappies have daytime boosters which can be popped in/out according to the size of the baby and the absorbency required.
  • If you're using cloth nappies i would highly recommend you try washable wipes. Switching to washable wipes rather than disposable wipes will save you enough to pay for your entire cloth nappy system.

    Washable wipes are like mini flannels that you use to clean up baby's bottom and then wash with your nappies. They are quicker to clean baby us with as the texture of the fabric graps the poo rather than smearing it around. They also put you in control of what goes on baby's skin.

    Most of the time i just use water with mine but with a newborn a little bit of olive oil mixed in really coats the skin and moisturises it.

    I keep my washable wipes wet next to my change mat so they are ready to go and just as convenient as disposable wipes.
  • I don't have a garden so it's just not practical to use reusable nappies, how can I get around this?
  • Childcare.

    If you think baby will be going to childcare it is still possible to use cloth nappies. We find most nurserys and child minders are happy to use cloth if you use a very simple system.

    Pocket nappies such as the Bumgenius and Easyfit are ideal. Once the nappies have been made up by you at home, there is only one layer for the nursery to put on baby.

    Shaped nappies are also suitable for childcare but we recommend you stick with Aplix (Velcro) fastening or popper fastenings. Nappi Nippa fastening nappies are very simple to use but can initially be off putting to someone not used to how they work.

    We recommend you use paper liners so that the nursery can easily flush any poo away.

    You'll also need 2 waterproof nappy bags for the nursery to store the use nappies in. Having 2 bags just makes it simpler to rota the bag and always have a clean one ready to go.
  • Thanks Wendy - it sounds like I'm going to spend from now until D-day buying stuff! Can you recommend any good places to get all the equipment from?
    And do people REALLY buy used, secondhand nappies?!
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