Have you ever thought about cloth nappies? Tried them but never worked? Tried them and loved them?
In the past when my youngest (he’s still little almost 4, he’s been potty trained for almost a year and a half) was still in nappies, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, didn’t know where to go or who to ask, the internet was way to big with 10,000 answers per question. It took awhile and I was back and forwards between Naty Nappies and cloth, sore rashy bums and a tonne of washing and no system in place. What made it hard was thinking I was completely alone in a world of cloth while everyone else was using disposables, I was wrong!
The world of cloth nappies is very big and getting bigger by the day (it’ll not be long before we’re not even thinking about disposable nappies).
The advice, help and love in the cloth community it’s so lovely, one of the great things about social media. I like to keep things close so of course I look for anything in Northern Ireland, that being said I have came up with a very trusty list of all the amazing pages, groups, advice services and what is happening with the cloth community in our own little corner of the world.
Find your local nappy and sling library here.
Support Groups and Organisations in Northern Ireland
This lovely bunch have nappy kits that they hire out so you can test all the different kinds of nappies on your little one to make the decision on which you will go for with amazing advice to go along with them, the are a non profit so as much support as you can give is always welcome.
A brilliant page full of amazing cloth bum parents who are so helpful and lovely and always happy to help!
Offer a great range of nappies and also run a nappy questionnaire to help suggest what nappies will work best for people if they are overwhelmed by the options
Hosted by members of Zero Waste North West and lovely cloth bum mom’s who would like to host monthly meet ups (kinda like breastfeeding support meet ups) all about cloth nappies to give help, advice ect face to face and just even have a cuppa and a good chit-chat (With the current virus the 1st event was cancelled but we will reschedule).
Where to buy cloth nappies?
Asking friends and family who used them if you could have them next is a great start and then you have great start to all the advice you need. If your ok with 2nd hand you have NI Cloth Bums Pre-loved Nappies Little Lamb Cloth Nappies Love, advice and FSOT Zero Waste Freecycle NI Journey to Zero Waste Northern Ireland and of course Facebook market place, eBay etc.
If you feel more comfortable with brand new, you have local lady Laura Finnegan from Bangor who owns Ecopipo cloth nappies, Little Lamb Nappies (from Wales) Babi Pur & Boobalou (both eco friendly websites). There are many more different brands to look at too.
Derry City & Strabane District Council have a cloth nappy incentive scheme where you spend £50 get £30 back (only nappies, no accessories) it’s a great offer and shouldn’t be missed!
When buying new or secondhand it’s always important to wash your nappies, here’s a brief example of how to wash when new and secondhand. You must do this step to get your nappies super absorbent.
Washing your nappies for the first time
Strip washing is when you wash your nappies for the 1st time. Using your normal washing powder put all your nappies and reusable inserts on at ideally 60° and but them on a normal to long cycle once this is done put on the spin and rinse cycle over and over and over again till you see no more suds at all it’s really important to do this to get them to the most absorbent.
How to use them
Here are some simple steps when using these nappies: if your little one has done a poo just let the poo dry and empty it in the toilet and give the insert a rinse in the bath or sink just a pee just rinse. Save them up and put them in the washing machine at 40° (check out the nappy brand website if they suggest non bio) absolutely NEVER ever use fabric softener or bleach on cloth nappies! If using disposable liners (I would advise using these if out and about, keep these to a minimum) never flush these in the toilet! #fatbergs
The sun is magical 🌞 they dry quicky in the sun and if they do get a stain the sun will make it vanish. Of course beautiful Ireland rarely sees the beauty of the sun so air drying on a dryer at home or if you have a tumble dryer and In a rush, keep on a low heat.
Different shapes and sizes and materials
Buttons, velcro, nappy fasteners (newer safer version of the safety pin). No inserts, with inserts attached, pockets. Size one/ size two/ size three, birth to potty. Bamboo, microfiber, Hemp, cotton, organic cotton.
These will all be down to what you prefer. Personally, I avoid microfibre, I aim to use bamboo and organic cotton and from birth to potty. I have got little size ones made from bamboo and organic cotton with Velcro and the triple absorbent boosters, for the early days and just inbetweens with the birth to potty’s – with are much faster drying.
When cloth napping other things to have would include reusable wet wipes (basic cloth flannels are great for these, it’s what I use) a wet bag for out and about, a bucket to store nappies pre wash, liners (like I talked about above) and booster’s to hold more when needed (night times and out and about).
How many would I need?
As many as you can get, it’s recommended though to have roughly 20 or if you get slow drying 30+.
For short day trips, that’s where a wet bag comes into play, just place any soiled nappies in bag. I couldn’t answer for longer journeys I would possibly suggest an Airbnb and ringing to confirm if there’s a washing machine, or hotel you could ask if you could wash or find a laundromat.
Switch out disposable baby wipes for reusable cloth wipes. You can easily start your own set with about 20-30 basic cloth flannels and two containers, one for clean wipes and one for dirty. Cheeky Wipes offer an all-in-one kit that includes 25 wipes, 2 containers (clean & dirty), 2 travel bags (clean & dirty) and 2 bottles of essential oil blends. Prices start from £41.95.
The environmental impact alone is so great that if you are thinking about making steps towards a more environmentally friendly home and you have children still in nappies this would be one of the biggest changes you can do! It’s said that on average it takes up to 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompost completely and each baby will use about a tonne of these that’s roughly 3 billion disposable nappies in the UK alone! Incineration is awful with burning and releasing extremely harmful toxins into the air.
- The Nappy Lady offers a personalised questionnaire
- Tots Bots UK based seller and they also do sizes for preemies
- Bambino Mio
- Babame offers a personalised questionnaire
- Bambooty Real Nappies
I do love cloth nappies and I would love it if more and more people started using them on their little ones too
Have I covered everything? Has this made you want to look into cloth nappies more? Did this post make you feel less anxious about using them? Are you already a cloth parent and agree/disagree with what I wrote or want to add more helpful info on?
By Ruth O’Callaghan
Owner of UseLess Shop & Mother of two
3-5 Society Street, Indoor Market, BT48 6PJ