I was fortunate enough to inherit a full set from birth through of cloth nappies from my sister. I always imagined that when we had children, I would do the cloth nappy thing but it can be a little overwhelming to get started and make it work.
In the early days, we weren’t that smart with things, although did buy a few extras to make it easier.
Our basic set up was about:
- 18 prefolds in the small size
- 6 wraps (we had 2 and bought 4 new bambino mio wraps – they have really cute colours!!)
The problems we had…
- Initially we didn’t get the wrap tight enough
- We weren’t proactive enough in changing regularly and at the worst point I remember going through about 6 outfits in one day – this didn’t feel like the sustainable option I’d hoped for!
- Grim stains on the prefolds
- Detergent build up on the prefolds
- Managing days out
- Nearly having a manhole overflow into our garage…
What we changed/did differently…
In a dark moment at about 3am, after doing the second change of the night, I started googling for a solution that wasn’t using disposables overnight. Thankfully I found the bambino mioboost (you can buy them loads of places)
These things were a game changer! Finally our nappies kept up with the seemingly endless flow, kept our little boy feeling dry and brought the “leaks” to an end.
To make the cloth nappy system work, I also purchased a bucket and liner to store all the dirty washing in. I was so grateful for having had a sister use the system, as I was describing one night grabbing handfuls of dirty nappies out the bucket to put in the washing machine while trying to avoid getting pooh on my hands, my sister then asked why I didn’t just put the washing in the machine, in the liner…..I don’t know how I missed such a basic thing!
Removing poo stains from nappies is easy, hang them up on an outside line, let the sun/UV do the work! Don’t start grabbing for a stain remover, you really don’t need it!
After about 2 months of using the nappies, I felt the prefolds had lost absorbency and after a bit of digging decided to do a strip wash to remove what I felt was a detergent build up. After a whole day of washing, I reduced the amount of detergent used, added an extra rinse, did all washes at 60 and avoided any “eco cycles”. Since these changes I haven’t felt the need to do another strip wash.
One thing we figure out early on, was that when we headed out for the day, sometimes disposable nappies are easier – you can dispose of them at the time, they absorb really well, they are more compact. I try to avoid using them whenever possible, but they are great as a backup and also if we head out for an extended time. To some extent the same applies when we go away overnight, when we know we won’t have access to a washing machine. I try not to beat myself up about this…!
The manhole. We were using the disposable nappy liners before discovering the mioboost pads. We flushed these and expected they were being flushed just like loo roll. Apparently not. We discovered a near overflowing manhole and apparently the fall in our drains didn’t take the liners away! Thanks goodness for the lovely men of dynorod (this is the 2nd time they’ve helped avert disaster!) it was cleared and we just stopped using them. Once we have begun weaning, we’ll need to find a way to use liners, without flushing, but we’ve got a couple of months to get that figured out.
Overall I love the cloth nappies we use. They can take a bit of getting used to and perseverance when things don’t quite go to plan, but for use a much better option compared to sending disposables to landfill…they are also so cute! There are loads of systems and they can be an initial expense, but even if I’d not been given a set, I would invest and go this route again.