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I started my first child in cloth nappies when he was 6 months old and I always say, I wish I’d made the change sooner. I immediately noticed that he had a smoother and drier bottom, but above all else that huge pit the bottom of my stomach, caused by throwing away countless bags of disposable nappies, completely disappeared.
When other mothers see me out and about changing my little one they often have a lot of questions about how cloth nappies work and of course I am happy to unveil the mystery behind them.
How do they work? Do you need safety pins?
The most commonly used cloth nappy is called an MCN- modern cloth nappy. MCNs include the liner which surrounds and wicks moisture away from your little one’s bottom, the outside waterproof shell and an insert to absorb the majority of the mess. They are usually done-up with plastic snaps or velcro, enabling you to adjust the size according to your munchkin. I highly recommend pocket nappies as they are easy to put on, can be readjusted depending on the size of your baby, are highly efficient and easy to clean. They come with two pieces- a liner/shell and an insert. After being washed you simply insert the liner into the shell and your nappy is ready.
How many nappies do I need?
We have two sets of nappies in our home- a set of 14 for babies from about 1 to 8 months, and a set of 10 for toddlers from about 6 months to 2 years. You basically want as many as you’d need for two or three days/nights worth of changing. That way you don’t have to constantly be washing them. I always keep three in the nappy bag with washable wet bags.
How do you clean them?
My newborn is still only breastfeeding, so her stools are still sweet smelling and small. I simply throw the nappies into a dry bucket (no need for soaking) and on washing day I chuck them all in (as they are) to the washing machine on a warm and strong setting. They always come out looking brand new. Because our son was older, and on solids when we started him in cloth nappies, I used a biodegradable and flushable liner in the mornings (when I knew he was due for a bowel movement) to eliminate most of the mess. Then when it came to washing day I put them on a ‘quick rinse’ cycle before washing them normally.
How much are they?
They can range from $20-$40/nappy which seems steep, but I assure you it’s a rewarding investment. If you buy a set of 14 (that lasts you a year, or often more) for $25 each you’re spending $350. A box of approximately 100 huggies nappies costs $45. If you use an average of 6 nappies/day (a very modest estimate), you’re spending $985.50 a year on nappies. That’s a minimum savings of $635.50.
Any other tips?
I always tell people who are interested in using cloth nappies to wash, wash, wash them before they start using them!! The more they are washed, the more absorbent the fabrics become. So, don’t be discouraged if you experience a few leaks for the first week or two. For nighttime wear you have the option of adding extra inserts if need be, but I never felt the need for this.
I absolutely adore our cloth nappies. I honestly believe this is one of the greenest and most effortless changes we have made as a family trying to tread a little more lightly on this earth. If you have any questions about our experience with them please don’t hesitate to contact me at ecomilf[at]me.com. It’s never too late to make the switch over to cloth. If you have a one year old, remember you still have at least another year of nappies to change. Not a lovely thought, but a better one when you take away all the waste involved with disposables.