Cloth nappies are fun and fabulous…not scary
Certainly the thought of using cloth can be scary. After all, we are subject to huge campaigns with vast sums spent on the marketing of disposable nappies*, meaning that cloth nappies use is considered unusual these days.
Over the years cloth has been targeted as time consuming, hard work, and very labour intensive – which it was until modern washing machines took the ‘work’ out of it. During the 1980s, when many new families did have a washing machine, attention was turned to ‘baby needs to feel dry’ as the key factor to market disposables by. Of course nowadays the majority of cloth nappies are equipped with a polyester fleece lining, which does keep baby feeling dry – but of course the parents of today watched those same TV adverts, so the impression persists that cloth nappies are hard work and don’t keep baby dry. More recently, with the emphasis from local councils to reduce waste, and with society generally becoming a bit ‘greener’, there has been much mention of less bulk with disposables that contain gel that expands on absorbing moisture.
We asked folk on Billy’s Facebook page what aspect of using cloth did they find most scary – and what was their view point once they’d got going – had they changed their mind?
Overwhelmingly the thought of using cloth was a lot more daunting than it actually was in practise. Unfortunately there are just so many cloth nappy brands about and so much information floating about on the many websites just sifting through the information alone can be a bit overwhelming. We suggest to use Billy’s resources at http://www.greatbritishnappyhunt.co.uk/resources.html, decide which key aspects are important to you and thus which type of nappy will work best, and use the resource to look for a local retailer or a nappy library so you can see the nappies and suss out what you like the look of best: modern cloth nappies are really easy to use and do work well.
Annabelle Barlow found choosing tricky ‘Which ones were best? There are so many to choose from’ but agreed ‘it’s so easy once you start.’ Rebecca Stephens summed it up nicely ‘We just chose and stuck with it and it’s been fine.’
Debs Haggarty discovered cloth was stuck in a time warp when using her modern nappies: ‘Friends have said they would now do cloth for another child after seeing me do cloth nappy changes as they thought it was terry squares with complicated folds, pins and plastic pants.‘ as did Tanya Tillock who soon changed her mind ‘What changed my mind was seeing how effective modern nappies are at absorbing more than a lot of disposable and keeping baby dry. They’re also available in so many different materials, colours and fabrics that are so much cuter than a crunchy chemical disposable.’
Another big scary hurdle seemed to be ‘is cloth going to be hard work?’
For Michelle Thomas, washing was a big ‘I assumed you had to soak or boil them like old style cloth but we do an extra wash every other day and don’t really notice the extra work. Cloth is the best thing we ever changed to!’
Laura McG said ‘I was worried I would be too lazy to keep up with it all. People are adamant you’ll fail because it’s too much hard work. Well I’m still lazy but it’s maybe an extra half hour per week? The washing machine does all the work. I love my cloth nappies!’ Emma Briggs agreed ‘How to wash the nappies was quite daunting – mainly because different brands had different recommendations and I wasn’t very familiar with my washing machine. Oh and I had never even changed a nappy before! Once my little boy arrived though it was easy and we very quickly got into a routine.’
Libby Reynolds was worried about the extra washing with good reason: ‘Having 4 kids I already face laundry mountain every day and I thought that having to wash nappies as well would be impossible, but it has actually been really easy to just stick a load of nappies in when I’m going out or something & just get them out when I get back. It’s actually been a really enjoyable experience hanging them all out on the line to dry’
Poo is another concern….Charlotte Ward was daunted by the thought of dealing with messy nappies, but now finds cloth is less hassle! ‘Flush the liner, pop nappy in pail, No nappy bags, outside bins etc!!!’ Susan Walker and Eftychia Lombardo agree ‘Now I can’t stand the thought of poop going into the bin, I find it disgusting – at least my baba’s poop goes down the drain like it should!!’
Jessica Guidobono Good was worried the used nappies were going to stink up the flat, but says ‘I can only smell anything when I unzip the bag to shove another nappy in! Even my smell-phobic sister admitted she couldn’t smell a thing!’ Rebecca Benson says her partner’s biggest concern was that they would stink: ‘In actual fact it smells better, they don’t have the chemical smells disposables do and because they are in a lidded bucket and not rotting away in the bins for weeks on end we have less of a smell problem then we did with the older ones that we used disposables for.’
We hope the Great British Nappy Hunt’s Halloween Hunt has encouraged lots of you to take the plunge and get started with cloth, it’s certainly proving a lot less scary than you might expect.
*$50 million spend in 2008 – Adweek 24 August 2009