Saturday, 5 July 2014

Not so minimalist... Why I use cloth nappies.

I follow minimalist ideas and am trying to implement certain things. I say trying because a lot of ideas I hear I don't succeed with, but I'm trying...

One thing I do that is not minimalist but I am certainly not giving up on: cloth nappies. I never even really thought about cloth nappies until F was approaching 1 years old. I can't remember what made me think of trying them. Then someone who lives in Luxembourg told me nappies were mega expensive here and I decided to give it a go. I joined some groups on facebook because I literally had no idea where to start. I bought 2 of various types of nappy from a website... And I entered the massive, wonderful and very confusing world of cloth nappies.

I was surprised to learn that Minimalist Mom uses cloth nappies. There are numerous websites that sell cloth nappies, you can buy on ebay ('ebay cheapies') and there's a lot of terminology out there that's confusing ('fluff', 'stash'). So I'm going to tell you what I do. It's the simplest system for me. I know others who do different things who think their choice is easiest. So I'm not saying my system is simplest.

I bought various types of a type of nappy called 'all in 2/ai2'. I read up on different types of nappies and wanted something that I could change the inside, absorbent part but was quick drying. It seemed the best type. Lots of brand names make these types, as well as far cheaper sellers on ebay. There's also different styles - from a long strip of material that folds into the nappy, to strips that press stud into the nappy.

This is my current 'stash' or collection of cloth nappies and no, I did not buy them all in one go at the beginning:


This is our nappy changing table and I thought I'd include this picture as there's a few things that come with using cloth:

Above the table is 2 hooks (coincidence but useful) and on the left is 2 mesh drawstring bags. One is in a bin that I put the dirty nappies in, the other sits there ready for when they're in the wash. The other hook has a large wet bag (I bought it for something else and they're useful) and a cloth bag that I put empty packets of wet wipes in. I keep them for a charity that recycles them. If we must use them I want to minimise the negativity. 

To the right of the table holds a bin that has dirty disposables: wet wipes and nappies. Hubby prefers disposable wet wipes, creche use disposable nappies & sometimes it's just easier.
There's also a box that holds cloth wipes & spray. I use 'CJ's' - they have a spray for nappy rash & also cleaning spray (with names like 'monkey farts'!) that are ok for cloth nappies. To be honest I don't worry too much about whether things are ok on cloth but they smell gorgeous so I have them to hand... I also have a roll of flushable liners. 

So I lay Z on the table (didn't have this with F by the way), undo the nappy and wash her: I spray her with the spray (which mostly she giggles at) and use some wipes to wash her. I put the flushable liner either into the bin if it's just wet or if it's a soiled I put it to one side or ask F to put it in the toilet. I then roll the nappy and used wipes up and put in the bin to my right hand side, that has 1 of the mesh bags in. I then take a new nappy from the front of the box you can see. I put a flushable liner in it from the roll.  I then put the nappy on. It takes exactly the same length of time as using a disposable for me. The part that takes longer is that when the bin gets full of dirty nappies, which is normally every other day, I then chuck the bag in the wash. I use the same detergent I use for everything else for simplicity, I just use a little less (if you use the normal amount it affects the absorbency of the cloth, detrimentally). I put it on a normal wash and dry cycle, taking 5 hours, so normally overnight. Then for ease of use, I have to ensure all the 'inserts' are correct, so I sit with a basket of nappies & sort them all out and put them in the box. But it really doesn't take long and mothers that use cloth normally find it enjoyable, I think.

There is special nappy sprays, ways to wash with extra rinse cycles and all sorts. But I find this way is easiest for me. Nothing different or complicated for me to remember. They have some minor staining and when I plan to sell them, when Z potty trains, I'll worry about the staining. Yes, you can buy 'preloved' cloth nappies so I can sell them in the future...

Oh and lastly, I didn't use cloth with F until she was over 1 years old. I planned to use it on Z when she was born but frankly had so many issues and lack of sleep that just getting out of bed for F was challenging enough! So I think she was about 4 months old when I started using my old 'stash'. It was good to have them to hand though, for when we ran out occasionally of disposable nappies...

Cloth/Reusable Wet Wipes:
I had been using cloth nappies for about a year with F and then started using them with Z (she was about 4 months old) and decided to try cloth wet wipes. They are far easier for me to use as you chuck them in the wash with the nappy. And of course, on the topic of money and the environment, of course they're better.

You can use fleece liners and wash them out. But I feel that's more of a faff. I could also wash the flushable liners (when it's just urine) but they clogged up our washing machine more than once so hubby has insisted we bin them. So yes, I just have a roll of flushable liners, they sit on top of the cloth and then if baby does a poo you can just take both ends of the liner and flush. No hassle. I even get F to take them to the toilet and she actually cried the other day because I didn't give her the chance! ;)

A wholeeeee different kettle of fish: 'cloth menstration pads/ CMP':
You're probably thinking 'whattttt?!' and when we first heard about it, our initial reaction was 'ewwww'. But you can buy (or make) using the same materials, cloth pads to use when you have a period. I don't use them so I don't really know much about them. Here's a post that features briefly what I am moving over to using.

Family wipes:
The same as you can use cloth reusable wipes for babies, you can also use them instead of toilet roll for the whole family. We don't. Because frankly, my hubby would have a fit - he uses cloth nappies willingly enough but wipes have been a lot more of a challenge so trying to get him to use 'family wipes' is not going to happen. Also, to be honest, I'm not that good. I don't really want to be washing that much. I started using cloth not so much for the environment.

Oh and in case you haven't heard, you can also get 'kitchen roll' made from cloth. It's done in sheets that are press studded. Again, we do not. Partly because it's just an expensive way of having 'spare rags' to hand as far as I can tell. But if you're interested it does exist.

Cost/ Ways to make it cheaper:
I didn't do it as cheaply as I could, mostly for time and effort. I could have just bought lots of 'ebay cheapies' and a fleece sheet from somewhere like Ikea. Then cut the latter up into liners and wipes. But I bought some 'preloved' 'cheeky wipes' from a group on facebook and as I say, use flushable liners. I also have a total variety of nappies. 

You can also buy 'personalised' nappies. But these of course, cost more. I have some. Then there's dresses that match and show off the nappies - I have a Very Hungry Caterpillar dress and nappy. I think I'll probably keep them for my daughters to play with when they're older. Hubby hates it for some reason.

Ok, I use cloth for 2 main reasons: 
1. I just plain like it. I prefer the cute nappies to disposables. I don't mind doing a bit of extra washing. I keep disposables on hand so we do use them for certain occasions.
2. Cost. In mainland Europe brand name disposable nappies cost a lot. Admittedly I now use Auchan's own brand environmentally friendly nappies when I have to, but they're still not cheap.

I did no research whatsoever into the negativities of disposable nappies before I bought cloth. My friend has told me some of the negative points that she heard of. And in a quick google search, this post seems to give a lot of information in case you're interested:

Sooo, I finally did my 'cloth nappies' post for you! I <3 my cloth nappies. I will actually be upset and probably cry when Z potty trains. And I'll keep some of them for the girls to play with when they're older. My friend who uses cloth here made for F's 2nd birthday a little cloth nappy, wipes and bag set - I don't know who loved it more, me or F! ;) So cloth is a big part of my life as a mother now. But it's also not the be all and end all. I don't expect creche to use it (they refused and I'm not dedicated enough to argue in French, frankly). I don't judge or care what others do. And if I'm 100% honest, whilst it's lovely to think it's better for the environment, I couldn't really give a stuff and that is certainly not why I do it. This is just intended as an informative post for anyone who's interested...

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