It is Real Nappy Week 2019 and this has been my very first one as a cloth nappy parent. I’ve been buzzing over the fact that I have been able to get involved this year and I have never, ever had so many messages on social media before! I can see that this year is the year for further change and it could well be a huge turning point for environmental issues. So many people are being vocal about their swaps, sharing their eco stories and raising awareness in order to try and secure a better future for this planet. We need to, don’t we? There is no planet B. This is it and if we continue down this disposable path, there will be nothing beautiful or safe left.
So, onto the topic at hand– the cloth nappy myths.
Wow, I have heard so many this week and I wanted to hop on today and turn those cloth nappy myths into cloth nappy facts for you.
Cloth Nappies Are Hard To Wash
One of the biggest cloth nappy myths going maybe?
Nope. Today’s cloth nappies are not like the old terry towel style. I mean, yes terry towels are still around and you could choose to use these or you could shop around and find which brand works the best for you. The brand I love washes easily and also dries very quickly. I usually put on 2-3 washes per week and my process goes like this:
Cold rinse cycle (22 minutes)
40° wash, the longest/best I have on my machine using just non-bio washing powder
That is it. I do not soak them, I don’t take them apart, I don’t scrub them, I don’t do anything fancy with them. I can pop them on the long wash and go out or get on with other jobs.
They Take Days To Dry
This will all depend on how warm your home is, whether you have other options available to you and which brand you opt for. On a warm day, the nappies will dry very quickly out on the line. If you have a tumble drier you could use this as an option but it isn’t recommended all the time as it can reduce the life of them (as it does for all clothing). I use our spare room and have clothes airers set up in there. If I am desperate for some I simply pop them on the radiator. My Baba and Boo nappies dry incredibly fast and are often done within a few hours. Our thick overnight nappies do take a little longer but they are very similar to terry towels. I promise you my house is not completely covered in wet cloth nappies. With 2 washes a week and maybe a few hours to a day to dry inside the house, it isn’t any longer than drying your clothes.
All That Washing Is Just as Bad For The Environment
The facts state:
People think they are saving water by using single-use nappies. But that’s not true.
Washing three loads of nappies a week uses about 200 litres of water.
Manufacturing enough single-use nappies for a week? 1,550 litres.
Overall, using single-use nappies means using nearly TEN TIMES more water than reusables.
Baba and Boo
And I’ll leave that cloth nappy myth at the door. Next…
Your Washing Machine Must Be Gross
When your baby has a poo explosion in their disposable nappy, where do you put the soiled clothes? Do they go in the bin too? I doubt it. You probably rinse them out and put them in your washing machine, right? There is no difference to putting a cloth nappy in there also. The first rinse will clean the nappies and remove the dirty water from the machine. The wash will then clean them up. The water is taken away, it doesn’t sit in there and your washing machine isn’t dirty after washing clothes or a dog bed or vomit-stained bedding is it? Neither is mine after washing nappies.
I can’t Be Touching Poo!
First things first, if you don’t want to touch poo you probably shouldn’t have had a baby! None of us set out to touch poo and I certainly don’t when I change my little one’s bum. If he has had a solid poo it is a simple tip down the toilet. If it is a bit stuck (here’s the technical bits) you can do a bit of a flick of the nappy. You could also buy a scraper for those really bad poos, wipe it off with toilet roll OR use a fleece liner as the poo tends to just fall straight off these. It is very simple and once you get the hang of it you don’t even think about it. Oh, and just to add that poonami’s or poo explosions do not exist with cloth bums.
They Are So Bulky
These days you are spoilt for choice. Some cloth nappies may be a little bulkier than others, yes, but most are very streamlined. What you go for all comes down to personal taste. In fact, a lot of cloth nappying parents love a big fluff bum! I have a few brands and even though they vary in thickness they do not affect how I dress him (a lot of the time he is like this below!)
They Smell More
If you compare the smell of disposable nappies sat in your kitchen bin to those reusables sat in a nappy bin I for one can tell you which smells the worst. If somebody puts a disposable nappy in my bin, those odours linger and each time the lid is opened that is all you can smell. My cloth nappies are contained in their nappy bin and there are no bad smells. The same goes for when we are out and about. If he has pooed it can be hard to tell he has without either really sticking your nose up to him or by pulling the back down to check. There are definitely no stinks here!
Once you find a cloth nappy that fits your baby well you will not have leaks. All cloth nappies can be adjusted and as long as you have the poppers/velcro in the right place for the size of your little one you shouldn’t see any leaks. As with disposables if you leave them for too long between changes you may find a urine leak but I can promise you that no poo will ever explode out.
They Give Them Nappy Rash
Again, not true. In fact, most cloth nappy parents do not use any products for nappy rash as it is a rare occurrence. The plastics and chemicals used in disposable nappies can be a trigger for nappy rash and once you make that swap you usually see immediate improvements. I know I’d rather have natural products next to my baby’s skin over chemicals, such as dioxins to bleach them and Sodium Polyacrylate which draws the moisture away (you may want to google what they add).
They Are So Expensive
To purchase your entire stash of nappies at once, along with cloth wipes, liners, nappy bin and wetbag, yes it will definitely seem like a lot of money. However, there is no reason why you cannot build your stash gradually. There is also no reason to buy entirely brand new. I purchased my first few from a brand, I then turned to eBay, Facebook selling pages and friends. I have a real mix of pre-loved and new nappies and you honestly could not tell the difference! Cloth nappies last, cloth nappy parents look after them really, really well and they are always very upfront about the condition in all the selling groups. The fact is that you could buy all the reusables you’ll need for around £200 but if you were to only use disposables you will be spending around £1,000. It may seem expensive to start with but just look how much you would save yourself overall. ALSO, you can use those reusables on your next child/children too!
You Can’t Go Out With Them
Yes, you can and do you know what? I have even recently gone abroad with them and did not use a disposable once. Once you get into the routine, once you’ve changed your mindset and you’ve discovered how amazing cloth nappies are, you will never go back. When I am out I take about 3-4 nappies with me. When he needs a change I do it as usual in the baby change room, I put any poo down the toilet and then pop the nappy into my wetbag which contains all smells and wetness. Once home I simply transfer these into my nappy bin. Easy.
They Are Complicated
I think this is one of the cloth nappy myths that worries people the most. We think they are complicated because we now see disposable life as the norm but once upon a time cloth nappies were the norm. Once you do your research, once you know what brand you like, whether you like an all in one or a pocket nappy etc, you will quickly see how uncomplicated it all really is. We are living in a time where materials are better, where bamboo has been discovered for its absorbency properties, where washing machines have a variety of settings for all your needs and a time where a question can be asked online and answered within minutes. We have come such a long way from towelling, safety pins and soaking. The choices are there to suit all families and babies, you can find exactly what will work for you and once you do you will wonder why you spent so much time worrying.
I have a post on cloth nappies over on Instagram this week and I just wanted to end this article with a few of the comments I’ve received in response to my question ‘What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started using cloth?’
Here are just a selection (some were repeated quite often):
I wish I’d known how easy it was!
How amazingly they contain newborn poo!
I wish I had known about how easy they were and not listened to all the negative comments about how hard they are to use!
I wish I’d realised that I didn’t need an entire stash before getting started. Just using one reusable nappy is the start of change.
I wish I’d known that different nappies have different fits and that nappy libraries existed to help you to get started.
I wish I’d known that cloth nappies work brilliantly overnight.
I wish I’d known how easy they were to wash!
I wish I’d realised sooner what a positive impact it has on the environment.
I wish I’d known how easy it all is!
I wish I’d known about wetbags from the start.
I wish we had started earlier.
The most common answer was I wish I’d known how easy they were to use, which I think says it all. These cloth nappy myths have caused so much negativity over the years but thanks to people like these amazing cloth nappy parents who shared their experiences, we are making a change for the better.
Here’s to a brighter, funkier, fluffier baby bum future!!
If you have any cloth nappy myths you think I have missed and want an answer to please just drop me a comment below.
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