#3: Parenting the natural way

Baby in a cloth nappy
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Parenthood is chemical-free and natural all the way for 24-year-old foodie and law graduate, Sev. “I just don’t like the idea of putting chemicals into my son’s body or on his skin. His health is extremely important to me and I want to keep his body as healthy as possible.”

Naturally, cloth nappies came with keeping chemicals from her son’s skin when he was born 13 months ago. But what Sev didn’t realise, was she would end up addicted. I didn’t expect to enjoy washing nappies, she says. Now her advice to parents new to cloth is simply, “Give it a go.” You will fall in love, she assures.

If you fear reusable nappies bringing extra work into your life, you will be motivated by Sev’s easy-going approach to cloth.

Welcome, Sev @barefoot.mumma.au

Tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live.

I am a 24-year-old law graduate. My partner is 30 and he’s a marine engineer. Our son is 13 months old. We live in Townsville, North Queensland. I love that our city isn’t too big but it’s also not too small. North Queensland is definitely very different to any other part of Australia but it always feels like home. We love to go for drives to sample food in other cities (delis, bakeries).

Describe your greatest passions in life.

I love the law, which is why I studied for five years and am currently working as a law graduate (will be admitted as a lawyer in June!). I also love being a mum – this will always come before my career. Your work will replace you, but your babies are forever.

Can you tell us about your motherhood journey?

The most important thing to me in life is being a Mum – more important than a career, more important than friendships etc – having a baby means you have a best friend for life. My breastfeeding journey and waking up next to my beautiful boy everyday definitely make my heart happy. I didn’t necessarily find the early stages of motherhood challenging in itself, but I definitely had hormonal/emotional challenges. I felt very sad for a few months and had no idea why. Once this passed, it was fine. Seeing your baby grow and learn new things is the most rewarding thing.

What is your greatest hope for your children?

That they grow up to be kind and generous people. I also hope that the planet is still viable once they are older. I would love to make cloth and other eco products mainstream. Even if one family uses cloth, it can make a difference of over 1000 nappies in landfill each year.

What does an average day look like for you?  

I work Monday – Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, I do something fun with my boy (go to a playground etc) and then Saturday he has swimming lessons and Sunday we have a family day at home.

What is something your babe has said or done to make you smile this week?

He has been very very sick this past week, so when he breastfed today for the first time in almost 3/4 days it made me happy.

What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?

Ideally, self-care for me would be getting my eyebrows, nails, hair and eyelashes done. But since becoming a mum, I would lean more towards even washing my hair and shaving my legs. I wish I could play the sports I love playing without having mum guilt.

Can you talk us through what motivated you to use cloth nappies with your son?

To me, using cloth isn’t necessarily about saving the planet (although that is a bonus), but it’s more about keeping the nasty chemicals off my boy’s skin! Disposables have so many chemicals in them and I try to keep all of our baby products chemical free. I would like to show parents not using cloth the list of chemicals that are found in disposable nappies and how this effects their baby’s skin (I actually have a post about this on my Instagram).

Can you tell us more about your chemical-free approach to parenting?

Basically everything to do with my baby is chemical-free. Chemical-free bath soap, moisturiser, nappy cream, mosquito repellent, sunscreen etc. We DO vaccinate, but I like to keep medical treatment natural too when possible. We have always fed our son fresh fruits and veggies (nothing out of packets or jars). I just don’t like the idea of putting chemicals into my son’s body or on his skin. His health is extremely important to me and I want to keep his body as healthy as possible. One tip for parents would be to meal prep meats, fresh fruits and veggies for your babies and freeze them/ keep them in the fridge. This helps to keep a balanced diet and doesn’t take up too much time.

Many parents express feelings of overwhelm when considering cloth – what advice do you have for them?

I always knew I wanted to do cloth. I started part time (just using cloth at home) because I felt like it was daunting to go out and use cloth while we were out. However, once I decided to give it a go, it was completely fine. Just take a wet bag for dirty nappies. Otherwise, it’s no different to disposable.

I absolutely love everything about cloth (even the washing). I didn’t think it would be such an addiction; I didn’t expect to enjoy washing nappies. People wrongly assume that cloth involves too much washing, and are reluctant to try it because they think it’s too much work. Just give it a go. I feel like once you try it, you fall in love. However, make sure you are using an effective wash routine. Research Clean Cloth Nappies guidelines! 

What has the response to using cloth nappies been for you?

I can’t even recall any comments because when people say negative things to me I tend to just sweep it under the rug.

One of the first questions non-cloth users often ask is ‘What do you do with the poo.’ How would you respond to this question?

Ordinarily, you would rinse the poo off and then place the nappy with all the other nappies ready to be washed. Otherwise, if I’m feeling really lazy (and we have enough nappies ready to be prewashed), I just scrape the poo off and I put the nappy straight into the washing machine with the other nappies and prewash them.

It’s commonly shared that using cloth causes nappy rash. How would you respond to this statement? 

I would respond by saying that my boy has never had nappy rash in his entire life. I have never used any sort of baby powder/corn flour and we have only used nappy cream a handful of times. I feel like the chemicals in disposable nappies make babies way more prone to rashes.

What are some practical tips you can share around organising your cloth supplies?

Have two breathable buckets in your laundry, and make a rotation. The first bucket is for dirty nappies. At the end of each day, prewash these nappies and place them into the next bucket. Once you have enough prewashed nappies in the second bucket, do you main wash.

Can you share your experiences with cloth wipes?

We only started using cloth wipes a few months ago. I was scared to use them because I was worried about going out with them and then forgetting to bring the unused wet wipes inside and then have them go mouldy. However, I have overcome this by not wetting the wipes until I go to use them.

Can you describe what your experience with night nappies has been?

When you get the right night nappy, they are amazing. They will last all night with no leaks. I definitely recommend that everyone tries night nappies as ordinary nappies will tend to leak with overnight use.

Design your dream nappy …

Beautiful neutral boho prints, snap buttons to close, ability to stuff or snap inserts, stay dry layer for when you stuff.

What is your favourite use for wetbags?

For dirty nappies at daycare.

In brief

Number of bums in cloth. 1 bum in cloth – Mumma of 1.

Time in cloth. We have been in cloth since he was around 6 weeks old! We had the cloth ready to go before he was born, but I found the first couple of weeks as a new mum overwhelming so we started a little later. Hopefully with our next bub we start from birth!

Number of nappies. At the moment we only have around 15 because I sold a lot recently so I could buy more of the ones I love. So we will have more coming soon.

Full or part time. Full time.

Nappy style. EcoNaps and Rawr Nappies are our favourite (OLIVERARTHUR10 is a code we have for RAWr).

Stuff or snap. I definitely prefer to stuff. But love nappies with the option of both.

Pre-stuff or lay as you go. Lay as we go (because I’m lazy), but also because I find that if I pre-stuff, the insert can become twisted before we use it and I have to fix it anyway.

Line or tumble dry. Line.

Favourite cloth related product. We use nappies and wipes! Also love natural nappy creams – we use Melvory’s baby bum balm (bought from Rawr nappies).

Describe your journey with cloth in one word. Obsessed.

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