#11: A new purpose

Australian modern cloth nappy family
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Today, you get to meet Jayme-Lee, a self-proclaimed eco enthusiast from country Victoria who reps for three nappy brands. Jayme-Lee went searching for a purpose for all the photographs she was taking of her daughter’s chubby thighs and found it in promoting brands who share her passion.

Returning the Earth to what is was is her true drive in choosing cloth for her daughter, but the positive comments Jayme-Lee receives are what encourage her to keep going. They are also the only ammunition she says she needs to encourage other parents to join the world of cloth.

Welcome, Jayme-Lee @just.another.barefoot.mama

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

I’m Jayme-Lee, a self-proclaimed eco enthusiast from a small country town in western Victoria (Australia). Here, I live with my wonderfully supportive partner, Blake, and our almost 16 month old, Thea.

Can you share your favourite part about living where you do?

Definitely our community. We’re very fortunate to live somewhere where everyone knows everyone and they’re not shy to lend a hand.

What is your favourite thing to do together as a family?

To take Thea swimming, or for a ride on her bike – anything that makes her smile, makes me smile.

What does a typical day in your life look like right now?

Netflix and nappies.

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

Thea’s just started saying “I get it” and “oh stuck” – her first real sentences. Her little voice just warms my heart so much.

Can you tell us about your motherhood journey? What has been the most challenging, and the most rewarding stage?

I think equally challenging and rewarding is watching my baby grow. I’m so torn by wanting her to stay a baby forever and celebrating all her growth and achievements. It’s so bittersweet.

How is being pregnant for you?

I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to both conceive and birth healthy babies. But pregnancy is hard for me. I sometimes joke that I’m allergic to it. During both pregnancies I’ve lost weight and had continued sickness. It’s much harder this time around when I have a toddler to chase after.

If you could go back before being a mother, what would you tell yourself?

Go easy on your Mum – she always has and always will be acting out of what she believes is your best interest, even if you don’t agree.

Best advice you’ve ever been given about motherhood.

Children spell love T-I-M-E. That’s all you need to give them, your time.

Can you talk us through what led you to using cloth with your daughter?

My biggest influence in starting my cloth journey was working in childcare and seeing the amount of disposable nappies heading to landfill each day. It was a real eye opener – before even conceiving, I knew I didn’t want to be someone contributing to that much waste. So I started researching my options.

I was really fortunate that my aunties all pulled together to buy me my first stash of 24 nappies, because – let’s be honest – the initial outlay of affording cloth nappies can be a bit confronting. I was also gifted some great condition second hand nappies by my maternal child health nurse – so already my stash was off to a great start without even having to spend money. Then came my first hurdle – I birthed a 2.9kg baby … my OSFM did not fit, not even with a newborn hack. So we waited out the 5 weeks it took her to reach 4kg and started from there. So from 5 weeks old onwards, we were full time day cloth, disposables for night. It wasn’t until Thea stopped pooping after every breastfeed and no longer needed changing through the night that we swapped to full time, including nights – about 3 months old.

You are expecting another baby later in the year (congratulations!) – how do you imagine you will manage?

For so long, cloth has been all we’ve known. And I genuinely believe that the inconvenience of running to the shops for disposables with 2 under 2 on my own seems like way more hard work than continuing our current cloth routine. This time around we plan to cloth from birth, so initially no, my children won’t share nappies. I have my fingers crossed that when baby #2 reaches our larger style OSFM, Thea will be starting toilet training by then. But I see no problem with them sharing nappies if need be. We’re family, we already live in close confides. All our germs, already shared.

Can you share what brings you the greatest joy with using cloth?

Watching my bin man drive straight past. It’s so rewarding seeing how little landfill our little household puts out into the world.

What has been your biggest challenge as a cloth family and how have you overcome it?

The opinions of others. Sometimes when you’re already feeling tired and defeated, the constant “why would you want to make things harder for yourself” can be a little overwhelming. But, it also gave me the drive I needed to prove them wrong. On the bad days, parenting is hard – regardless of wether you cloth or not.

You are a brand rep for a number of cloth nappy businesses – can you explain what motivated you to become a brand rep? Any tips for other parents hoping to become a brand rep?

My favourite part about being a brand rep is the friends I’ve gained. The cloth nappy community is such a wonderful place to be a part of, I’m really thankful to Sarah, Laura, Leanne and Paulina all for being so welcoming. My initial motivation was that I loved taking photos of all the wonderful prints on Thea’s butt, so I figured “why not do it with purpose”. I threw my hat in the ring for all 3 brands, thinking I had no hope. I’m so thankful that they all saw potential in me but mostly thankful that they all loved Thea’s chubby thighs as much as I do. My advice – just go for it. But also, look for brands who share your passion. It’s a lot easier to help promote someone’s product when you wholeheartedly believe in the service they provide.

Can you describe what you have got out of being a part of the cloth community?

Friends that are family – on top of a world of new knowledge. I’m definitely way more prepared for baby #2.

You’ve got one minute to convince a pregnant mother to use cloth – go. 

Look at my baby’s bum!

What’s your advice to first time cloth parents?

Cloth doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Just swapping out one disposable to cloth each day makes less landfill and keeps more money in your pocket.

What advice do you have to share for clothing babies with chubby legs?

Every baby is different, don’t be afraid to shop around, but also – hold onto your favourite prints. One day your baby will walk, their chubby legs will lessen and you’ll wish that you kept them.

What is the best thing others can do to support your cloth efforts?

Tell me my baby’s bum is cute. Honestly, the compliments are all the encouragement I need.

Any tips for encouraging partners or other family members to come along the cloth journey?

I’ve been really fortunate. I honestly told Blake that this is what we’re doing and he knew better than to argue with me when my mind is made up. He let me find my feet and then started asking for me to teach him. I know right? How lucky am I to have a happy changing, poop scraping, washing machine starting, line drying, snap and stuffing baby daddy? But never fear! Blake shares my passion so much and is so disappointed to hear that more Dads don’t help like he does. So he plans to make a series of “Dad Approved” nappy reviews to help get more men on board.

What is the most encouraging comment you have received from someone supporting your cloth journey, and how did it make you feel?

Thea’s great Nan has been a huge support; she’s always messaging me to say that she told someone that her great granddaughter uses cloth nappies. Just her enthusiasm is enough encouragement for me.

Can you explain what you believe to be the greatest benefit of using cloth nappies?

Hands down, the environmental factors. To me, sustainability is returning the earth to what it was. While I might not be able to do this single handedly, I’m raising my tribe of eco warriors already aware of the way that we treat our earth creates a cycle for what the earth can give back.

How has cloth changed the way you approach life?

Cloth has influenced so many more eco changes in our home, since it’s made me so much more aware. Before cloth nappies, I would never have considered menstrual cloth or family cloth wipes.

But not all the changes need to be based around bodily fluids. We have also limited our use of many other single use items like shopping bags, straws, ziplock bags, change pads and nappy bags.

Design your dream nappy …

Anything with a native Australian floral print, I just have to have my hands on! I definitely don’t have a set favourite nappy style. Babies grow and change so much – it’s so important to have a mixed stash of nappies to help you adapt through those changes.

How do you approach dressing with cloth?

When we first started cloth, our nappies were so bulky. When I look back now, I see how ridiculous my fit was. We used to have to buy clothes in the next size or two up just to make them fit. But now, I’ve found myself in a world of nappies so wonderfully trim, just looking you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s even cloth. But, where possible, every day is a pants off day.

What does your cloth nappy change station look like?

What change station? Do you mean people actually change somewhere other than their lounge-room floor? We build our nappies as needed, unless heading out for the day – then we pack in advance. But different times of the day require differently built absorbency for us, for example, Thea always poops in the morning, so best poop catching nappies are saved for then. She sleeps on her tummy, so lots of absorbency in the front is needed then. We have a basket of shells and a basket of inserts in Thea’s bedroom shelves – we just grab as needed.

Can you talk us through your experiences with sewing? You have sewed clothes to match your daughter’s cloth nappies – is this something you do often?

My mum is an industrial sewing machinist; she’s always dabbled in sewing clothes and costumes for myself, my brother and, now, Thea. She’s tried to teach me off and on a few times, but now that I have my own little people to sew for, I’m truly ready to listen. I have a very long way to go. But I’ve got lots of project ideas up my sleeve.

In brief

Number of bums in cloth. One and one on the way! But we also use family cloth (reusable toilet paper) and when not pregnant, I use menstrual cloth.

Time in cloth. We started when Thea was 5 weeks old, and big enough to fit OSFM – she’s almost 16 months now.

Number of nappies. Is this a trap? Did my partner tell you to ask this? I’ll never tell! But seriously, too many to count. I also feel like pleading ignorant means that I don’t have to admit that there’s a problem.

Full or part time. Full time.

Nappy style. I’m a big advocate for a mixed stash. Thea gained 9kg in 9 months after being born; it took an army of nappy brands to roll with those changes.

Stuff or snap. A little from column A, a little from column B. It all depends which brand I’m using at the time.

Pre-stuff or lay as you go. As we go. It’s hard to keep up with stuffed nappies when you own as many as I do.

Line or tumble dry. Line dry.

Favourite cloth related product. Definitely a mini wet bag. The uses are endless; they’re so versatile.

Describe your journey with cloth in one word. Addiction.

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