Today, we are joined by Leah who wants to embolden everyone not to be discouraged by any negativity they encounter in beginning their cloth journey. As a mother of twins, Leah says she had double the reason to limit her environmental impact by choosing cloth nappies; still, with her babies in special care and the overwhelm that comes with being a first-time mum, she didn’t use cloth until many months later. Now, the family is in full time cloth and Leah is a strong advocate for reusable nappies not having to be all or nothing.
Welcome, Leah @wrenandmyrtle
I remember the day my husband and I were driving out to Yarra Glen to listen to a band for our wedding. I don’t even know how it came up, but I remember saying, “If we have kids I want to use cloth nappies.” I knew nothing about it when I made this statement, and my then fiancé was ok with it. I did a quick Google in the car and told him confidently that they’re a lot easier now and they look good.
Not long after making this decision, I had a few conversations here and there along similar lines with friends. I was told, “Wait until you have kids, you won’t want to bother with that.” It was discouraging and I just took it on the chin and continued with life. It was almost two years later that I managed to fall pregnant – at 8 weeks we found out it was twins!
My mind was made up, “Now we definitely have to do cloth nappies.” There was no way I could put that many nappies in the bin; as it was we were buying double of everything and double the waste was something we weren’t comfortable with. I was grateful that my husband was on the same page as me.
So we started looking into it, went to my first baby expo at 12 weeks pregnant and were overwhelmed with the variety and costs. I ended up joining a few Facebook groups and really started to sift through information.
Amongst friends, though, the negativity continued. The same people who told me not to bother had the attitude that it will all be too much and “You won’t be able to manage all that washing with two babies”. I was being put down before I’d even had a chance to get started.
But I persisted. I bought some newborn nappies so we could start day one, and a whole lot of Alvas, Alcmenas and Hippybottomus. We prep washed, dried and stuffed our nappies; we had everything ready to go by 6 months pregnant.
I ended up getting induced at 36+5 and our babies were a little bit prem, nothing serious but it meant that they were in the Special Care Nursery for two and a half weeks. We didn’t bother with cloth; it was too hard.
We thought we would pick it up when we got home; we didn’t. It was just too much. Our son had severe reflux and never settled, and we had what felt like zero sleep – there were days I was up 23 hours a day. I had very little support as my family is from NSW. My mum flew down here and there and mother-in-law helped when she could but it was still exhausting.
In the back of my mind was the guilt of those newborn nappies; it really got to me, so we tried them and had leak after leak after leak. We gave up for a few more weeks. We tried again but by this point the newborn nappies didn’t fit our girl and we were still getting leaks with our boy. So we sold the newborn stash. And started using OSFM cloth nappies part time on our girl; our boy was smaller so we waited until he caught up in size.
It took a little while but by the time both kids were five months old we had them in cloth.
Still only part time as we used disposables overnight. For some reason we didn’t think we could do it overnight. But one night we just gave it a go, and the next night and the next. And we haven’t looked back.
During this time somewhere, we also started using reusable wipes, washable liners, refillable bottles, composting, recycling and just cutting down on waste in general. We were slow to start but now we are going great – so much so I started my own business to help families do what we have done.
I don’t claim to be an expert in anything; I just want to be the positive voice that says, “Give it a go” to hopefully drown out the negative voices out there.
- Other people’s opinions don’t matter. You do you.
- If you need a break, take one.
- If you need to do it part time, do it.
- Every little bit makes a difference. It all adds up.
- At the end of the day, we should support each other, even if it doesn’t work out. Sometimes it’s just having your heart in the right place and doing your best.
About the author
Leah is a first-time mum living in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne with her husband. She has one-year-old twins, Aiden and Everly, as well as two fur babies. Leah is a work-at-home mum and owns/ runs Wren & Myrtle, a business which aims to support other families in making sustainable eco swaps around their home. Leah believes that every little bit of effort makes a difference, and that we don’t have to be perfect to make a change in our environmental impact. She wants to share her story to inspire others to “give cloth a go” and to not let setbacks or others’ opinions hold you back.