Not a week has gone by since the first interviews were posted to this community on 1 April 2020 that I have not marvelled at the perspectives and wisdom offered by the parents who have generously shared their stories. As a latecomer to the cloth community (you can read my story here), I started this blog in the hope of encouraging more families to make the switch to cloth and supporting all families to make the best choices for their children and the future of all children. Whether the blog has been the catalyst for anyone choosing reusable over disposable remains to be seen, but what I do know from your messages is that many readers (and I) have taken a great deal of tips and ideas for our own parenting and cloth journeys. My latest goal, for example, is to feed the kids dinner in the bath (read last week’s interview from @mamalinauk to find out why). Today, in celebration of our first birthday, I share with you a snippet of the best cloth advice from the past year …
Just go for it! It’s so much easier than you think and actually kind of fun!
Take the plunge! It’s not as tricky as it sounds and there are ways to make it even easier and cheaper. You’ll fall in love with cloth and it’ll be one of the best things you do.
Just do it. It really isn’t that hard. It might feel a bit overwhelming but, hey, so is bringing home a tiny human.
Go hard, go early. We went all in from the moment we got home from hospital. Yes, we had some disposables just in case but I put them at the top of the wardrobe to make it that little bit harder. My husband and I don’t know better, all we know is cloth. It also means you troubleshoot as you go, which is a lot easier when they’re itty bitty than when they’re crocodile rolling while you’re trying to change them.
Research, research, research, and then figure out what will work for your life. And feel free to ask around! People are so willing to help with this info and love to share.
Ask for help! If it’s not working for you, ask for help rather than pulling your hair out! There are so many resources available and many people who are always willing to help troubleshoot for you.
Don’t give up! There is support out there. Although the use and care of modern cloth nappies may seem overwhelming to begin with, once you’re in a routine it is very simple.
Don’t stress about how to wash them, just get one you like the look of and give it a whirl! And never think it’s all or nothing. Part time is a swell time.
Take your time and try a few different brands. I’ve had four babies in cloth now and each child has had a slightly different nappy set up that has worked best for them. Brands that worked for one child, did not work well at all for another. Be prepared to do a bit of trial and error and don’t be upset if at first you don’t succeed. Even if you only swap out one nappy a day you are making a big difference!
One piece of advice is to really have enough cloth nappies so that you don’t have to wash every single day and wait for them to dry. I’d recommend trialling a few nappies from a few different brands, and then really stock up on the brand you love the most. It’s a big initial expense, but so much more affordable in the long run. Also, give cloth wipes a go! They’re SO much better than disposables – no accidentally putting your finger in the poo!
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.
Take each day as it comes and don’t put pressure on yourself when it comes to sustainability; it’s not a competition. Small steps, individual accountability and a positive attitude can change the world.
You don’t need to buy everything all at once before baby arrives. Start small and focus on using cloth at home if you don’t feel confident using cloth in public yet.
Start cheap and grab a few. Don’t commit to one brand until you’re happy with it. It doesn’t have to be cloth OR disposables, even just a couple MCNs go a long way.
I know the initial cost of cloth can be a bit off-putting to some, so I’ll put a little reminder out in to the world to consider looking second hand. Over half of my nappy collection was bought used. You often see collections of nappies being sold that have only been used once, if at all. With a thorough sanitise, you’ve scored yourself some amazing nappies at a fraction of the cost, and all of a sudden you’re saving the Earth in more ways than one. You also don’t have to buy the designer brands, there are plenty of smaller companies, or unbranded that work just as well … heck, some of my mysterious unbranded nappies are my favourites.
Keep things simple, do what works for you and your family. Cloth can and should fit into your life rather than the other way round. Bonus advice is: embrace the bulk and never buy clothes that don’t stretch. Stretchy rompers are your friend … there are so many amazing people on Etsy etc who hand-make gorgeous clothes that will complement your baby’s big fluffy cloth bum.
Let’s see. A wise nurse once told me, “Don’t be scared of poo. It washes out”. This is my mantra. And bleach is not the enemy! Bleach will save you. And finally … do a sniff test before you stick your finger down the back.
Cloth nappies are a great investment. Not only will they save you money in the long term, but they’re easy to use, environmentally friendly, mean you will not need to run out to the grocery store if you run out of disposables, and are super stylish, coming in a huge variety of beautiful and fun fabric designs meaning that during the warmer months you do not even need to think about dressing bub in pants as they’re gorgeous enough to be worn on their own.
Start today and tomorrow will be easier.