#16: A wholesome experience

Designer Bums modern cloth nappy on baby
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For Melbourne mum, Julia, the satisfaction of a cloth butt outweighs all else when it comes to modern cloth nappies. She was introduced to them before her daughter was born and, from that point forward, she was hooked.

Wholesome is the word she now uses to describe her journey with cloth – there’s pretty prints, natural fibres, and knowing you’re doing you bit to help the environmental crisis. Julia encourages everyone to do just a little bit of extra work to limit our waste and contribute to less landfill.

Welcome, Julia @mamajujujules

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

We are a Melbourne (Australia) family of 3. Mum (Julia), Dad (Jan) and daughter (Roza). We run our own cafe in Fitzroy, which keeps us busy all year round. 

Where are some of your favourite spots to take your family in the neighbourhood?

Cafes. We are a cafe family; we love to explore the hidden spots in our neighbourhood.

What does an average day look like for you?

Every day is different for us. Running a business throws a lot of challenges our way, so often can’t plan too far ahead. But every day we make sure to eat dinner together and spend some quality time together as a family afterwards. 

Which moments of motherhood make your heart the happiest?

Our breastfeeding journey makes my heart happy. And hearing Roza’s little voice say “I love you, Mama.”

What has motherhood taught you about yourself?

I value alone time. More than I ever thought I would. 

I’m more confident as a mum than I thought I would be. I really do believe that if I follow my instincts everything will work out. I don’t need to things exactly the same as others.

What advice would you give yourself as a first time mum?

Trust your gut. It’s always right. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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

My bestie, Ashlea, had a baby girl just 9 months before Roza was born. She introduced us to MCNs (modern cloth nappies), and we were hooked. To be honest, it just felt right, and it never crossed my mind to use disposables. 

How do you believe you are contributing to bettering the environment by using cloth nappies?

Less landfill, less waste, less water consumption (disposables use a lot of water to make).

What has the response to using cloth been like from your family and friends?

My family has been very supportive. Roza regularly spends days with her grandparents and auntie, and they have always been supportive of our decision to use cloth, and use it when she is with them.

We did have a little bit of negativity from some friends and family, but I honestly found most of that negativity came from a lack of understanding and a fear of the unknown. I knew I would always stick to my guns despite the negativity, and easily convinced people cloth was the right choice for us. The passion in my voice helped them understand this.

What brings you the greatest joy with using cloth?

There are so many things that bring me joy with using cloth! I adore seeing the pretty patterns, the wholesome feeling of natural fibres on my daughter’s skin, and knowing we are doing our bit to help the environmental crisis. 

What do you consider to be the key to success with cloth?

Having a stash big enough so that washing, drying and folding doesn’t have to be done under time pressure. Having worked full time for the majority of our cloth journey, this has saved me many times.

Finish this sentence … The thing people wrongly assume about cloth is …

That it’s hard work. It’s a little extra work, but the satisfaction of a cloth butt outweighs all of this. 

What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started out in cloth?

I wish I had discovered the beautiful online community and support earlier. It took a few months to discover it, and in that time it could really have helped with fit and advice.

If you could go back in time before beginning cloth, what tips would you give yourself?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Help with wash routine, with understanding the different nappy options, with getting the right fit. I would tell myself to make use of the resources out there. 

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

There are so many benefits. Financial, environmental and community. Pick the one that you think will appeal most to them and go from there.

You’re at a parents group catch up and you’ve only got one minute to give another parent your best cloth tip, what would it be? 

Clean Cloth Nappies. Use the guidelines. Don’t look back. 

How would you describe to non-cloth families the benefits of reusable nappies?

Reusables work out cheaper in the long run, especially as they tend to have resale value (and yes that’s after you factor in the cost of washing).

Disposable nappies contribute to 1/3 of Australia’s landfill. Imagine if everyone stopped using them. The environment impact would be incredible.

The chemicals in disposables can’t be great for bubs. What’s more wholesome than natural fibres against a baby’s skin?

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? Explain your processes for dealing with poo.

We put it down the toilet! (Same as anyone should we doing, even when using disposables, but no one ever reads the fine print on packaging).

What does your cloth nappy change station look like?

We just have the nappies in a big basket and change whenever, wherever on a change mat. Nappy changes don’t have to be a big deal.

What is your favourite use for wetbags?

I love using my mini wetbags for mama cloth. The regs (regular size) make a brilliant swimming bag.

What are your rituals for stuffing nappies?

Roza asleep, cup of tea and the washing basket equals one happy mama.

Have you found a new community since starting cloth? If so, what has it brought you?

Yes, yes and yes. The Designer Bums VIP group brings me so much joy. Like-minded mummas, some with whom I’ve formed friendships. It is the best support network.

How has cloth changed the way you approach life?

It’s made me more aware of the waste we create and has made me seek out reusable alternatives in other aspects of my life. 

No one and no family is perfect. What is your advice to families concerned about the growing environmental crisis?

Change one small thing in your own life – that will make a difference. Encourage others to change one small thing also. A million of these small steps WILL make a difference.

In brief

Number of bums in cloth. 1.

Time in cloth. 2 and a half years. We started when Roza was just a couple days old.

Number of nappies. That’s confidential, ha ha. Definitely more than enough 🙂 

Full or part time. Full time. 

Nappy style. Front snapping OSFM – we use Designer Bums exclusively.

Stuff or snap. We lay our inserts inside the shell (no stuffing of shell).

Pre-stuff or lay as you go. We have them stuffed ready to go.

Line or tumble dry. Line dry inside.

Favourite cloth related product. Wetbags. So versatile, and I love that they will stay with us long after toilet training.

Describe your journey with cloth in one word. Wholesome.

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