My husband and I decided to use washable nappies for our children. When I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, I struggled to find enough guidance and advice about how to use such nappies, and indeed which ones to use. It was very much a trial and error process for me during her first few months, but now I am confident with the nappies, and we know what works for us. We use a combination of traditional Terry nappies, and more modern shaped ‘2-piece’ ones.
It was the description of ‘1-piece,’ ‘2-piece’ and even ‘3-piece’ nappies that caused much confusion for me in those early days. I had to deal with lots of leaky nappies and numerous changes of clothes and bedding as I learned by experience just exactly what I had to use, and how. Quite simply, a 1-piece nappy is one that has a built-in waterproof covering over a fleece or cloth lining. You simply put the nappy on in the same way you would a disposable and away you go. A 2-piece nappy is a cloth or fleece nappy that you have to cover with a waterproof wrap. And a 3-piece is a cloth or fleece nappy that you cover with a waterproof wrap, and you also use a separate liner inside the nappy to catch any solid mess from your baby.
There are lots of different brands to choose from, and I found this quite overwhelming. I have now settled on my personal favourites. For our newborn daughter I use Totsbots fluffy nappies, with either a Totsbots wrap or a Nature Babies one. I also use Lollipop fleece nappies, which are smaller and thinner, and easier to pop in your changing bag and use while out and about. When my daughter is a little bigger I will use Kushies nappies as well. These are the 1-piece nappies that have a waterproof cover over a cloth inner part, and again are easy when out travelling.
I also use Terry nappies, which I prefer to use overnight because they provide more absorbency and last longer between changes. There are different ways you can fold a Terry nappy, and I found some instructions online when I was doing my research. I then had to ask my mum for help, and fortunately she remembered how to fold the nappies after almost 30 years, so she sorted us out! I favour the ‘newborn fold’ or the ‘kite fold’ for my children. With a Terry nappy you must remember to use a waterproof wrap, but I find that they all fit quite easily anyway so I don’t need specific types.
One issue that people seem concerned about is washing the nappies. Some people are squeamish about dealing with all the mess, and some say that surely it uses more energy because you have to use the washing machine so frequently. Actually, we wash all the nappies on a 40C cycle, and dry them on the washing line where possible because the outside air softens the fibres nicely. The sun is also a natural way to kill off any bacteria from the nappies, so it’s an added bonus. And yes, I know in the UK we don’t get much sun, but we have enough to dry our nappies in! I have a bucket with a lid in which to store the dirty nappies, and I only tend to soak them if they are particularly dirty or smelly. Usually I just ‘dry pail’ them and wash a load either every day or every other day as required.
There we go. Feel free to ask any questions or recommend your own brands of cloth nappies, or indeed share your experiences. I want to encourage more people to give up disposables and ease the burden on our waste industry (you can thank my husband for this; he is a Chartered Waste Manager).
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*My Cloth Nappy image courtesy of Natural Nursery blog
*Lollipop nappy image courtesy of Green Pees
*Totsbots nappy image courtesy of Totsbots
*Terry nappy image courtesy of Mothercare
*Nappies on washing line image courtesy of Cloth Nappies blog