Diary of a Cloth Nappy Trial

At first glance the contents of the nappy trial kit appeared rather daunting. How was I supposed to work out what to use and when? I started by sorting through the kit and dividing the contents into ‘fitted & wraps’ and ‘pockets’; ‘boosters’ and ‘liners’ plus terry towels and nippers. I added the water & oil to the wipes in their storage box and put the mesh bag in the nappy bucket. My intention was to work my way through the whole kit to see how each nappy type suited my 9 month old son.

The contents of the kit were as follows:

2x Little Lamb microfibre size 2

2x Little Lamb cotton size 2

2x Little Lamb bamboo size 2

Diddy Diaper, nipper fastening

Little Lamb wrap size 2

Smartipants wrap one size

Nature Babies leopard print wrap medium

Bambinex wrap one size

Charlie Banana one size

Rumparooz one size

Smartipants one size

Blueberry Minky one size

Minki night nappy large

Flushable liners

Fleece liners

Bamboo boosters

2x Terry towels

2x nappi nippas

Cheeky Wipes Kit

Nappy bucket & mesh bag

Large wetbag

To begin with I decided to try the fitted nappies with wraps since they seemed less complicated. There were 3 types of fitted: microfibre, cotton, and bamboo. Knowing that bamboo is the most absorbent I thought that best to leave for overnight, so started with the microfibre Little Lamb, flushable liner plus the Little Lamb wrap. Interestingly, whereas the nappy fitted well, the wrap was too big around my son’s skinny waist. Immediately I was faced with a problem – the nappy made his bum too big and his vest would no longer do up! Similar problem with his trousers being too tight (though at least they no longer fell down)! So I retrieved my stock of next size up clothing which solved that issue. I have since discovered that it is possible to buy ‘vest extenders’ though have not actually purchased any myself. After a couple of hours I checked his nappy and was surprised to find it was dirty. Normally you can smell a dirty nappy a mile off but no smell had escaped the wrap – bonus! Changing the nappy was simple – throw the liner into the toilet and flush, put the nappy into the nappy bucket with laundry tabs folded, wipe bum with a cheeky wipe and throw wipe into the nappy bucket. No more fighting with the packet of wipes as they all stick together, and no need to use more than one wipe. So far so good.

The bamboo nappy survived 12 hours overnight without leaking, much to my relief. I had included a fleece liner rather than flushable in order to keep moisture away from the skin, and this seemed to have worked well. Having used all of the fitted nappies yesterday, today was the turn of the pockets & ‘others’. To begin with I thought it best to try the nappies with their intended inserts and not add any boosters. First up was the Charlie Banana. This nappy was unique in that it had adjustable leg gussets and was also particularly slim fitting which suited my petite child well. No need to go up a clothes size with this one. The Rumparooz and Smartipants fitted well. The Blueberry was a little more bulky.

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At this point we were running low on clean nappies and the nappy bucket was filling up so I slung the mesh bag into the washing machine and added a tablespoon of Tots Bots ‘Potion’ and washed on a standard cycle at 30°C. The microfibre Little Lambs and the pocket nappies came out of the machine practically dry. It was a nice sunny day so they all went outside to dry on a clothes airer. Within 30 minutes the microfibres were ready to be worn again and the microfibre inserts for the pocket nappies were ready to be re-stuffed into the pocket nappies. The cotton and bamboo nappies took a couple of hours to dry fully. All nappies were smell and stain free.

Tonight was the turn of the dedicated night nappy. The nappy itself was fairly bulky and the extra insert/booster closely resembled a duvet! There was no chance of fitting all of that bulk around my son so I discarded the extra insert in favour of a bamboo booster. Again I added a fleece liner though this wasn’t strictly necessary since the nappy is lined with fleece. All was fine in the morning – no leaks and a dry bum.

The terry towels quickly became resigned to changing mats – trying to fold them up, add bamboo boosters and fleece liners, wrap them around a wriggling baby who kept trying to crawl off and then do them up with nappi nippas just wasn’t happening!

We had a few overnight leaks when we tried different combinations. The most spectacular being with a cotton Little Lamb and the leopard print wrap. We had a couple of leaks with this wrap and eventually I stopped using it. I found as time went on I was probably only using half of the kit on a regular basis – the bamboo Little Lambs with Smartipants or Bambinex wrap at night and all the pockets except the Blueberry during the day. The bamboo boosters were great – nice and thin but absorbent and quick drying. I preferred fleece liners to flushable ones. The fluffy fleece liners were not so easy to clean as the smoother ones. I had no real preference regarding poppers or applix with regards ease of putting the nappy on. However my son did manage to undo the applix himself having already shed his trousers when he was supposed to be having a nap so I found him standing up in his cot butt naked! Luckily he hadn’t made a mess!

The Cheeky Wipes were brilliant – and soon became hand and face wipes too. I did find that they were better when washed with fabric softener though, so I put them in a separate mesh bag and washed them with clothes after they had had their nappy wash. No need to dry them since they just went back into the storage box straight from the wash.

When going out and about I took a spare pocket nappy already stuffed and lined and a few wipes which I stored in a double wetbag – the wipes being in the smaller compartment. Dirty nappy & wipes then went into the larger side, leaving remaining clean wipes in the smaller side should they be required for hands/faces etc.

I wash the nappies every 2 or 3 days. I have had no issues with washing with Potion at 30°C – no smells or stains, no loss of absorbancy etc. Whenever possible I hang the nappies outside to dry on an airer, but now winter is approaching there are times that they have had to dry inside, or a quick blast in the tumble dryer (not the pocket outers though!)

The quoted fact that using reusable nappies saves you money depends on one major variable – whether you get addicted to buying nappies or not! Since starting to use this trial kit I have purchased a number of nappies and wipes, joined groups on Facebook dedicated to buying, selling, swapping and giving away nappies and associated items and am always on the lookout for special offers and sales in my email alerts! I have not yet tried the fleece or wool soakers that many people swear by and have also not been able to justify the expense (and possible bad fit) of a custom made nappy. We have solar panels so the washing machine and tumble dryer can be used during the daytime without fear of huge electricity bills. Our water bill has increased slightly, as has expenditure on washing powder but this is minimal in comparison to our previous disposable nappy expenditure. I have comfort in the knowledge that I am no longer filling landfills with hundreds of disposable nappies and wipes, I no longer have a smelly dustbin overflowing towards the end of the 2 week collection period and when I no longer have a need for the nappies they can be sold on.