Comfort and quality meet affordability…
Cloth diapers – aren’t they just a complete pain-in-the-a**, mamas?! Don’t they cause mountains of laundry and call for those huge safety pins that are impossible to buy anywhere?! Well, apparently not. Apart from being more eco-friendly than the disposable alternatives, cloth nappies have come a long, long way and are now totally easy and civilised (and quite cool-looking, too) – plus they could actually be better for our babes and are SO much cheaper. Mama of two (with another on the way) and founder of Eggs & Soldiers (who sell cloth nappies and lots more), Sofi swears by them – and answered our questions.
Are cloth nappies like the old fashioned muslin nappies fastened with a huge safety pin?
NO! Cloth nappies have moved on a lot from the traditional terry squares (although still available on the market), sharp nappy pins and plastic pants! Modern cloth nappies come in loads of styles from All-In-One (goes on like a disposable nappy), to 2-part nappies (absorbent nappy with separate waterproof cover), to flat terry square style nappies that require folding and securing, but not necessarily with a scary pin! They also come in different fabrics such as Cotton, Organic Cotton, Bamboo, Hemp, Microfibre, etc. Also loads of gorgeous colours and prints that most cloth mamas love to show off!
Don’t they leak everywhere once full?
Just like with a disposable nappy, they have a capacity. Different fabrics have different absorbencies. The big difference is that with a disposable nappy, you get what your given in terms of absorbency. With cloth, YOU can adjust it – just add more inserts or use more thirsty fabrics such as Bamboo or Hemp to give your child the absorbency they need at that given time. Overnight (12hrs +), you’ll need more, during the day (+/- 3-hourly changes) you can use less. If you don’t change the nappy often enough, or you don’t provide enough absorbency, yes, they’ll leak, but to be honest, you probably should have changed the nappy before that point anyway! It’s a good alarm clock to not leave your baby in a wet nappy too long!
Aren’t they loads of extra work – with all the washing etc?
Yes, you have to wash them. For me, its one load of laundry every other day. I don’t find it difficult at all and I’m SUPER disorganised! The hardest part is getting into the routine. For me, I put the kids to bed, put my nappy laundry on, have dinner, then hang them up to dry before going to bed. In the morning they are dry and I spend 5 minutes putting them together and in the drawer. Easy!
What are the benefits of using cloth nappies?
There are loads! The most common reasons for using cloth are:
1) Financial – it costs around AED 5,500 for disposable nappies from birth to potty training (double that if you use “eco disposables”). You can buy a new set of basic cloth nappies (flats or prefolds) that will fit from birth to potty training for as little as AED 500. Even the most expensive options would set you back no more that AED 3,500. Add to that you can re-use them for subsequent children (as I have done for #two and soon #three too!) and your cost savings are HUGE! And, you can even sell them on or donate them when your done with them. Doubt you’d do that with a disposable nappy! Yes, you have washing costs, but that is estimated at AED 300 to AED 500 per year.
2) Environmental – In the USA alone, roughly 18 billion disposable nappies are put in landfills each year. As disposable nappies have only existed for 25 years of so, no one really know how long they take to break down in land fill – the first disposable nappies still haven’t! Estimates range from 50-500 years.
3) No Chemicals – It’s simple, YOU control what you put on baby’s skin. With disposables, the control is with the manufacturer. With cloth, you choose what fabrics you use, you choose what you wash them in.
4) Reliability – Because disposable nappies are disposable, the elastic used on the leg and waist is cheap – very thin and flimsy. Because of this and the explosive nature of pre-weaned baby poo (liquid in, liquid out!) leaky nappies are very common – a poo-nami, if you will! Cloth nappies have much better quality, stronger elastic on BOTH the legs and waist preventing this. Many parents find they do LESS laundry when using cloth nappies as the poo-nami’s are few and far between!
Can you use them at night?
Absolutely! You just need to provide enough absorbency for the length of time your baby sleeps and frequency you change them. My kids now sleep through the night and I don’t change them. I use a bamboo 2-part nappy with an extra bamboo booster and waterproof cover. It is bulky, but that doesn’t bother baby at all. Some parents choose to use cloth in the day and disposables at night.
What do you do when going out and about? Or on holiday?
Out and about I use cloth. I take some spares, just like with disposable nappies. Only difference is when I change a nappy, instead of putting it in the bin, I put it in my ‘wet bag’ (waterproof zip up bag) and take it home to add to my next laundry load. As for holidays, it depends on if I will have easy access to washing facilities. If I do, I will often take my cloth ones with me. If not, or it’ll be difficult/a hassle to wash them, then I just use disposables. For me, if it’s not easy, I won’t do it! I find using cloth at home SO easy so I do it, but holidays can be a different matter so I just go with whatever works for that situation. I’m always excited to get back to my cloth when we get home though!
When can you start using cloth nappies – newborn or later?
That’s a personal choice. Having your first baby can be so overwhelming and it’s a big adjustment. If you add to that possible skepticism of using cloth from people around you, it can be a negative experience. Just like everything else with having a child, using cloth nappies takes a little getting used to. If they leak, it’s usually user error and you should always ask someone in the know (Like Eggs & Soldiers) how to rectify it. With my first child, I chose to wait until the umbilical cord fell off to start – so think she was 5-7 days old. My second had a cloth bum from birth, and so will my third baby too. There is nothing cuter than a tiny newborn baby with a big chunky J-Lo cloth bum!
Will clothes still fit?
Absolutely! Some clothes, particularly designer clothes, are cut very trim and can be more tricky. But on the whole, all high street brands fit just fine. The only thing I find is the 3 months size range fits a little earlier than stated. Meaning a 3-6 month baby grow will fit from 2-5 months. The other option is baby leggings, such as the Blade and Rose ones. They are brilliant with just a t-shirt and allow loads of space for a cloth bum. Once baby is older and crawling/walking, I just put baby in a cloth nappy and a t-shirt. Show off you gorgeous cloth nappy prints!
So there you go, mamas – we’re pretty sold on cloth over disposables now! To order, visit www.eggsnsoldiers.com.