Having plunged into the world of cloth nappies armed with little more than a (nappy) bucket full of enthusiasm and the words of a couple of wise mums ringing in my ears, I encountered a few challenges and differing opinions.
My husband wanted me to try the nappies out properly first before he had a go, even though he was keen on using them (for the record, he’s now happily using them and even helps me stuff the pockets once they’re washed and dried).
I hadn’t really understood the importance of washing the nappies before using them so there were a few leaks. This can be quite frustrating, especially if you’re trying to persuade others that cloth is a good idea. The daft thing is that we had more (and worse) leaks in disposables than we have ever had in cloth, but I suppose you’re more conscious of it when you start with cloth because you really want it to work, and sometimes it can feel like everyone is willing you to fail.
There were a few funny looks from people who thought I would be boiling terry towels on a stove for hours until I explained that things have moved on a bit. The nurses at my GP surgery were very impressed with the nappies when I took my little one for his injections – and agreed to point anyone who asked in my direction.
Luckily for me, my family have been very supportive, mainly because they used cloth themselves – I’m the first of my generation to have a baby so nappies haven’t been on the radar for a while. My mum’s initial reaction on hearing my enthusiastic “I’m going to try cloth nappies” was something along the lines of “as opposed to what?”!
My remarkably eco-conscious great-aunt (90+ years old) interrogated me after William was born about my nappy choices. At the time I was so overwhelmed with becoming a mum that my contribution to the planet extended only to “eco” disposables. My aunt inspired me further with the words “there’s nothing more satisfying than having a row of sparkling white terry towels drying on the line”.
William has recently started nursery and the look of abject horror on his key worker’s face when I mentioned cloth nappies was only topped by the relief when I showed her how easy the pocket nappies are.
I was pleased to discover a few others using cloth nappies when I made a comment about them on Facebook recently. And lots of mums ask me about cloth nappies when they see William wearing them. I’ve done a couple of demos for friends and have spoken to many people who, like me, were considering using them but hadn’t quite got around to it.
I’ve also lent out a few cloth nappies to people who complained that “I just can’t get a night nappy that doesn’t leak” and have been amazed with the results. Others less so, but it’s all individual and depends on the baby.
As you may be able to tell, I’m loving cloth nappies – and there’s always something new to discover. But the key thing is to get support when you need it. Ideally there would be widespread “cloth bum” cafes, just like there are breastfeeding cafes for mums to come together and share experiences. Who knows, this may be where I make my millions (unlikely!).
Have a look at this You Tube video for a quick intro to real nappies.
Tomorrow: Why on earth (pun intended) would we do this? Aren’t disposables so much more convenient? How do the costs stack up?
Helen's First guest post:
My Washable Nappy Journey?