Be warned, cloth nappying becomes addictive. There are hundreds of gorgeous patterns and designs out there to add to your stash. If you’re not careful this can sometimes eat into the cost benefits of cloth vs disposables. But your baby will have a great looking bum!
You can start a stash for a lot less than you think – I went “route one” with an “everything-you-need-from-start-to-finish” kit. This is definitely the easiest way to do things, but by far the most expensive. By being clever about where you buy nappies, taking lots of advice and getting all the freebies and offers you can (there are frequent giveaways on manufacturers’ Facebook groups, for example) you can pick up some real bargains.
Don’t be afraid of preloved. Most people who use real nappies are conscious of the need to wash them properly and, while some may show signs of wear, buying secondhand saves you having to do those first absorbency washes. There are lots of places to buy secondhand. You can also make your own: old teatowels, muslins, anything you like really can be used to stuff into pockets. Those who are handy with a sewing machine and a pair of scissors could rustle up shaped nappies for next to nothing.
The amount of washing you do will change – but perhaps not in the way you think. I didn’t realise it until I had to use disposables for a few days but I do far less clothes washing with real nappies, because there are far fewer leaks. And once you’re dealing with weaned/weaning babies all the solids go into the loo, so you can wash nappies and clothes together. To be honest, I washed nappies and clothes together from the start but this is very much personal preference.
Avoiding nasty chemicals next to your baby’s skin is another benefit: my little one has had next-to-no nappy rash since ditching the ‘sposies. Its amazing how many mums wouldn’t consider feeding their kids non-organic food, but don’t even consider the chemicals at the other end. True, you do have to change real nappies reasonably frequently – perhaps more so than disposables. But then I’ve found cloth to be much better overnight. Now we’re down to 4-5 nappies per day, so it’s easy peasy really.
You don’t have to use cloth nappies exclusively. Think of it as the equivalent to combination feeding. I’ve certainly found the real nappies to be more effective for my baby, but I do sometimes use disposables. Cloth nappies are a bit bulkier than disposables but I’ve never had to buy larger clothes than his age group just to fit the nappies in. And earlier potty training is good news so far as I’m concerned!
Cloth nappies do not impede your child’s physical development! Actually, it seems that they keep babies’ hips at the optimum angle for hip development. My eight month old is happily cruising round furniture and has been for a month or so. He rolled, crawled and pulled up quite early.* When he falls down on his bum, it is soft and padded.
Ultimately cloth nappies will not be right for everyone. But I hope I’ve shown that you don’t have to take an enormous leap of faith into cloth nappies – there is plenty of help and advice out there and it is possible to combine with using disposables sometimes if you feel happier doing that. You also haven’t missed the boat if you didn’t start at birth. There are lots of resources available to help you convince the doubters and, if nothing else, it’ll save you money. Although if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked in no time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
*This is not a guarantee that your baby will walk early if he’s in cloth. All babies are different. That’s what makes them so fascinating.