Wednesday, 18 September 2013

On keeping it real

***This is one in a series of posts about our switch from disposables to cloth nappies.  You can read the others here***

So we've talked about the rationale and we've talked about the cuteness, here's the real dirt; our experience over the last month or so.

The biggest differences I've noticed are an increase in the number of washloads I do each week and a decrease in the amount of rubbish accumulating the bin in the nursery.

I'm washing nappies every other day, mostly in the evenings.  Everything goes in together for a cold rinse and then I separate the load into two parts.  I wash nappies, boosters and liners at 60 deg and wraps & wet bags at 40 deg (I'm not convinced the higher temperature is good for them and they don't need as much cleaning as the nappies).  Initially I was washing everything at 40 deg but Anna started to get a bit sore & smelly so I upped the temperature and things have been fine since.  Usually everything gets dried on an airer in our kitchen but a couple of times, I've timed things wrong and had to tumble-dry things to have them ready in time. (I'm not using that much more detergent because each load uses less than half the normal amount for a wash.  I have bought some colour catcher sheets so I can wash everything together.)
I haven't noticed any difference in the condition of Anna's skin either from closer contact with detergent-washed fabrics or urine.  Her skin is slightly damp in the mornings but otherwise, pretty much the same as with disposables.  I think the fleece liners I'm using are responsible for that.  The other little trick is putting the most absorbant booster furthest away from the skin to wick the moisture outwards.

I've had a couple of small leaks, around the legs, and one major blow-out.  I guess when a cloth nappy goes, it really goes!  To be honest, I did exactly the same with a disposable the week before during our weekly supermarket shop.  And I knew I should have changed her before I put her in the car to go home!
You do need to be reasonably organised to use cloth nappies economically; washing every 2 days reduces the number of nappies you need to buy and it can be tricky to pick up extras or replacements quickly given that you can't pick them up in many bricks & mortar stores.  (That said, larger Boots stores have recently starting stocking some Tots Bots nappies and accessories at reasonable prices.)

We're having a few problems getting trousers that will fit over her bum.  Frugi make "cut for cloth" children's clothing but I haven't tried their range yet.  Anna's just going up a clothing size so at the moment, we're ok and leggings & tights have a lot more stretch to them.

And the last problem, is not confined to cloth nappies but was a real nightmare for about 2 weeks.  Anna has learned to take off her nappy.  She can do with with disposables too but she really likes the pop when she pulls the cloth ones open.  Every evening, after we put her to bed, she pulls the whole lot off and leaves it in a heap on the mattress.  We tried everything we could think of; explaining, cross words, smacking, pajamas, Isaac's pants over the top.... And someone very wise suggested back-to-front babygros!  Which is working (so far)!

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