The best advice for getting started with reusable nappies
Thursday, 5 March 2020 | Ruth TNG
I invited our lovely Nappy Guru Innes to write an article for my eco journal - a guest spot if you like; Offering her advice about Cloth Nappies.
"Innes is a nappy guru for team TNG, providing email advice and in-person demos around London.She has used cloth nappies for the last few years on her two children, and loves it so much that her youngest has never worn a disposable nappy! Innes' favourite nappy is a Bare & Boho"
Getting started with cloth nappies can be very overwhelming! There are loads of different kinds, a lot of jargon, and a new world of washing to get your head around. I’ve been using cloth for nearly three years and it’s now second nature, but it wasn’t always that way. Looking back on those early months, there are so many tips I’d want to give myself. Here’s what I’d say:
Everyone has a reason for looking into cloth. For lots of people, it’s environmental factors, particularly a desire to cut down on the amount of single-use plastic that’s going into landfill. Others choose cloth for financial reasons - using reusable nappies can save huge amounts of money, as this article shows Saving money with cloth nappies.
Whatever your reason is, keep remembering it. Cloth nappies have a steep learning curve, but it will always seem worth it when you remember why you made the choice. In the early weeks, when I couldn’t quite nail the fit and I wasn’t sure about my wash routine, I counted up how many nappies I was saving from landfill. It motivated me to keep learning and make it work. Oh, and I put those nappies out on a shelf so I could always see how beautiful they were!
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t do things by halves, so when I started out, I thought I had to go all or nothing. Looking back, I wish I’d been comfortable going slow! Rushing into using cloth full time is a fast track to getting overwhelmed and burnt out with the whole thing. Starting out with just one cloth nappy a day and building up over time makes it sustainable and manageable.
Using cloth part time is also an option for the long term. It’s much better to cut out one or two disposables a day for a couple of years than to force yourself to go full-time straight away and then give up after a month. Lots of cloth bum mums choose to use disposables at night, when they’re out of the house or when they’re on holiday. That’s totally allowed! Do what works for you.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re starting out is to make assumptions about the kinds of nappies they think they’ll like, invest heavily, and then regret it. I made this exact mistake. I wanted something easy so I only considered all-in-one nappies, thinking that anything else was too much work. A few months into my cloth journey I started branching out and realised I’d been all wrong on what I needed, and quickly found nappies that were easy to use, AND quick to dry, pretty and slim fitting!
The best way to try lots of different nappies is to find your nearest nappy library, but you can also get a trial pack or use The Nappy Gurus Test Drive scheme. Getting some personalised advice from a nappy guru will also help narrow down the huge range of options to try and give you a shortlist to start with.
Like any new skill, learning how to use reusables takes time and the quickest way to learn is to get help! Find someone who knows cloth inside out, whether that’s a nappy guru, a local nappy library volunteer or a friend, and get as much information from them as you can. Reusable nappy users love to chat nappies, so don’t fear boring them or annoying them! Make sure you keep your cloth buddy on hand after you’ve got started too. It’s amazing how many more questions come up once you actually start using your nappies.
Nobody gets excited about disposable nappies, but pretty much every cloth nappy user loves their nappies! Enjoy doing your washing (yes really!), look at your pretty nappies all lined up in a row, and have fun exploring all the different options out there. Being a parent is hard, so enjoying this small aspect of life with littles makes all the difference.
Hopefully Innes' lovely writing has made your feel more confident in trying cloth nappies. If you have any further questions please feel free to join The Nappy Gurus Place on Facebook, or take a look at our website, under Nappy advice, we have lots of videos and advice for you to get started.