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Judith's Reusable Nappy Journey

Why did you start thinking about using cloth nappies?

Mostly environmental reasons, really. And a little bit of me was motivated by the expense of disposables. As my husband would probably confirm, I’m a bit of a cheapskate! I figured reusables would save money in the long run.

When did you start looking into it?

While I was pregnant with my first, Alice, so about ten years ago – eek!

What were any concerns/misconceptions you had before you started? How did you overcome these?

I was a bit overwhelmed by all the different types of nappies, and I didn’t know anyone who had used cloth nappies (apart from my mum back in the 80s!) so I was completely in the dark. I was also worried about keeping up with washing – domestic efficiency has never been a strong point of mine! In the end, though, I decided to just pick a couple of different nappies and see how I got on with them, and try to make my peace with any extra laundry.

When did you start using cloth nappies? How did you find it? How did you get past any issues you found?

In all honesty, it took ages before I plucked up the courage to start. The nappies stayed in the drawer for months and months… Like a lot of people, I found being a new mum completely overwhelming and often not in a good way. Looking back, I probably had undiagnosed PND: that, coupled with a baby who refused to sleep, didn’t really put me in a good place for a long time. But when we did eventually get round to starting, I found it a lot easier than I had expected. I struck lucky with the brands I’d chosen at random: they seemed to be a good fit for Alice, and we didn’t have any issues with leaks or anything.

With my second, Libby, I was a bit more confident, although we still went with disposables for the first few weeks until she was big enough to fit into the birth to potty nappies we had. We had to play around a bit more with combinations of boosters for her as we had more issues with leaking, but it was mostly compression leaks so using vest extenders, and being a bit more careful about what clothing we put her in sorted that out. (I have to hold my hands up and confess we still used disposables at night.) We did have the PUL [waterproof fabric] fail on one of my favourite – and what was worse, most expensive – wraps, which was annoying. But I managed to find a nappy library which turns old nappies into keyrings, so hopefully it lives on in another guise!

Where did you go for advice?

The first time round, I just lurked in parenting forums in the hope of picking up some ideas of what worked for other people. With Libby, I visited the Nappy Library to get a better idea of the different options. I hired a couple of wraps to try them with our terry squares.

Any tips or tricks?

The poo spoon! We used disposable liners with Alice, but fleece with Libby, so when she started having solids, we needed a system for scraping...hence, the poo spoon. We used an old plastic spoon that hadn’t worked for weaning, and I made sure to mark it clearly.

Also, old CD units are the perfect size for storing cloth nappies – if you have pretty prints don’t hide them in a drawer!

Favourite brand? Favourite print?

Like I said before, I’m a cheapskate, so price mostly drove my purchasing decisions. I bought most of my nappies during Real Nappy Week promotions, end-of-line sales, etc. I also bought a load of old-school terry squares super-cheap, which, with a Milovia wrap over the top, turned out to be my favourite and most reliable nappy! In terms of favourite prints, I’m a sucker for anything with a mushroom print, so my favourite nappy was the Milovia Toadstools.

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