In this series, we chat to mums, who share their stories, tips and hints about using cloth nappies. Steph is a mum of two, who once had two in cloth at one time. She nows works as a volunteer for her local cloth nappy library.
I’ll be honest, reusable nappies weren’t high on our list of things we would do when we had a baby; in fact, they weren’t even on our list. When Thomas was born, a friend bought us a set of cloth wipes and a Doctor Who nappy [we are huge Doctor Who fans, and even have a full-size pet Dalek called Delilah at home!], and I genuinely thought ‘what are these?’ But after several months of badgering (thanks, Pip!) we loaned a nappy kit from my local nappy library and things spiralled from there…
Perhaps we were lucky, but we never had any issues, even when starting out. The kit was straightforward to use, and we soon learnt which nappies we did and didn’t like. Hook-and-loop was a no-no as Thomas could undo them, we found pockets easier to customise in terms of absorption, and who doesn’t love a pretty pattern?! As time progressed we needed to make changes to our stash – extra bamboo when Thomas started flood weeing, two-parters for night-time, along with extra hemp – but nothing a little experimentation couldn’t solve.
Thomas was in cloth full time from the age of four months until he potty trained at 2.5 years. As his younger sister, made an appearance when he was sixteen months old, that also meant a year with two in cloth; a lot of people have asked how we managed to cloth two at once, but it honestly made no difference having two children to having one, we just had to do a nappy wash more frequently. Katherine is now 17 months old and has never had a disposable nappy or wipe used on her. During our cloth bum journey we have travelled abroad, stayed in hotels and stayed in chalets with no washing facilities, but still managed to use reusable nappies the whole time; our philosophy is that if you want to, you will find a way. Plus, I’m too tight to buy disposables when I already have reusables to hand!
At the start of our cloth journey, I’ll be honest, my main motivation was to save a little money; by the time Thomas was ten months old, the cost of the reusable nappies we had bought had balanced out what we would have spent on disposable nappies over the same time period. But as time went on, I realised the environmental benefits of reusable nappies, and reusable items in general, and have since used reusable breast pads while breastfeeding, currently use CSP, and am venturing into reusable toilet roll (no different to using cloth wipes on a baby, and saves us a fortune) We have never run out of nappies, and never had nappy rash. The hardest aspect of reusable nappies for us was learning to fit them correctly, as they do fit differently to a disposable; once mastered though, you never forget. Oh, and toilet training Thomas was a little challenging as he wanted to wear his superhero nappies, but once I’d hidden them away, he was fine with switching to pants!
And so to the present day… Having taken advantage of a free loan of reusable nappies from my local nappy library to get me started, I wanted to give something back through volunteering. Through the WHNAS, I have loaned nappy kits to dozens of local families and supported them in their own cloth journeys I have done demos to local groups as well as individual consultations as well as spreading the word about the work done by an unsung network of volunteers across the country. We are available at all times for advice and support, and we do this around our own families and jobs. If I can give just one piece of advice to anyone considering reusable nappies, it would be this; use your local nappy library and take advantage of the wealth of experience the volunteers have to offer.