We have five tips to help you make the transition from single use to modern cloth nappies.
1. Find a Friend
While statistics have single use nappies on 95 per cent of Aussie babies bums, you might just know someone who is already a cloth convert. Chat to them about it, go over to their place and check out their nappy stash, play with it, look at how they set up their change table and check out their laundry/washing system. Believe me, they will be more than happy to talk to you about it.
Don’t know anyone? Keep an eye out for community information sessions (for example: the City of Casey’s annual cloth nappy expo), drop into one of the scarce bricks and mortar stores or have a look at some You Tube videos out there. The internet is full of information on cloth nappies, but not all of it is objective, make sure you check a range of sources for advice, from online groups of mums to the manufacturers to get the big picture.
2. Do your research
Even though they save you money in the long run cloth nappies are an investment up front anywhere between $180 up to and over $800 depending on style, material and brand – so make sure you do your research before you buy (finding a friend who has already using cloth nappies will help with this). Cloth nappies made from quality materials and with a decent warranty will cost you more but they are likely to result in a positive experience in using them and last for more than one child. There are also cloth nappies known as ‘china cheapies’ because they are made in China AND are really cheap to buy over the internet – these have their place but make sure you know if this is what you are being sold and that you aren’t paying too much for them.
3. Try before you buy
Cloth nappies are one of those items that it doesn’t matter how much research you do or what brand your friend swears by, you really aren’t going to know what works for you AND your baby until you are using them. Join a nappy library; lots cloth nappy businesses offer a program where you pay to use a variety of styles and brands so you can work out a) if this cloth nappy caper is for you and b) which nappies you actually prefer to use and fit best for your babies shape. This way you get to try out all the nappies that topped your research list before investing in them.
4. Cloth nappies for every body and every budget
The cloth nappies that are most similar to single use nappies are known as all in ones, and while easy to use are often the most expensive and take the longest to dry. Don’t be scared to try something that seems a little more complicated if it works better for your bottom line or your laundry conditions. Good quality covers with prefolds are a great budget alternative – try them in your library to see how they work for you. The most popular styles sit somewhere in the middle, pocket nappies and all in twos. These styles pull apart for ease of drying and most people have about three inserts for every cover making them relatively more affordable than the all in ones.
5. It’s not all or nothing – use them how they work best for you
When thinking about getting into cloth nappies, don’t think of it as an either or proposition. Many people get into cloth nappies slowly, getting enough for a day at home and seeing how that works. If it does work out, they gradually build up there stash to use them full time, or some people just stay part time, some people use cloth just at home, and some people use cloth full time but single use nappies at night.