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Cloth Nappies: Day One

 |  Parenting

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and worked out how much we’ve spent on disposable nappies in 7 months. It turned out to be some ridiculously huge figure like £120. As Izz gets bigger and the size of the nappies get bigger, the price per pack gets more extortionate and you get less in a pack so we’d be looking at another £150 or more just to get to her first birthday.

I know a lot of mums who use cloth nappies, and I know for a fact that we (my siblings and I) were in cloth (terries) at one point or another as kids. I’m figuring if these people/my mum can do it, there’s no reason I can’t… even if I am a lazy bugger. So, cue me shouting for help, and a friend from sling meet lending me a nappy bucket full of cloth nappies to trial.

We started yesterday…


  • Isabel definitely noticed when she was wet! I don’t know whether it was just because she was feeling under the weather yesterday, but as soon as she’d peed she cried. This is the first time she’s fussed for a nappy change (even as a newborn the only thing she cried for was boob).
  • The smell is more noticeable. I guess the lovely chemical cocktail in a disposable disguises it normally ;)
  • We had leakage in the “bumgenius” after 2 hours, which seems like quite a small turnaround time. I would expect 3-4 hours out of a ‘sposie during the day.
  • It’s nowhere near as complicated as it looks/sounds.

So, mixed feelings about cloth after yesterday. I definitely still want to go that way, but may get some terries and try the old fashioned route before making my mind up. I’ll update again when I’ve got a better grip on which way I’m going.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

14 comments so far

  1. adastra said:

    Friends of mine who recently had their baby told me they’d use cloth nappies right from the beginning. Not only because it’s much cheaper, but also because it’s supposed to help the kids get "clean" much earlier, because they notice that they’re wet and don’t like it at all (as you mentioned).

  2. Tanya said:

    Thanks for letting us know how you’re getting on with the cloth nappies, Jem. I was absolutely determined to use them when Sam came along but they gave her permanent nappy rash. In the end I gave up and we’ve been a disposable only house ever since, which I agree is very expensive.

    What type of inserts are you using? Perhaps a change is in order if she’s leaking so often?

  3. Heather D said:

    The nappies might just need stripping – build up of detergent can cause the smell, but teething wee can also be a bit eye-watering. We use disps sometimes and I think they smell far worse – certainly sitting in the bin!

    Turnaround time *is* shorter, I don’t know a way round that. I change Max every 2-3 hours and always before a longish car journey as the pressure can cause leakage if a nappy’s already wet, but on the upside poo containment is a million times better with cloth! You need to play around a bit with the fit as not every nappy suits every child. Trial and error is a pain, but since M was about five months old we’ve been very happy with Wonderoos and FuzziBunz OneSize.

    It’s really not that hard, is it? You need a routine, the nappies that fit the best and a few tips, such as use just a dribble of detergent and rinse well – I use a thimble-full of Bold or non-bio, use a long wash so they get well-rinsed and once in a while give them a second wash with no detergent just to get them extra well rinsed out, but I do that about once every six months!

    Am I now rivalling you for length of reply compared to original post?!

  4. Mumblies said:

    I am neither pro nor against disposables really, the only reason I started with terries some 30+ (eek) years ago was cost. At the time disposables were few and far between, pretty crap (if you pardon the pun) and were horrendously expensive to buy too.

    I lived about 4 miles from the nearest shop that sold them, had limited funds to spend each week on my household shopping and no direct bus route meant that I’d spend far too much time trogging up and down a bugger of a hill to buy them – BF is kinda hard whilst carrying shopping/baby/walking up hill.

    As time went by, and subsequent siblings came along I never really gave it much thought, having coped without any problems with the terries with your older brothers, I just automatically opted for them instead of trying out the now more readily available disposables, however when you reached about 9 months or so I tried one overnight, and discovered how much faster that morning change went, and how easy it all was… so, as your younger brothers and sister came along after that once they had reached the 6 month stage I switched from the terries over to disposables. I did not care to use them before, as I personally felt that terries were more baby friendly and comfortable for you all.

    Although terry nappies are still available today, disposables seem to be more often chosen, and of course are far more baby-friendly than they were all those years ago. I think in all honesty it’s purely a personal choice thing now, and can’t really see any difference between them.
    However, had you started with terries right from the day Isabel was born then yes I think terries would have been cost effective and subsequently cost you less overall, switching now considering the cost of remaining disposables versus buying terries/rubbers/liners etc would probably cost slightly more overall unless you…
    A) wanted more babies
    B) were planning on using the terries with the next.

    Weighing up the convenience/speed etc I can see that disposables do offer a good argument for using them, they are faster and slightly easier to change, weigh far less both dry and wet and easier to carry around with you (easier for dads too) although I do not have any information on what happens to them once they are binned… not read up on that.

    Either way – your baby – your choice :) simples

  5. Kalliste said:

    I commend you Jem! As mentioned on Twitter I don’t think I could do it. This is, however, coming from a mid twenties woman who has NEVER changed a nappy. I might be the only one of us in history :D

  6. Jem said:

    @adastra: I’ve heard that too – it’s an interesting theory, hope we get to move over to cloth full time to try it.

    @Tanya: we had a nappy rash moment yesterday after one of the nappies but I can’t be sure that’s not teething pee related. I have no idea what sort of insert it was… whatever was in the bucket ;)

    @Heather: what do you do overnight? I’m going to get a couple of FuzziBunz and try them as well I think. At least the resale value on cloth is fairly high! Thanks for the washing tips, too.

  7. Jem said:

    @Mum: you’re so hardcore, resisting the disposable revolution ;)

    Depending on which nappies we go for, I should be able to get enough nappies to sort us out for under £100 (buying some second hand) so am not worried about cost… plus, I’m open to the idea of more babies ;)

  8. Hev said:

    I was a cloth baby except for on trips. I couldn’t handle the disposables, they gave me horrible nappie rash. Mom says to tell you that you need to just try different types ?

    @Karl I hardly doubt that you have been suffering all that long.

  9. Ashley said:

    I definitely want to hear how this goes, my parents had me in cloth diapers for awhile too and said it worked out well. I’m pretty sure they just used disposables overnight. I think it’s a brilliant idea because not only is it saving money, it’s super duper good for the environment too!

  10. Meggan said:

    Yeah, I’ve heard cloth babies are easier to potty train (or "potty learn") since they are much more aware that they are wet.

    I’ve also heard that cloth babies need to be changed more often than ‘sposie babies, but I’m not sure if that’s because they notice they are wet or because of absorbency. You can usually increase absorbency with inserts (some are specifically for overnights) but there’s probably not a lot you can do for the wetness sensation.

    And I’m not really sure what "more often" means exactly; I normally change Wesley about every 2 hours or so and he’s in disposables at the moment, though we do leave him in the same diaper overnight as he’s not a very heavy wetter. So "more often" to me is like, every hour, which seems totally silly. Hard to know.

    Anyway, I love talking about cloth diapering so hit me up for any conversations you want to have about it and I’ll keep you updated on our progress. :)

  11. Vasili said:

    I know my parents used cloth diapers on my older brother but they didn’t use it on me or my younger brother. I didn’t need to use them because we won free diapers for a year since I was the first born baby in July and the company was doing something to promote their 50th year or something like that.

    Something that might help the smell (but probably not that much) is baking soda.

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