Down and Dirty: Cloth Nappies

How We Reached Our Decision

Before we had Isabella, Harrison and I were stuck on nappies. The workload, the environmental impact and, less importantly, the general lack of excitement we had for changing them.

We spent hours on Google, trading back and forth little quips like:

Reusable nappies just seem like a lot of work, and I’m the one who does the washing

Yeah.. but this article says that almost 450 billion disposable nappies are used annually across the world. Oh shit, that’s 3.75 million a day in Australia. Harrison, think of the cute little turtles‘ (If you’re interested in picking up a few more statistics like this, check out this ABC article on Vanuatu’s ban on disposable nappies).

In the end we decided that, well, wasn’t a little bit of change better than none at all? One cloth nappy a day. Then up to two. Then three. Maybe, maybe, eventually four?

Surely we could do that.

Why We Chose Bubakin

As you can tell, we’re pretty indicisive and we knew the next step would be picking which brand we wanted to go with.

Luckily, this choice was sorted for us: we were really excited to hear from Bubakin AU about trialling some of their cloth nappies!

After a little investigation, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to try cloth nappies out. The brand really resonated with me and the two Australian mums behind it really resonated with me. They were two normal, down-to-earth women who had plenty of advice to give and were eager to share it.

They were also totally open with their own journeys to cloth. On their website, they talk about how Maddy, one of the owners, had once been asked if she’d be using cloth and replied with a solid ‘no’. It might sound silly, but this openness made me feel so much more confident in our choice. If she could go from such a strong answer to running a business dedicated to cloth nappies, something good was definitely going on.

The Early Days

Once Isabella was born, we were easily reaching our ‘one a day’ goal. Yet we still both completely agreed that we didn’t have time for four.

Until suddenly, we did. Isabella came up with (in my professional opinion) the worst nappy rash in the world. Clearly, the very popular disposable brand we were using wasn’t working for her. She was one cranky little girl and it was really out of character.

We re-evaluated and decided we would give our goal of four cloth nappies a day a proper try. We were doing three loads of washing a day anyway, so why not?

We also switched our disposable brand to something a little less artificial.

The results of the switch to cloth showed up incredibly quickly. Her rash was cleared up in a few days.

Honestly, this was enough to convert us. We’re now super proud part-time cloth nappy users, and we’re planning on investing in a few more pairs of modern cloth nappies very soon.

Investment is definitely the right word too. Using the cloth nappies has really saved us a decent amount of cash, because we’re going through the disposables much slower than we would be otherwise.

They’re also going to fit her for quite a while, thanks to the snap adjust buttons used to fasten them. Quite a while, in cloth nappy terms, means until she’s toilet trained. Given she’s only ten weeks old… yeah. Quite a while.

Really, if we were using them full time, the only ongoing cost would really end up being some new pairs when we felt it was time.

In a funny twist, the switch has also saved us from those three daily loads of laundry: we’ve never had a single leak from these bad boys. The adjustable fit has also rescued dozens of outfits from disaster.

Let’s talk about that workload a little more now.

Our Cloth Nappy Routine

Like I said before, the washing load was one of our major concerns. With a new baby, time is of the essence and efficiency is crucial.

I’ll be honest, I really didn’t know how well this was going to go for me. I feel like a lot of people have a big ‘all or nothing‘ attitude, and going all in seemed incredibly daunting. Even part-time seemed like it was going to be potentially too much.

Once Isabella actually arrived though, I quickly realised that one a day wasn’t that much extra effort. It was basically none, actually. Taking the cloth nappy from the changing table to the laundry to soak was actually less effort than taking the disposable nappy all the way out to the bin in the kitchen.

Four is a perfect number for us, although we are looking at adding a few more to our collection. The absorbency is absolutely amazing and they last incredibly well through her three-hour napping sessions. I definitely think they could last a lot longer if needed, too.

We quickly found that soaking the nappy until we do the next load of washing worked really well. If there aren’t enough clothes that day for a full load then we’ll just do a load of only nappies. A light cycle is always enough in this case, which was a massive relief.

To dry them we usually run them through the dryer, just to get them back into action a little faster. Now that it’s coming into Summer again though, we’ll probably end up hanging them on the line. This has had a little bit of an impact on our electricity bill but if you were sun drying the nappies or just ran them through with a load of clothes every time, you wouldn’t need to worry about this. I’ve also read that the dryer does wear them a little quicker, so that is something to keep in mind.

Q&A: Insta Story

I asked on my Instagram story if anyone had any questions about cloth and I was super excited when I received quite a few.

They were mostly different variations of the same three questions, so here are the answers below!

Q: Do you still use disposable nappies sometimes?

At the moment we still use disposables overnight, just because we do only have the four so we need to soak the nappies straight away and this can be a bit of a hassle at nighttime. Once we’ve bought a few more, we’ll definitely be making the switch.

We also still use them when we go out, and honestly, I do find the idea of cloth in public a little bit daunting. Taking out a baby, in general, is daunting. This Instagram post from Glass House Mama has offered a lot of reassurance though, so we’re now looking to change this as bubba girl gets older and a little more predictable!

Q: Has it saved you a lot of money?

Yes! Definitely. Like I spoke about before, I’m incredibly happy with how much we’re going to save using them in the long run.

Q: Are they gross? I honestly don’t know if I could do it.

I thought they would be too but honestly, it’s the same as working with a disposable. There really isn’t a difference at all!

Our Results

I don’t think I could be happier with our choice of brand and the impact that using modern cloth has had on Isabella’s skin.

It’s been an incredible relief to be able to ease our impact on the planet and to introduce Isabella to sustainable practices right from the beginning.

I really think that giving modern cloth a go is a must. It can seem incredibly daunting but honestly, the workload is nowhere near what I thought it would be.

If you’ve been thinking about trying modern cloth, I’d really encourage starting the same way we did. One nappy a day. It really makes the change incredibly easy.

If you have any questions about Bubakin or just modern cloth nappies in general, I totally recommend reaching out to the amazing women behind the company. They know everything there is to know!

If you want to try Bubakin AU for yourself (fun fact: they offer afterpay), you can find them on Instagram and their website.

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