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Our Cloth Story – Battles with a Heavy Wetter (Real Nappy Week 2013)

As it's Real Nappy Week in the UK this week, I thought it a good time to write about our ongoing issues with trying to find nappies that can cope with our super heavy wetter.

Please see bottom of post for disclaimer regarding links within the text.

Although, as you will read, I was determined to use cloth for a variety of reasons, we have never managed to go "full-time" and still use disposables as night time and when out and about (eg at the childminders). It pains me that we still have to buy disposables when I would have loved to use cloth all the time, but as you'll find out it has not been easy finding nappies to suit our Little Man.

Oscar in SpongeBob Nappy 2nd Nov 2012

I knew I wanted to use cloth a long time before I had Little Man. I had come across some of the most gorgeously soft bamboo nappies whilst working in my first nursery and I was sold. As the mother of that particular baby once said, "don't you wish your own knickers were that soft?" 

And for several years I was convinced that when I had a baby I would opt for bamboo nappies just like the ones I had seen.

However, during my pregnancy I became aware that even in the years between my working in that nursery and falling pregnant there had been huge advances in the styles of cloth nappies available. I was suddenly thrown into a whirlwind of prefolds, pockets, fitteds, all-in-ones (AIOs), all-in-twos (AI2s) and wool soakers as well as the good old fashioned waterproof wrap. 

I didn't know where to begin and as I felt pretty darn rough during my pregnancy I just bought a budget box of prefolds and wraps for a newborn and we went from there.

We only used the prefolds a couple of times, as I just didn't get on with cloth from the start. There were too many things I had to contend with as a new mum and washing nappies wasn't high on my agenda. So by the time we did get around to using cloth, Little Man (who had been 9lbs 6oz at birth) had outgrown the newborn wraps and needed something bigger.

We opted to try some pocket nappies, as they were supposed to last from birth-to-potty (BTP) due to some nifty poppers designed to help adjust the nappy to each stage. However, as money was tight at that point and we didn't want to buy lots that might not suit us, we bought some eBay cheapies

Oscar Cloth Nappy

The nappies were really cute and a lovely fit, but there was just one problem: Little Man was outpeeing the microfibre inserts far too quickly.

We continued trying to use them, even putting the cotton prefolds in for an extra boost, but as Little Man continued to guzzle his milk (by the time we started introducing solids at 6 months he was up to 6 x 9oz bottles each day) the problem only got worse.

So, upon one of our trips to a local health food store, we discovered some bamboo fitteds by Motherease on offer. We thought we'd give them a try as again they were supposed to fit from birth-to-potty and we were glad we did. The extra absorbency of the bamboo seemed to really help, and the Motherease wraps were quite simply "bomb-proof". 

After a shaky start we began to realise that cloth nappies may well be possible for us after all, and when Little Lamb had their bamboo fitteds on offer (this time sized instead of BTP), we bought 20 of them to build up a working stash. 

It turned out that we did end up using the bamboo nappies, just like I always thought we would… only this was through necessity rather than choice. The bamboo fitteds were super soft, but I'd been introduced to the gorgeous designs of modern cloth nappies and I was sad that we were missing out somehow.

Still, a few cute wraps from Blueberry cheered up the mix a bit!

Oscar in the Garden

I was lucky enough to be given a snazzy Itti Bitti Tutto to try on Little Man for my very first Mother's Day but unfortunately despite trying several of these on various occasions they just do not cope with Little Man's mega pees. Such a shame and we are looking to sell ours on very shortly.

So it seemed we would be stuck with the fitteds forever and whilst this was okay (we were happy to be using cloth), using a two part system (nappy and wrap) was a little difficult with a boy who was learning to love his freedom of movement and would rarely lay still long enough for a nappy change.

And as he was growing at an alarming rate he also seemed to outgrow his Little Lamb size 2s by the time he hit his first birthday (the Little Lamb website states that size 2s usually fit most kids until potty training, although they do sell a few size 3s!) 

At this point, I didn't want to have to buy another 20 nappies in a larger size, so we took all the boosters we had (as even with bamboo fitteds we had to add extra boosters) and found all the eBay cheapies and other pre-loved pockets we had bought early on, and gave them a try. And for a while, it seemed like we might have cracked it!

17th

The last 6 months have been spent trying to find the most absorbent combination of boosting for Little Man's pockets without making them too bulky. Anything less than 3 layers is useless. We've tried 3 layers of bamboo. We've tried 2 layers of bamboo and a zorb booster. We've tried 2 layers of bamboo and a hemp booster. But mostly we have struggled to find anything that can cope with 2-3 hours of usage. 

I'm not sure if the issue is just that he is still peeing loads (sometimes all 3 layers are soaked through) or whether it is a fit issue as occasionally only 2 layers are soaked but he still leaks and I think this is because the extra boosting makes the nappy so bulky it doesn't fit as well around his waist and legs, so we get leakage there.

Basically, we're looking at having to return to the bamboo fitteds. 

And that would be fine… if it weren't for the fact that Little Man has already started to try and make himself pee whenever we take his nappy off, making me wonder whether he's going to want to start potty training within the next 6-12 months. Do I really want to buy 20 new nappies for such a short time, especially as he will be our only child and therefore they will not be used again?

I know you can sell nappies and recoup some of the initial outlay. But it is a bit of a gamble as to whether the fitteds will work any better than the pockets. And I'm not quite sure what to do next.

We are going to get our Little Lamb size 2s from the loft to give them another try for absorbency before making a decision… I'm actually hoping that maybe he has changed shape and they may fit him well enough for a trial run. Who knows? 

But for all the troubles we've had, I'm glad we chose to try cloth and stuck with it. It makes me happy, and that's what matters.

So, tell me, do you use cloth? What are your favourites styles and retailers? Do you use WAHM (work-at-home-mum) designs? Do you make your own cloth? I'd love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: links provided in this post are for example only, so that you can see the type of nappy I am talking about. You can buy these nappies from many different online retailers and local shops, so please do have a look around to find out all your options. This post has no affiliation to any product or retailer and is simply the experience we have had as a family.

Let’s Talk About Cloth Nappies

I LOVE cloth nappies. Truly I do. I have loved them since the moment I first saw the early versions of Kushies and Bambinex in a nursery I worked in way back in 2006. I swore at that moment I would use cloth if ever I had a child.

Fast forward 5 years to 2011 when I was pregnant with Little Man and I began my search for cloth nappies and discovered, to my absolute joy, that the range had grown beyond imagination and there were some truly gorgeous designs out there. And you'll understand why I fell in love with cloth all over again.

Cloth nappies

Except, it wasn't so simple for us. First of all we didn't have the funds to spend on the intial outlay, so we did some shopping around and bought lots of lovely pre-loved nappies and eBay cheapies to start us off. Using cloth nappies can save you a bundle, but if you fall into a cloth nappy addiction your bank balance can seriously take a hammering. And even if you avoid the lure of custom made nappies and buying far more than you really need for a full-time stash, that initial outlay can be pretty darn hefty.

Of course there are incentive schemes here in the UK where you can claim back some of the expenses from your local council. And there are so many places where you can buy pre-loved nappies. I'd always advise a certain amount of caution when buying second-hand, especially if over the internet rather than in a shop where you can see the state of the nappy. But if you take your time to get to know the sellers and make sure you aren't paying over the odds for a second-hand item  you can have a good experience.

A good general rule for buying second hand nappies is this: you  should expect to pay a decent amount for a decent nappy – if you pay £2 per nappy you need to accept that they may be rather grey and well-used. Most second-hand nappies will be described in terms of EUC (excellent used condition), or GUC (good used condition) with a description and clear photo of any fraying or stains (which are generally very rare!)

Despite our initial issue, we managed to build up quite a nice stash of pocket nappies, prefolds and fitteds to try and I was very excited about the thought of putting something as cute as this on Little Man's bottom every day…

Oscar nappy

Except he turned out to be a very heavy wetter. I kid you not. He could outpee almost every nappy we tried, and eventually we discovered that the only way we could manage cloth nappying was to rely on bamboo fitted nappies (from Little Lambs), with an extra bamboo booster inside, and a waterproof wrap. And only in the daytime. Night time was a nightmare. 

And whilst that was okay, it wasn't my ideal. Our stash was very "samey", all natural coloured bamboo nappies and none of the gorgeous prints that so many others enjoy in their stash.

It wasn't all a loss. We did manage to buy some super cute waterproof wraps, such as this one we received as a gift in a "Easter Fluff Bunny Swap" (like a Secret Santa). 

Giraffe nappy

But still, fitteds were not my ideal, not after seeing the gorgeous pocket nappies that exist these days. 

And further to the whole "pretty" issue of the nappies, there was also the inconvenience of them. Bamboo fitteds take longer to dry than those that come apart completely for washing. And they were bulky with all the layers needed to keep in those mega pees of Little Man's. And when he started crawling, keeping him on the changing mat long enough to put on the nappy and then the wrap was an unwelcome task.

So imagine my joy when we tried some pockets the other day, with three layers of bamboo inserted and discovered that it worked. Either Little Man is peeing less or we've just hit the right level of absorbency for him. And just in time as well, as his fitteds are getting far too small, what with my baby being 28lbs already at the grand old age of 1!!

So I've been on eBay looking for some more pockets to try and rebuild our stash, and we're going to try some Zorb and maybe hemp inserts as these are supposed to be even more absorbent than bamboo. After a bit of a "bidding war" we've come away with 3 Ittis, another BumGenius, some eBay cheapies and a Happy Bum. And I have another hour or two to decide whether we really need the two FuzziBunz  have my eye on!

I've always loved cloth and I always will, but this next wave of cloth nappying is definitely the most exciting by far! I shall be sure to post photos of our newest Fluffy Post once it arrives. 

If you fancy chatting about Cloth Nappies, then please do consider joining me over on Cloth Nappy Natter as it's mightily quiet over there these days.