Cloth nappies: tricks for new-beginners.

Version française

I started using cloth nappies after the birth of my little boy who’s now 18 months. I had never heard about cloth nappies until I received a magazine from the local recycling center in which I read that every family using cloth nappies in Bergen would receive a support fee of 500 Norwegian kroners. I then gathered information about cloth nappies and, with the support of my husband, decided to start using them with our little boy. After the birth, I quickly found out that the info I had found so far was eitherwrong or incomplete. So now that I have a good training with cloth nappies, I give you my little tricks which will hopefully make life easier for you who wish to use cloth nappies with your little ones.

  • To start using cloth nappies requires a little bit of time: you need to get used to a new system, to learn the gestures, to install washing routines, etc… It is therefore really important that both parents agree on using cloth nappies. You don’t want to have your partner telling you « I told you so » while you’re struggling to remember to use the rice paper inside the nappy and are trying not to forget the woollen panties over the nappy…

  • The first week after the birth, I used disposable nappies. When you’re starting as parents, there are many things one needs to get used to. And when you’re struggling to understand why the baby is crying or in which position you’re most comfortable to breastfeed, the last thing you need is to struggle with cloth nappies as well. It’s really better to wait until the stress of the first days has calmed down.

  • I bought my cloth nappies in France, at Lulu Nature http://www.lulu-nature.com/ . For the first six months, I chose the nappies « nature », size small. I bought 15 of them and washed every second day.

  • To keep the nappies waterproof, I chose the Norwegian way: woollen panties made of a wool dipped into lanolin. You can buy the ready-made nappies at Nöstebarn or you can buy the wool there and knit the nappies yourself. In contact with pee, lanolin becomes soap and makes the wool waterproof. Now I also use waterproof panties from Lulu Nature.

  • Inside the nappy, you put a thin film of rice paper which allows you to easily throw the baby’s poop in the toilets. The first months I found out that the rice paper was quite useless since the poop is soft because of the baby drinking only milk. I didn’t use rice paper then, but later when my boy started eating solid food.

  • When my little boy started sleeping all night through, I used the nappies form Lulu Nature which are doubled with fleece inside. Inside the nappy, I added a pad to make it thicker. This way it would be more waterproof.

  • Leaks: it took me many trials to solve the problem of the leaks. My little boy wasn’t peeing that often, but he was peeing a lot at a time. That’s when the Norwegian woollen solution really helped me out: between the nappy and the woollen panties, I added a knitted pad made of lanolin-wool, which made the whole thing waterproof enough.

  • Storing the dirty nappies: the advice I was given was to leave the nappies in a bucket full of water, with some drops of essential oils which would avoid bad smells. But I found out that storing the nappies in a closed bucket without water and with essential oils was a better solution. Of course, you definitely need to invest in a pair of thick rubber gloves!

  • Washing: the nappies are to be washed at 60 or 90°C. In the beginning, I was washing one time out of 4 at 90, the other times at 60. But when they grow up, children make thicker stains on the nappies and now I wash more often at 90. I use soap nuts, but I am very careful to rinse properly the nappies (except when there’s just pee) before I leave them in the bucket.

  • Drying: the nappies go without any problem in the tumble-drier. But it takes about two hours for them to dry. In the air, they need approximately one whole day to dry. One solution is to start the drying in the air, and then finish in the tumble-drier. Why? When they dry on the rope, the nappies become quite rough, but the tumble-drier keep their softness. If you rub nappies that dried on the rope against each other, they become soft again.

  • Washing the waterproof panties: Lulu Nature’s panties are to be washed every second day, and simply put to dry on a rope in between every use. You need 3 to 4 panties. As far as the woollen panties are concerned, their biggest advantage is the fact that they don’t need to be washed: you just put them to dry on a rope in between every use. Every 4 months, approximately, you need to leave them overnight in a bath of lanolin in order to make them waterproof again. You need also 3 to 4 panties. And no, they don’t smell, even though they’re not washed;-)

  • Finally, when on the move, going for a trip or simply as a backup when you didn’t wash on time, it’s always very practical to have some disposable nappies at home. But try to find ecological disposable nappies: they’re compostable…

Now, good luck with your new project! I hope that you will, like me, enjoy changing your baby using cloth nappies. You’ll see, once you start and hold on to it (through leaks or other incidents), I promise you that you don’t get back to supermarket disposable nappies, unless you’re in dire straits.

One Response

  1. Here you have some useful tricks for the newbaked parents. My wife loved your advices, ladybird! Keep up the good work!

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