As I said in my previous Cloth Chronicles post, I am fairly new to cloth nappies and was put off the first time round by all the hearsay about them. Even if you haven’t heard any stories about them, or you have come to your own conclusions then please read on as I want to put to bed the myths and misconceptions surrounding these brilliant little things.
Cloth nappies have come a long way since our parents, grandparents and past generations used them, and the advice and information they have will probably be outdated now.
When you tell people, your partner, parents, friends etc that you are using or plan to use cloth nappies, you may hear something along the lines of “cloth nappies smell”, “you’re going to have a lot of washing to do”, “disposables are much easier” etc. I admit that even I have had a couple of these thoughts myself before venturing into the unknown, but hopefully I will be able to dispel some of those thoughts and myths.
Myth number 1
You will prick yourself, and even worse your baby with those giant safety pins
Nope, while there may be some people still using the old traditional methods of cloth nappies, modern cloth nappies do not use pins. If you were to use the traditional nappy squares, they now secure with a clever little invention called the ‘Nappi Nippa‘ they have little teeth on them that grab hold of the nappy and even if they were to come off they are so gentle they wouldn’t prick anyone’s skin.
Myth number 2
Cloth nappies smell
As long as they’ve been washed properly they don’t smell of anything but lovely clean washing. In fact once you start with cloth, if you then use a disposable you can smell how truly rancid they are. The only time I have found cloth stinky is first thing n a morning if he’s been in it all night, but even disposables pong when they’ve been used all night. When a baby has pooped in a paper nappy the smell is eye-watering but when Dexter does a poop in cloth I can’t even smell it! They disguise the smell pretty well.
I haven’t found the nappy bin to smell either, I remember the awful stench of the nappy bin we filled with disposables and it stank the whole flat out. I was absolutely dreading that again and was trying to think of ways to avoid it now we are in a house, but to my surprise it’s not even slightly whiffy!
Myth number 3
They are gross, you have to touch pee and poop!
Whether you use cloth or dispoables, you are going to have to touch wee and poo! That is the delight about babies they do it a lot and you have to deal with it. When it comes to potty training you will have to clear up a fair few accidents so nappies really aren’t that bad. Most babies have probably had a poo explosion that’s ended up all the way up their back to their neck (hence why vests have an envelope neck so they can be pulled down past the shoulders and not over the head). I remember having to deal with a couple of these when Lily was in disposables, but with Dexter since he’s been in cloth the poo has never escaped the nappy once, it’s always been contained (thankfully). Breastfed baby poo can be chucked straight into the washing machine and they will be washed clean without leaving any trace in the washing machine.
Myth number 4
As long as you have fitted the nappy correctly and tucked it into the knicker line, they won’t leak. You need to make sure you have boosted the nappy with the right absorbency too. I have had more leaks with disposable nappies than cloth. I have had compression leaks (will explain the terminology in a later post) and when the nappies are new they have leaked as they hadn’t reached full absorbency but apart from a couple of times we haven’t had any problems. More user error than anything.
Myth number 5
They’re a pain to wash
Of course you are going to have to wash them, that’s the deal with reusables, but it’s so easy to do. (I have a separate post about the washing of nappies coming soon, so won’t go into full detail now.) You dry pail your nappies (chuck them into a nappy bucket or washbag) then throw them in the wash with the detergent. You don’t even need to touch the used ones if you use a net bag you can transfer them straight into the washing machine. So easy, there is no boiling nappies or storing them in a bucket of poo water.
Myth number 6
All the washing of the cloth nappies must be as bad for the environment as using disposables.
I recently read an article about using cloth and it said “If Henry VIII used disposable nappies on his children they still wouldn’t be decomposed today” This really put it in perspective to me about how long disposable nappies take to decompose and made me feel really guilty about all the disposables I used on Lily. There are ways of being ecological with the washing with washing machines nowadays there are eco settings, and there are also different products that aren’t detergent so they don’t pollute the water such as the ecoegg and soapnuts. Not using a dryer will also help protect the environment.
Myth number 7
There are so many articles and special calculators online comparing the cost of disposables and reusables so I won’t write too much into it, but if you calculate the cost of disposables every week or two from birth to 2 1/2 and the night nappies until they are dry at night, against the start up costs of cloth you will see how much money you save. Obviously the nappies can be reused for the next child(ren) and the savings increase. The initial cost may seem quite steep, but if you buy a couple of nappies every month or so you can easily spread the cost.
Myth number 8
Your baby will get nappy rash in cloth
In my first post I explained the reasoning into why we started with cloth nappies (due to chemical burns) and since switching to cloth Dexter has never had nappy rash. In my investigative stage into cloth I discovered how babies get nappy rash, something to do with ammonia mixing with faeces or something. But as babies in cloth tend to get changed a lot more regularly than those in disposables they are less likely to develop nappy rash. However if your baby does get nappy rash it may be due to the detergent you’re using or a detergent build up.
Myth number 9
You must use cloth full time, you can’t switch between reusables and disposables.
Why not? If you want to only cloth during the day and disposables at night then do that. Being a parent is tough enough without putting added pressure on yourself. If you’re behind on the washing or can’t face using cloth on holiday etc. then don’t. Do what’s right for YOU! Don’t stress if you put a Pampers on or if you’re using pull-ups instead of cloth training pants. Enjoy having your beautiful baby, they are only small for such a short time that you do what is the best for you. Never feel pressured one way or another, just hold you head high knowing you are doing right by YOUR child.
I hope I have put your mind at ease with some of these, but if I have missed anything that you’d like to know then please keep an eye out for the rest of The Cloth Chronicles series as I shall be going into a lot more detail about cloth and as always please get in touch if you’d like to ask me anything else.