New Website Under Construction

I am currently redesigning my website to make it easier to navigate. Please bear with me whilst I make these changes. I am, as always, active on facebook and instagram so please keep an eye on those.

If you want to get in touch to place an order or ask me anything then please use my contact page here, or facebook messenger or email at rosie@the-pink-penguin.com.

Thank you for your understanding,

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I’m still here!

Hola!
Soooo… I know I have been absent since May (hangs head in shame) but I am still here! I had quite a lot of posts written up ready to go but for some reason, and I really don’t know why, I never got around to posting them.

Life seems to takeover so a super quick recap of what’s happened in the Pink Penguin household since May. In June we celebrated Dexter’s first birthday (how has time gone that quickly?!), in July we said a tearful good bye to Lily’s pre-school during a fab performance they put on for us. When August arrived we went on our first family holiday which was absolutely fantastic, we had such a great time and it was so nice to get away for a while. Then September came and my little princess started school and I started childminding again. It’s been a busy household and getting back to work, updating paperwork and getting used to the school run, settling my little girl into school and having a toddler destroying the house I am so tired once I’ve got the kids to bed and filled in paperwork that I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow!

Anyway, it’s all well and good saying how busy I am but aren’t we all?! I need to make time to dedicate to my lovely little website that I put a lot of time and effort into. I get emails and messages from you lovely readers and I don’t want to let you down.

So TTFN and I will try my best to upload a lot more often!

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The Cloth Chronicles – Washing, Drying & Storing

TCC washing & drying

Sorry for the lateness of this post, I have been so busy working and adding to my shop. Why not have a look through my shop pages as there really is something for everyone! Many, many more to come too, including some babies in cloth-nappies!!

I have seen a lot of questions about how to wash cloth nappies recently, I think there are a few newbies into the cloth world *yay* and it’s very daunting reading all sorts of posts on facebook and other websites about washing and drying the nappies as everyone seems to do it differently, or use powder, and no-one knows quite how much, and what temperature should you wash on as some people swear by 60 degrees, but the nappy labels say 40 degrees. It may seem like a complete minefield but once you get the hang of it you will find a way that suits you and it’ll be ingrained onto your brain much quicker than you think.

Pre-Washing

ALL new nappies will need to be pre-washed at least once to get rid of the manufacturing dirt, oils, chemicals etc, and moat nappies need washing to make them absorbent, much like towels do.
Bamboo, hemp, cotton, microfiber and the like all need washing when they’re new to break down the natural oils in the fabrics to make them absorbent. Nappies reach their full absorbency between 5-10 washes depending on the fabrics used.

Microfibre and charcoal bamboo only needs pre-washing once but will reach full absorbency after at least 5 washes.

Bamboo needs pre-washing at least 3 times before use (no need to dry in-between washes) and will reach full absorbency after at least 10 washes.

Hemp needs pre-washing at least 3 times before use but needs to be dried between washes, and will reach full absorbency after at least 10 washes.

Washing pre-loved

If you have pre-loved nappies, chances are they have reached their full absorbency as they have been used and washed many times before, but you may want to give them a wash to eliminate any pet or smoke smells they may have.

Bucket or Wash Bag

You can store the wet and dirty nappies in a nappy bin. If you line it with a mesh bag you can chuck the bag into the machine rather than touching the soiled nappies. Or you can use a large wet bag, which can also be chucked into the wash unzipped. You do not need to soak the nappies, you dry pail them as soaking them can ruin the PUL and make them less absorbent.

Continuous Washing

If your baby has had a poo rinse it in the toilet with the shower or flush the poo off (it sounds gross I know but you soon get used to it!) Breastfed poo can go straight into the machine. Flushable liners aren’t always flushable so it is a good idea to still get the poo off and throw the liner away.
Take the insert out of a pocket nappy and chuck the nappy and inserts into the bucket or wet bag. If using 2 piece nappies you can reuse the wrap if it hasn’t been soiled but put the wet/dirty part into the bucket or bag.

When your bucket or bag is full, put the nappies in the machine and put them on a cold rinse with no spin. The cold water will ensure that if there are any stains they won’t be set in. After the cold rinse they need to go on a 40 degree wash with the maximum amount of water and at least 1 rinse at the end. You need to use 1/2 the recommended amount of washing powder (NO conditioner or liquid detergent as these coat the nappy fibers making it less absorbent) or use an ego egg or soap nuts. If you can still see soap bubbles in your machine on the rinse then you’ll need to rinse again to ensure there are no bubbles.
You can wash on 60 every so often especially if you little one has had a bug but it’s not recommended to do this too much as the heat can damage the fibres.

Drying

Nappies are best to dry outside, the fresh air will freshen the nappies and help them to smell much cleaner. However this isn’t always possible living in this lovely country, so you can tumble them on low if you have a tumble dryer, or you can hang them on drying rack. Bamboo and hemp should not be in contact with direct heat so shouldn’t be put on a radiator to dry but can be hung on radiator dryers.

Stripping

If your nappies are starting to leak or don’t seem to last as long it could be that they have a detergent build up and they may need ‘stripping’. There are various methods on the internet but the best 2 options are these:
Put the nappies on the washing line in the rain for 24-48 hours. This completley strips the nappies of anything restricting absorbancy or making them smell. The added bonus is that it makes the nappies soft! Once you have done this re-wash and dry as usual.
Or if it isn’t raining or you can’t hang your nappies outside, then you need to wash the nappies as normal then 2-3 more times on a long cool ash with NO detergent.

Stains

If you have any stains on your nappies, put them in the sun, even if its raining there are still sun rays and the UV from the sun will bleach out any stains. It may take a few days but it can work on a sunny windowsill or outside in the sun. I’ve also heard that snow is great for removing stains but I haven’t got any personal experience of this.

I hope this is useful to those who are starting up and struggling to get their head around washing. Please get in touch if you’d like any more info, and please look at the rest of my posts in the series.

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The Cloth Chronicles – Starting Out

TCC starting outSo you’ve read about modern cloth nappies and decided it’s for you for whatever reason, whether it be that you’re wanting to be eco-friendly or you think they look incredibly cute, or want to save money, or all of the aforementioned scenarios. But what next? Where do you start? Well I am here to help!

  • First of all find out if your local council have any real nappy incentives. Most councils will have some form of incentive as you will be helping them save money by saving nappy waste go into landfIll. These íncentives’ vary from council to council and could be a free starter kit or a money off voucher to spend on real nappies. To find out what you’re entitled to in your area and how to contact your local council, the brilliant people at ‘Fill Your Pants’ have written a list which can be found here.
    I got a free nappy starter pack fro my local council but I had to apply before my baby was 6 months to receive it. It was a fab little kit containing a Close Parent pop-ins washbag, a roll of disposable liners, a Close Parent pop-ins v2 BTP nappy, a little lamb bamboo nappy and a little lamb wrap. It also contained a leaflet about reusable nappies, a very basic guide to reusables, and a local website where I could purchase nappies. (It did say that the council would contact me soon to find out how I got on, but 6 months later I still haven’t heard from them.)
  • Find your local nappy library here. You can hire out nappies if you don’t want to buy any or if you want to try a few different styles to find the one that works for you so you can purchase some. The people who run these nappy libraries have fantastic knowledge that they are more than happy to share with you and they will I’m sure help you find the right nappies for you to try.
  • Take The Nappy Lady’s questionnaire. I found this a very helpful guide. You simply fill in the questionnaire and The Nappy Lady team will send an email reply giving you some advice on what system you might find best.
  • Take the plunge. When you have decided which nappies you like best or which you’d like to try then go ahead and buy them! I began buying a few from TJ’s Cloth Nappies to see if I’d like pocket nappies, and I was so impressed that I ordered a few more. Various companies do offers on bundles to help start you off, but unless you know that you definitely like those nappies it might be best to try one before you buy a lot in one go. There are also a fair few pre-loved nappy groups on facebook if you want some that may be expensive but second hand they may not be. As with anything you buy over the internet second hand be careful.

Handy Hints

If you want to delve into cloth nappies but can’t justify a large outlay straight away, then try the nappy library, or buy a couple every month or so while you’re pregnant or if you’ve had your baby just use cloth part time until your stash builds up. You can always bulk out your stash with cheaper nappies from places like Tj’s, Tiny Nippers, Dudeybaba, Little bloom (amazon & ebay).

If you don’t want to go to your local nappy library then you could always try buying some cheaper nappies to see how you get on. If you like them then great, order more! If you don’t like them or realise cloth isn’s for you then you haven’t wasted too much money and you can always sell them on. (Although they might be handy just to have in just incase you ever run out of disposables on a bank holiday weekend with no shops open to buy more!)

Cloth nappies fit slightly different to disposables so if you want to get the right fit there are some great videos on youtube to help you.

If after you have done all this and have taken the plunge into cloth nappies you find you don’t like it, then don’t worry it’s ok to say you’ve had enough. Most nappies I’ve heard have a good resale value if they are in great condition. If you can’t/don’t want to sell them you can donate them to your local nappy library or there are some great charities out there that will welcome donations because they will be used to help other mothers who can’t afford to cloth, or women in desperate need. They can also be sent out to Africa to charities over there.

What I did

I didn’t even know that nappy libraries existed when I began so it was never an option I thought of. I found that my council did an incentive scheme and signed up straight away, then I found the survey on The Nappy Lady and Filled it in, which was definitely a great help to start me thinking what I needed to be looking at. (You don’t necessarily need to use the types they suggest or even the varieties they suggest, just use it as a rough guide.) I came across TJ’s Cloth Nappies on facebook (I don’t even know how!) and I spent ages looking at the website and drooling over all the gorgeous prints. I really wanted to order but kept thinking ‘what if they don’t work?!’ I realised though at the price they were it didn’t really matter if they didn’t work I’d just give it a go. I ordered a couple of days later and delivery was so quick.
After all the pre-washes it was time to put cloth on my baby’s butt! I was so nervous and I feel so stupid thinking that now but I was so desperate for something to work and not give my baby a horrendous chemical burn. I kept checking his nappy to make sure it wasn’t full and he was ok, but really I should’ve just cracked on with it! I was so hooked on these nappies they were fabulous, so I ordered more!!

The Nappies I got from the council were a Close Parent pop-ins V2 which was a birth to potty nappy (just what I’d be looking for) and I loved it it was such a good design and when I looked at their range online I found their lovely prints. When I first saw the Little Lamb bamboo nappy, I’ll be honest I thought I won’t like this it looks just like the old style nappies and I want the nice funky nappies. Boy was I wrong!! They are FABULOUS! I use these at nighttime as they are so absorbent and the wraps are AMAZING they are completely bombproof.

I have built up my stash from various websites but I always go back to TJ’s. It’s run by Jackie who is fabulous she has great customer service skills, and is always getting new prints in. Read her story on her website about how and why she set up Tj’s.

Good luck if you are starting out your cloth journey, and If you want to read anymore posts in The Cloth Chronicles series you will find them here.

Side note: It’s real nappy week this week (20th – 26th April 2015) so there are various offers floating around on all things cloth! 

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The Cloth Chronicles – The World of Inserts, Liners & Boosters

TCC inserts liners boostersIn my last post I wrote about the different types of cloth you can get and wrote about inserts under the pocket nappy section. Here I will explain the different inserts you can get, what they are for and boosters which help ‘boost’ absorbency, and finally liners which are the things that catch the poo!

Inserts

Inserts are used to stuff pocket nappies, or to create an All In 2 system with a wrap or cover. They are made from different fabrics which all have their own benefits. You can try all sorts of different combinations to see what suits you and your child best.

Microfibre

Microfibre is a fabric which is very quick at absorbing but can’t hold a lot. Due to it being so absorbent it should NEVER be placed right next to your child’s skin as it wicks away moisture from their skin. Microfibre is like a sponge in that if it is compressed once it has reached full absorbency it will squeeze the wee out. As it is so quick at absorbing liquid it is great being used in conjunction with a different insert which is slower at absorbing liquid. Compression leaks are not uncommon if you use microfibre alone especially if they have a tight vest on, or if you are baby-wearing them, or if pushchair or car seat straps are tight on the bum. Microfibre is very quick at drying too which can save time and money as you may not want to get a lot of these with them drying typically within a day.

Bamboo

Bamboo is slower at absorbing liquids than microfibre but can hold a lot more, therefore it is great under a microfibre insert. It can be used directly against skin and you don’t get compression leaks like you do with microfibre. Bamboo can however take quite a while to dry and cannot be dried directly on heat such as a radiator as it can damage the bamboo fibres.

Charcoal Bamboo

Charcoal Bamboo inserts are made up of 5 layers, 3 layers of microfibre sandwiched between 2 layers of charcoal bamboo. They are very absorbent and very quick drying too. They have antibacterial properties which make them great for teething, and they are charcoal grey in colour so they don’t really stain. They are also very soft.

Zorb

Zorb is the brand name of fabric that has been designed to be absorbent. It can be made into inserts with fleece or other fabrics.

Hemp

Hemp is a trim absorbent fabric and is a go-to choice for night-time, especially paired with a quick absorbing microfibre. Hemp can be used against the skin and can be found in fleece and jersey form. However it can take a while to dry as with all highly absorbent fabrics, and they can go a bit stiff when they’re dry.

Cotton

Cotton is probably the oldest, most familiar fabric used in cloth nappies. It’s a natural fabric which is absorbent and comes in different forms such as a muslin or a prefold. If you have used prefolds for your baby but want to switch to pocket nappies then you can use the prefolds as inserts if tri-folded.

Boosters

Boosters are there to boost the absorbency of the insert, they will not really absorb much on their own, they are an extra later to add to the insert, either placed in the pocket or snapped onto the outer shell. The most popular fabric for a booster is bamboo.

Liners

Liners are, as I said before, placed inside the nappy next to the baby’s skin and it acts as a barrier to catch the poo and to protect your nappies from barrier cream. There are disposable liners or reusable ones.

Disposable

These tend to be bio-degradable and flushable so if they have been pooed in you simply remove the liner and flush it. If they have just been weed on they can be rinsed and used again, and if they are too big for your nappies you can cut them in half, but don’t fold them.

Reusable

These are usually made from fleece but can also be made from minky fabric too. If they have been pooed on you hold them over the toilet and flush to clean most of the poo off. Breastfed poo can go straight into the washing machine. Fleece has the added benefit of wicking away moisture so it can let the wee through but still feels dry on the baby. They are washed along with the nappies and dry very quickly. They are relatively cheap to buy and can vary from normal fleece to very fluffy. You can easily make these yourself at home with a pair of scissors (fabric ones are best) and a metre of fleece from a fabric shop, or for an even cheaper option you can find the Ikea Krakris throw for £1.50 which makes a LOT of liners and as they’re so cheap if you can’t face dealing with the pooplosion you could just bin it.

If you want to see my previous posts in The Cloth Chronicles series please click here.

I shall be writing about how to start out with cloth in my next post, including where to look first and info on local services.

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The Cloth Chronicles – Types of Reusables

TCC typesThere are many different types of reusable nappies out there that it can seem daunting and where do you even start to look. I have put together a simple guide to show you the alternative varieties that are out there.

All In Ones (AIO)

These are supposedly the easiest cloth nappies to use, as they are (as the name suggests) all in one. They have a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner, they are most like a disposable as you don’t need to stuff them. They are taken off and put into the wash rather than the bin. However they can take longer to dry than others and they are typically the most expensive reusables.

All In Two (AI2)

An all in 2 nappy contains a waterproof outer layer with snap in or lay in inserts. Sometimes these are called a hybrid system when the outer layer is specifically designed to be re-used. Theoretically you could create your own AI2 system using covers and trifolded prefolds or inserts.

Flats

These are a large, single layer or fabric like a blanket. You can use a muslin cloth for a newborn flat cloth nappy. There are many different folds with these such as ones specially for a boy, girl, heavy wetter etc. If you You-tube or Google flat nappy/diaper folds you can learn how to do them, including origami and kite folds. These are easy to handwash and I’ve heard they aren’t as daunting as they seem (I don’t personally have experience of these). They will need a waterproof cover.

Prefolds

Prefolds are a square of multiple layers of fabric that can be folded around baby or trifolded. You can use pins, or other closure options like a nappi nippa. They will need a waterproof cover over the top which can also eliminate the need of a different closure fixing. Popular folding styles are the jelly roll, bikini twist, angel wing and trifold. They can also be used as inserts in a pocket nappy.

Fitteds

Fitted nappies are similar to the previous 2 nappies as they too need a waterproof layer but they are shaped and fitted to fit the bum, the don’t need any folding and usually they are fastened with velcro. The entire nappy is absorbent hence the need for a cover and they are suitable for night time use as they are so absorbent.

Pocket

Pocket nappies are in general the most popular as they are so versatile. They consist of a waterproof outer with a synthetic fabric inner pocket. You stuff the pocket with an insert (there are many different types for different absorbency) and if you pre-stuff them they are as easy as a disposable. You can stuff them to suit your child’s needs, if they are a heavy wetter you can add n extra insert or choose a more absorbent one. If you choose to use these at night then you can add extra absorbent inserts. I have also heard of people using these as wraps over a nappy needing a waterproof cover although I have never tried this. They must be washed after each use.

Cover / Wrap

Covers or wraps can be made from PUL, fleece or wool and are used with nappies that need a waterproof outer. They can also be used as inserts to create an AI2 system.

I have found a great comparison page of nappies with the pros and cons of different types of nappies which can be found here.

Sizing

One Size (OS) / Birth to Potty (BTP)

These are probably the most economical nappies as they last you birth to potty. Having said that, depending on the brand BTP nappies are estimated to fit from 7lbs-35lbs. They are a rough guideline however as it greatly depends on you babies size and shape as to when they will fit. BTP nappies have a size adjustment most typically made with rise poppers.

Sized

Sized nappies are made in different sizes to fit different weights like disposables, however just to confuse matters cloth sized nappies in no way correlate to disposable sized nappies. You will need to check with the manufacturer as to which size you should be using on your baby.

Newborn

Birth to Potty / One Sized nappies don’t usually fit from birth and up until you baby is a few weeks old, so in the meantime you can get newborn nappies which usually have a popper rise so can fit your baby for the early months, especially if your baby has tiny sparrow legs for a while.

Toddler / Junior

There are now nappies that can fit those babies who have outgrown BTP nappies and those who have potty trained during the day but not at night.

Adult

There are even adult cloth nappies now which are a good alternative to disposable incontinence pants if they irritate sensitive skin.

Closures

Poppers / Snaps

These can have waist snaps or waist and hip snaps, different brands have different arrangements. They are typically the best to use for babies who like to take their nappies off as they are harder to undo.

Velcro

These are the most like disposables as they just stick and you tend to get a better fit around the waist than with poppers but they can easily be undone by baby. They can be a nuisance in the wash as they stick to other things in the washing machine. They have laundry tabs with is a piece of fabric to attach the velcro to when they have ben used or you can turn the nappy/cover back on itself to attach the hooks to the loops. Overtime they can lose their stickiness however. I have heard these are husband/grandparent/nursery favourites as they are most like a disposable.

Pins & Nappi Nippas

For flat and prefold nappies that have no closure fixing they will need to be secured with a pin or alternative fixture such as a Nappi Nippa, or use a cover on its own over the nappy to keep it in place.

I shall delve into The World of Inserts, Liners and Boosters in my next post but if you can’t wait until then, here are my previous cloth posts:
Our Journey
Dispelling The Myths
The Facts

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The Cloth Chronicles – The Facts

TCC the facts

In my last post I wrote about the myths surrounding cloth nappies and in this post I want to write about the facts, the good, the bad, and the poopy!

I don’t intend for this series to sound like I am pushing everyone to use cloth and look down on those who use disposables, that is not the case, it’s just a hopefully informative insight into the world of cloth if you are interested. I confess that I am not some sort of eco-warrior, but I do admit to thinking more about the planet we are leaving for our children and grandchildren since having .

  • Cloth nappies are better for the planet. They stop human faeces from going to landfill. It can take around 500 years for 1 disposable nappy to decompose. If everyone used even 1 cloth nappy every day that’s 1 less nappy every day going to landfill. I was shocked when I discovered how long it really took.
  • They  can save you money, some websites estimate you could save around £500 per child. This is obviously dependent on a number of factors such as which nappies you buy and how many to buy. (They don’t take into account the amount of people who get addicted to buying gorgeous new prints and keep spending!)
  • They are better for baby’s skin. There are no nasty chemicals nest to their skin just lovely soft fabrics.
  • They don’t last as long as disposables, but that is because they aren’t filled with awful chemicals. Therefore they will need to be changed more regularly.
  • Your baby will have a big bum! Obviously due to them having layers of fabric on their bum rather than a chemical paper sandwich, they will have a big behind. With disposables, they start out small and as they fill up they’re like a water balloon they get larger and sag away from the baby. There are some cloth makes that are slim fitting if a large derriere is not appealing to you.
  • Clothes fit differently due to them being made to fit disposables, so you will probably need to invest in a pack of vest extenders which aren’t expensive. I have an upcoming post about clothes cut for cloth. Please don’t let this put you off though as it’s really not that much of a problem.
  • They do not hinder your baby to walk or develop at a slower rate than those in disposables. All babies develop at their own pace and what they have on their bottom doesn’t affect it. There are some sites that say babies with a cloth bottom have a softer landing if they fall than those who don’t wear cloth. If a baby is born with a hip problem, some doctors suggest wearing cloth nappies to help keep the legs and hips at the optimum position.
  • It is never too late to switch from disposable nappies to reusable ones. It doesn’t matter how old your baby is. There are many studies to show that babies who wear cloth nappies potty train much quicker than their peers in disposables. I don’t know how true that is as I haven’t seen it for myself but it’s a nice idea if it works!
  • You do not have to put disposables on your child if they go to a childminder or nursery, even if they aren’t keen on the idea. I know this as a childminder as we are constantly told to work with parents to provide the best care for the children, and to make them feel as settled and comfortable as possible. If you use cloth nappies and your childcare setting refuse to continue this then ask them why and ask to see their partnership with parents policy and tell them why you choose to use reusables with your child if you want to. If you still aren’t happy then change childcare provisions. A good quality childcare provision should work with you and not against you.
  • As disposable nappies break down they release methane, a greenhouse gas, and a toxic liquid called leachate, which can contaminate soil and water.
  • A poonami is usually contained in cloth whereas in a disposable it ends up all up the back to the neck and out of the legs (ewww).

If you want to read more into cloth nappies then please see my first two posts:
The Cloth Chronicles – Our Journey
The Cloth Chronicles – Dispelling The Myths

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The Cloth Chronicles – Dispelling The Myths

TCC myths

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

They leak

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

They’re expensive

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.

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The Cloth Chronicles – Our Journey

TCC our journey

I am starting a short series of posts about reusable nappies, in the build up to real nappy week 2015 (20th-26th April 2015). Whether you are already a cloth bum guru or are looking at how to get into it and don’t know where to start, or just fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, then I hope this series will be of some use to you.

I am in no way an expert in this field, I have had to find out all this information for myself and it seemed like a really daunting task (and I am still learning too) but I hope I can help bring some information to you in a clear, concise way.

Anyway, I shall start with explaining our journey into cloth and dispelling some of the myths surrounding cloth that most people will have been told by their parents, grandparents, aunties, cousins 4 times removed etc.

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Our stash has grown a lot since day 1

Our Cloth Journey

I used disposable nappies with my daughter 4 years ago, as I didn’t even think about reusable nappies. Cloth nappies to me were terry toweling with giant safety pins through them and plastic pants on top. I was told tales of how the plastic pants would make babies sweat, and the nappies themselves had to be boiled and washed and they took days to dry, there would be so much washing to do, there was nowhere for them to hang, they’d make the house damp etc. Well needless to say, due to all this, cloth nappies never really entered my mind. Disposables were handy, they just went in the bin, no extra washing, I didn’t see a downside apart from the cost (until Lily-Rose knew how to get the nappies off and open them out to play with the ‘jelly’ inside, YUCK). I knew they weren’t eco-friendly and to be honest, I didn’t really think they’d be that bad, it was a case of what the eye doesn’t see…

3 years later when my son arrived I had a large stash of Huggies and Pampers ready for him, but he soon began to react to them. I changed brands, tried every make I could from the cheapest to the most expensive but he was so sore. Due to him not gaining enough weight he was referred to a pediatrician at the hospital and whilst we attended one of his appointments she noticed how sore he was too. She suggested trying different brands and gave me HUGE bottles of cream to try clear it up, but to no avail.

Enough was enough and I researched reusable nappies into Google. I saw the price on Google for some of these nappies and they were ranging from £15-£40+ each and the websites were suggesting that you’d need at least 20 nappies for daytime use, more if wanting to use at night, and washing every other day. I was seriously put off and left it hoping for the best, but when Dexter started teething (teething nappies are toxic!) he was getting much worse and disposables were giving him chemical burns. I searched the internet and Facebook for help and came across some nappies affectionately known as ‘cheapies’ by the cloth bum mum world.I looked further into these nappies and found that you can get reusables for as little as £3-£4, so you really can get them for every budget.

(I will delve deeper into these nappies and all the different types of nappies you can get in another post, and how to use and wash them.) 

Elmo Nappy

How cute is his Elmo nappy! 

Here we are, six months down the line, we have been using these nappies day and night and haven’t had any problems, Dexter’s skin is 100% better and I am completely addicted to all the gorgeous colours and prints that there are! There are no nasty chemicals on his skin, just nice soft fleece. (It’s probably a good job I didn’t cloth with Lily because there are some gorgeous ruffle bum nappies that I would’ve found hard to resist!) Although I have found SO many gorgeous boy’s nappies too. You can get a nappy in just about anything you want!

Cloth everywhere

Nappies in so many patters from superheroes to dogs, from Minions to Jack Skellington.

There is no need to boil anything or even soak the nappies, they just get chucked into the washing machine and depending on which type you buy, they can dry in a day, inside or out and the modern cloth nappies are made with breathable PUL fabric so baby won’t sweat in them.

I am most definitely a convert and if you want to ditch the disposables too then I hope this post, and the series to come, will be helpful to you.

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Easter Decorations

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We love Easter in The Pink Penguin Household, not just for the chocolate eggs (although that’s definitely a bonus), but it’s almost like a nod to say that the long cold winter is over and the weather is going to improve here on in. I adore all the Easter colours, the beautiful pastel shades and the hues of spring.

Our family gets together to celebrate and as we have a close family it’s such a lovely time to see the kids playing with each other, scrabbling over one another to find the cleverly hidden eggs (and the more obvious ones that we ran out of time to find a place for).

I love to adorn the house for any occasion that I can get away with but Christmas and Easter are the big ones in our house and I love putting the decorations up with my little helper.

If we have in any way inspired you to decorate your houses then please see below as to what we used:

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20150402_115050A lot of the decorations are from Hobbycraft, including the tree. Hobbycraft is fantastic at Easter decorations and crafts and the prices start at £1 so they have something for every budget. The decorations in the glass bowl and the little brown twig nests are from Crafty Crocodiles. The little wooden hanging decorations are from the local garden centre, as are the lights for tree. Everything else is from Hobbycraft.

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter and enjoy indulging on chocolate!

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