No amount of warnings can prepare you for the seismic life change that parenthood is to your life. It’s indescribable, earth juddering and thoroughly chaotic.
Simple things like leaving the house can suddenly seem to take weeks worth of preparation. No more keys, phone and wallet; these days, you have to remember a whole host of baby equipment just to run to the corner shop.
This disorganised and delightful chaos can seem all encompassing and for many parents, the idea of adding reusable nappies into the mix may seem daunting and impossible. If you mentioned it to others while expecting, you were probably met with scoffs and knowing looks from others who tell you that you will never manage. Parenting is hard enough, why would you want to complicate it further?!
The truth is however, many people, especially the older generation, may not be aware of the changes that have been made to cloth nappies in recent years. They may be bringing up ideas of boiling terry nappies on a stove. They may not realise that many modern cloth nappies are no harder to change than a disposable and that these days the washing machine takes all the effort out of your wash routine.
That isn’t saying that cloth nappies are totally fuss free. Any parenting decision you make comes with it’s own set of challenges to overcome. The knack is to work out what suits your family best.
So, if you feel that reusable nappies are a choice you want to make for your family, here are some of my best tips to keeping them
Simple and manageable.
Full time or part time? You decide!
An important thing to decide early on is how often you want to use cloth nappies. You may decide to keep it simple and use cloth from the get go, or you may feel that easing yourself
In gently and keeping disposables on hand for when life gets too hectic is the way to go. Some people use cloth nappies at home and disposables out and about, others use cloth in the day and add in a disposable overnight. There is no right or wrong answer and there is no prize for never using disposables. Even one cloth nappy used a day would save 365 disposables from landfill!
Find what nappy works best for you
Whilst some people swear by traditional terry and flat nappies, there is a lot to be said for all in one nappies. Nappies such as the Everyday or the Mighty take less time to prepare after washing and are more like a disposable when it comes to fitting. Not only does this save time changing, but can also make it easier for family and friends to change nappies when parents are taking a well earned break!
For others, a two part system like trifolds and a Snap and Wrap may be the easiest way to go. Instead of carrying round separate nappies, one Snap and Wrap can be used multiple times, meaning all you need to do is swap out the insert when wet. This makes both changes and washing easier, as well as being a budget friendly option. Yet again, there is no wrong or right answer, just whatever works for you and your family.
Fuss free washing routine
Probably the most daunting thing about nappies! Watch people feign shock and horror, tell you that you MUST boil your nappies, scrub them by hand or dance around your
washing machine chanting magic spells to get stains out.
Since returning to work after maternity leave, I have found it harder to remember to wash my nappies. But a few little tips and tricks have helped me get back on track. I have developed a habit of throwing the machine on last thing in the evening or right before I leave for work. I leave the correct dose of powder on the side so I don’t have to measure it out when I’m in a rush and using a sock hanger makes hanging inserts quicker and easier. I do also remind myself that if it wasn’t putting a wash on, then I am exactly the sort of person who would end up running to shop at bedtime because I suddenly realise I don’t have any nappies left! Having a fast drying nappy like the Quickdry in your collection is a gift for disorganised folk like myself as well, as it you forget to do your wash, you have less time to wait for your nappies to dry and be ready to use. I can’t count the amount of times a nappy has gone straight from the clothes horse to bum!
There really is no right or wrong way to make cloth nappies work for you. Just because someone on Facebook does things one way doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Find your rhythm and believe in yourself and your ability to make this fit for your family. If in doubt, always remember to ask for help if you need it.
Author: Lauren Foggarty