Cloth Conundrum!

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I have edited this post after realising I really was thinking out loud and it was mostly a load of irrelevant rubbish! The (mostly) important bits:

We have come to the point where we need to invest in some new real nappies, as Poppy’s covers no longer fit her. At first I was excited to get shopping! I waited for the Little Lambs sale because I had seen some pocket nappies, but for some reason I thought were 100% bamboo inside with the waterproof cover, but when they came they were full of microfiber and it would have been the only material touching Poppy’s skin! If you use cloth nappies you may already know that you want to try and avoid microfiber close to the skin as it can dry out their sensitive skin and cause god awful rashes, and you probably guessed by now, I really wanted all natural material in the most important places. Bummer. Time to start again!

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I have thought. I have googled. I have thought some more. I am totally stumped. All of the one size fits all, pocket nappies or all in ones contain microfiber or other synthetic materials, and it is usually touching the babies skin. So I started searching ‘bamboo nappies’, ‘organic nappies’, ‘natural nappies’, ‘nappies made with unicorn hair and rainbows’ …you get the idea. Unfortunately we are not rich. Right now we are quite the opposite! So when I had another facebook notification to say that Little Lambs would be having another sale later this month, which is going to include a bamboo kit for £99 (20 nappies and 6 coloured covers plus extras) I decided that could be an option. These are shaped bamboo nappies, so they go on just like a disposable but then you put the cover over the top, which is where you get to give your babe a nice colourful bum!

So I asked about the bamboo material in their bamboo kit, thinking I had cracked it, only to be told that to make a better quality, non-pull nappy, the bamboo is woven into polyester. Doh!! They said it was a miniscule amount…but even so. Polyester is bad, microfiber is bad, can’t I just wrap her up in a cloud?! And then it suddenly occurred to me, for the first time ever, that although I have been using bamboo and cotton inserts, Poppy’s covers are all synthetic materials and seeing as the prefold’s don’t cover her whole bum, her skin will be touching a fair amount of the cover as well. I honestly don’t know why this hadn’t occurred to me before, I am so careful about what I put on her skin. With all of the major nappies out there being made with nasty materials, it is difficult to realise there is any other option. But of course some of the most water resistant, absorbent, comfortable, hygienic and breathable materials are natural. If I am going to invest in new nappies, shouldn’t I use it as a chance to switch to the best possible nappies for my precious girl, and for the environment? Yes, that’s what I thought, and so my quest began.

As I said before we are not rich, and this route is not the cheapest. But I have a problem, it is something I am working on; when I know there is a healthier choice, I cannot knowingly chose anything less, even if it means digging in to my savings, and especially when it comes to Poppy. I am trying to remind myself how much money we are saving by using washables, and the fact that I will use them with number 2, and who knows, number 3, means that they are definitely cost effective in the long run.

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So my options are:

  • Continue using the cotton prefolds we have – but these do go stiff when washed, they were second hand and have probably seen better days and they could be more absorbent. We will never be able to use these at night.
  • Keep the bamboo inserts (these are 100% bamboo) that came with the pocket nappies from Little Lambs (and try and sell the pockets if anyone is likely to want pockets without inserts?!) – they are very soft and I like the bamboo inserts we have been using on the Close Parent Pop-in’s, although I have now read that apparently the ‘naturalness’ of bamboo materials is questionable due to the processes it goes through. Sigh.
  • Replace my prefolds with organic prefolds…cotton, bamboo, hemp?
  • Mother-ease organic nappy, all in one and does up much like a disposable. But these would cost a fair amount as I would be starting a brand new collection. In comparison to the bamboo kit Little Lambs are offering for example, at £99 for 20, that is a fiver per nappy. These are the same concept, but no nasty’s, for roughly £12 each.
  • Buy terry nappies – I am sure that our grandparents really did have the right idea! People are scared of them but I have watched a few YouTube videos and they look easy enough. Especially now you can get Nappi Nippa’s, so no need for safety pins. You can buy them in cotton and bamboo. Can you buy hemp terry’s?
  • Learn how to sew and make my own….

Clearly the last one is not an option, and all of the others will then require some cover consideration! Do I go for:

  • Isme Visme or other organic cotton covers (I can’t find many!) – do these go over terry cloth nappy’s or prefolds or both?
  • Use a full nappy, such as the Mother-ease, with a synthetic cover, knowing that at least it won’t be touching the skin. I could buy Little Lambs wraps for about £35 for 5. This isn’t my favourite option, and seeing as I don’t need tons of covers, maybe 3 to start with, I would rather just spend that £35 on 3 organic ones and build up my collection if and when I need to.
  • Wool covers, usually handmade on ebay or etsy, beautiful and expensive. I am intrigued by these, and would love to know people’s experiences, because to be honest I am a little daunted by them! I know that wool is an amazing thing. They say these covers do not even need washing for weeks at a time?! This would be incredible!! But how about prefolds, I guess you can’t use them with these as they are more pull on pant style? I have seen some Disana ones which are more wrap style, would a bamboo prefold work in there? And what is that process, lanolising? It all sounds very complicated to me, but I would love to hear that I am wrong. I think wool would be my first choice if it was simple and a little cheaper…as it is I am really on the fence. At around £20 per cover if I didn’t get on with them I would be pretty miffed. Having said that if they really don’t need washing often maybe I would only need two? HELP!

Maybe I could knit my own covers, if I took a few more lessons off of my Nan. At least I would know exactly what they were made of!

I feel totally overwhelmed and rather frustrated that by trying to do what is best for Poppy and the environment I am in fact met with more chemical conundrums. When I was pregnant we just bought the first I saw for sale, Bambino Mio, because someone was selling them dead cheap. In hindsight I am relieved they were cotton and not synthetic, and maybe it is a good thing that we are now so used to prefold’s whilst other people find them fiddly. Yes I love the funky designs and yes inserts that pop in place or slip into pockets are simple. Having tried the Close Parent Pop-in’s for a few weeks and seen my friends using modern cloth nappies, I was starting to steer in that direction. But the whole concept of cloth nappies is based on greener living, and surely by keeping up with trends and consistently aiming for an easier, more convenient real nappy, we are actually producing more and more synthetic nappies…isn’t that how disposables came about in the first place?

Which makes me question the whole philosophy. It is real nappy week and we are all being told to ‘Go Real’, so tell me, how ‘real’ do you go?

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