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Reusable nappies, good or bad idea?

(100 Posts)
ShiftyEyes Thu 27-Feb-14 08:40:30

This will be our first baby, due in July and I'm looking for some advice on reusable nappies.

I have researched brands cost etc and it seems to be the way forward. Less chemicals, less landfill waste and cheaper in the long run.

But I'm worried I may be setting myself up for a fall. I mentioned reusables to my Mum and she had to contain a smirk / giggle and said "see how you go on with disposables for the first month or so..."

I'm trying to be realistic, from what friends have told me I can't begin to understand the tiredness / zombie like state I will be facing when baby is here. I wonder if I would be taking too much on with new baby and all the stress that brings combined with loads of extra washing and drying of all the nappies. I don't want to fork out approx �350 to find I just can't be arsed to use them and end up sending OH to supermarket.

I don't know anyone who has actually used them, so has anyone had experience of disposables and are they more trouble than they are worth?

ShiftyEyes Thu 27-Feb-14 08:42:35

That should have been....so has anyone had experience of reusables and are they more trouble than they are worth?

GingerMaman Thu 27-Feb-14 08:45:25

I wouldn't have been able to use non disposables for the first three or four months! Honestly there was no time at all to mess about that.

However, after that it is possible.

I would recommend you don't buy them now, but disposables for the first two months or so, and then see how it goes. Babies are in size 3 and up for a much longer time, so it is worth it for then too.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 27-Feb-14 09:11:30

I use reuseables, as do a number of my friends. I didn't really get going with them until no.1 was about six months old though.

I find them brilliant. Any disposable has brought both my daughters out in terrible nappy rash. No such problems with our Bumgenius. I do use a disposable overnight, but they only tolerated the naturecare Naty ones.

DD2 was in reuseables from about week 2 (good to get the black poos out of the way first!).

I didn't find it lots of extra work. A load of washing every couple of days, which I barely noticed with the washing mountain. Stuffing them back together (which I did whilst watching telly). They were brilliant for us. I think I'd have been fine with them earlier with DD1 except that I'd only bought a couple of two part ones and that really didn't suit us so I ditched them. It wasn't until she was six months that someone explained about pocket nappies.

I think people can be very dismissive of reuseables without having tried them. It's a bit like the same people who make comments about breastfeeding/waterbirth/Gina Ford/whatever else you might want to try. I'd say it's worth buying a small pack - about five maybe- and see if you like them. There are lots second hand or real nappy schemes.

KatharineClover Thu 27-Feb-14 09:12:01

We changed to reusable a when DS was 14 months old (we were getting poosplosions at every nappy change), he still has they for night now (potty trained) and I'm going to use them on baby 2. See if there is a nappy library in your area - you can borrow them for free / a small charge and try before you buy - this is how I started out smile

CelticPromise Thu 27-Feb-14 09:13:37

They are great,I love them. I use ye olde terry squares. You don't need different sizes, they are adaptable, they dry quickly. What's not to like?

Lovelybitofsquirrel Thu 27-Feb-14 09:13:56

Firstly don't be put off by your mum, cloth nappies have changed a lot in recent years! My sister's mil still can't understand why she doesn't have to boil her nappies!
I use cloth nappies and find them very easy. I do a wash every other day. I didn't use them straightaway though, I found the fit wasn't great when ds was tiny and didn't want to spend on new born size nappies to use for only a short time.
I would suggest trying The Nappy Lady website, she has a questionnaire you can fill in and will advise on what nappies might suit you.
There are lots of Facebook nappy groups (try Cloth bum mums - fluffy advice and chat) and mums will give advice on what they did.
Have you looked to see if you have a nappy library near you? You can borrow some to see what suits.
It's nearly Real Nappy Week so lots of places will have offers on soon so you could get a good stash cheaply. A lot of them hold their value quite well as preloved sales too.
I use mostly Little Lamb osfa (one size fits all - get used to acronyms if you start using cloth!) but also some sized pockets.
At night I use a fitted bamboo with a wrap, lasts 12 hours with no leaks.
Have you thought about washable wipes too? Have a look at Cheeky Wipes.
Wow, that was quite an essay! Hope it helps!

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 27-Feb-14 09:15:50

Oh yes, we love Cheeky Wipes. You can make your own a lot cheaper, obviously, but they are nicely hemmed and I had neither the time nor inclination! Had forgotten about real nappy week coming up.

Waitingandhoping Thu 27-Feb-14 09:17:25

I tried them, but gave up after about 6 weeks - just couldn't stay on top of the washing, and especially the drying (it being January didn't help!). I did manage to recoup some of the investment by selling them second hand. I think the advice of starting off with disposables, then introducing reusables when you've found your feet is a good idea.

LegoCaltrops Thu 27-Feb-14 09:21:28

I'd have loved to use reusable nappies, but it's impossible unless you have a tumble drier or take it all to a laundry, IMHO. There just wouldn't be enough time to get all the laundry dry, plus most reusable nappies, also towels etc are much rougher if left to air-dry. Possible in the summer, just. Absolutely not in the winter or in wet weather.

And I say that as someone who was offered the loan of a complete set of good quality cloth nappies & covers, for free.

TheOnlySeven Thu 27-Feb-14 09:22:57

I'd advise not buying them yet and use disposables for the first six weeks or so. After that time your baby will be big enough for one size nappies which will last right through to potty training. Some fit some babies better than others so buy or borrow one each of several different types, try them over a week to see what you get on with and what you don't.

As others have said they're no trouble though, I just have a mesh laundry bag in the nappy bucket. All nappies go in the bag then every couple of days the whole bag just needs putting in the machine, if you leave it undone they come out of the bag in the wash so you don't even need to touch them.

Helspopje Thu 27-Feb-14 09:23:14

yep - I do disposables for the really early bit and switch over later 3-6months sort of time so they're having less toxic poos less often and can fit in the one size ones.
I have long/tall babies so the charlie banana and blueberry onesizes work best for us. Being scottish, I wish we could use totsbots as would prefer to be supporting local industry (and their patterns are soooo pretty!), but they aren't a good fit for my LOs
Would defintiely second doing the nappy lady questionnaire and would suggest the following also
1. look and see whether your council does the real nappy scheme voucher or an in house equivalent. Some lucky folk get £55 vouchers to use on cloth which would be a good starter budget! We get £30 which bought me 2 posh OSs but you can get loads more of cheaper brands eg little lamb
2. look into hire schemes. Many of the nappy sellers have hire boxes which include all that you need, a variety of styles/brands for you to try, and are nearly free if you send back on time and many will deduct the hire cost from any nappies that you buy having had a successful trial.

UriGeller Thu 27-Feb-14 09:23:52

I used reusables for ds from when he was about 10 weeks. Before that, they used to slide off him (skinny little bum) and disposables are great for newborns. They poo and wee an awful lot.

I got out of the habit when dd came along and I had them both in nappies. Along with the usual extra work another baby creates, the laundry got too much, especially through the winter so we used disposables but now I only have dd in nappies (and I bought a tumble dryer!) I've gone back to using reusables.

The way I see it, is every time you put on a reusable, that's one less disposable in the landfill.

So use a mixture if you like. You don't have to pledge allegiance to reusables (although collecting covers can become addictive!)

www.littlelambnappies.com do a great trial pack of reusables for about £40 I think.

TheOnlySeven Thu 27-Feb-14 09:24:19

I do agree though that you do need a tumble drier this time of year!

TheOnlySeven Thu 27-Feb-14 09:27:11

Btw I worked out that if you potty train at 2.5 that's an average of 2000 nappies. I'm expecting DC4, there's no way my conscience could cope with being responsible 8000 nappies in landfill!

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 27-Feb-14 09:28:18

I actually disagree about needing a tumble dryer. We don't have one and have never had a problem. You might do with all in one nappies as they are very thick. Pocket nappies we have found dry easily on the heated airer (or very quickly on radiators if you don't mind doing that) in winter and then on the line in summer. But then, I'm not one of those people who really understands when people say 'but how do you cope without a dryer' generally, so maybe I'm odd.

Helspopje Thu 27-Feb-14 09:29:23

I agree - I use pocket nappies and never tumble dry - line dry or radiators.
Bamboo 2 pieces take forever though.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 27-Feb-14 09:34:33

You dont need a tumble dryer! I used bumgenius pocket nappies. The inserts were microfibre so air dried quickly (overnight) and the outers are just a kind if thin fleecy material and waterproof material so dry really quickly too.

They also contain poo way better than disposables.

Lovelybitofsquirrel Thu 27-Feb-14 09:36:36

We don't tumble dry either,it's not meant to be good for the nappies and pocket nappies really do dry quite quickly.

callamia Thu 27-Feb-14 09:40:35

I love them.
We started using them around 3 months (although our son is quite big - he's four and half months now), and now I rarely use disposables. We've spent about £80 on nappies so far (+ a £20 voucher from our local council), and I reckon I need about four/five more nappies to have enough not to need disposables at all (so about 18 in total). You can find loads of sales etc, and if you buy them little by little, then you spread the cost and make sure you get more of what you like.

I've got a mixture of makes (all pocket/all in one), and I think it's about trialling a few to see what you like best. We live in a smallish flat and don't have a tumble dryer, and it's fine. I have one make in particular that dries within a few hours, organic cotton ones take much longer. I didn't even bother with bamboo... I just stick them on an airer by the radiator.

We wash a load about every three days, it's not a hardship. A net bag in a bucket shoved in the machine - easy. So far, everything has come out clean and I don't experience any more leaks than I did with disposables. I honestly don't see it as extra hassle, and our bin waste has reduced back to pre-baby amounts.

I would advise using disposables for the first couple of months, while getting a couple of reusables and just trial them to see what you like. A borrowing scheme might work well for you too. I am v happy to talk with you about what's worked well for us. Does your local council offer real nappy vouchers/talks?

CelticPromise Thu 27-Feb-14 10:25:58

I don't have a tumble dryer either. It makes me very happy to see my nappies on the line in the sunshine. Saddo

ShiftyEyes Thu 27-Feb-14 10:51:05

Wow thankyou everyone for your replies, it's really helpful to get a variety of opinions.

Real nappies don't seem to be the 'done thing' around here (Lancashire) so most people seem to smirk and roll their eyes in that aww it's your PFB, you have NO IDEA kind of way. Not that they are trying to be patronising (well most of them aren't) but it has started me wondering if I know what I am setting myself up for. I have visions of me on my own with a screaming baby, crying with frustration and shitty nappies covering the house.

We don't have a council incentive scheme, I have found a nappy library on FB approx 15 miles away but the lady doesn't seem to do demos so will need to contact her for more info.

I completed the Nappy Lady advice questionnaire, her response was helpful and she recommended
Option 1 Bumgenius at 331 then needed later -
2 x Wraps 2 Motherease Airflow Large @ 9.99 (no idea what they are!)
Option 2 Little Lambs at 214 initially
Then 142 to spend later on bigger nappies and then 4x motherease airflow things
Additional spend needed if I want disposable liners / vest extenders / wipes.

But, after reading some of your experience perhaps I need to do some more research before buying. I did look at the Little Lambs birth to potty sets they seemed in line with the Nappy Lady quotes but included different things.

We don't have a tumble dryer, currently just use maidens near radiators, drying time was another

I have already decided I will use reusable wipes even if I go for disposable nappies, they seem easy to use and much cheaper.

Wow I think I've confused myself even more now, sorry for the essay!

ShiftyEyes Thu 27-Feb-14 10:56:21

I think the drying aspect will be much easier in summer as I use the washing line quite a lot. I bet they look lovely on the washing line, I do think they look very cute anyway compared to disposables.

I do look at my current overflowing wash basket and question myself though, we struggle keeping up with washing and drying in Winter for 2 people as it is....

Perhaps as others have suggested I should use disposables for the first few weeks then re-assess but part of me thinks if I am going to do it I might as well do it properly from the start

CelticPromise Thu 27-Feb-14 11:20:18

Reusable wipes are brilliant- wet wipes are really rubbish at cleaning up poo! Don't bother buying expensive wipes though, get cheap flannels from Ikea or somewhere and use those.

I am biased but terry nappies are by far the quickest to dry. They really are worth a go. I use Motherease and Bummis wraps with mine (modern replacement for the old rubber pants) and fleece liners.

TheScience Thu 27-Feb-14 11:32:48

I honestly didn't find them a problem confused Used disposable for about a week before switching.

I bought them all second hand - started off with a set of about 12 two-part nappies. Had a mix of microfibre and cotton nappies - microfibre dry really quickly but need to be changed more often. Got some fleece liners and used them both as liners and as wipes. Probably had about 6 wraps to start with as you don't need to change the wrap every time you change the nappy.

When DS was a bit older, 6 months-ish, I bought some one part nappies - a mix of fancy ones (I love Itti Bittis) and cheap Coolbaby ones. I also picked up some cheap Little Lamb ones in a sale.

Little Lamb are a really good, cheap brand if you want to buy new. You could start off with a cotton nappy kit from them for £100 - 10 nappies, 10 fleece liners, 3 wraps, plus nappy pail and some other accessories and see how you get on.

They are also doing sets of one size nappies, £50 for 10 including boosters, which is a massive bargain www.littlelambnappies.com/special-offers/10-onesize-for-just-fifty-quid

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