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Complete beginner to reusables! All advice would be welcome!

(5 Posts)
Starrbee Fri 29-Jul-11 13:07:40


My first baby isn't due until mid December but I thought I'd start looking into the different types of reusables available already. I'm glad I did because the more I read on it the more confused I find myself getting!!

Ideally I would like reusables that I would wash and dry myself instead of using one of these companies that take them away and drop off fresh. I have a washing machine with internal drying function and a bit of grass with a washing line (aka the garden) so I should be able to cope.

My local council also offers to give me £25 cashback if I spend over £50 on real nappies, which looking at some prices shouldn't be too hard!

What I need help with is:
- What are the best/easiest type of resusable to use with a newborn?
- What should I be buying in term of a complete nappy system? I have read the phrases liners, prefolds, covers etc. and I don't know what they are and what I should be getting?
- How many of each item should I be getting?

The list goes on! Like I say the more I read the more confused I seem to be getting!! So any practical, down to earth advice would be greatly appreciated!


Pingpong Fri 29-Jul-11 13:57:19

I am a big fan of pocket nappies. I find these really easy to use and good value as most are Birth to Potty (BTP). They go on as easily as a disposable so most people find them straight forward to use.
Most people that use cloth nappies will say don't buy a whole set of something buy a few and experiment to see what works for you and your baby. I'd tend to agree but the exception would be Bumgenius v4 one size (BTP) pocket nappies as they are so well liked - you will never find one nappy that gets everyone's approval but BG in my experience is pretty well loved.
Birth to potty will fit from about 8lb but obviously some newborns are smaller than that - I have big babies so I'm not experienced with tiddlers but fitted/shaped nappies (sometimes called 2 parters) in size 1 are good for small babies and good for containing newborn poo explosions as there is a wrap over the nappy so any leakage should be contained by the wrap. Little lamb are very cute and soft - they do cotton which is okay, then Microfibre which is lovely and fluffly and quick drying and also bamboo which is just gorgeous and soft and very absorbant but will take longer to dry.
If money is an issue there are prefolds or terries but they take a bit of folding and getting used to and are not the most straightforward option but worth considering if it is finances that are pushing you towards cloth.
You can also get AIO or AI2 - all in one or all in two - technically an AIO is just one piece of nappy (some have a fold out or flap out piece to make them dry quicker.
Definitely take up your councils offer of the £25 grin
Try and go to a napacinno or nappy demo in your area if you can as it is much easier when you see the products but don't feel you have to buy then - you can do some more research if you see something you like. ( I like Cloth Nappy Tree )
Believe it or not there is a big resale value in nappies so you can buy some preloved or you if you buy some that don't work out for your baby you can sell them on and try something else. It seems like a big outlay to start off with but really you can save a lot of money even if you buy one of the premium brands.
Right you asked about liners, prefolds, covers:
liners: not essential but can be useful to help with poo removal - you can use paper liners (flushable) or fleece liners. I prefer fleece as it is nice and soft on baby's bottom. You hold a corner and flush in the loo or once poo is more solid it should just roll off! You need to use a liner if you ever use any nappy cream as you don't want the cream to cloth up the fibres of the nappy as it will make it less absorbant.
prefolds: cheap option, a rectangle with more absorbancy in the middle, various ways you can fold, most simple is a pad fold and put a wrap or cover over the top. Various fabrics - cotton most common but bamboo also available.
Covers: American term for a wrap which is the modern equivalent of plastic pants that used to go over terries! Most wraps are PUL poly urithe.... laminate something or other which is the waterproof layer. Some people use fleece or wool though. PUL is most common and easiest to start off with IMHO. You can get some sized wraps eg Motherease XS, S, M, L and XL and then some companies do Birth to Potty wraps eg Flip, Rumparooz etc.

As for quantities - 15 is probably the absolute minimum you can get away with but bear in mind newborns poo a lot so 20 is probably a more realistic number.
I would maybe start with 10 Bumgenius v4s
3 shaped nappies in size 1 microfibre and 3 in bamboo with 2 small wraps
4 flips

I am also a fan of totbots easyfits v2, totsbots bamboozle stretch and Itti bitti D'lish .... to throw some other names into the ring grin

Sorry I could go on for hours blush

Starrbee Sun 31-Jul-11 10:19:23

Thank you so much for your advice! smile

I think I got a bit lost there in the middle but I hope I got the main points! At least it's help my research! Especially thanks for the quantities that seems really helpful and a good starting point for me to launch from. I think it's going to be a big case of trial and error once bubs arrives but the more prepared I can be the better! grin

I joined the NCT this week so hopefully I'll be able to meet some mums in the area that use reusables that can give me some hands on advice and demos smile I tried looking for somewhere local that did nappy demos or napaccinos but nothing around me sad The nearest was London and that's an hour away on the train! I think if I could find someone who actually uses them everyday that'd be a massive help in getting my head round it!

Thanks again - I think I'm getting there but I may be back with more questions. You have been warned! grin

NoHunIntended Sun 31-Jul-11 12:16:52

Hi, Starrbee.

My top tip would be to NOT stock up on one big batch - try a few different ones, and see what you prefer.

My favourite for a newborn would be I didn't actually use these on my newborn, but I did use the one-size from when he was a little bit bigger, and they are so easy. If I have another baby, I'll get some of these!

I am glad I have a large variety of different nappies. Makes it more fun!

I don't bother with liners.

slackdan Wed 10-Aug-11 23:10:28

Hi Starbee, well done on deciding to take the plunge!

We've been using re-usables for 2 1/2 years & number 2 has just turned up so we'll be doing it for a while yet. We love them.

The advice above is good.

In general, go for a mix. You'll need 15 minimum (to minimise washing) and ideally about 20. We found 2-part (nappy + waterproof wrap) were best for breastfed poo & pocket nappies are the best compromise for ease of use, drying & variable absorbency. Liners are good for flushing the poo away.

Nappies that we've liked - Lollipop (2-part), PopnGro (Pockets), BumGenius, TotsBots. They've all improved even since we've been using them.

We bought a few more before number 2 arrived & found who we hadn't seen before. Even if you don't buy from them, they've got loads of clear info that you can download/print & read over a coffee. Also, they've got videos of each nappy to show you how easy it is. They were very honest & helpful. Perhaps other MNs have used them & can give their experiences. We got the impression they're quite new because they were keen on feedback although the woman that runs it has been a nappy advisor for a few years.

Remember overall, you'll save a fortune & we all know in our hearts, it's the right thing to do for our children.


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