Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Cloth diapering- why I chose this journey as well as some useful tips and info....

When I fell pregnant with Loghan, I was hell bent on using cloth nappies because well I was a teen mom with very little money and thought how awesome would it be not having to pay for disposables- if my mom did it so can I.

I bought the nappy bucket, the solutions and of course dozens of terry flats and waterproofs ready for use….and that never happened.
I ended up getting so many packs of disposables at my baby shower and then with Loghan born prem I just went with it and eventually the terry flats just became throw up lappies and everything else was given away.

So by Gabriel’s pregnancy I didn’t even consider cloth nappies in fact I remember scoffing at a girl I knew because she decided to cloth diaper, I was like oh it won’t last, it’s such a las etc, she made use of mother nature cloth nappies and they were pretty much all that was available at the time, they cost her in my opinion a small fortune and to be honest she totally put me off cloth nappies as she would leave them to pile up around the house, wouldn’t change her child very often either so he constantly had a rash and his bum looked huge and there was always stink everywhere, not a very nice thing to encourage others on that path.

So then we fell pregnant with Jesse this time I had it in my mind I was going to get everything right breastfeeding co sleeping all of that, yet again though I didn’t consider cloth nappies at all, the difference this time is that my other two never got a nappy rash, they were always happy and content in their disposables no leaks very few poop blow outs so I never had an issue, with Jesse however things changed.

He seemed to constantly have a rash of some sort, his bum was always so eina and red I couldn’t stand it. I tried every cream I could get my hands on nothing helped, even the antifungal creams that the doctors recommended did not help nor did him being on a daily pro biotic.

We were running out of options when I came across a blog on the internet all about cloth nappies…. And the penny dropped, I spent the next few days researching learning all about the new modern cloth nappies that looked absolutely gorgeous with all their cute prints- nothing like the old fashioned terry flats I had planned on using the first time(these are raved about by some moms btw), I read all about the insane amount of chemicals used in disposables and how often children can be allergic or get a bad reaction to them and this is what was happening with Jesse.

So I made my mind up, when I mentioned it to my hubby he was very happy with the idea it was:

A) Cost effective
B) Better for our little boys bum, chemical free and not made of paper
C) Environmentally friendly
D) Just plain cute

So he gave me the green light and I placed an order for my first fluff; 3 fancy pants and 6 generic china brands.
I was so excited I couldn’t wait to try them and when the fancy pants arrived from Wellness warehouse I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous and soft they were.
I was extremely apprehensive about telling my mom and other family members but I was pleasantly surprised when they thought it was a great idea.
Several months later Jesse has been completely rash free and he is a very happy monkey.

I currently have a stash of over 30 nappies…. Eish yes it can become crazy addictive but that is part of the fun.

There are different kinds of nappies available, aside from the vast amount of brands and local work at home mom’s (WAHM):

AIO - All-In-One - AIOs are fitted diapers that have a waterproof outer layer. This layer usually consists of fabric that has a PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate) backing. These are the closest in similarity to disposable diapers since they are a one-piece diapering system. The absorbent soaker material is often sewn into the diaper.

AI2 - All-In-Two - AI2s are very similar to AIOs with the exception that the absorbent soaker material is not attached to the diaper in any way. The soaker is usually a second, separate piece that must be used in conjunction with the diaper. These have the shortest drying time as they come in two pieces and are cheaper as you can buy 3 or 4 shells and just replace the soaker at ever nappy change, wiping the cover allows you to reuse it as it is waterproof.

Contour Diapers - Contours are hourglass shaped diapers with no elastic in the legs or back. They must be held together with a SNAPPI Diaper Fastener, pins, or a diaper cover. These diapers are not waterproof, so a cover will be needed.

Diaper Covers - Covers come in many styles and shapes, but their function is to provide a waterproof outer layer for non-waterproof diapers (all except AIOs). They are often fitted with elastic. Diaper covers are usually made from polyester, Polyurethane laminates (PUL).

Flats - These one-layer diapers, generally made out of 100% cotton gauze, are the most "old-fashioned" choice. They dry quickly and fit a large range of sizes. Folding and pinning are required. These are apparently great for new-borns especially and can be folded in a variety of ways.

Fitted Diapers - Fitted diapers closely resemble disposable diapers. They are contoured and fitted with elastic around the legs and back, and a waterproof cover must be worn over them. They are the next step up from flat pre-fold diapers and much easier to use.

Pre-folds - Pre-fold diapers are rectangular shaped diapers that must be folded into the shape of a diaper. They are similar to flats, but have multiple layers with more layering in the middle. They often have 2-4 layers of absorbent material on either side and 6-8 layers in the middle. Pre-folds are usually the cheapest type of cloth diapers available. They must be used in conjunction with a cover.

Pocket Diapers - Pocket diapers are like AIOs or AI2s. They have an outer layer of a waterproof material and an inner layer of a stay dry material, like microfleece or suedecloth. They have a pocket opening that allows for the absorbent material to be stuffed in the pocket during use and then removed for laundering. The absorbent material for stuffing can be an insert that comes with the diaper or a pre-fold or doubler. Some moms use terry wash cloths. Pocket diapers are a popular choice among cloth diapering moms because you can customize the amount of absorbent material.

Snappi - A plastic mechanism that fastens a cloth diapers. These are often used instead of diaper pins.
Pockets, AIO’s , AI@’s and fitted’s are also available in hook and loop (Velcro) or with snaps- personally I prefer snaps as my little boy pulls at the Velcro and unfastens them but many moms prefer the Velcro saying that it makes it easier to change a nappy when your child is wiggling about as well as it is easier when your child starts potty training as they can simply remove the nappy themselves.

Research is definitely the best when it comes to cloth nappies- I watched so many videos on YOUtube, I also read write ups on the hippisafari blog and joined facebook pages: south African cloth nappy users and SA cloth nappy buy sell trade, which is a great place to find second hand nappies which may or may not be something you want to do, they often sell brand new unused nappies on there as well, these sites are a great source of advice and a great way to meet other moms.

If you are concerned regarding the washing routine of cloth nappies, honestly it really is not much more washing than I usually go through I maybe do 3 extra loads a week, if that….

I have a standard LG top loader but a front loader is great to, you can use any laundry detergent or powder as long as it does not contain any softeners or artificial brighteners as these tend to cause a build-up on the nappies and cause them to leak or smell. ( I have never had a build up issue)

I prefer to use Earthsap liquid which is available at Dischem or wellness warehouse, but if I do run out then I use normal Skip or Omo powder, I use a normal eco wash cycle I do not use a special setting and tend to wash my nappies either separately or with my kids clothing, nothing dark or fluffy as I don’t want to risk the clothes running their colour into the nappies or fluff build up which happens if you put a towel in with the nappies (in my experience).
The cloth nappy users page has loads of files and articles which are great to read, they also have a list of all our local and non- local nappy retailers which includes our local WAHM as well.

My personal stash consists of the following:

Alva pockets- which are great day nappies and work horse nappies this means cheap, easy to use especially with a crèche or day mom and they can take a lot of wear and tear, they are available off the ALVA website or through a host of local sites, I personally love the prints, they can be a bit of a mission to stuff but I usually get my kids to help or do it in the evenings while watching tv. www.alvababy.com

Alva AIO- I only have one AIO and I have to say I absolutely love it, it is very quick and easy to use, the only downside is the drying time as the insert absorbent layer cannot be removed, the other upside is it does come with a pocket for extra stuffing. www.alvababy.com

Baby wizard pocket- this nappy is modelled after a more expensive brand Bumgenius, it comes in a variety of great prints and retails for less than R100, if bought locally it is a bit more expensive but then you don’t have to wait for several weeks and the nappy comes with 2 extra inserts- available from JAM- http://just-a-mom.shopstar.co.za/.

Fitted hybrids- these are top of my list I absolutely adore fitted hybrids- the downside is that they only last without a cover for about 2 or 3 hours but they are awesome, extremely soft, made from natural fabrics and they come in the most gorgeous prints. The nice thing about the WAHM is that you can quite often custom order nappies so if you are looking for a specific print or such they may be able to help. These nappies do tend to be on the pricier side but they are very much worth it. The 3 I have are from Eco nappy solutions and Poopsy Daisy- www.econappysollutions.com and poopsy daisy bum wraps on facebook.

AI2- I only have one AI2 nappy as I wanted to try it out first to see if I would like it- I also had it imported so it was quite pricey. To be honest it is not my most reached for nappy even though the cover part is very cute, I have 2 snap in inserts but I just don’t like reusing the cover even though it can be wiped it’s just too much of a mission when I need to do a fast change so I mainly save it for if we are going out as it works nicely as a disposable alternative. I got my Bestbottom from Nikkis- www.nikkisdiapers.com.

I have a few china cheapies as well as well as a few Babyland pockets also available from eco nappy solutions, the cheaper nappies come in great prints and work great on a daily basis especially at the day care as if something were to happen to them it’s not a costly loss.

Helpful accessories to have are the following;

A diaper pail- this can be a laundry basket nappy bin, anything really to hold your nappies butr allow air to circulate through as this alleviates any omitting smells- I wash muy nappies daily so we just use a laundry basket.

Nappy liners- I use a ton of these simply because I find it much easier if Jesse does poop as the liner can simply be tossed down the loo or in the rubbish it is also great to use over anything micro fibre related as it keeps it away from babies bum.

Wet bag- This is a nappy bag made from pul it is waterproof and great at keeping any smell in, I find this very useful for outings as well as for the crèche, I send it every day and they just put the wet nappies inside ready for me to collect at the end of the day.

Diaper Sprayer- I do not personally have one but they are raved about for helping to spray of dirty nappies- remember babies that are exclusively breast fed produce water soluble poop that does not need to be washed off, however once solids are incorporated the poop will need to be rinsed off or flushed down the loo.

The number of nappies you will need will vary, as your child gets older they will need less, it will also depend on the type of diapers you use as well as how often you do washing. I have way more nappies than I need but I find it useful for days when the weather isn’t great or when I am just lazy and/or don’t have a full load which rarely happens in a house of 3 kids.

The initial financial output of cloth nappies can be expensive depending on what nappies you choose to use but compared to the monthly expenditure of disposables you are sure to make your money back and save a load.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my cloth nappy journey so far and I really look forward to the next year or so of this journey with my son, it makes me sad that I didn’t do this the previous 2 times but I feel great doing it now.

*I do not have anything against disposables I think every mom needs to do what is best for them and their own child but this has really been a great option for us.

I hope this article was helpful to anyone considering this option.


  1. Great post! Great to hear you decided to join us on the cloth side. :-)

  2. I am also a cloth mommy! Love my cloth nappies!

  3. I love your blogs and i can relate to you on so many things as a mom, and I love using natural toxin-free skincare for my little one, cloth diapering sure is a great idea and with this a baby rash cream is all the more important. I have been using the one from the moms co. and its quite nice.

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