Welcome to Real Nappy Week 2018 with Yes Bébé. If you’ve decided to take the leap into using reusable nappies but are a bit confused, here you will find a Q&A for any questions you might have.
1. Q: How do I know which nappies to get?
A: There are a few options for you to figure this out. You could;
a) Use a nappy library www.uknappynetwork.org/map they have local volunteers to help you through every step of starting using reusables. You can loan them to try at home, attend demo sessions and receive personalised advice.
b) Buy a few types to try out. Sometimes people like different types for different situations e.g. at home, at nursery or out and about. The preloved market is great too, we have our own B/S/T page which you can find here
c) Get personalised advice via our questionnaire which you can find here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Q: Do they smell?
A: Just like disposable nappies, you can smell the poo and wee but the nappies themselves shouldn’t smell. Once clean your nappies should smell of nothing. Smelling heavily of fragrance or detergent will negatively affect absorbency and may irritate your little ones bottom as it is a sign you’ve used too much detergent or one with unnecessary chemicals.
3. Q: What do I do with the poo?
A: Milk poo: nothing. Let the machine deal with it. Always make sure to do a rinse cycle before the main wash cycle.
Weaning poo: Use a fleece liner in the nappy and try and get as much off as you can. Popular techniques include, holding the liner in the flush in the toilet, spraying with a shower head attachment and a ‘poo spoon/ knife’ scraper.
Solid poo: flick it off the liner/nappy and flush.
4. Q: Where do I put the dirty nappies?
A: You can store them in a lidded bucket or a wet bag until you wash them, you won’t be able to smell them through the lid or the bag.
5. Q: Do they come clean?
A: Absolutely! If you follow number 6 down below.
6. Q: How do I wash them?
A: Wash your nappies every 2-3 days. Be mindful of specific instructions from your manufacturer, following these will protect your warranty.
You want a 2/3 + full machine. Begin with a rinse cycle or a very short wash cycle (around 15 minutes). This will get rid of any remaining poo and make the load heavier so the machine adds extra water (which gives a better wash in modern eco machines). Add a FULL DOSE of your detergent for heavily soiled items. You’ll find this on your box of detergent, pay attention to drum size and water hardness.
Select a long cycle on 40 or 60 (dependent on warranty and personal preference) usually about 3 hours. Have a peek towards the end of the rinse part of the wash when you are starting out to check there are no bubbles left if you are worried about using too much detergent. If there are still a lot of bubbles you can rinse again. This is usually not necessary.
7. Q: How do I dry them?
A: Line or air drying is best for the environment and UV lights from the sun will shift any stains. Some brands allow tumble drying. You should have no problem tumble drying cotton, hemp or microfibre. Bamboo and PUL are heat sensitive so if you MUST tumble dry use a low setting. Avoid radiator drying.
8. Q: How many do I need?
A: If you want to use cloth nappies full time you will need enough to have some clean and ready to use, some dirty and waiting to be washed and some washing/drying. Bare in mind newborns will go through more nappies. If you base it on 10 a day and wash every other day that’s around 30 nappies. You don’t want to run out if you get behind on washing so maybe 35. Using 2 part nappies will mean you can reuse the outer part so you won’t need as many of those as the inner absorbent part.
For an older baby in nappies 20-25 should be plenty. However, you don’t have to buy them all at once. Most people build up their collection over time.
9. Q: Does it matter if I don’t use them all the time?
A: You can use cloth part time, when it’s convenient, when you have enough clean. Basically, whatever works for you.
10. Q: Is my child too old to start using them?
A: It’s never too late! Even using one a day makes a real difference.
11. Q: How long I go between changes?
A: During the day, it’s recommended to go no more than 3 hours between nappy changes and changing immediately after a poo. This applies during the night for newborns. You want your cloth nappies to be functional enough to last this time but it isn’t a challenge to make them last as long as possible.
12. Q: What is a compression leak?
A: A compression leak is when absorbent parts if the nappy are squashed and releases some of the fluid the fabric fibres are holding. This can be when a nappy is over stuffed, clothes are too tight, time in a car seat or baby carrier. Microfibre is the biggest culprit for compression leaks.
13. Q: Why are there different nappies for night time use?
A: Night nappies are specific nappies that are designed to be more absorbent without compromising fit to last the extra time you need so you don’t have to chance overnight. Many people find solutions for night time with non specific nappies particularly 2 part nappies or by adding boosters. It’s important to not compromise the fit of a nappy but boosting too much otherwise despite absorbency you will get leaks.
14. Q: Do all nappies need inserts/boosters?
A: Inserts/boosters are an integral part of a pocket style nappy only, they are the absorbent part. They can be added to all in one nappies or 2 part systems to increase absorbency.
15. Q: What is a pocket nappy?
A pocket nappy is a system where the outer, waterproof layer has an inner layer sewn in except for one end creating a ‘pocket’. These are usually made from fleece so that there is a soft, stay dry fabric next to the bottom.
Pocket nappies tend to be sold with inserts. These can be made from a range of absorbent fabrics, microfibre, bamboo, hemp, cotton and more. You place them inside the pocket to absorb urine. They each work in slightly different ways making pocket nappies a very flexible option as you can customise to suit your needs. For example a common combination is to put one bamboo insert underneath one microfibre insert inside the pocket. The microfibre absorbs quickly but doesn’t hold much, the bamboo absorbs slowly but holds a lot. With that combination urine will be absorbed quickly and then it can pass through into the bamboo.
Pocket nappies can be sized (e.g. small, medium, large) or birth to potty/one size which means the nappy can be adjusted to change its size. This is usually in the form of ‘rise snaps’ on the front of the nappy.
16. Q: What’s the difference between an all in one and a 2 parter?
A: An all in one nappy has all parts attached in once piece. The waterproof outer and absorbent inner are one item. Depending on design the absorbency might be hidden or it might fold or flap out. Some nappies are designed so the absorbent part is removable, these are known as all in two.
A 2 part system or nappy and wrap are where the absorbent part and waterproof part 2 totally separate items. The absorbent part might be a nappy, with fastenings and all the trimmings or it maybe as simple as a folded piece of material or soaker. The waterproof part or wrap goes over the top of this. They are usually made from PUL but also could be fleece or wool.
17. Q: What is PUL?
A: PUL stands for Polyurethane laminate. It is material that has been made waterproof by laminating it to a thin layer of polyurethane, a plastic type polymer. This is what makes the waterproof component of your nappy.
16. Q: Should I use fleece or disposable liners?
A: It’s personal choice or whatever you think suits you needs better. Fleece liners are washable and soft on babies bottom, they also help keep a feeling of dryness as the urine passes through. Both fleece and disposable liners catch poo. Disposable liners that have only liquid can be put straight in the bin. With the poo put it straight down the toilet. Just DO NOT flush them.
I hope this post has answered anything you wanted to know about reusable nappies. Any further questions head over to Yes Bébé Babble or email email@example.com where there are plenty of people willing to help!