Wrap and Insert – Keep It Simple

We all want using cloth nappies to be as easy as possible right? Using a wrap and inserts is an often over looked but easy, cheap and effective system.

Milovia Cover and Stay Dry Insert
Milovia Cover and Stay Dry Insert

It is technically a two-part nappy as there is a waterproof layer separate from the absorbent insert acting as a nappy. This means that as with other two-part nappies only the absorbent part needs to be changed each time, the wrap or cover can be reused a few times. When buying wraps and inserts to use like this it’s worth taking that into consideration – you need less wraps than inserts.

With no thick layers you will find this set up dries quickly, the wraps within a few hours and the inserts (material dependent) within a day. This again means that you may need less as the turn around is fast!

Miosoft Cover and Prefold
Miosoft Cover and Prefold

For travelling and holidays this system is very popular, particularly as disposable soakers work very well used like this. But for days out it is perfect as a stack of inserts and a few wraps takes up next to no space in your changing bag.

The smaller budget, fast drying, compact nature of this method means that it works very well for families where there is more than one child in nappies.

So what do you do?

  1. Select an appropriate wrap that fits your baby comfortably.
Grovia Snap Closure Shell Nappy - Rainbow Baby
Grovia Hook & Loop Closure Shell Nappy – Rainbow Baby

 

2. Select an insert to go inside.

Grovia Snap Closure Shell Nappy - Rainbow Baby and Grovia Organic Cotton Soaker Pad
Grovia Hook and Loop Closure Shell Nappy – Rainbow Baby and Grovia Organic Cotton Soaker Pad

Some brands have nappies specifically designed to be used like this

Check out:

3. At nappy change time, remove the insert and store ready for washing

4. Check the wrap/cover isn’t too wet or at all dirty (you might like to give it a wipe over

5. Place clean insert into the wrap making sure it sits in the pouch between the legs. You can pop a liner on top here if you wish.

Grovia Snap Closure Shell Nappy - Rainbow Baby and Grovia Organic Cotton Soaker Pad
Grovia Hook and Loop Closure Shell Nappy – Rainbow Baby and Grovia Organic Cotton Soaker Pad

6. Fasten the wrap comfortably onto your baby

Milovia Cover
Milovia Cover

Of course you can mix and match brands and really use any wrap or cover that works well for you alongside your choice of insert. You will want the insert not to get lost inside the wrap so it should be sufficiently large that it won’t shift around. This system is:

  • customisable to your desired absorbency
  • will provide a trim fit as there is no bulk over the hips
  • incorporating of items you may already own.
Milovia Cover and Stay Dry Insert
Milovia Cover and Stay Dry Insert

All in all a wrap and inserts it is a fantastically simple and effective cloth nappy system.

What is a Wet Bag?

What is commonly referred to as a Wet Bag is a bag made from PUL (a waterproof material) that is usually sealed with a zip and designed to store used or wet items before they are washed. They can be used for swimming and gym wear but in this context are for cloth nappies.

The design means that they keep moisture and any smells contained within the bag so that they are a practical storage for soiled and wet nappies.

Wet Bags are available in a range of sizes, from small which may store 1 or 2 nappies or your reuseable wipes to the largest in which you can fit 15-20 nappies and large enough to use as your at home, before wash storage. The advantage of using a wet bag like this is that you simply unzip the bag, allowing the nappies to fall out during the wash cycle, and put the whole thing inside the drum. No need to touch or even look at the nappies.

For use out and about most people opt for a medium size bag, enough to hold a days worth. Again, unzip and place this bag inside your largest storage bag and wash the whole lot together.

Some wet bags have two sections with protection between so that when you are out of the home you can keep your dry unused nappies in one half and your used, wet nappies in the other. They tend to have some kind of handle, either one that snaps together to form a loop or else permanent strong handles.

They are a crucial part of making the use of cloth nappies and wipes easy and practical.

To browse Wet Bags click here

What is a Pocket Cloth Nappy and How do I use one?

All cloth nappies are made up of two components:

  • An absorbent part
  • A waterproof or water resistant part

In a pocket cloth nappy those components are separate items. The waterproof part is a shell with an inner layer usually made of fleece sewn inside leaving one or both ends open to create a pocket. Inside the pocket you put your absorbent inserts.

Each pocket will be bought with one or more inserts. You can use one, two or more inserts in the pocket in a variety of materials to create the required absorbency for your child.

The pocket shell and inserts are dried separately, with the shell drying much faster. You can therefore use it again sooner if you have spare inserts. There is a small amount of preparation needed for each use in putting the inserts into the pocket, for some this is an annoyance. However, once prepared, when you put them on they are very simple.

You will find pocket nappies in hook and loop or snap closure and in all sizes.

To browse Pocket Nappies click here

Nappy Materials… What Do They All Mean?

Just when you think you have your head around the different types of nappies you start hearing words like Microfibre, Bamboo, Hemp and PUL and it feels like you are back to square one.

The different types of materials used have various properties which determine how the nappy behaves. This may mean they absorb quickly, dry fast, hold a lot of liquid etc and these are the factors that determine whether the nappy is suited to your needs. Once you understand the different materials it is so much easier to work out what to use on your baby.

We will go through the main materials and then look at some case studies which exemplify how they can be used to their, and your, best advantage. Let’s start from the outside:

PUL (Poly Urethane Laminate)

This material is used as the waterproof element of most cloth nappies. On the outer of an All In One, All In Two and Pocket nappy and the entirety of a waterproof wrap or cover. PUL is an extremely useful fabric being breathable, stretchy, quick to dry, creaseproof, stainproof and crucially for nappies, waterproof.

It is made by laminating, using heat, pressure and adhesive, a thin polyester fabric to a very thin film of polyurethane. If not cared for a a reverse process happens called ‘delamination’, the fabric and polyurethane become separate and therefore no longer waterproof.

One side of the PUL is brighter and softer (being the polyester side) and the other duller and a little sticky to the touch. For this reason in most nappy systems it doesn’t touch the baby, although is harmless if it does. The common material used to line nappies and be closest to the baby’s skin is….

Fleece

Fleece is a synthetic, man-made fabric and can be derived from either virgin or recycled plastic. The fibres of polyester are woven together in such a way to create a light, breathable fabric, perfect for contact with delicate skin. This weave is the reason why fleece is also commonly found as a separate liner.

When used as a liner it picks up liquid and moves it away from the source, spreading it out and passing it through to the other side to be absorbed or evaporated. If you want to be fancy this process is called ‘Capillarity’. Due to this it obviously dries very quickly, not increasing drying time as the lining of an All In One nappy and combining with PUL in a Pocket nappy to make a very quick drying item. You will also find fleece wraps or covers used over an absorbent nappy.

Moving on to the most common absorbent materials, starting with

Microfibre

This is another synthetic material made from polyester. We learn a lot about the nature of this material from the name, the fibres of this material are tiny and there are lots of them. Larger fibres are split into tiny ones and it is the combination of the surface area created and the the space between them that causes microfibre to absorb liquid very quickly. You can feel the texture of the material when you touch it as the fibres grab at any imperfections on your skin. This and the way microfibre draws moisture into itself is the reason it is not recommended to have microfibre in direct contact with skin for prolonged periods.

Because microfibre holds liquid between it’s fibres that liquid can easily be forced back out again, like squeezing a sponge. It does, however, mean  that the liquid can begin to be squeezed out of a nappy while it is still on the baby. This is what people mean when they talk about ‘compression leaks’. the plus point to this is that microfibre dries very quickly.

Cotton

Cotton is a natural fibre and can therefore absorb liquid INSIDE it’s cells. To simplify the science, cotton has naturally occuring cellulose which has a negative charge. It attracts slightly positive water molecules, bonds together and stores the liquid inside the ‘lumen’ or empty space in the middle of each cotton fibre. This makes cotton a highly absorbent material. Because liquid is stored inside the fibres it does take longer to dry than synthetic materials.

Cotton has the same capillarity action as fleece, spreading the liquid throughout the material meaning that it can continue to absorb in the same area. The use of cotton in cloth nappies is extremely useful in preventing ‘flooding’ and consequent leaks where another material cannot absorb fast enough.

This is probably a good point to mention that with each material there are various environmental and/or ethical factors present at various points of their growth and manufacture, cotton is well known for this. While these factors may influence our choice of nappy, the conversation is complex and far reaching. A topic to return to in the future. However, it is one of the reasons that in recent times where cotton would be used it is being replaced by

Hemp

Similar to cotton in its structure and natural cellulose but with coarser, longer fibres resulting in a stronger, more absorbent and more durable fabric. Adding a hemp booster to a nappy, in particular a night nappy, can be a simple way to increase absorption speed and volume.

Although, like cotton, it gets softer the more it is used it can be rough, for this reason when we find hemp in cloth nappies it is usually a blend with cotton. The wear, wash and dry of natural material makes them less dense, increasing the spaces where liquid can be stored inside and in between the fibres. This is why we prewash and why you find excellent ‘work horse’ nappies that are years old and extremely absorbent.

Bamboo

The fabric we refer to as bamboo is properly called viscose rayon. It used to be called ‘artificial silk’ and when it comes to softness bamboo really appeals to be worn next to the skin of babies and is easily identifiable by it’s sheen. The cellulose in the bamboo is extracted and reformed into the fabric we love to use in cloth nappies. The fibres themselves, while having the same gaps and holes inside the fibres and cracks and grooves on the surface as cotton and hemp, are fine and sleeker. This is why bamboo absorbs the slowest of the commonly used materials in cloth nappies. 

As liquid is stored inside the fibres it takes longer to dry a bamboo nappy than for example a microfibre one. Bamboo rayon fibres are fine and short, it is common to find bamboo blends because the addition of cotton for example makes for a stronger fabric.

A Case Study:

An 18 month old baby who has always worn an all in one nappy with a bamboo absorbent core with no problems suddenly starts experiencing leaks within half an hour of a nappy change. 

Having checked the PUL of the nappy for any signs of delamination or holes an initial response might be to add more bamboo to increase the absorbency level. However, given the time frame of the leak it is unlikely that the child’s output has increased in volume over time but more likely that the volume of each wee is more. Toddlers can start to hold their urine for a little while increasing the pressure and volume of a single wee. A bamboo based nappy will hold a lot and wouldn’t struggle with this volume, but we know that it absorbs slowly so the liquid will run to any escape points such as the seams of the nappy before the bamboo has had time to absorb all the liquid. The best solution here would be to add a cotton or hemp booster inside the nappy. Microfibre may work on a younger baby that is less mobile and likely to compress the nappy. By adding it inside the nappy the faster absorbing material can quickly manage the liquid giving time for it to  to spread throughout the absorbent parts of the nappy and be stored. This means that there is still capacity for more output so an immediate change isn’t needed.

A Case Study

A 3 month old baby has been wearing a 2 part, microfibre based nappy system which until now has been excellent at containing liquid poo and the frequent small wees she has been having. They have been changing regularly day and night. Now the little one is sleeping longer at night they require something more absorbent to last longer.

Two Part nappies are excellent and quite often the best solution over night. There is twice the protection at the leg and waist against leaks. These parents will want to consider a bamboo nappy for maximum over night capacity. They may want to line it with a fleece liner to help keep the bottom feeling dry by wicking the moisture away. Over the nappy they can continue to use their PUL wrap. Over time depending on the child they may want to add additional boosting of more bamboo or hemp either inside the nappy or between nappy and wrap.

Cloth Nappies should be simple to use, by understanding the components of them we have more chance of selecting an appropriate nappy and much more chance of successful  and sustainable use. Whether it’s one a day or full time use you are aiming for it all makes a difference to you, to baby and to the environment.

For advice on cloth nappies please email: nappies@yesbebe.co.uk

Sources: www.sciencedirect.com, www.madehow.com, www.theartofcleanliness.com, www.sciencing.com, www.oecotexfiles-wordpress.com, www.researchgate.net, www.textileinsight.blogspot.com, www.towelswell.com

 

Top Tips For Using Cloth Nappies From Birth

Editor: Keep tuned for a giveaway at the end of the article

I should start by saying you absolutely should feel no pressure to do this. Even if you intend on using reusables very soon, it’s more than OK to not start straight away, or change your mind when baby arrives.
Also a quick note to say that you are ‘allowed’ to use reusable nappies in hospital. I would suggest being mindful of their hygiene regulations, keep everything neat, used nappies in a wet bag and get visitors to take them home regularly if you are staying in more than 12 hours or so. Ultimately it is your baby, your choice.

1. Show your midwife! Pictures/diagram

In my post baby bliss a very keen midwife confidently picked up the nappy system I had ready (a shaped Terry and wrap) and put them on baby and got him dressed. I didn’t think to check but when I went to change him the wrap was on backwards! I think especially if you expect various people to be doing their bit in the first few days and weeks a few pictures of what they are aiming for would be really handy

2. Be prepared for the meconium! Do not get it in your eye!

If you are a first time parent or it’s been a while you may have forgotten the joys of that sticky, black, tar-like poo known as meconium. It’s babys first few poos and is pretty hard to clean off that tiny little bottom. I had my first boy recently, no one told me about the wrinkles! Anyway, although it looks odd it comes right out in the wash so no need to do anything different with it or use disposables unless you want to.
Another top tip… don’t be like my husband and not realise you have meconium on your finger and then scratch your eye!

3. Have your cloth wipes wet ready!! Lots!

With meconium, the in between stuff or the Korma, cloth wipes do a much better job of cleaning up than disposable wipes. You will probably use 1 or 2 cloth wipes to 5 disposables. Because newborns poo A LOT it makes sense to either have a pile pre moistened in a container or a spray bottle to hand with which to wet bottom or wipe as you go. No need to use any fancy solution, water is fine.

4. Take the opportunity to try a few different types.

Newborns don’t try to leg it or kick you when you are changing them so take the opportunity to try a few different nappy systems! You won’t need huge amounts of absorbency in the first few weeks so work on your fit technique, try snaps and Velcro, all in ones and 2 parters to work out what you prefer to use. You are changing nappies so often that if one doesn’t work out for you it doesn’t matter too much.

5. Cord……tie and low rise, trim nappies.

Look for nappies that are low rise or have a popper down part at the front to avoid any rubbing on the cord stump. We prefer to use a cord tie rather than a clamp also but that is personal choice.

6. It will wash out

Don’t panic! Even the worst bottom explosions wash right out . There is no need to do anything special wash wise, just rinse cycle and a 60 degree long wash will do the trick. Cloth nappies have excellent containment so you shouldn’t expect too many leaks either. Any stains will also disappear in sunlight.

7. Expect to change during the night

Newborns still needs changing during the night at least once. Their skin is still getting used to life earth side and can be sensitive. They will also be feeding throughout the night so therefore will have an output too. This means at least initially you don’t need to worry about night nappies or maximising absorbency, just use what you use in the day time.

8. Keep everything to hand

If you are reading this in the weeks before baby arrives when you have an insatiable desire to organise and prepare I would recommend creating 2 or 3 areas in the house that have everything you need to hand  in a bag or basket  or box. Clean nappies, somewhere to put used nappies, wipes, change mat. At least in the beginning when they are tiny and fragile it can feel like you don’t have enough hands and they are liable to pee during change time (did I mention I had just had a boy?????) having everything to hand will make your life much easier.

9. Take pictures

You will thank yourself when you have a big boisterous toddler for taking pictures of your newborn cloth bums. Trust me. Maybe don’t look at them though unless you want your ovaries to start pinging!

10. No pressure

Have fun, enjoy it! If it’s too much one day, don’t stress! You are doing a wonderful thing so give your self a pat on the back but don’t let cloth bumming be a burden on your shoulders. You’ll find tricks and hacks along the way but at least for the first few weeks be kind to yourself 🙂

Join us on 23rd April 2018 for a delightful giveaway

Bambooty Newborn Reusable Nappy Kit