Since we have been using cloth nappies with Lucas since he was around 3 months old I sometimes get asked for advice about getting started. I thought that it might be a good idea to write it all down in a blog post and so, in no particular order, here are some things to consider:
Questions to ask yourself before buying your cloth nappies
Who is going to be changing the cloth nappies?
My husband suffers from Repetitive Strain Injury which means that his hands are often quite painful and means that a cloth nappy with poppers or snaps is actually very difficult for him. So if any of the caregivers suffer from any painful conditions that affect their hands mobility look at velcro or a simpler fastener rather than the snaps.
Also if you are going to be sending your child to a daycare with cloth diapers find out if they have any preference.
Who is going to be washing the cloth diapers?
You need to consider how involved the washing routine is going to be. The simplest nappies to wash are all-in-ones because they don’t have any removable pieces.
How often are the cloth nappies going to be washed?
Depending on how often you are going to do laundry influences how many diapers you need. As a general rule nappies should be changed every 2 to 3 hours except when a child is sleeping which translates to between 6 to 8 diapers each day on average. This means that with our stash of around 27 nappies I can comfortably wash every second days and air dry even in winter. (Our nappies being a blend of bamboo and cotton take a really long time to dry).
Why do you want to use cloth nappies?
If you want to use cloth nappies for environmental reasons you probably want to stick to nappies made from a natural fibre (so cotton, hemp or bamboo). If you are wanting to go for cloth nappies due to budget constraints then synthetic nappies are generally cheaper.
What is your budget?
Initially cloth nappies require forking out a bit of cash. Collecting cloth diapers can also become a bit of an expensive habit, there are a huge amount of insanely cute patterns out there. (I stay away from the sites that sell cloth nappies now…)
Your baby’s physique?
Some nappies are more suited to a slender baby while others will fit a chunky little one.
Is your baby a light, medium or heavy wetter?
Most South African cloth nappies’s absorbent portion is made from microfiber, cotton, bamboo or hemp or a combination of them. The general consensus is that microfiber is the least absorbent followed by cotton and bamboo with hemp being the thirstiest of all the materials.
Any sensitivities or allergies to materials?
If your baby reacts badly to any material you want to stay away from it. Even if your baby doesn’t exhibit any sensitivities to fabrics generally, I recommend getting one or two of your chosen brand before getting your entire stash because some little ones react badly to certain nappies.
Love and nappies,