Highlights, Parenting, Real nappies
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Cloth Nappy journey Part 1: Glossary and starter Set

Our journey into cloth nappies started when I discovered I was pregnant for the first time, five years ago.

We decided that it will be great to make this little change and offer our baby what we think and believe is the best: a natural start into this world.

I started my researches taking my future mums role very seriously only when I was 24 weeks pregnant because before I was convinced it was irrelevant {you know these myths around pregnancy}.

My first ever step was to understand all the kind of cloth nappies you can find around.

Real Nappies GLOSSARY

Here are some basics that might be helpful for you too if you are starting your journey. I tried to keep things simple.

  • AIOALL IN ONE Nappies {AIO}: these cloth nappies are just like disposables. They are the easiest and most expensive but not always the more efficient. You really have only one part to your nappy. Sometimes to help with the drying time and for extra boosting {= to add more absorbency} , the back of the nappy is opened and you can put out the layer inside outside. These nappies are a good choice for dads, nurseries and anyone not really used to cloths. Ex: Bambino mio, Easyfit Star, Ecopipo AIO, Real Easy


  • AI2ALL IN TWO/HYBRID nappies {AI2}: like their names suggest you have TWO parts. Usually you have a waterproof part and an absorbent one. You can use for the absorbent part inserts, muslins, prefolds. Ex: Milovia cover and inserts. You also have a two part system but the absorbent core can be fixed to the waterproof one. Ex: Pop-ins, GROVIA Hybrid, Peenut


  • pocketPOCKET Nappies: a bit like AIO, but the waterproof part of the nappy opens {in the back or front depending the brand} to enable you to put inserts and adjust the absorbency. EX: Fuzzibunz, Charlie Banana, Wonderoos, Ecopipo V2


  • FittedFITTED nappies: complete nappies usually made with really absorbent fabric {bamboo} but that cannot be put on their own. They look like AIO but they are not as they have no waterproof layer. To use them, you should always use a waterproof cover above. They are surely the BEST for night time. Ex: Bamboozles {to use with Blueberry coverall for ex}


  • FlatFLAT  nappies: The cheaper way and quite good. They are the most traditional cloth nappy. This is what our grandmothers (and even our mothers) used. A single layer of cotton {Terry squares or muslins},  flats are the easiest nappy to wash and dry. They aren’t very susceptible to residue build up or “stinkies”, and line dry within a few minutes outside.There are many ways to fold flat nappies, the most popular being the origami fold. At the simplest, though, you can just fold a flat nappy into a rectangle and lay it inside a waterproof nappy cover. Some people use a Snappi Nappy Nippa or pins to secure a flat nappy underneath a cover.


  • PrefoldPREFOLD nappies: they have been the work horse of most cloth nappy  stashes since approximately the 1960s when they overtook flats in popularity. A prefold nappy is basically a flat nappy that has been prefolded (hence the name) and stitched in such a way to be thicker in the middle and thinner at the edges.


  • INSERTS/BOOSTERS/SOAKERS: for me they all mean the same thing. Maybe I am wrong but I do not think so. They are the one you use to add absorbency to your nappy or to complete it like for pockets and for AI2.

With all these things in mind, WAW shopping time now! I thought it was enough. You think too? You’re wrong then. Because when you are starting your shopping you realise that they are more different nappies:

  • btp wki how to use cloth nappiesBIRTH TO POTTY nappies {BTP}: They are SUPPOSED to fit from Birth to when your baby is potty trained. Wonderful! They seem to be fab! But slow down, I said “supposed” because reality is different. To be suitable, you need to have a “huge” newborn and finish with a small/average toddler. So in the case, your baby is in the 50% percentile when born, there is a great chance the nappy won’t fit appropriately, will leak and obviously will look E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S and bulky. Same if your beautiful toddler is in the 70% percentile or above at 2 years old, there is a chance your BTP will not fit. It is good to know that before to build your stash only with BTP nappies.


  • NewbornSIZED nappies: Simple, the name says everything. They are sized, starting from XS {Newborn} to XL, even XXL for toddlers. You have to buy new sizes everytime, you outgrow your nappies. You might think this is silly and will be quite expensive but we will discuss all this later. The most common ones that people use are NEWBORN ones. Ex: Newborn pop-ins, Grovia NB, Fuzzibunz XS, Real Easy Nappies

Plus add the different materials suc as Bamboo, microfibre, cotton etc. What’s the difference you will ask? Here is a sum up:

  • BAMBOO: It is a natural fibre, antimicrobial and very absorbent. Only down side: very slow drying so to consider in winter if no tumble dryer available. Good for allergies.
  • HEMP: Hemp is a super absorbent natural fibre. Bamboo and hemp are both woody plants. Bamboo is very soft while hemp is more stiff and bamboo is absorbent but not nearly as absorbent as super soaker hemp.
  • COTTON: A natural fibre, very absorbent {forme less than bamboo} and same down side. Good for allergies.
  • MICROFIBRE: a synthetic textile, absorbent but far less than natural fibres. FAST drying time not to say exceptional. But be aware of compression leaks! Not to be squeezed 🙂

After all these definitions, I felt like I was doing something really complicated… I was lost and clearly confused. Add to this, all the reviews I read without understanding a word, like if I was reading in a foreign language or doing some Maths solving. It reminded me Uni and Nursery studies.

Our budget was not important too so did not have a lot of choice. You read a bit everywhere that you need 20 to 30 nappies to cloth-bum FULL-TIME.

On average a new cloth nappy is around £12 to £15, which makes a budget for the nappies alone of £450 to which you need to add all the accessories: Nappies bucket, wet bags, liners and + + + + {You will see that you can avoid all this, just bear with me }

Our budget at this time was £150!

When you go shopping you will see fabulous STARTER KITS. What is a starter Kit and what does it contain?

Usually they contain 10 to 20 nappies of the same kind and brand, some disposable liners {oups we have not discussed this! Basically, a liner is a piece of paper or fabric that you put on top of your nappy to ease clean and get rid of “baby nasties”} and other bits like nappy bucket, wet bag… They are meant to be for new Cloth USERS and supposed to make things easier at a VERY COMPETITIVE price! Very, very tempting!

You know what? It was so tempting and after reading that fitted nappies were very absorbent, we bought for our little unborn baby a TOTS BOTS Starter kit {it was 5 years ago and this shop was our supplier}. Our kit contained:

  • 15 Bamboozles size 1
  • Two Tots Bots wrap size 1
  • One roll of 100 disposable liners
  • Price : £115 approximately

I had few pounds left and I bought with them:

  • Some fleece liners for when I will not have any disposable left
  • 1 Bummys Newborn wrap
  • 1 purple tots bots Stretchy wrap size 0
  • One tube of Parma Violet Tots Bots potion

Tots bots potion Parma violets

To store our dirty nappies, we decided than a plastic bin with a lid will make the job and a simple plastic bag will be enough for a wet bag to begin with.

Before using your beautiful cloth nappies freshly arrived, you have to prep’ them. You just wash them many times to help the fabric reach its full absorbency capacity.

We were ready to use our lovely Fluffy Nappies, we were waiting for Baby to use them now and comfort us in our eco-conscious choice.

Baby arrived and we used disposables at the hospital because I was a bit afraid of the meconium. Her birth weight was 3.150 kg {6.6 lbs}.

After 3 days, we came back home with our new arrival and her nappies waiting for her. First change, we decided to go ahead and start. And this is where everything we hoped for just crashed down!

The nappy even if it was a size 1, was far too big; leave alone the covers that were in the kit, they were ridiculously huge and inappropriate. It was a joke, a bad joke. The nappy was far above the umbilical cord and was rubbing her little tummy till she bled. We weretro-woman-comics-style-design_23-2147493066re so upset that we decided to use disposables until the cord fell. We did. So for more 10 days, she was in disposables and £150 investment was slipping in our chest of drawers.

We then forced ourselves, why forced? The nappies were too huge for her and did not fit at all. We had bad leaks everytime. Adding the fact that baby was suffering from allergies and had bad diarrheas after each feed {plus breastfeeding factor} and was feeding every hour because it was the only thing that soothed her {we learnt her allergies when she was three months old}.

We were running TWO full loads wash every night plus tumble drying to have enough nappy and clothes for the day after.

144585029After 8 weeks, we simply gave up disheartened. It was too much, no more cost effective regarding the leaks and the facts that I had to change every day at least 3 times her bedding, her clothes at every change… We did not have the budget to build a new stash and there was no nappy library, no nappy advisor, and no council scheme where we were living.

We washed our nappies, dried them and put them back in their bag. We put them aside without knowing if one day we will have a chance to try and use them again. But we kept them like a little treasure, part of Baby number one history.

So first thing to retain: STARTER KITS ARE NOT FOR BEGINNERS!

Do not buy a starter kit even if it seems to be cheaper because at the end, if they do not fit, you do not like them, you will be stuck!

to be


Part two : Return to Our Cloth Nappy Journey with Baby number 2/NEWBORN STASH

Part three: Return to Cloth Nappies with Baby number 2/ BTP STASH

Part four: Return to Cloth Nappies with Baby number 2/ toddler STASH

Part Five:  The Journey continues with Baby number 3

Cloth Nappy Journey: DO’s and Don’ts for New users


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