One of the most common questions I get asked is how do I get started with cloth nappies. It's different for everyone but I wanted to share my journey and some of the insights I've had that will hopefully help other people get started and avoid wasting money.
We didn't get started with cloth nappies until my son (now 2) was around 5 months old. As he was born very prematurely we spent a lot of time in hospital where cloth wasn't an option, and on coming home he was too small for a lot of the cloth nappies I was looking at.
I did a lot of research. Read articles, got advice from specialist retailers, and still felt lost. The cloth nappy marketplace is a very confusing world for a newbie! It was like trying to learn a new language. All in twos, boosters, liners, inserts. What was it all and what did I actually need?!
Price was also a big factor. When you're looking at nappies upwards of £20 each, the prospect of committing to a full system with one brand is a little daunting. What if we didn't like them? It's a lot to spend.
I settled on an All in One style which is the closest you can get to a disposable nappy, nothing needs stuffing or adding in. These are great for convenience What I wish I'd known at the time was that this was the most expensive option and that the alternatives (pockets and two part nappies) were not nearly as difficult to use as some made them out to be.
Anyway All in Ones it was and I liked the bright colours and prints that Bumgenius offered in their Freetime nappy. I bought a handful of second hand Freetimes from one of the many preloved cloth nappy groups of Facebook (links below) to make sure we liked them before committing lots of money. Once they passed the test I ordered the rest of our kit brand new, something I was very nervous about doing. It was a lot to spend on a product that I still didn't know a lot about but I'm extremely glad that I took the plunge!
What I wish I'd had known up until this point was that pocket and two part nappies, though they need a tiny bit more 'work' than an All in One, are much more cost effective and often more effective on absorbency. I've since added to our stash some of the gorgeous Baba+Boo prints and find this to be one of the best pocket nappies on the market, after trying many others.
My advice would be to buy a couple of several different types of nappy (or use a nappy library -link below to our local one) and not use one type for your whole system. For example it's good to have some quicker drying nappies (microfibre) and some more absorbent nappies (bamboo/hemp) to give you variety and ensure you always have dry nappies available. If your entire stash is a slow drying nappy you will need more or have to wash potentially daily to make sure you already have some dry.
My journey wasn't without its hiccups. Getting a good fit is essential no matter what brand you go for, there are lots of YouTube videos showing you how to fit them but ultimately there is no replacement for practice. With practice will come mistakes and leaks, just don't let these persuade you away from cloth. We had a lot of leaks in the beginning. Partly because my little man was so skinny (a two part system would have helped massively with this) and partly because we weren't great at fitting them yet! Keep going you will get there. It is honestly worth the effort in the long run.
Fast forward two years and we use cloth everyday and love it. No having to buy disposables or stack up smelly nappies in the wheelie bin. No have to deal with nappy rash and buy various creams to fix the problem, with cloth the rash just disappeared No having to deal with leaks or poo explosions, and we have saved so much money! We use reusable wipes also which is a no-brainer if you're already using cloth nappies, just chuck the wipes and nappies into the nappy bin and wash them all together.
The benefits dramatically outweigh the difficulty at the beginning. Project Eco was born from my journey to make sustainable changes in how we live and what we buy, to do better for us and our planet. I realised quickly that I was not alone in struggling to get started with cloth nappies and that lots of parents wanted to try it but were put off by the terminology.
At Project Eco we want to make it as easy as possible to start using cloth nappies, call us or send us a message if you have any questions or just want some advice on getting started. Also don't forget to check out our FAQ's to break down some of the jargon and common questions.