Nappy Natter: A cloth nappy shopping list

One of the biggest myths about cloth nappies: they are an enormous faff to use and maintain, much harder than disposables.

Using cloth isn’t harder: it’s different. It is so exciting to see cloth appearing in more mainstream shopping places which is ultimately gonna help. Recently Tots Bots nappies appeared on the shelves of Boots UK, which to me is such a big step in the right direction! For now though, it seems to be up to groups like the Nappy Lady UK, Real Nappies for London, local Facebook groups and mum bloggers like me to tell people the truth: learning how to use cloth as a system of parenting is exactly the same as learning how to use sposies. It takes practice, adaptation and a whole LOAD of perseverance. So, what do you need to start with? I’ve got a little shopping list below to help new cloth parents stock up on the bare necessities.

1. Nappies (obvs)

There are about five types of reusable nappies (handy diagram provided by the Nappy Lady), but the golden rule you should remember is that your chosen nappy should have two things: the inner absorbent nappy (absorbs the wee) and a waterproof outer wrap (contains the nappy and all its wonderful contents, so your baby’s clothes stay relatively clean).

As I keep saying (and will keep saying), there are soooo many different brands and it can be really scary for new parents to figure out which one best suits their child, especially as they can be very expensive if you’re buying them all new. You’ve got options though:

– A tip I gave in my last nappy post is – just don’t buy loads of nappies before your baby arrives. The nappy you choose completely depends on the shape and size (and potential status as a heavy wetter!) of your baby, so there isn’t much point in stocking up loads and finding that the ones you picked are not working for ya.

Buy as many nappies as you can second-hand – FB Marketplace and online parent groups are an absolute godsend. Used nappies still have years of wear left in them even after they’ve been through two kids, and they will have been washed so it’s not gross in any way.

– Find your local nappy library, which will rent out nappy trial kits for pennies! Libraries often do outreach events too which include demos and lots of great advice about buying and washing your nappies.

2. Boosters (pack of 10)

Boosters (sometimes they’re called pads or inserts) are great for increasing the absorbency of the nappy if you have a baby who can pee for England. Again, you can find very cheap bundles off other parents and experiment. The most absorbent materials are hemp, bamboo and cotton, but there is also microfibre and charcoal. The first three materials are the big boys for absorbency but they take the longest to dry after washing. General rule: the more absorbent = longer to dry. My own pile is a random mix, but I reach for the Tots Bots Peanut Pads and Mioboost inserts the most often.

3. Liners

Liners have a different role to boosters – they catch any poo and they help keep baby feeling dry and comfortable. You can get disposable liners which parents use while weaning – you dump the poo in the loo and then throw the liner in the bin (don’t flush them. They are not flushable). Alternatively, you can use washable fleece liners which help keep baby feeling dry – urine passes through the material to the absorbent part. These are perfect for night time if, like me, you dread the 2am nappy change and need something that lasts all night. I use Little Lamb fleece liners which are ultra soft and wash really well, even after being attacked by poo-namis.

“helping” put the nappies away…

4. Nappy Bin

Like with sposies, you need a nappy bin that contains odours. Only difference is that instead of putting them in the bin outside, you put them in the washing machine and then hang them up. Lots of brands sell their own nappy bins, but we’ve just got a bog standard bin from IKEA which works totally fine. Great tip is to also get a couple of mesh laundry bags – we use Tots Bots bags – which you can just lift up out of the bin and straight into the washing machine without handling any dirty nappies.

5. Wet bags

If you are a parent who’s wondering about using cloth out and about, it can be done! Wet bags are the only thing you need to get going. Any will do, as long as they keep odours out. The logic is simple – when you’re changing your babe in a cafe toilet, the nappy goes in the wet bag and when you’re home, they go in your nappy bin or straight in the washing machine. I love my Bambino Mio clip bags which can hold 3-4 nappies on a long day out.

I’ve got more Nappy Natter posts lined up for you, don’t you worry!

Jenny x