Cloth Nappies – I’m not a modern day hippy really


When I decided my choices for my baby, they just seemed to based on common sense and fit in to my husband’s and I desire to do a bit for the environment. I didn’t think I would turn in to a crunchy hippy mummy. Well I don’t look like one and I try not to preach, just give my opinion if asked and let others decide for themselves.

What is a crunchy mummy I hear you ask? A google search found this definition on urban dictionaries: “crunchy mama
Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods.”

If it is based on this definition, them I might technically be one. How did I get to fit this odd definition and believe me I don’t really like these sort of tags on people?

I started with cloth nappies when we returned from the hospital. It was a no brainer for us as my sister had given me her Tot Bots two part nappies used on her younger son. When we visited the Baby Show at NEC during my pregnancy we picked up a set from Tot Bots that included a lidded bucket (essential to keep smells out of the nursery) and Cheeky Wipes, reusable wipes. It all just made sense to me, as we like to do our little bit for the environment any way.

My husband and I have found using cloth nappies easy, even if the older generation thinks that we are mad when you can buy disposables these days. They remember terry nappies and the difficulties of washing and drying in the 1960’s and 70’s. For me it is not much slower to put one on, although I accept that there is extra washing, that doesn’t bother me too much. We wash them every other day. I like to think about how I have put less disposable nappies in to landfill, which take years and years to biodegrade. Have I saved much money? Maybe, maybe not. I have used the tumble drier over the winter months but I am making a concerted effort to dry on an airer or washing line as much as possible.

Not every nappy suits every baby or toddler. If I hadn’t been given any, I wouldn’t know where to start. What I now know, is that you can use a local nappy library to try different types before committing a lot of money, buy pre loved or fill in a Nappy Lady questionnaire for some great advice and a 5% discount that you can keep using. Also, see what your local council offers. Our’s (Leeds City Council) give a £30 rebate if a you spend £50 or more or a trial pack of nappies. We went for the rebate. All these things can help save you money and not make it an expensive business, even if there are lots of pretty nappies for sale.

I played around with nappy wraps and eventually found that I liked Bummis Super Brites during the day and Motherease Airflow wraps during the night. We added Tot Bots Easy Fits for quicker day time changes, a couple of Bambino Mio solos and more recently a couple of Close Parent Pop ins. We did have some Itti Bitti Tutto’s but we didn’t get on with them, they seemed to leak through the minkee cover and the soaker combinations confused both of us. I resold them. These days with my daughters body shape changes, growing height and being a big wetter we more or less use Close Parent Bamboo Pop Ins, which work a treat for us. We can get nearly 4 hours between changes.

We started using disposable liners but we have moved to reusables. Sometimes I think this was a great idea, cheaper and they are small so easily fit into a nappy wash. When we get an awful poo that doesn’t just fall off, I wonder if I am mad to stand over a toilet wiping poo off with toilet paper. Madder still to collect the odd bit of washed poo from the washing machine rubber seal.

Storing dirty nappies and washing them isn’t difficult. Mine are dry paired, in a bucket with a lid and washed every other day. I wash them on 30 mostly and if there is a pooey nappy amongst them on 60 and always do an extra rinse. Every so often I do a strip wash if they smell after washing. I wash mine with a small amount of non bio powder. Never use fabric conditioner, it impairs a nappies ability to hold wee.

Now add to my cloth nappies that I breast fed till  15 months, love baby wearing my daughter, support home births (my husband wasn’t keen at all), consider alternative medicine and eat a lot of organic food, I do appear to fit the crunchy mummy definition. I do challenge the title, if these were considered ‘mainstream’, then no one would bat an eyelid. Ultimately, these are just our parenting choices for my daughter, yours may be different to mine but no less valid.