Getting started with cloth
If you walk into any town or any city, or even any small teeny-tiny village in the country, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to pick up a pack of disposable nappies. They might not be the ones that you’d prefer, but they are widely available. Not the same can be said about cloth nappies. If you ask almost anyone about getting hold of them, firstly you’ll probably get a confused look. Then, you’ll inevitably get pointed in the direction of a load of terries that can usually be found at somewhere like Boots or Mothercare.
Whilst that’s great if terries are your cloth nappy of choice, what are you to do if you want more modern cloth nappies? And where on earth do you go to get help with finding out all about the different types? To the cloth newbie novice, the world of fluffy bottoms can seem incredibly daunting – I know that it did to me. But, actually, once you get into it and get talking to other mums that are using them it’s really rather easy! Don’t be fooled by people who will tell you that it’s hard work – it’s not!
The problem is that the only high street style shops that I’ve found that sell modern cloth nappies (apart from a few specialist nappy shops that are dotted all over the country) are some Tesco’s, a few Boots and Mothercare. They tend to stock the main brands, like Tots Bots, Bambino Mio and Bum Genius, which are all great nappies – but the shops tend to stick to plain colours and not every shop will have them. These are fine for your average workhorse nappies (or if you’re just not fussed about pretty patterns).
But most cloth bum mums do end up wanting more from their nappies. Trust me on this one – I honestly thought that I’d just want plain nappies as they’d be hidden by clothes, but pretties did suck me in!
If you go searching online, there’s a whole range of shops and companies that will sell you cloth nappies. I was actually quite blown away by the sheer range of them. What you buy very much depends on what kind of nappy you want to go for, as well as your budget. There are several different types. I’ll write about these in my next post, but my honest advice is that I wouldn’t buy ANYTHING new at first. If you’ve made the decision to use cloth, I’d put a bit of money away each month to help you budget for them.
Your council might be useful to contact. Many do schemes where you can get hold of a pack of cloth nappies, or get a voucher that can be used to buy some nappies with. This is a fantastic (but sadly underused) resource that would benefit many mums who are thinking of using cloth. I got a great little trial pack from my local council that gave me a really good idea of whether cloth was for me.
Another local option would be to look for a Nappy advisor in your area. Lots of online companies have reps that will show you a range of demo nappies that you can look at, and most importantly, FEEL. The one thing that’s quite tough when getting into using cloth nappies is that you can’t just go to the shops easily and hold one in your hands to get an idea of what you’re going to be using. These ladies are definitely worth finding and talking to. They often run Nappuccinos, which are coffee mornings where you can see demo nappies and find out lots of information.
There are many cloth nappy groups online (Babycentre.co.uk and Facebook have some good ones) where you can pick the brains of more seasoned cloth users. By doing this, you can get an idea of what might work for you and buy some preloved (secondhand) nappies off someone. You can buy these on eBay, even though you’re technically not meant to sell secondhand nappies on there, but people seem to anyway. That way, you can work out which nappies you like best and which ones suit the shape of your baby. If you’re lucky, you can also sometimes pick up cloth nappies on Freecycle or at local baby
sales, like the NCT Nearly New ones.
In the same way that different disposable brands suit different babies, there are some cloth nappies that will just work better on your little bundle than others. Best to not make a huge, expensive mistake by buying a whole set straight off! Once you’ve had a play with your preloved nappies, you’ll be in a much stronger position to invest sensibly in the clothy loveliness of your choice. If you have a look at my blog, I have a list of lots of online cloth nappy retailers that will, hopefully, be useful for you!