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Cloth Nappies: Simple Instructions for Beginners

Real Nappy instructions

I thought it would be helpful to include some simple, bullet pointed instructions for cloth nappies on the site, that you can refer back to when needed.  If you have anything to add - go for it in the comments! 

Instructions for cloth nappies - wearing and washing:

  • Change your baby anything from every 2 – 4 hours, or as soon as they poo.
  • Overnight, while your baby is still newborn, they will probably want changing too (always when they have done a poo - after a number of weeks they may still be feeding but not need changing.)
  • You may want to use a barrier cream such as coconut oil (always patch test first).
  • Use only natural barrier creams if you can, and try to use a fleece liner to protect nappies when using creams, especially if using a prescription cream such as yellow metanium.
  • When changing your baby, always clean the whole bottom well.
  • Once soiled, put used nappies in the wet bag or bucket and store until wash day
  • Make sure you have folded back the Velcro tabs so that they don’t snag on each other
  • Try not to leave it more that two days between washes, as this will prevent damage to the nappies / build up of bacteria.
  • Before your baby is weaned, everything can go in the washing machine, poo and all – no need to flush anything.
  • Once you start weaning, you will need to start disposing of as much of the poo as possible down the toilet (fleece liners can help with this!)
  • The worst bit is during weaning, when you might need to employ the use of the shower head and hold the nappy over a bucket (then dispose of the dirty water down the toilet) – this is the best method I’ve found, but you might find something that suits you better! (other methods include poo spatulas, holding under the toilet flush, using toilet roll and lots more!)
  • You can use paper liners to help during this time but personally I don't find them all that useful.
  • Pocket nappies should have the boosters pulled out after use, before washing (but it wont hurt if you forget now and again!).
  • Both all in one, and pocket nappies, need to be washed after every nappy change.
  • If the nappy is a two part nappy, you can re-use the wrap and just change the absorbent pad for a few changes, but change the wrap if it is soiled with poo or saturated with wee. If not, it can be wiped down and used again. Always change the wrap after 3 uses or after a whole night of wear. 
  • When you put a wrap over a nappy, make sure all of the nappy is tucked in so no wetness can escape
  • Fleece liners will help keep your baby’s bottom dry and protect nappies from stains. They can also make it easier to remove those weaning poo's mentioned previously.
  • Reusable wipes will save you lots of money! Just soak them in water, keep them in a Tupperware container and throw them in the wash with your nappies. Use a small wet bag to take them out and about with you slightly damp and ready to use.

 

Washing instructions:

 

  • Prewashing will build absorbency – a cool rinse & spin will do and absorbency will grow with use.
  • Try not to over or under fill your machine; half to three quarters full is fine. If you are struggling to fill the drum, you can pop other washing in after the first rinse, such as baby clothes, muslins, or anything else.
  • On wash day, put nappies on a prewash cycle – a full, separate rinse and spin or a separate quick wash with or without detergent (up to you) and follow with a full wash (this allows for dirty water to be drained away fully before the main wash cycle starts). If using extra detergent on the prewash, make sure theres no bubbles left when the wash finishes.  If there are suds left, keep rinsing until they're all gone and reduce your detergent next time.
  • Wash at 40 – 60 degrees (you may want to wash at 60 while your baby builds their immune system until he/she gets over three months old and / or if they have been poorly)
  • 800 spin is fine – any more and you may contribute to wear and tear on the nappies.
  • Use any non-bio powder for washing (apart from Ecover)
  • Do not use any optical brighteners or harsh cleaning products (Vanish, Napisan, bicarbinate of soda, bleach etc.)
  • Do not use fabric conditioner
  • Eco eggs are not recommended as they do not effectively kill bacteria - if using an Eco egg then always wash at 60.
  • Do not wash above 60 degrees
  • Nappies do not need to be soaked prior to washing but you may want to rinse off any poo to help prevent staining / smells (totally optional and not necessary pre weaning - some people rinse night nappies to prevent build up)

 

Drying

  • Nappies can be tumble dried on cool but this will contribute to wear and tear
  • Remove any waterproof wraps before tumble-drying (not possible with all in ones).
  • The best thing is to dry outside on the line, but indoors on an airer is also fine of course.
  • Do not place the nappies (especially not the wraps) directly on a radiator or stove as this will damage them.

And thats it! Hope that helps to navigate the sometimes murky and confusing world of real nappies! 

Above all, if you have a system that works for you, stick with it. There is no need to over complicate things!

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