Our latest story in the Cloth Nappy Super Hero series comes from Fiona Frewin. Enjoy…
We are a family of 4 with a girl first and 22 months later a boy. We are originally from Auckland in New Zealand but not live in the Australian outback.
My journey into cloth started when I was a teenager and I saw an advert in a magazine of a cloth nappy in the early 1980s. I remember saying to myself that this is what I would use instead of disposables and so when I got pregnant in 2011 with my girl I decided to do just that. I had no idea about the world of cloth at this stage and brought about 30 “China cheapies” (CCs) second-hand from New Zealand, with microfibre inserts and started 1 month after birth.
I didn’t do any research at all and we had a lot of mess, leaks and wing droop on the nappies but I didn’t know any different and just dealt with it. I was given microfleece liners which I had no idea were to catch the poo, also soaked the nappies, instead of dry pailing.
We had a lot of wet sheets during the day and night. I had no idea night nappies existed, leaking nappies was a norm which looking back knowing what I now know, it was compression leaks due to using onesies that snapped up in the crotch and having them too tight.
At 2months I also began to follow in my Mums footsteps with doing Elimination communication (infants communicating toileting needs with signals just like they communicate when they are hungry or sleepy) I still used cloth nappies as a backup but cleaning poo off baby and nappies became a thing of the past.
Almost 2 years later our boy arrived and the nappies which I originally purchased, started to leak in the middle. When I checked them out, I found that they had cracked and delaminated; it was time to replace them. I found some more CCs locally which looked exactly like the ones I had and since they had lasted through potentially 2 or more babies (being second hand) I decided to get them, they were brand new and never used, I couldn’t understand why the lady was not using them, I soon figured out why, they delaminated on the first wash. I was so disappointed, they were the cheapest CCs – not to say that all CCs are bad but these were as I found out through research on MCN reviews page on Facebook.
At this stage I decided to really do some research and find out what were the best cloth nappies to get for my heavy wetting boy.
Facebook is a great with MCN reviews and a modern cloth mums group. Very quickly searched and found the most hyped about nappy brand and I jumped in and spent a large amount of money on some second-hand ones only to find that they didn’t work how I would of liked and was very time consuming to put together let alone hang all the bits on the line to dry, not for us at all.
More intense research confused me and was very overwhelming at first but the more you read the more you make up your own mind and become more confident, so take your time ladies and gents. My experiences made me very picky when choosing. I was becoming addicted to cloth and was now starting to get different nappies, majority second hand and very few new due to cost.
I also did some research into night nappies and got some fitteds but due to my girls excessive strong smelling wee I promptly got rid of them as I would nearly pass out from the smell when entering my girl’s room in the morning, no one warned me about this happening!
I brought my first new nappy which was a night nappy and a fleece cover which worked until I plucked up the courage to buy a wool cover, this scared me a little as everyone talks about high maintenance of the wool cover but I bit the bullet and prepped it, didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Wish I had done it years ago but it’s all a learning curve.
I love the MCN “world” as I call it and I have learned a lot just by reading peoples posts and responses for dealing with everything from smelly nappies, leaking, travelling with cloth, good and bad brands, pictures of “fluff” mail, their husbands being sceptical and how to persuade them and family members to not only accept that they were going to or were using cloth but how to deal with the negative responses.
My experience would advise new mums to do “proper” research, not be lead into the hype of a particular brand, join Facebook groups for discussions, ask questions about faults of nappies before you buy, DON’T jump in and spend all your money on one brand of nappy, try second-hand but be weary and ask specific questions, there are a few people out there that will try to rip you off but there are a lot more who are genuine and often help you out with more than you asked for, there is a great supportive network in the cloth world.
I have loved using cloth even the bad moments, they helped me learn and I am very proud that I started and continued using cloth nappies.
Not only have I saved the household a whole lot of money (even with my mistakes) I have helped save the environment one nappy at a time. I feel that I have made a good choice in nappies and no longer feel the need to buy more (even though I still look). I love doing the washing its easy and as strange as it seems I love to put my nose up to the clean nappy and smell nothing but clean fabric that will end up on my babies butts again and again, and someday soon someone else’s baby too.