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Thread: Why cloth?

  1. #1

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    Default Why cloth?

    I was just wondering what the benefits are of using cloth nappies instead of disposables? I have HEAPS of cloth nappies but I haven't used them because all the things I thought were benefits aparently don't exist. I hear that they're no less expensive because of all the cleaning product you have to use, and that they're no better for the environment for the same reason. Also, I hear that disposables are better for curing nappy-rash, which was an issue with my daughter a little while ago. After hearing all this, its seems easier to just use disposables; if nothing else, they use less water!

    So is what I've been told true? What are the benefits of using cloth nappies?

    Thanks



  2. #2

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    Not true.

    The study that claims cloth is no better washes the nappies at 90 using bleach and softener - as you know, you wash at 60 with NO bleach or softener as these are bad for the nappies. You also don't iron nappies, as the study was doing!

    Each disposable takes 8l (or 6l, can't recall) of water to make, so if you wash 20 nappies at a time that's about the same amount of water. 25 nappies at a time and you're saving water. Disposables also use a LOT more oil, a resource that ATM is running out very quickly..

    DS gets nappy rash with disposables and hates the feel of them, he likes his cloth.

    Disposables MAY cause infertility and other problems - the temperature is higher than a cloth nappy so boys may have spermatogenesis problems in later life (the testes are still developing in a baby and we know that those boys need to be kept cool!) and the chemicals can affect girls (even talc affects girls' bits).

    Cloth babies require less washing as they are aware of being wet so are toilet trained earlier.

    HTH!

    edit: babysocks, I love your sig! such a nice poem.
    Last edited by Ca Plane Pour Moi; December 21st, 2007 at 01:32 AM.

  3. #3

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    Interesting post...
    I don't think i have the energy for / patience to use cloth.
    Should i at least be considering giving it a try?

  4. #4

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    I find them easier than disposables- I know I would forget to buy in sposies! When DS is in them we are always running out and we have to do cloth at night - but now he is sleeping better we will be doing that anyway. And you don't have to take the bins out so often.

    Yes, there is quite a bit of washing but tbh it's not hard to stay on top of. I don't really see any diffrence in time taken, only that with cloth you have to do up two things, the nappy and the cover. But DS loves taking newly-on nappies off, so at least I know velcro is re-stickable!

    And his cloth-bum stops his trousers falling down, another time-saver!

  5. #5

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    Baby socks, I use MCN rather than terry flats. You use a tiny bit of detergent only in the wash. With two in nappies they are heaps cheaper. I bought nearly $800 worth of MCN to get started (and have only spent $20 since), and I had made my money back in 3 months (compared to sposies). They are better for the environment (like Ryn said), and also the sposies in landfill take some huge number of years to break down. Most MCN are natural fabrics which are better for nappy rash than sposies. I agree with the earlier TT too, if I put DS1 in sposies he won't use the toilet at all - in MCN he will use the toilet way more often. Also they look much nicer on their butts! I am sure I have left heaps of reasons out, but I was a late converter and really wish I'd switched to cloth earlier.

  6. #6

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    I'm another late converter, and love my cloth.

    To get enough nappies for my baby, let's work it out. They recommend about 15 MCN nappies for an older baby. Each nappy costs about $20-25, which is the same cost as a pack of Huggies etc. So after 15 weeks, I'm not buying any more huggies - except for the "emergency" ones.

    Sure, I have to empty the poo down the loo. But you have to do that with the disposables anyhows - it's an offence in most areas to put poo in the bin! I have to wash every day or 2 - but I'm doing that anyhows. So in $$$ its cheaper, it looks better and I get a warm fuzzy when I see my nappies on the line.

  7. #7

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    I love these people who do these studies without actually researching properly.

    Water your gardern with the water used to wash your nappies..then there is NO WASTAGE!!!!!!!

    Im also interested to know what kind of cloth nappies you have Baby socks? Modern cloth nappies have come so far in the last year its not funny.

    As for the bleaches...OMG *Maz freaking out* - just that B word alone scares me to death. You actually dry pail nappies with no water nothing. You wash them every 2nd to 3rd day when you have a decent amount to wash, not just one or 2.

    As for the nappy rash - I think it goes part and parcel no matter what nappy you use. I just make sure that Vyolett has a fleecie cover over the top of a baby beehind nappy so her little bum can breath.

    i am so looking forard to having this baby next month..Ive got a stack of prefold nappies ive made waiting to be used and there is nothing better knowing that the sunlight and wether have cleaned and sterilized the nappies im putting on my babies bums.

    Good luck on your quest mate...and I do agree with rosehip - your poem in your signature is fantastic!

  8. #8

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    Reason we use cloth - saving HEAPS of money, better for the environment, better for my kids bums (less chemicals).

    We have been using cloth nappies full time for more than two year and will continue to do so. For each baby that I use cloth, we are saving even more money and having less of an impact on the environment.

    With the water thing - I think they also take into account how much water is used to grow cotton used in traditional nappies. They do not take into account if you use cotton nappies across multiple babies or if you use other natural fibres that generally use less water and chemicals (ie. hemp or bamboo).

    I love love love my cloth nappies (home-made pockets) and when we went overseas and we used disgustables, I stood in the aisle at the supermarket and felt kinda ill at the money I was about to fork out and how much plastic I was going to waste/throw out.

    I must say, it is easier if you find the right cloth nappy for you.....

  9. #9

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    I'm a recent convert to MCNs. I hadn't ever seen them before so thought the choice was disposables or the old fashioned cotton squares. I chose disposables because of ease and because I didn't want to be doing washing every second day. I STILL washed every second day and because I don't like mixing DD's clothes with ours, there's plenty of room to just throw the MCNs in too. Also, like Manta Ray said, disposables are so expensive - I was using almost $100 worth per month so my MCNs pay for themselves within 4 months. With a second baby coming along, I really objected to the thought of paying out $200 per month just to throw the nappy away after one wear. I also haven't noticed any difference in DD re nappy rash etc, and I prefer the thought of natural fibres against her skin rather than chemicals.

    Besides (and I'll deny this if my DH ever finds out) they look so gorgeous, especially when DD is wearing one under a little dress!!

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    rosehip; I heard that there's mounting evidence that talc causes cervical cancer in girls, so I use cornflour for Aurelia (only when she needs it though).

    Well after reading all this, I think i'll give my cloth nappies a go! The ones I have are square-shaped towelling fabric. I have them in all sorts of bright funky colours too - bright red, orange, blue, purple, they're gorgeous. I don't really know much about the different kinds of cloth nappies though. Are the ones I have all-in-ones? And do you need to use liners with cloth?

    edit: Do people really use bleach on nappies?!My goodness, wouldn't that burn young bottoms?! I never even use fabric softener on Aurelias' clothes because of the chance of skin irritation.

    And thanks about the poem <333 That's only part of it, the rest I couldn't fit into my sig. Here's the complete poem;


    Mother, Baby, Lover.
    by Elizabeth Garratt

    When in darkness
    Behind closed lids I perceive
    The blind, furled first
    And the questing
    Mouth, a hungry kiss
    For the place where she alone exists -
    I think with infinite compassion
    Of all the breast -
    Starved lovers of our world undressing
    You to drink at this
    Soft inverted cup of maternal bliss
    In gratitude, and less
    Than ignorance of what they miss.
    Last edited by Neenee Jellybeanie; December 23rd, 2007 at 05:59 PM.

  11. #11

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    Aww that's lovely Baby Socks.

    Me...I made my cloth nappy choice for money reasons - we hope to be blessed with at least 3 young'uns, so that's a LOT to spend on throwaway nappies - I've done an inventory for the next bub, and I'll hardly have to buy anything (okay, I don't HAVE to buy anything, there's a few nappies I WANT to buy to make things a bit more convenient). I was actually quite disappointed, there are so many lovely nappies out there, I was hoping to have to try out a few more!

    Anyone who knows me well, will tell you I can be on the lazy side when it comes to my house () but I don't find cloth nappies any trouble at all!
    I take one off (empty any poop into the loo, as law requires with any nappy) and for extra lazy days I use flushable liners,
    I pop the nappy in the bucket (no soaking, washing machines are better than in our parent's days, my nappies haven't suffered from lack of soaking),
    clean his butt with a cloth wipe (money saved there too!) which also goes into the bucket,
    grab a new nappy from the drawer and chuck it on!
    Washing is a small load every 2 days (I suspect with 2 kids it might be daily, or a big load), with a TINY amount of detergent, no fabric softener (can affect absorbency, so you don't use it with towels/tea towels either) and then on the line or clotheshorse.
    Too easy.

    The bit I find that makes it the hardest, is if I haven't sorted the nappies - it does require a bit more organisation. I just need to take a few mins per load of dried nappies to sort them, so that they're ready to go in the drawer - cloth nappies only seem hard if I have half a cloth nappy and I'm digging through a washing basket looking for the other half. If you could see my washing at the moment, you would understand that it takes a special talent to be as disorganised as me though.

    When you have a drawer/cupboard/basket full of nappies 'ready to go', it's as easy as sposies, cheaper, better for the environment, cuter, can be better for their bott (depending on the reason for their nappy rash). Oh, and I find sposies fill our bin way too fast, and make the nursery STINK!!!

    As for nappy rash, it's usually caused (here at least) by the chemical reaction caused by poo and wee - happens in a sposie OR cloth for us, if a poo goes undetected. I suspect the other reason for rash here is dh not wiping properly at times and leaving poo traces behind.
    Or teething, or a toxic poo from spicy/acidic food - which will cause rash no matter what nappy. It can differ from child to child though, some kids react to the chemicals in sposies, some react to ANY dampness on their skin at all - but really, until recently, generation upon generation have been in cloth mostly successfully!

    Right, so after all that ramble - why use cloth? For me, mostly it's because it's cheaper by FAR!!!
    And just as easy to use as sposies - because to be honest, if it was harder than sposies, I'd walk away.

  12. #12

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    So I started using cloth nappies today! My stepdad showed me how to do a kite fold so i've been using that one. My goodness you go through them a lot quicker than disposables! I think DD needs a change right now, judging by how long its been, but she's asleep and I don't want to wake her. I think i'll have to though so she doesn't get nappy rash. I haven't made my mind up about this yet, the money saving would be a huge plus. I might still use disposables at night though, I don't want to have to keep waking her to change her. If i'm gonna keep doing this, i'm gonna have to buy more nappies!

  13. #13

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    Baby socks, they don't wee while asleep, only when they wake up, so there should be no need to wake her up for a change. Terry flats are probably not a good option for overnight - you can get boosters, but you might want to think about getting some MCN night nappies, or of course you could use sposies at night if you prefer.

  14. #14

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    BabySocks - if you are using terry flats (or flats!) what I do is I've nipped down to the local safeway/woolies, and in the 'car care" section there are packs of 3 microfibre cloths for $5 (approx). I fold one of those into 3 and pop that under a layer of the flat nappy - the microfibre absorbs HEAPS of liquid. So you extend the nappy on butt time out a bit

  15. #15

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    there are also better folds as well , the kite fold didnt work for nixon because it was too wide in the crotch .... if you google cloth nappy folds there are heaps out there ....

    we use cloth here all the time ... and only recently bought disguastables because i was too lazy to make up night nappies .. but once the 1st tri ends i may have more energy ...
    but really cloth are true performeres in the leak department ... even in my terry squares i didnt get poo leaks .. but they are not as absorbent as hemp or bamboo !! lets us know how you go

  16. #16

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    Hi Babysocks - great to hear that you are on your way in using cloth. I second what everyone else hear has said at environmental costs and a double second what Maz said about people doing studies without having a clue about what they are actually researching! don't even get me started on some of those "research papers" - funded by the company who makes huggies (hmmm I wonder where there bias lies....)

    We started off with cloth squares also and slowly moved into modern cloth. There is some info on a site called modern cloth dot org and also at nappycino about what types of nappies are available in MCN world. there is also a page on my site in my sig about what the difference is between AIO and pockets etc as it can be so confusing at first.

    Kazbah had a great sugggestion about using the microfibre cloths to help boost up your nappy as terry squares don't really stack up to disposables in the absorbancy stakes. MCN are a lot more absorbable than terry's.

    Would love to hear how you are going and feel free to post any questions as there are so many knowledgable ladies here, esp the ones in the cloth nappy general discussion forum - if you can keep up with them.

  17. #17

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    Yep, I second what everyone else has said. I've used MCN since birth (too unco for flats!) and have only used disposables a couple of times. (OK, so it's only been 8 weeks, so I'm still learning). The MCN are WAY more absorbent than sposies, and heaps better at preventing poo leakage too. And super cute too - we live in Nth Qld and our little guy is in nappies and little else - the MCN are much nicer looking than sposies! If you are using flats there are some great covers you can get that are gorgeous.

    Some people say that the extra washing of nappies is compensated for by not having to wash sheets/clothes, etc after leaky nappies at night. There are some amazing night nappies out there!

    Good luck and hope to see you in the cloth nappy thread!

  18. #18

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    Suse - that is so true! It is so nice not to have to change a whole outfit everytime she poos not to mention those leaks when they are feeding and on their side. Our disposables always leaked when I was breastfeeding them - straight through the tabs.

    Another good reason for cloth over disposables is not having those crystals on their skin! I used to hate that

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