Thursday, 17 June 2010

More Nappies...

Who would have thought there was more to say about nappies? I didn't! I assumed a brief rant about the horrors of disposables and the marvels of modern day reusables would mean I could toddle off feeling virtuous and leave the subject! However I didn't take into account a slightly obsessive Bebbington personality trait so, partly thanks to my sister who also has a young baby, I am now concerned about looking after my lovely nappies properly and I have also discovered the slightly barking world of what you could call fashion nappies. More on that in a minute!

When it comes to the bum genius flips that I was banging on about a while ago I have learnt that it really does do you good to pay attention to the manufacturers washing instructions. One area where perhaps Mummy does not know best.... I was just shoving them in on a 60 wash with an unspecified (IE far too much) amount of bio-d and a bit of ecover bleach. I also popped a bit of weleda calendula nappy rash cream (I know, I am very middle class, I can't help it!) on Jessies bum every time I changed her. Turns out all this can build up in the nappies which is not good considering they are a very high tech fabric and they need to last through some intensive washing and wearing for at least two years, and then go through the whole thing again if you pop out another sprog. I had stopped wet pailing off my own back. Wet pailing for those not in the know is the process of putting all your dirty nappies in a bucket of water to soak before they go in the wash. It's recommended by most cloth nappy experts that you just dry pail but I started dry pailing because there is nothing quite as revolting as a bucket of water that has had pooey nappies sitting in it for three days apart from perhaps spilling it on the floor and your feet as you try and manhandle a bag full of wet nappies into your washing machine.

Anyway, now the process is to hose off any poo in the bath with the shower connector and put everything in an empty bucket. When this is full (about every three days) it all goes on a 40 wash with a quarter of the recommended amount of washing detergent and nothing else. Hanging them out in the sun is the best stain remover but I don't generally have that option (although I'll get them next to the window on a sunny day), I have come to the conclusion though that a bit of staining on your nappies isn't the end of the world! But don't tell my grandmother I said that. I also don't put any cream on Jess' bum anymore unless she's looking a little rashy. It's actually a good idea to let babies have some nappy free time as much as possible so I try to let her have an hour in the morning after she gets up kicking about in the buff. It's quite good actually as she is getting into rolling over and sticking her feet in her mouth and being nappy free gives her as much opportunity to contort herself into all sorts of weird positions. And gets lots of lovely air at her bottom.

The reason I discovered all this (or actually looked at the labels on the nappies) was because I had housewife shame while staying with my sister in France. My nephew is also in bum genius flips so we were sharing nappy stuff and I had brought some of my wraps and inserts with me. Said wraps and inserts were the cause of my shame! For some reason they stank of stale wee when I took them off her, it was foul. And then of course I had to put them in my sisters nappy bucket and she had to transfer the revolting articles into the washing machine. I will still maintain that I am a feminist through and through but I am starting to realise now that you can be a feminist and be embarrassed by your lack of laundering ability. I'm hoping that arguing that looking after my nappies properly makes me a good environmentalist so it's OK...

Anyway, on returning home I decided to strip my nappies. There are many different ways of doing this involving white wine vinegar, fairy liquid or bicarb of soda but I plumped for the dishwasher tablet as it seemed the easiest! Basically shove all the inserts and wraps on a 60 wash with a dishwasher tablet and then do a second rinse when it's finished. Then hang them in the sun (if possible). They have come out sparkling but only time will tell if they don't smell like the cats litter tray when she's had one on over night!

And on to the fun bit. We chose our nappies on the basis of ease of use and cost effectiveness (and because I don't want to be dumping half a ton of nappies a year). I love my bum genius flips and I used to think they were very swish for coming in three different colours but I have now discovered that three different colours is actually incredibly pedestrian. If you don't have a baby or you aren't completely susceptible to pretty colours and patterns you should be OK but otherwise exercise caution and go and check out They stock a bewildering selection of what can only be described as fashion nappies. Although I believe they describe them as 'premium'. The brand names of these nappies are designed to hard wire directly into a new mothers frazzled cerebral cortex. Behold the likes of Bambooty, Blueberry, Cushie Tushies, Fuzzibunz, Issy Bear Nappies, Itti Bittis and Mini La La. The nappies themselves come in an overwhelming number of different prints and colours and fabrics. Most of them are designed to last from birth to potty training (which is good as they can cost up to £25 a pop) and crucially many of the brands produce their nappies in small runs of limited editions. Some will sell out within days of arriving on the website. Jess has one which was a gift and I love it! Even the stitching around the edges of the insert to soak up the wee is rainbow coloured. Genius. But it also works really well, the surface that goes against her bum was completely bone dry when the insert was sopping wet.

Jess Modelling her Issy Bear in White Skulls

In all seriousness though, these things are just gorgeous and would make a great gift for a new parent as, unlike most baby clothes, they'll last the wee one for a couple of years.


  1. ah i love nappies as gifts.....fluffy presents are the best!
    i'm glad your nappies aren't whiffing anymore.

  2. Fluffy presents are indeed the best! And I am indebted one dishwasher tablet to you.

    And I should probably point out that the reseach on nappy striping was done by Georgie everyone. She is my parenting and nappy in particular guru!

  3. I had the same problem with whiffy nappies for a while, and did TONS of research to try and sort it out! If the smell hasn't decreased after stripping, I found out that using powder rather than liquid detergent is supposed to make a difference. I now put in one tablespoon of Bio-D, and 2 tablespoons of non-bio powder detergent (which works out to about a quarter of the recommended dose for my geographical area), and have had no more problems with whiffiness. Oh and I do a cold water rinse first, as apparently going straight onto the heated wash 'sets' the smell into the nappies. If ever the smell threatens to return, i do an extra cold water rinse after the wash and that sorts it out. HTH! x

  4. To be honest, they are still a bit whiffy! It's starting to drive me crazy as I am ever so slightly obsessive.... I've given up on detergent completely and I'm using eco balls with some soda crystals in each wash (good for hard water and ours is practically slicable).

    My next effort will be 3 washes at 60 with nothing in at all while I beg on my knees in front of the washing machine! I'll try the cold rinse before each wash too, thanks for the tip!

  5. I am a bit in love with our new rainbow bright banboozles. I keep sneeking a look when they are on the line all fluffy and colourful. Very useful info about beating the whiff. Thanks!!

  6. I washed all mine on a 60 (not recommended with the wraps I think) with some washing up liquid, then put them straight onto a 40 wash with nothing, then 2 further rinses (til the bubbles had gone) and so far no smell.... Fingers crossed!