Note: Warning to non parents – this post contains descriptions of infants bodily functions!

Before G was born, Emma and I briefly considered using cloth nappies. “Not a chance!” we both said. Folding stupid towels, safety pins, staining, leaks, washing, bleach … as if we’d do that!

When she was a couple of months old, the fact that our wheelie bin was filling up in a week (we have fortnightly collection) thanks to all the disposable nappies was a bit of a nuisance, and was warranting frequent extra trips to the tip. Emma did some more research and found some modern cloth nappies (MCN’s) online. I still wasn’t convinced - “Not a chance!” I said..

Well, Emma bought a small number of this particular brand (about half a dozen) and they were fantastic! They looked just like a disposable nappy – fold them up and stick on the tabs with velcro. No soaking or bleaching needed - throw them in the washing machine and hang them up afterwards, that’s it!

We bought some more and soon enough G was in cloth nappies full time during the day - we still used disposables for overnight though, since they couldn’t absorb the overnight wetting. Emma did buy a few different brands, each of which had their benefits, but nothing perfect. When G moved onto solids it made things interesting, but we bought an attachment that connects to the back of the toilet called a “Little Squirt” – a pressure hose that made cleaning poo off the nappies quick and painless. We were doing about 3 extra loads of washing per week.

We were looking to find a cloth nappy that she could wear overnight and we came across Baby Beehinds – they had a range of MCNs, some of which were hemp or bamboo (which are more absorbent than microfibre, which the other brands used) and some all-in-ones which came in both velcro and press-stud versions.  Emma bought a few and finally we had G in cloth nappies full time! As a bonus, the all-in-one’s didn’t leak as the disposables (and other brands) had on occasion. 

With H we were well prepared and he has been in MCNs full-time since birth, although when he was born we had to get some newborn sized ones sent down express post.  So far he has never worn a disposable nappy in his lifetime!  It was quite a busy washing schedule when we had 2 children in full time MCN's and we were often doing a load of nappies every day - but that only lasted a month or two before G was toilet trained during the day (she wears one nappy a day now - at night time).  It was still preferable to the alternative - rubbish bags of nappies sitting around because they couldn't fit in our 140L wheelie bin (which was only collected once a fortnight)!

This is for all the dads out there who are point blank refusing to use cloth nappies – it’s not a bad thing! Your wallet is healthier – over 2.5 years you would generally spend about $3000 on disposables, as opposed to $750-$1000 on MCN’s – and you can reuse the MCN’s on the next baby! If you aren’t sure you can always get a small number to use part-time. You are also helping the environment – most of you know that I’m no hippy/greenie (or am I? That’s a whole other blog post in itself!) but considering 1.3 billion disposable nappies go to landfill each year in Australia … well I guess we are only reducing that by 2000 per child per year, but every little bit helps.

Emma was always promoting the benefits of MCN’s to her fellow mums and mums-to-be, she frequently mentioned that the mum would be interested but the dad would veto it – on the grounds of either capital outlay or time and effort spent washing them.  On the cost, just buy a small number (half dozen) to start with. On the cleaning.. well, this will come out unintentionally sexist no matter which way I say it, but … let her buy them on the condition that if you don't like them, you don't have to take on any of the additional washing.  I'm pretty sure that after using them for a while you will realise it is no big deal, and help out ... give them a go, you will surprise yourself – we did!

Impartiality disclaimer: Emma has been a Baby Beehinds reseller/demonstrator for the Hobart area since June last year. She had been promoting MCN’s for free for a while so it seemed like the role was meant for her!