Something I get asked about all the time is my cloth nappies. I'm onto my 3rd baby in nappies now, so I guess I've changed my fair share of them. When I was pregnant the first time around I read everything I could get my hands on about cloth nappies (or cloth diapers, depending on where you live).
I knew I wanted to use cloth nappies, but had no idea what type. I didn't know anyone in real life who was using them to ask for advice. Most people thought I was a bit crackers for wanting to go down the cloth route.
There are so many different types of nappies out there. It's not just your traditional terry squares anymore. There are prefolds, all-in-ones, pockets, fitteds with separate covers, sized or one size fits most, natural fibres or synthetics, snaps or velcro. It's more than a bit confusing for someone just starting out! One thing I did learn, is that largely it comes down to personal choice. Some will only want to use natural fibres, some will just want the easiest care nappies. It's about deciding what works for you (and your baby of course!) No choice is wrong. It's up to you what you want to use.
For me, the answer was a one-sized-fits-most pocket nappy, with a velcro fastening. The velcro is Dad friendly and the one sized nappy meant I didn't need all those nappies in different sizes (which end up taking up quite a bit of space). I liked the idea of the pocket nappy over an All In One (AIO) as you can separate the parts and get the nappy really clean when washing it. AIO's are the closest thing to a disposable nappy, but I was worried about getting them really clean and how long they would take to dry with all those layers.
Being someone who can sew, I decided to make my own. It's by far and away the cheapest way to get a good stash of nappies. The thing about making them yourself is you can buy the very best materials and they still work out amazingly cheap to make! I drafted my own pattern and bought some fabrics and got to work. It took me a few drafts, but I finally came up with something I was really happy with! Mine have a PUL outer and a suedecloth inner, which stays dry next to the baby's skin, minimising rashes. I decided on suedecloth because of our warm climate. I didn't want any excess sweating going on down there causing problems. It also doesn't pill and stays new looking for years.
I stuff the nappies with microfibre inserts, which keeps them nice and thin. I originally had some hemp inserts, but they started to disintegrate after a lot of use. The microfibres still look good after hundreds of washings.
Amazingly my nappies are still going strong on baby number 3! Although they have needed the elastic to be replaced once (in almost 6 years of use). These nappies fit from newborn age up until toilet training and have genuinely been a one-sized nappy for us. They have been probably the most useful thing I have ever made and have saved us a whole lot of money. They paid for themselves within 3 months of using them with my first baby! Within the first year of using them, the money saved was enough to buy an industrial snap press and an overlocker (serger).
Having said all that, there have been times when I've used the odd disposable nappy, especially when travelling or when our water tanks have run dry. But, I do think using cloth nappies even part time, can save you some money if that's what you are hoping to do.
Cloth really isn't difficult to use, just a couple of extra loads of washing a week. I'll do a separate post another time, about the washing because there are some different options.
OK that's probably enough nappy talk for today. If anyone has any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them in the comments!