REVIEW: Nimble Laundry Lover

When Nimble contacted me and said that they had a liquid detergent that was suitable for use on reusable nappies, I’ll admit I was sceptical. The general rule is to use powdered detergent as that doesn’t leave residue on your nappies or washing machine. But I’ll give most things a go, so they sent me some to trial…

Firstly, I was impressed with the packaging; although the cardboard box was larger than it needed to be, I can reuse that (or it is suitable for recycling) and the packaging inside is also recyclable, although I will reuse that too

Packaging

The liquid is brown in colour, which could be a little off-putting to some users, but I prefer that to having extra colours added just to make it look more appealing

Colour

The packaging of the product itself is simple and clear, and the instructions are easy to follow. I would prefer some guidance on whether to add extra liquid if washing reusable nappies, or at the very least what constitutes a ‘normal’ load, as I struggled to work out how much to use initially; several washes down the line though, and I use one full capful plus an extra half a cap for my usual nappy load

Product

Nimble Laundry Liquid produces plenty of bubbles, and my nappies are clean and fresh out of the wash. It does take a little getting used to the scent of the nappies, as I am so used to my nappies not having any scent at all out of the wash; the perfume is intense, but NOT overwhelming and unpleasant

Washing

My nappies are clean, and the absorbency has not been affected by using this liquid rather than powder. I measured the absorbency of the same nappies before and after using Nimble Laundry Liquid five times, and there is no measurable difference in absorbency. The PUL is also unaffected by the product so far

If you would like to try this product, you can get a 10% discount on Nimble Laundry Lover over at Nimble Babies using the code WHNAS10

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Cloth Nappies & Childcare

One of the most common reasons I hear for people not trying reusable nappies is that nurseries and childminders won’t use them. In fact, there is no reason why childcare providers CANNOT use reusable nappies, and it actually is a good way for them to demonstrate that they are working in partnership with parents, something that Ofsted is hot on

I’m an Ofsted registered childminder whose own children were (eldest) and are (youngest) in reusable nappies; in fact, the youngest has never worn a disposable nappy. The nursery my youngest attends is more than happy for her to stay in reusables, despite this being their first experience of them

I have cared for children in both disposable and reusable nappies, and MUCH prefer reusable, as there is no risk of poo leaks up the back of the nappy! However, I understand that it is parent choice, and I would never expect my parents who use disposable nappies to switch to reusable, so why should the reverse be acceptable?

There are many misconceptions floating around about reusable nappies, and most of them stem from ignorance of what modern reusable nappies are actually like, so I’d like to share a few tips to help get your childcare provider on board with reusable nappies

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1. Education

Using reusable nappies is still a relatively rare practice in our modern throw-away society, so a lot of childcare providers won’t have come across reusable nappies in their setting before. Ask your childcare provider if they have seen or used modern reusable nappies previously and be prepared to show them what they are like

If you ask the majority of people in the UK what reusable nappies are, they will usually describe terry squares, plastic pants, soaking in a bucket until wash day… The reality of modern reusable nappies is very different, and by showing providers that no nappy pins or soaking is involved, then they will usually be more open to the suggestion
Find out if your childcare provider has any preconceptions about reusable nappies, for example, that they leak, and be prepared to address those

2. Communication

Have a conversation with your childcare provider about how both you and they could manage reusable nappies in the setting
Things to consider might include:

  • Preparation of nappies: could you send nappies already prepared, with all inserts, boosters and liners in place, ready to put straight onto the child?
  • Storage of dirty nappies: if the childcare provider has a double bagging policy could you provide small wet bags for individual nappies then another, larger, wet bag for these to go into afterwards?
  • Dealing with solids: I always suggest asking the childcare provider to leave any solids for parents to dispose of at homeThis communication shouldn’t happen just when your child starts childcare either; make sure you communicate regularly with your childcare provider, encouraging them to share any issues they may have

3. Stick to what you know

Don’t send in nappies you don’t normally use. Stick to nappies you know suit your child; nappies that you can demonstrate how to fit correctly because you use them every day, where you know how long those nappies should last between changes
There’s absolutely no point in buying loads of nappies especially for nursery because they’re ‘easier’ when actually your child wees through them in half an hour and they aren’t a good fit on your child
If it ain’t broke…

4. Expect leaks

Remember when you first started using reusable nappies on your little one and didn’t fit them properly into the knickerline? And that time you left the fleece liner sticking out and liquid wicked onto trousers? Oh, and when you did the poppers up too tight and got compression leaks?

Your childcare provider will need to go through that learning process, and you will need to be patient…
Pack several pairs of bottoms. Be prepared to demonstrate how to fit a reusable nappy several times to several different people. Send in a picture to show how tight the Velcro at the waist should be. Write a brief set of instructions to leave in the change bag to remind the key worker. Send them a link to a fit video (fab one here!) Use Sharpie to mark the poppers that need to be done up… Do whatever needs to be done to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved

You learnt to do this once, and you didn’t have 20 other children to look after at the same time! I suppose the main lesson to take away from this consists of two words…

Be patient!

Anyone else got any more top tips to share when it comes to cloth nappies and childcare?

REVIEW: Reusable Nappies – EcoBebe All-in-Two Nappy

The EcoBebe nappy (right hand side in the photo below) is designed to fit from 7lb 7oz on the smallest setting up to 33lb on the largest, although if you do have a larger toddler I would be wary that it might not last up until that maximum weight, especially in comparison to the EcoPipo (left hand side in the photo below) which is definitely more generous in size.

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I was a tad sceptical when I saw the EcoBebe nappy; it looked a LOT smaller than the EcoPipo pockets I was already using on my youngest, and I wasn’t convinced it wasn’t going to fit her… But it did! She is on the largest setting at just over two years of age, and 50th centile for weight (I can’t remember what she actually weighs though, classic second child problem!)

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The fit is very trim, and a lot less bulky than EcoPipo pockets, partially aided by the insert. EcoPipo pockets come with one long trifold (bamboo and microfibre) which folds into three, whereas the EcoBebe insert only folds into two; it comprises of one long microfibre insert with a cotton velour outer on one side and a microfleece outer on the other for a choice of material to put next to the skin. As the insert folds over to fit into the wrap, it also unfolds for faster drying, which is a definite bonus in the torrential rain we are currently experiencing

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The insert fits comfortably into the cover, and I have also added an extra EcoPipo bamboo insert for extra peace of mind on occasion; I was unsure if this would compromise the fit of the nappy, but the double gusset at the leg means that there is no gapping once the nappy is fitted correctly

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One slight issue I do have is the proximity of the snaps to the edge of the tab; this can make it tricky to undo the nappy when changing, as there isn’t any material to grab onto, but I am unsure if this is just my particular nappy, or true for all products

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Overall, we are very happy with our EcoBebe nappy; the trim fit is great for an active toddler, and absorbency can easily be customised to suit without gaps and leaks occurring

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***ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS BLOG POST ARE MY OWN***

Reusable Wipes: The Bottom Line

We started using reusable wipes when my eldest was around three months old; they have served us well for over 3.5 years, and two children. As a mum of two, and childminder of more than two, they have become an invaluable part of our household. Here are a few reasons why…

1. Fewer wipes used each nappy change

Because reusable wipes are made from materials such as cotton and bamboo, they are grippier than disposable wipes, which have a tendency to slide and smear.

As a childminder, I use both reusable and disposable wipes regularly, and while the maximum number of reusable wipes I have used in any single nappy change stands at three, I have needed over double that amount of disposable wipes on more than one occasion!

Reusable Wipes

2. Easy to use at home

Everyone has their nappy changing station set up slightly differently, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. Personally, we have them all stored in a tub already wet, so we can just grab and use; other parents store dry and wet under the tap at each change.

Once used, you can throw into the nappy bag or bucket if using reusable nappies too, or the Cheeky Wipes system includes a Mucky Box to store dirty wipes until wash day. Depending on whether your washing machine eats small items, a mesh bag can be useful to stop your wipes going AWOL during washing…

3. Easy to use when out and about

Again, everyone has their own system for this. We have a small wet bag into which we put a few damp reusable wipes; once used they go into the larger wet bag with dirty nappies.

If you prefer to keep your wipes dry until use, a small bottle of water can be carried with them and used to dampen them before use.

6 Small Wet Bag 1

4. Cheaper in the long run

Thirty reusable wipes can cost up to £30 if bought new, depending on where you buy; buying preloved brings the cost down further, and making your own out of items in your home will reduce the cost even more, perhaps even costing you nothing but the time to make them.

Compare this to even the cheapest disposable wipes. On a conservative estimate of a pack per week for 2.5 years, which is the average age of toilet training, Aldi wipes (0.49p per pack) will cost you £63.70 [I use Aldi as a comparison as they were the cheapest I could find online!]

5. Reducing landfill and fatbergs

Disposable wipes are made of a mixture of materials, including plastics; this means they will never break down fully. Disposable wipes should NEVER be flushed (even if labelled as such) though too many sadly are, becoming a massive contributor to fatbergs (read more here on these)

Reusable wipes are made of biodegradable materials which will break down over time. You can re-purpose your reusable wipes once your children no longer need them for general cleaning or even family cloth, or sell on to recoup some of your costs.

Fatberg

6. No chemicals (other than water, water is a chemical after all!)

Since reusable wipes are soaked in whatever you choose, water being the cheapest and easiest option. Some soak in chamomile tea, or melt coconut oil in hot water, but plain old-fashioned H2O is good enough for us!

Disposable wipes contain a lot more chemicals, including preservatives, alcohols and fragrances, some of which have been linked to eczema and allergies. You can read more in a Which report here.

Do you use reusable wipes already? What extra uses do you have for them?!
Or, perhaps you haven’t taken the plunge yet… Hopefully now you can see how easy it can be!
Share your experiences with me…

Reusable Nappies: Cloth Bumming on a Budget

‘I can’t afford to fork out hundreds of pounds all at once to buy reusable nappies’

I agree, not many people can. But reusable nappies don’t have to be expensive; not when starting out, and definitely not in the long run. There are several things you can do to make reusable nappies affordable and accessible to your family…

  1. Use your local nappy library

Nappy libraries are run by volunteers and allow you to trial a selection of reusable nappies before buying anything. You can save money by finding out which nappies work best for your child, so you can then go and buy exactly what you need, rather than wasting money through trial and error. Find your local nappy library here to get started on your cloth bum journey.

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  1. Buy preloved

Once you know the type of nappies you are looking for, there are dozens of selling pages specifically for buying and selling preloved nappies. You can pick up bargain bundles for a few pounds, as well as selling on your own nappies once you have finished with them to recoup some of your costs.

  1. Don’t discount the simple options!

Sometimes the simple options can be the best; prefolds are often overlooked in the era of modern cloth nappies, but they are cheap to buy (usually 50p each preloved), can be folded to fit any body shape, are extremely hardwearing and can be used around the house once their lifespan as nappies has ended. Similarly wraps can be picked up for a couple of quid, so you can cloth from birth to toilet training for £20 through this method (assuming 20 prefolds and 5 wraps)

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  1. Build up your stash gradually

Cloth bumming doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Building up your stash gradually can be a great way to reduce your landfill without splurging all your hard-earned cash at once. A couple of nappies per month, and in a year you will have enough to cloth full time.

  1. Use on multiple children

If you are planning on having more than one child, then using the same nappies on them means no outlay for additional children. Even with two in cloth for a year we didn’t need double the amount of nappies, as we washed more frequently.

Two in Cloth

Do you have any more tips to help save money when cloth bumming? Share them below!

Reusable Nappies: Cloth Bumming from Birth

I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d have two children in nappies at the same time! We’d ‘planned’ on two children, probably two years apart (give or take a couple of months), so when I found out I was 12 weeks pregnant when Thomas was not even a year old, you could say it came as a bit of a shock; turns out breastfeeding as a contraceptive is an old wives’ tale, who’d have thunk it 😉  But after the initial shock (and joy, obviously!) I started planning cloth bumming from birth…

With my eldest, we borrowed a BTP kit from my local nappy library when he was a couple of months old, so we had no experience of newborn reusable nappies. Through volunteering for my local nappy library and anecdotal evidence, we decided that two parters were the best system for us, supplemented by a newborn kit from the library. We went for two parters as we had learnt the hard way with Thomas that breastfed poos could be explosive, so the separate wrap would be vital for containment, and the newborn pockets and AIOs from the library kit would be useful if we were staying home in the day.

Prewashing the newborn nappies (everything else for youngest was second hand so we opted for brand new nappies for her) was a pleasant ritual at the start of May when the sun shone, though the size difference between them and the BTP nappies Thomas was in was astounding! I was already massive at this stage (SPD had put me on crutches, so I wasn’t as mobile as during my first pregnancy, plus this one was measuring much larger…) and I found myself doubting that this baby would manage to squeeze into the tiny nappies.

Packing for hospital lead to a dilemma… How many nappies do we take? I was booked in for induction on the Bank Holiday Monday (busy busy!) and had also tested positive for Strep B, so knew the hospital would want me to stay in for a few hours after birth to check everything was safe with both me and the baby. We settled on ten fitted nappies and four wraps, as well as Cheeky Wipes and a large wet bag; this meant that even if I did have to stay in for any reason, Paul could easily take the wet bag home with any dirty nappies in and bring back a fresh supply.

First nappy

The birth went relatively smoothly; turns out baby didn’t want to be induced after all, and my waters went before they could induce me. Katherine was finally born on the Bank Holiday evening weighing 9lb 7oz; I remember looking at her and thinking ‘crumbs, she looks massive.’ Thomas had only weighed 7lb at birth, despite being two weeks overdue, the same as Katherine, so she seemed like a giant in comparison. Her first nappy was a reusable nappy (she doesn’t look too happy in the photo, does she?!) put on by daddy, and she has never worn a disposable nappy in her whole life, despite turning two last month.

The hospital was more than happy for me to use cloth; as Katherine was born at 22:23 at night, I needed to stay in anyway for us both to be monitored for Strep B, and didn’t leave until lunchtime the following day. The older midwives all came to have a nosy at the ‘modern’ cloth nappies, and although the young paediatrician looked at me like I had two heads, after I’d given her the run down on them she conceded that they were ‘cute’

Once we got home, it wasn’t hard to get into a new washing routine; we had washed Thomas’s nappies every three days and having another set of nappies just meant that we washed every other day. Having different types of nappies helped us, as we could save the two parters for the longer stints between feeds at night, while the pockets and AIOs from the library kit were great as back ups in the day, especially as they dried a lot quicker. One thing I had forgotten, even in the short sixteen months between having my two kids, was how often you have to change a newborn; factor in 8-12 nappies per 24 hour period, and make sure you allow for drying time too. We were fortunate that the summer weather held while we were washing and drying so frequently, but if you have a winter baby a few more nappies would make things a lot easier for you…

I was fortunate to have had a stress-free birth and lots of support at home, so it was easy for us to continue using cloth when we had our second child. I completely understand that everyone has a different experience, and clothing from birth won’t be an option for all families, for any number of reasons. I always advise first time parents who borrow from the WHNAS to get to grips with keeping a baby alive in the first place, before adding reusable nappies into the mix, and even if this is your second, third, fourth child, give yourself a break if you need to. Reusable nappies don’t have to be all or nothing. And remember, advice and support is always available from your friendly local nappy library volunteer!

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REVIEW: Reusable Nappies – Smart Bottoms

About a month ago, Smart Bottoms kindly sent me five items of my choosing to feed back on; I chose a range of items that covered the breadth of their stock, including:

  • Smart Bottoms Dream Diaper 2.0
  • Smart Bottoms Two Smart Cover
  • Smart Bottoms Hemp Inserts
  • Smart Bottoms Oval Wet Bag
  • Smart Bottoms Diaper Clutch

1 Unboxing

Smart Bottoms Dream Diaper

The blurb on this one intrigued me; a hemp/organic cotton snap-in one with a pocket for extra boosting, and no need for multiple prewashes to build up absorbency as the materials had already been processed to remove the oils already. It all sounded too good to be true! So, after one wash, it was straight on the bum… with no leaks.

2 Dream Diaper

My youngest has just turned two, and the nappy fitted best with the rise poppers fully open, but there is still some leeway for more growth in there. The nappy is streamlined and not too bulky, which is perfect for an active toddler, even with extra boosters in the generous pocket. The rolled leg seams allow for easy fitting into the knickerline without leaks and red marks and the snap-in insert is narrower than the nappy itself, so no risk of the insert poking out when fitting the nappy.

Smart Bottoms Two Smart Cover

This is my daughter’s current favourite, because of the doggy print! At night she wears a fitted nappy with extra boosting between nappy and wrap; the generous flaps at either end of the wrap were perfect for holding the extra booster in place while trying to fit the wrap onto a toddler bent on escaping. The double gusset is also good for allowing the room for extra boosting between nappy and wrap.

3 Wrap

Like the Dream Diaper, rise poppers are fully open (unsurprisingly over a bulky night nappy plus additional boosting) but the wrap fitted well into the knickerline without leaks or leaving red marks. My youngest is in her night nappy combination for 10-13 hours at night, and the wrap has not once leaked.

Smart Bottoms Hemp Inserts

Extra boosting between nappy and wrap is a must for my daughter at night. The hourglass shape means that these boosters fit comfortably into all of the various brands of wrap that we use; the narrower middle section means she can still walk in her night nappy combination without the extra booster rubbing the inside of her legs (this has happened previously with rectangular boosters) They also fit into the pocket of the Dream Diaper, in case you need to boost that too, and are slim enough to add boosting without the bulk.

4 Hemp

The only negative with the boosters is that they quickly have a bobbly appearance after a few washes; this is just aesthetic, and does not affect the performance of them in any way.

Smart Bottoms Oval Wet Bag

I’m always on the look out for a large wet bag suitable for holding three days’ worth of nappies; we currently use PlanetWise hanging wet/dry bags (two in rotation) but can now replace the older one with this in our rotation. The two sturdy straps allow for secure hanging on the back of the bathroom door, away from inquisitive fingers. I particularly like that you can change whether the straps go across the zip or one either side of the zip due to the poppers on each; personally we preferred the straps either side of the zip, which meant we could unzip the bag without unhooking the straps first.

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I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if I would get along with a vertical zip, but it actually works well; it is easy to pull down with one hand, which is important if you are holding a dirty nappy in the other! The bag holds 12-15 nappies comfortably, and the fact that the zip goes nearly all the way down both sides of the bag means that it is easy to empty into the washing machine on wash day. Despite the weather being warm, no smells escaped from this wet bag, and it dries surprisingly quickly.

Smart Bottoms Diaper Clutch

I have a variety of different sized wet bags in my collection, so I can choose the most appropriate size for the length of time we will be out; as a childminder I regularly have at least three children with me, plus a double buggy (and sometimes a very active dog!) so a strap that will attach to the buggy is a must, as well as not taking up too much space on the buggy itself.

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The Diaper Clutch has proven to be the perfect size and shape for my ‘emergency nappies’, several spare disposable nappies and a pack of disposable wipes that hangs on my buggy at all time, in case of emergency. Deceptively spacious, the Diaper Clutch easily fits in all the emergency supplies, and the sturdy handle that poppers closed hangs safely on the handlebar of the buggy; it has even survived the eldest tugging on it in a strop of the way home from pre-school!

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I’d like to thank Smart Bottoms for sending these items to me to test drive, and I am happy to answer any further questions my readers have on them!

***ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS BLOG POST ARE MY OWN***