How have cloth nappies changed over the years? Read our guest blog from Rochelle Williams below to find out!
After I had my first child 11 years ago, we went to an NCT baby group and discovered cloth nappies. We had lots of people saying different things to us and what nappies were the best. The choice then was significantly less than the choice we have nowadays. In fact there weren't many brands that sold prints - they were mostly solid block coloured nappies and very little variety.
We embarked on our journey with some on sale v3 bum genius pockets £10 a nappy... what a bargain I thought. The inserts were microfibre and I can honestly say at this point I had very little knowledge about fibres and absorbency. Our local council has a fantastic scheme where for £20 you can buy a "council pack" of nappies - back then it was Close Parent pop ins (dream dri - the originals in pastel colours) you got a choice of minky or bamboo, but there wasn't a choice in colours! There were only a handful of retailers back then and cloth was most definitely not mainstream or heard of very often.
When I went back to university the nursery were happy to use the nappies and it was no issue. But whilst I was pregnant with number 2 and full time at uni I remember we did part time cloth. Once baby no.2 arrived she was tiny and didn't fit into BTP until she was around 5 months. Close parent released their first prints - monkey, turtles (pink or blue) I remember I HAD to have a pink turtle one!!
Back then certain bum genius prints were hard to find and fetched a fortune second hand (so guys, this is absolutely not a new thing) and I remember the Tots Bots print released for the birth of Prince George was insanely hard to get hold of and fetched over £100 on eBay!! Motherease were workhorse nappies, easy to find and lacked variety in terms of prints/colours. When my first was born the mio solo didn't even exist 🙈🙈🙈
Comparative to now
Well now the choices of brands have significantly increased alongside the number of retailers. I think I understand significantly more thanks to access to better advice and information. At times with the older 2 I struggled to make cloth work because they could out wet everything so fast and really switching microfibre out for natural fibres would've solved the issues we used to have.
It took me 4 babies to discover terries - why? I really wish I had found them sooner but felt intimidated by folding. I don't even know why now because they're so easy to use I love them. Versatile and cheap - they make a very good choice for those choosing to cloth on a budget. I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for, in many aspects, but I have found that with cloth nappies I have never had any luck with eBay cheapies no matter the inserts and for me I have chosen not to purchase certain brands due to how ethically they are made. But terries are different, terries are a cheap alternative and it's not because they've compromised ethical work standards/used cheap materials or only come with one insert and almost certainly requires you to purchase more to get any decent level of absorbency. Terries are cheap because they are simple cotton towelling squares (bamboo or mix alternatives available also).
So now with 2 in cloth I have so many choices - I can pick a lot of pocket brands if I like a print because I know what insert combination works for my boys. There are some that I can't get to fit because of the boys' shapes, but for the most part it's all about the boost. Cloth nappies are very individual in terms of what fits and best absorbency. We are big fans here of natural fibre nappies (usually pockets) such as Mimi and co/ chuckles/ brainy bums alongside terries and preflats.
I think we are spoilt for choice nowadays. Such beautiful nappies and cloth is definitely becoming more mainstream than 11 years ago. Now you'll find cloth nappies in shops like Aldi and boots, although they don't sell brands I personally like I think it's a good step towards making cloth "normal". And the bonus of all the pretty prints is that we often get such lovely comments about our nappies and people with genuine interest in them.
I remember people thought I was bonkers and almost primitive because I chose to use cloth. Now people are understanding the need for more eco friendly choices. We are acknowledging what our disposable culture is doing to our world and this is so important because something has to change.