Verity talks us through how she uses cloth nappies on a budget, and how going from one to two children doesn't mean you have to double your stash!
Cloth on a Budget
Cloth. On. A. Budget – A tough thing for someone with a huge love for cloth nappies like me. I would love to place orders every week, try new brands, buy nappies purely for the print because heck, who cares if they take 3 days to dry? It looks pretty and I have more than enough to fill the gap while that one takes it sweet time to be useable again! I would LOVE to do this, of course I would, I’m only human BUT I can’t/don’t/won’t/can’t justify it/all of the afore mentioned.
I’m an eco-minded, minimalist and I choose to live on a tight budget, three things which luckily work well together. I count pennies, budget and spend only when I really have to. If my purchase isn’t 100% necessary, I justify it by selling something to fund it and I buy second hand where possible (which is almost always nowadays!).
So what do my three ‘tags’ mean for a Mum of almost 2 who uses cloth nappies? A lot of research, a small and much-loved stash and a habit of browsing the second hand facebook pages (and a lot of ‘dream baskets’ on the cloth nappy websites!)
Let’s look at some stash options…
Option 1 – Pockets/All-In-Ones
25 x pocket/all-in-one nappies – £424 (Modern Cloth Nappies)
25 Fleece Liners - £25 (Little Lambs)
5 fitted night nappies – £107.50 (Anavy Fitted One-Size)
3 wraps/pull ups (for using with night nappies) - £40 (Anavy Pull-Ups)
You may find you need to try few brands of this variety before finding one that works for you and your Toot’s shape/absorbency requirements but I have chosen a popular brand with an average price tag.
- Slightly more straightforward as the require minimal or no stuffing
- Some scope to ‘boost’ if baby needs
- They take waaaay longer to dry as they cant be taken apart and tumbled
- Each nappy must be washed after each use (you can’t re use the wrap and swap out the inserts if only wet) so you need more
- They can be very pricey
- You have to hope they work for baby as they change shape
- They are not truly ‘birth-to-potty’, a large baby can out-grow these before being ready to potty train (I have one such baby!)
Option 2 – ‘2-parters’
25 flats - £54 (Buttons)
25 bamboo inserts (for boosting) - £34 (Little Lambs)
4 hemp boosters (for night boosting) – £15 (Little Lambs)
25 fleece liners - £25 (Little Lambs)
12 wraps – £144
I priced up Buttons Super Covers as they work for day and night and last the biggest and smallest of babies a very long time!
- Take up little space in changing bags as you potentially only need to pack a new insert (and reuse the wrap on baby)
- Cheap to increase stash if needed (for childcare or expectant babies) or treat yourself to a new print
- No prewashing when a new wrap arrives because you’ll be using an insert from your current stash
- They dry SO fast, flats can be tumbled or line dried in 1-2 hours, shells are air dried in an hour or so.
- They work as day and night nappies as you can easily customise to absorbency or use the wraps over a fitted nappy
- These truly are birth to potty! Flats can be used in the newborn days right up to potty training by learning a few simple ‘folds’. Pad folds just get laid in the nappy and are great for after the newborn days.
- Learning the folds may be fiddly (but once you have them, you have them!)
- Stuffing take a little longer, though pad folding is super quick
- If using ‘folds’ (jo, kite, bat) you can’t prep a nappy to the same extent as a pocket or All-In-One.
Option 3 – BTP Sets
All in BTP set (Close Pop In) - £186 x 2 = £372
This set includes 10 nappies, disposable liners, a wet bag and night time boosters. So you’ll need 2 for close to a full time stash.
I actually began my cloth journey this way and we still use the pop ins daily! I only have 7 of them left as I sold/swapped the others.
- Everything you need in one box, no need to worry about missing something in an order
- No complicated options for ‘significant other’, just one brand and one way
- You don’t get to choose prints or colours
- No experimenting so if the brand you choose doesn’t work for baby you are stuck with 20 of them. Those this particular brand do sell on well
My stash pretty much comprises of option 2 + the 7 Pop Ins I have left from my original investment BUT most Cloth Bum Mums have a stash comprising of a mix of all these! I certainly have a few pockets which are sitting idle as they haven’t sold up til now, but they’re now waiting for baby no2 to arrive in October.
So 9 times out of 10 this is what Xander has on his bum (an ‘option 2’ example); a buttons flat, padfolded, a hemp or bamboo insert underneath and a fleece liner on top, all wrapped up in a Buttons super wrap! This is a super cost-effective way of clothing your baby and takes no more time to prep than a standard pocket.
Adding to your brood doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank!
This is something I’ve had to learn recently, baby no2 is due in a matter of weeks and I needed to bulk out my stash.
So for the newborn days I have bought 2 preloved boxes of newborn Pop Ins, another set of buttons flats and 2 more packs of wipes. These, along with some of Xanders old newborn wraps and some muslins and I’m hopefully set. I’ll sell these when I’m done and use the money to buy a few more BTP if needed. I am not remotely against buying new, especially as it will usually support a small business. When I come to need more BTP nappies, I will 100% treat myself to some new ones using the cash from selling the newborn bits and bobs.
In the meantime, I have been keeping an eye on the 2nd hand markets for some bargains! My 2 best finds?
4 x BNWT Petit Crown Packas - £40 all in
8 x Close Pop Ins EUC - £39 all in
But how do you differentiate between a good 2nd hand buy and one to avoid?
- Ask to see the inside of the nappy. Don’t be afraid to ask for close ups, both sides or inserts etc etc.
- If you already own the same brand, look are your current one against the picture. Do the leg elastics look as tight? Is the Velcro in good nick? Are there the same number of poppers?
- Ask for their wash routine if you’re concerned. This can often tell you if the nappies have been cared for properly.
- If you’re buying a wrap, a photo of the underside of the PUL will reveal any flaws or breaks.
- If you think the cost is too high, make an offer. They can only say no.
Cover these bases if you aren’t sure and you’ll be on to a winner.
And if you’re not sure if you even need what your drooling over… follow my one golden rule: buy 1, sell 1. If you really do need it, enjoy the fun of looking and choosing 😊