The Cloth Nappy Podcast: S1 E10: Newborns and Cloth Nappies.

The Cloth Nappy Podcast: S1 E10: Newborns and Cloth Nappies.

The Cloth Nappy Podcast: S1 E10: Newborns and Cloth Nappies.

Newborns and Cloth Nappies  

Preamble:  This episode of the The Cloth Nappy podcast is a little different to the previous episodes.  This epsiode was recorded on my phone whilst nap trapped under an eight week old baby.  During the episode I reflect on the previous eight weeks and on the first few months of my first daughters life.  I tell you what nappies I used, what my husband has used and why - whatever you do - it's ok.  

Welcome to the Cloth Nappy podcast. I'm Rebecca and I have two children. I have a 2 year old and I have an 8 week old. Both babies are in cloth nappies. My 2-year-old has been in cloth nappies from the very beginning.

And my eight week old baby has also been in cloth in that piece from almost the very beginning.

I put her first cloth nappy on when she was two weeks old. The reason I waited 2 weeks is because when I brought our home that first week, I thought you know what? Give yourself a little break.

Don't worry about it. You've now got two children. You've got even more washing than you had before. You're a bit sleep deprived. You've got a whole new life to adjust to, so I thought well, I'll just leave it for a few days.  Those few days passed, and when week two arrived, my 2 year old got chicken pox. The chicken pox was horrendous. It was a horrendous experience trying to look after a brand new baby and a 2 year old who just wanted Mummy meant I had no time for anything.

Some days I didn't get showered. Some days I didn't even get dressed to be honest. Feeding myself, feeding my husband, my husband feeding me, feeding the kids - just literally keeping afloat. That week was awful, so no, we didn't put her in cloth in week two either.

However, the chicken pox went fortunately, week three came and we started with cloth nappies for our little (now) eight week old baby.

So now at eight weeks I use cloth nappies on her 99% of the time.

And her dad - he puts disposables on sometimes and cloth nappies on sometimes too.

He stayed using a mixed selection with our first for probably the first four months where I went into just cloth really quite early on with her.

Now, that doesn't bother me at all. That's his choice. He can use whatever nappies he wants on her, as can I. I don't think it's my place in the world to force him to do one or the other and I know that he's quite comfortable with cloth. I know that he's supportive of using cloth nappies with the girls but if he wants to carry on with a few disposables then then that's absolutely fine.

It's better that he's happy and comfortable, and it's also better for our relationship and our marriage that I'm not trying to force something on him that he doesn't want to do. I know that he'll come round as she gets bigger, he'll get more comfortable with using the cloth nappies on her.

And one day he just won't want any more disposables. He won't bring any disposables home and that will be that.

00:03:19

So, I've just chosen not to have an issue with it, it doesn't matter.

So clothing a newborn baby.

Newborns can be tricky for a few reasons.

The first reason really is that they are just tiny. They are just tiny teeny little humans and a lot of cloth nappies are made for bigger babies, they're made in what they call birth to potty size which is banded around as being from about 10lb but even 10lb can be quite small for a birth to potty nappy.

So if you've not had a baby before and you've not got your baby yet, when you get your little teeny newborn home, even if it's not a teeny newborn and it's a 10lb newborn, they are still really, really small, their bums can sit almost in the palm of your hand. They're that small so it can be quite tricky trying to learn a new skill, which is putting a nappy on, and that's that applies to both kinds of nappies. It's a whole new skill and trying to learn that skill on such a teeny tiny bum, is not easy, so for many it just feels easier to use a disposable option, because I think there's a bit less perceived pressure around getting the perfect fit.

Now with our little dinky dot, our little eight week old. We are still using the disposable nappies and turning down the front of the size 1 nappy. Size 1 is the first size of disposable nappy and that gives you some sort of idea of how small they are.

If the size 1 nappies still need folding down at the front to 8 weeks, there's quite a lot of of space in that there nappy!

So the other another reason that they're quite tricky is newborns - they just pee a lot. They drink little and often. In those first few weeks, it can feel like it's all day long and all night long so they drink little and often they pee a lot. And they poo a lot - some newborns will literally poo after every feed.

When every feed is one this hour, one next hour, you can kind of get stuck, or you feel like you're stuck, in this little cycle of feed, change nappy, snooze, feed, change nappy, snooze. And when I say snooze, I mean the baby, not you.

So it can just feel like a lot of work. Just looking after this new tiny baby is a lot of work.

Couple that with putting it on this teeny tiny little bum. This little mini minuscule human who pees all the time, which you also find out every time you take the nappy off - that fresh air seems to cause them to wee so my top tip for that is, when you're changing the nappy; open the nappy, let the air get to the area and then flip the nappy back over the front again because they do often wee as you are changing the nappy.

So yes, cloth on a newborn can be a bit tricky, so then if I just talk about cloth exclusively.

00:06:47

There's lots of different cloth nappies, whatever type you've gone for it can, when you come to put it on, it can feel a bit scary.  It can feel a bit overwhelming.

It’s not insurmountable, you know. Just put the nappy on. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong. If it's a terrible fit and it leaks, then so be it.

You'll probably have a massive mountain of washing anyway. One extra outfit isn't going to make a huge difference.

My nappies of choice with my first born and mainly with this second baby, are muslins and wraps.

Now, if you've not practised before, the baby arrives, you could find yourself in a bit of a flap trying to fold the Muslins, for example, and you could just think, Oh my God, this is so stressful. This is far too much. I can't do it and you just put that one side, and that's fine. That's absolutely fine.

When you do get a minute, sit down, have a look at a video I've got a very good one (here).

Learn to fold it and then try it again when you've got your head in the right place, you are feeling a bit more robust and a bit more resilient and then just have a go.

I've been using the muslins on our second baby. I've got no problem with them. I just sit and fold them when I get them off the airer or when I get 5 minutes after I've taken them off the airer at some stage. And sometimes that means I'm sitting changing the baby and I fold the muslin at the time, there's no rules. It doesn't matter. Do it your way. Do whatever works.

So I've been using them on her. I've got no problems with them, but I think her father has probably only put a couple on her and that's fine, he's not that keen, I don't think. I've not really asked him, but he doesn't really bother using them.

The other thing I've been using, or the other nappies I've been using, are what we would call an All in Two system which is a wrap and then a soaker. So this is quite a hefty insert that you can sit in the wrap. You can popper it in sometimes if you've got the right inserts for the wraps, if you got the matching pairs, or sometimes they're interchangeable between brands but it depends if they've got the same poppers on or not.

I've got some soakers and I've got the wraps that go with them and I've got other wraps that don't go with them and the poppers don't fit together very well, but it doesn't matter. I still use them together because I just lay it in the rap and then put it on.

They've been working really well as well. I quite like those and I'd be happy enough using those exclusively if I didn't already have the muslins to be honest.

00:09:32

So either setup is fine. I've liked them both really.

What else have I been using? So now she's 8 weeks I just started yesterday using a particular brand of fitted nappy. That’s a small, the small size, but they're still a bit big for a newborn. I would say so they're a bit big for her.

00:09:56

And also I've been using, since she was two weeks old, another fitted nappy that is really flexible on size and I wanted to know whether it really would fit on quite a small baby. She was only 6lb 9oz when she was born, so after two weeks she was about seven and a half pounds if I remember rightly and they fitted her really nicely. They've got a nice stretch. They fit around the waist really nicely. And yeah, they've just fitted really well, so I've been using those on her as well, so that's three different styles of nappy and four/five, probably six different brands of nappy. I’ve used different wraps, different inserts and I’ve used the muslins. I’ve used the fitteds and I've used the soakers as the absorbent parts and as I say I’ve have used different brands of wraps as well.

And all have been fine. Yes, I've had some leaks. Mainly poo leaks. We’ve had very very very very few we leaks because everything has had really good absorbency, or the absorbency has been enough for her, which means these last few weeks where she's not peeing quite as often -she doesn't poo with every feed now - I can change her about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours and we've not had any leaks.

Poo leaks I’ve been getting the odd one. They're not not super frequent. Get the odd one, but that's mainly if she's sitting in her bouncy chair and poos.

It's worth remembering if this is sort of putting you off when you're panicking a little bit; newborn poo is basically liquid. It's really really runny because they have a purely liquid diet, don't they? So it's really runny and the leaks occur when she has a poo when she's sitting in her little bouncy seat thing.  I'm not talking about a jumperoo, I'm not talking about a bouncer that you have in the doorway because that's for babies that are much older. But I mean the seat that bounces and you strap it up round the waist in between their legs in the same way as you would a pushchair, for example, if you've got an older child, That pressure 'cause they're sitting on an angle, gravity is pulling them down into the seat and into the fastening into the straps, that sort of causes a bit of pressure so that people gets forced out.  It's liquid. It comes out with some force. The nappy is obviously there to catch it, but because of the gravity and the pressure in the seat. There's not a lot of space in that nappy, so it does get pushed and it spreads around a little bit.

If there's a lot of poo and not enough space, then you might get a little leak. But that's alright because some babies, not all, are very obvious when they're having a poo.

This baby in particular is quite vocal. There's a lot of noise, quite a loud straining, so I'm in no doubt of what's happening. My first born, however she was a stealth poo-er so it depends on what baby you've got as to how, how much you'll know, or how quickly you'll be able to tell.

But similarly they you know they do smell, it's poo. It smells. You tend to know that they've done it quite quickly.

And so it's not the end of the world. The odd poo leak, you know, it doesn't make a big difference.

It doesn't mean that you failed. It doesn't mean that the nap is failed. Not really just means that that poo was to put too much force more than happy to cope with.

So on the point of successful. What makes a nappy successful? Does it catch the wee? Does it absorb the wee? Yes. Does it, on the whole, catch and absorb and contain the poo? Yes, well then that's success.

Even with disposables you will get leaks. So whichever nappies you choose, just be prepared that you will on the odd occasion get a leak.

00:13:50

That might be because that is just a mammoth poo they've done and they've pushed it out with epic force, it might be because you have just lost track and you didn't change the nappy soon enough.

So cloth or disposable?

00:14:06

On a newborn, you want to be changing it every couple of hours, but you might find you need to do it more frequently than that, because they're pooing so frequently in these early days, but you might also find that you can leave it 3 hours quite comfortably.

That's fine, but what happens is you find that the three hour cycle is you just go round it really quickly from the feeding. They have a nap. You try and run around and feed yourself. You've got a shower. Or, the baby sleeping on you for a while. For example, you might just find that time slipped away and you didn't change it quick enough and it leaked. No big deal. It doesn't make you a bad parent, it just makes you really normal.

It doesn't mean that the nappies are rubbish or that they failed. It just means that there was.

Too much going into the nappy for the amount of time it was on the baby bum. That's it.

On the point of leaks, disposables and runny newborn poo. If you get a newborn poo leak out of a cloth nappy, that's fine, it's normal, it will happen.

If you don't like that and you think that's the end of your cloth, nappy days, switch to disposables for a few days and see what a poo leak is like in a disposable.

Disposables have no waist. Elastic around the back, they don't contain much. So if your baby like mine, seems to have a penchant for poohing while sitting in the bouncy chair, which as a side note she doesn't really have much tolerance for this chair either. So she goes in for only a few minutes really while I nip to the toilet or to make a drink or put the toast in the toaster or something.  Her tolerance level for it is really really low, so it's incredible that she poos in it so frequently because she doesn't spend a lot of time in there, but that aside.

If she was wearing a disposable and she pooed in it. I can guarantee you it would be all the way up her back. I'd have to change all of her clothes. Obviously her nappy. I'd have to clean her up. I'd also have to take the covers off the bouncy chair and get them in the washing machine, which takes it out of action means obviously I've got to add to the washing pot.

They'll probably want to wash that on its own, or just with a few normal clothing items or something like that, because it's quite a big a big item. You would want to put in a nappy wash.

That would make extra work for me if that newborn poo leaks out in a disposable because the disposables do not have any way of containing it at the back. They don't have any elastic holding them in round the back. It's like an open envelope, almost, so that's worth considering. If you're getting a bit despondent because you've had a couple of poo leaks.

Your thinking of switching to disposables even though you haven't used them yet, just consider that.

Poo leaks out disposable are what's known as poonamis. Poonamis don't really exist in cloth nappies because there is enough containing them to stop it all spreading up the babies back.

So a couple of other things that don't mean you're failing at using cloth nappies. You know there is no real thing it's not failing and being successful. It's just some weird construct, you know.

00:17:29

It's like saying ‘oh I'm failing at wearing jeans’ or ‘I'm successful at wearing jeans’ like that's not a thing, is it so?

It's not a thing either with nappies, you just use what you use and most of the time it's great and sometimes it's not.

Sock marks.

00:17:47

If you take take your baby's nappy off and they've got some sock marks. They are just that. It's like when you take your socks off at the end of the day and you might have some indentations around your ankle.

Sock marks around the baby's thighs from a nappy are the same thing, they’re not a problem. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the nappy. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with how you've put it on. As long as those marks fade in a couple of hours.

They're absolutely fine. It is just purely an indentation from that elastic or that binding around their legs. It's nothing to worry about if it's.

If it's causing cuts, if it's breaking the skin then there's a problem, and if they don't disappear over a few hours, then you probably had the nappy on a bit too tight.

If they go in a few hours, that's absolutely fine. Totally normal, and it's no different and no more cruel than you having indentations on your ankles and you take your socks off at the end of the day.

So back to leaks;

00:18:48

If the nappy leaks, you didn't fail. It might be because you put it on really badly, but you might have put on really badly because you're absolutely knackered. You've got a newborn baby. You barely know what day of the week it is. Probably can't remember your last shower. Living off biscuits. That's life.

Newborn life is pretty tough, so if it leaks because you left it on too long, or because if it was shocking, don't worry about it, just chuck it in the in the bucket. I don't mean the nappy bucket.

I'm gonna swear, so if you don't like swearing, just close your ears for a minute.

Chuck it in the f*ck-it bucket. Move on with life. It's fine, it doesn't matter. It doesn't make you a failure.

And so one that's a bit personal to me.

I pride myself on using the cloth. But I knew that when the baby came that you know life would turn upside down and things would be a bit difficult. I mean, I, I and we would probably use some disposables as well. And I have and you know what? Today is a perfect example of my next point.

I'm not a failure and you're not a failure. No ones are failure if they're using cloth. Most of the time, but they just decide I can't be bothered and put a disposable.

So I had a rubbish night with the baby last night. She had her jabs yesterday. Slept like yesterday afternoon and slept all evening, which she doesn't normally. Slept really well until about half one. Woke up for a feed, her daddy gave her a feed and then I took over at 2am. When she went back to bed and she grunted the entire night.

Grunted and fidgeted and flailed around all night. So I I'm like a bear with a sore head this morning quite honestly felt like I'd had no sleep whatsoever, and so when I brought her down this morning I brought a cloth nappy down and then I went back up the stairs. I mean, riddle me this, I don't even I don't even understand my own logic!

I went back up the stairs and got a disposable to put on her because I thought ‘I can't be bothered to put that cloth nappy on’. So I couldn't be bothered to put it on but apparently I could be bothered to walk back up the stairs to find a disposable nappy to bring down to put on her.  It doesn't even make any sense, but even I, a massive lover of cloth nappies,  massive believer in them - even I still had that belief this morning, but putting a disposable nappy on was going to be easier than putting a cloth nappy on.

It wasn't. It was more work. I had to go back up the stairs so it doesn't even make any sense.

But I still did it, because I was so tired and so grumpy. I felt like that was going to be easier for me.

Doesn't make me a failure. It doesn't make me not a ‘cloth nappy-er’. It doesn't change my status in the world. It doesn't change how likely I am to get into heaven. It's just a thing I just did it, but it doesn't matter. Doesn't make me a success or a failure, I just did it.

So a few extra words I think, about newborn babies.

If you've not had your baby yet, or have not had any babies yet, and you're just listening to this podcast to research about cloth nappies and to learn about what to do and you're really excited to use cloth nappies, brilliant! You know welcome. Welcome, welcome.

I just want to say a little bit about how babies can be so different. When I had my first newborn, I thought I was gonna die every day. I found the whole experience quite difficult.

For so many reasons, so so many reasons, and I would drag myself to some of the classes and groups and even to a friend for coffee. I would see all these other people, and I'd be like how did you turn up to this class with clean brushed hair, that you clearly run the straighteners over, a full face of makeup?

Your clothes are clean. You know the baby hasn't wiped his nose on you or been sick on you. How do you look so good? How is it that you seem to be absolutely nailing parenting, and I feel like I am drowning every day.

Fast forward to this baby. Whilst I still feel similar, I still feel like I'm drowning most days, that's because I have this baby and a 2 year old. I can assure you it is the two year old who creates the most work.

This baby is completely different to my first. She's really very easy by comparison. I don't feel stressed with her, maybe that's a bit of parenting experience as well because she's my second, but this baby is very, very different. All babies are so different.

Or different, so if you're the one sitting there thinking ‘Oh my God, how is she looking so good’?

What do you what does she mean when she says this is easy? Does this mean that I am blumming terrible at this because everyone else is finding it easy?

It doesn't mean you're terrible at it, if that's how you're feeling, it's probably that you've got a really hard work baby. I've had one of each. They definitely exist.

To round up.

00:24:01

Not everyone chooses cloth from the very beginning. You don't have to. You don't need to. You can do if you want to. It's entirely up to you. If you never want to buy a disposable, that's absolutely fine.

If you want to use a bit of both, see how you get on. That's absolutely fine. If you decide that cloth nappies actually aren't for you, that's absolutely fine to. Do whatever you need to do, do what feels right for you.

And honestly, do what your gut tells you because if you decide you're going to cloth and then decide a few months later that you don't want to do it anymore. It's going to make you miserable if you try and carry on.

Let it go. Just let it go. You could write a song about that couldn't you?

Yeah, just let it go. You need to have a bit of love for what you're doing, and if you don't loving it, then it's not going to bring you any joy. It's going to make you miserable. Let them go.

But similarly, you know if you're here or listening to this, you're obviously interested in using cloth nappies, so give them a go. At least give them a chance.

They are brilliant. They are more brilliant than disposables in many, many ways. Disposables have their place too, and it's fine. Whichever you want to do, do it.

So I've just done this full podcast episode without my equipment because I left it all upstairs and the baby is asleep on my chest. I don't know if you could just hear that, but she's just started to stir and rubbing her face on my chest now. But I thought, as I'm nap trapped, I'll take the opportunity to try and record this because I thought it was really important to try and record something about using cloth on a newborn whilst it was still fresh for me, whilst my baby was still almost a newborn.

But that's it, really. That's all I wanted to say about newborn nappies. Newborns are quite hard to cloth. If you want to leave it until a bit older, do that. That's OK. If you want to have a go, do that too.

But with a little snore from my little baby, all that's left me to say is thank you for listening to The Cloth Nappy Podcast.