Where do you start?
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Understanding Your Nappies
It is easy to use cloth nappies, but it is different than using disposables. It is important to remember that cloth nappies are usually made up of several parts. Understanding these will help you better understand the various types of nappies. You can start from the outside, and work inwards.
Waterproof layer This can be either a separate waterproof wrap or sewn into a pocket or an all-in-one nappy.
Absorbencyabsorves wee and captures poo. This could be a fitted, shaped nappy or an absorbent inner layer.
Liner: The layer closest to the baby’s skin. This layer acts as a barrier to keep the baby’s skin dry and helps to trap any solids.
You may need to increase the absorbency of your nappy by using a booster at night. This will ensure that it lasts 12-14 hours without changing. It is a simple pad of fabric, usually hemp or bamboo, that acts as an extension of your nappy.
Before washing, store
In the past, nappies were soaked in water before being washed. However, we don’t recommend this anymore. You can place your nappies in either a dry bucket (also known as dry pailing) or a bag until you are ready to wash them. Then your washing machine will take care of the rest. It’s easier to load your nappies into the washer from a dry bucket. Longer soaks can cause damage to modern cloth nappies (elastic and PUL). The lid will not release any odor from the nappy bowl. You should not leave soiled nappies in the bucket for more than two days before washing them. This will cause nappy fabric damage.
Washing and drying nappies
Modern washing machines can be purchased in different sizes of drums, so I don’t have a hard and fast rule about how many you can get in one machine. For example, you can get larger sizes of nappies for newborns in a washing machine drum than big ones for toddlers. When the nappies have been washed, the washing machine should look about half full. You can’t put too much in your drum, and it will not be able to wash your nappies. They won’t have enough water and they won’t be able to move about and agitate. Too many can cause your machine to spin poorly and can lead to detergent bubble formation. You can add nappies, muslins, or any other items that could benefit from a long wash to your wash if you don’t have enough nappies (your husband’s football gear was known to be in there occasionally).
Put the nappies in the machine when it is time to wash them. It is better to use a quick or rinse cycle than a prewash cycle. Modern washing machines use water efficiently so they can reuse water from a previous cycle. The first wash cycle flushes out urine and removes any solids.
Types of Detergents and Dosage
Many people are very concerned about the right amount of detergent to use. We have seen people overdose and neglect to run their maintenance cycles, which can lead to the detergent residue. As a guide, read the instructions on the detergent packaging. Find the recommended dosage for your water hardness and drum sizes. Then use approximately 3/4 of the recommended dose. A full drum of detergent (see step 1) is not necessary so you don’t need to use it all.
Too much detergent can cause residue to build up in fabric, which can lead to sensitivity, damage to nappies, smells, and leaks. Your nappies should not smell after being removed from the machine. If your nappies smell like detergent, it’s likely that you have used too much. They may smell unclean after washing them. This could be a sign that they have not been washed enough or that they used too much detergent.
Powder detergents work best when used with cloth nappies. The fibers of the nappies can be affected by liquid detergents and fabric softeners, which can cause them to absorb less over time. Ecover is not recommended for cloth nappies. It can cause skin problems and damage to elasticity.
Most rashes are not caused by wetness, contrary to what the marketers claim. While most babies don’t feel any irritation from a wet napkin, some do find it itchy during teething. Researchers have shown that it doesn’t matter what type of nappie is used, such as cloth or disposable. The nappy rash occurs when bacteria in the poo come into contact with the urine, causing ammonia. Because cloth nappies are easier to clean, children who use them may have the less nappy rash.
Important points to remember: Change your nappy immediately after you have pooped. Clean the entire nappy area and not just the genitals. Rashes are more common in children who are teething, as some children are more susceptible than others. Use fleece liners to protect the baby’s bottom and change nappies more often if necessary if the baby has a rash. It’s normal for babies to feel reddening when switching between cloth and single-use nappies. This is also true for children who are used to cloth nappies but might use single-use on vacation. It is a normal reaction to skin changes and will usually disappear after a few days of cloth nappies.
Not all rashes are nappy-rash. If you’re not certain, it’s almost definitely NOT nappy rash. It will be obvious if/when it occurs. If left uncleaned, a little redness can be a sign of a nappy rash. Other causes of rashes include allergies, sensitivity to washing powder, and thrush.
Our nappy-rash advice article by Nappy Lady Ambassador Dr. Kiran Rahim is a great resource for your child.
What is the best way to clean a baby’s bottom?
There are many options: cotton wool, disposable wipes packs, or reusable cloth wipes. Reusable wipes can be very eco-friendly and are free of charge after the initial purchase. They can be used with any dirty nappies. You can also control what you put on your baby’s bottom, unlike commercial wipes.
The following recipe can be used to make your own wipes. This solution can be put into a spray bottle to use when you are out and about. This is a soothing solution that can be used to soothe any nappy rash or redness in your baby’s skin.
Put a teabag of camomile in a container. Add boiling water to the container and let it cool.
After cooling, take out the teabag and stir in approximately. 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Mix thoroughly and put washable wipes in a container. Make sure to get enough liquid in the wipes to absorb it all. Leave them moistened, but not soggy.
After use, place in nappy bucket. You don’t need to dry them on the line. Just smoothen it into a pile and you are ready to go.