We use cloth nappies, a decision that was made partly due to environmental considerations, partly financial and primarily because we wanted soft and natural materials against our daughter’s skin. We investigated various ways of doing the whole cloth nappy thing as there are a number of options – terry towelling or other flat nappies, prefolds, pockets and all in ones. In the end our decision was based on what we managed to obtain from Freecycle so we ended up using mostly Motherease one size cotton shaped nappies but we also have prefolds and one or two pocket nappies.
A further consideration when using prefolds, flat or shaped nappies that aren’t all in one is what goes over them. Wool was a choice that I had never heard of but the more I read about wool, the more my enthusiasm gained momentum. Some of the benefits of using wool include that it is natural, it is breathable so it is gentle on little ones, it both absorbs and repels liquid (yes that seems to be a contradiction but this is one of the reasons it is such a good option) and its antibacterial and self-cleaning. Rather than it making little ones hot, the wool helps to regulate their temperature, keeping them warm in the cold weather and comfortable in the summer. It really does seem like magic! Plus, it is so easy to use. Being self-cleaning means that there is no need to wash wool covers regularly. What this means in practice is that you change your baby taking off one wool cover which may or may not be damp and swapping for another. You hang the used cover over the back of a chair to air and it will be ready to use again when you next change the nappy. No smells at all (this amazes friends who have checked this out because they haven’t believed me), no washing, just a very simple nappy system. You do need to wash them occasionally. I washed ours once in the last five months. They didn’t seem to need it as they still looked and smelled clean but I felt I should! They also need to be treated with lanolin from time to time as part of the washing process. This is really easy and if anyone needs an explanation as to how to go about this I’d be happy to share.
Wool covers are also so cute. You can buy covers that are made by machine or hand knitted, you can knit or crochet them yourself using one of the free or bought patterns available on the Internet or you can make upcycled versions from wool jumpers etc. The key is they must be made from a minimum of 70% wool and can’t be made from superwash wool as this has been treated to be suitable for machine washing and in this process they lose the properties that make them suitable as nappy covers. If in doubt check the label. If it says it can be machine washed it won’t work. Covers can be like underwear, shorties, skirties or longies. This gives you options. You can use pull on covers and add extra layers of clothing over the you if you want to or they can double as outerwear which is my preferred option.
Here are some photos of my daughter in different kinds of wool covers.