Cloth nappies are not what they used to be; most people think of terry squares and safety pins but this couldn’t be further from the truth these days (in most cases, I have heard of people who still use the tried and tested terry squares). There are various differnt types of cloth nappies avaialble, and they all come in differnt brands, shapes, sizes and colours. The type I’m going to review today though are all pocket nappies. Essentially the nappies have a pocket into which you put inserts which soak up baby’s urine. They are really easy to use, really really cute and hugely cost effective compared to using disposable nappies.
I have three different brands of pocket cloth nappies to review, Fuzzibunz Elite One-Size (from birth), Charlie Banana One-size (from birth) (kindly sponsored by www.joeyroo.com) and Little Comforts Popeazy (from 20lbs) (kindly sponsored by www.littlecomfort.com). I’m going to break the review up into sections, this is probalby the easiest way as there’s a huge amount to cover.
So this is another area that people ask about when they hear about cloth nappies. For a second lets talk about diposable nappies. The average child will use approximately 6000 nappies until toilet training, sometimes more if the child trains at an older age. This is usually 1 bin bag per week, adding up to around 1 tonne of waist in the child nappy-wearing stage. That is a lot of waste from one little bum! The cost of this when you take into account the average cost of disposables being roughly €0.21 each comes to a grand total of €1,260, that is a serious amount of money that could be spent a lot of other ways, and on nicer things!
The cost of cloth nappies can ary quite a bit, but the 3 nappies that I am reviewing here today are all roughly within the same budget. The Fuzzibunz can be purchased for €17 per nappy or on special offer at the moment of buy 5 nappies and get one free for €85 (€14.16 per nappy). The Charlie Banana are €16.50 per nappy, but can also be purchased in value packs for as little as €15.50 per nappy when bought in a 24 pack value set. The Little Comfort Popeazy are €14.99 per nappy, and can also be bought in various value packs for as little as €14 per nappy. The Popeazy can also be purchased in a full set which includes 12 of the Maxi size, and also 12 of the mini size of the nappy, including a roll of liners (for catching solids) this pack is great value!
Looking at the figures, and usingthe most expensive nappy as an example (€17 each), each nappy costs the same as approximately 80 disposables which tends to be two packs of disposables. After that, the cloth nappy has more than paid for itself with each use. The average baby in full time cloth nappies needs around 24 cloth nappies to keep things going, this is variable on how often parents want to wash, but 24 would be a good number to have. Again taking the most expensive nappy, 24 cloth nappies at €17 each is €408. There will be additional small costs along the way including the liners, maybe 3 more machine washes per week and the electricity/water bills for that, but in now way would it ever add up to the average cost of €1,260 that is used on disposables. And not forgetting, that is with the most expensive nappy of the 3!
For me, looking at all the costing figures, the environmental aspects and the benefits for baby cloth nappies really are a no brainer.
The health benefits for baby
A lot of people do not realise the quantity of chemicals that are in disposable nappies. They are bleached to be perfectly white, there’s are chemicals used to absorb baby’s urine, the linings tend to be made of synthetic materials. Have you ever seen those little gel balls that come out of a saturated disposable, that gel is called Polyacrylic Acid. This was the substance that was removed from tampons back in the 1980s due to links with Toxic Shock Syndrone, it can have a link with infertility in women also. This gel in nappies can cause nappy rash, to the extent of chemical burns of baby’s bum. Just a note to add for mamas, Always have recently admitted that Polyacrylic Acid is still used in their female pads, this is something to consider for yourself,
Think of the difference soft bamboo, fleece and cottons would have against baby’s bum, all natural materials which are also available in organic options. This reason alone is enough to make me change to cloth nappies.
Each of the nappies are fitted in a slightly different way, all use poppers as the primary method but the Fuzzibunz and the Charlie Banana have additional sizing features that can be used, this is a great option as these nappies are sold to use from birth through to toilet training; big size differences there so maximum control is essential. The Little Comfort Popeazy does not have any elastic sizing options, I thought initially that this may be a disadvantage.
Here’s a look at the different way each nappy is sized:
As mentioned above, the primary way to size each of the nappies is using poppers. There are two rows of poppers, the top being for waist adjustment and the lower being for around baby’s leg/thigh. The waist poppers on the Fuzzibunz do not cross over (as seen in the second photo below) giving the option for a more snug fit for smaller babies. The Fuzzibunz do however have an adjustable elastic number based setting in the waist band, at the back of the nappy ( see the third photo below), and also around the leg/thigh area too. This does give a good range of sizes for the nappy. I felt the waitstband was a little tough feeling against my little one’s skin and this was when the waistband was on the biggest setting. I would have reservations about how a newborn skin would hold up against the waistband at the smallest setting, for me it was a downer.
The Charlie Banana again uses poppers as the primary method of sizing. The waist poppers in the Charlie Banana do cross over which I feel is a huge advantage for fitting the nappy to a smaler baby. The Charlie Banana also has an adjustable elastic setting in the leg/thing area which is done using a “bra” type system with a number of settings marked on the elastic for ease of syncing all nappies to the same size. I likes this sizing system as there is no excess elastic sticking out of the nappy, everything tucks in really nicely. The Charlie Banana does not have the adjustable elastic in the waist, initially I thought this may be a disadvantage but the cross-over option onthe waist poppers more than makes up for this. The waistband on the Charlie Banana is really super soft and wide so it is really comfy against baby’s back.
Little Comfort Popeazy Maxi
Just like the other two nappies, the Popeazy uses poppers for it’s sizing. The main difference about the Popeazy is though that it only uses poppers for it’s sizing adjustments. On first seeing this cloth nappy compared to the other two, I thought this would be a clear disadvantage as there were less options. Of course, I had forgotten that the Popeazy maxi is intended for use from 20lbs upwards, not from birth upwards like the other two. The Popeazy has the waist poppers and the leg/thigh poppers, but it also has rise adjustment poppers too which allows you to adjust the length of the nappy for use on a smaller sized baby. The waist poppers, like the Charlie Banana, cross over and at the smallest setting actually hasa waist very similar in size to the smallest setting of the other two nappies. The waistband on the Popeazy is just wide enoguh so that it is comfy on baby, but not too wide that it gets bulky.
Each of the nappies comes with the own insert (this is what absorbs babies urine). The Fuzzibunz and the Charlie Banana both come with two inserts, a long and a short one. The Little Comfort Popeazy comes with one long insert which can be folded in half. The Fuzzibunz and the Charlie Banana inserts are both microfibre, the Popeazy insert is made of 60% bamboo and 40% cotton fleece. I found each of the inserts to be really good, and we only had 1 leak which was over a 13 hour night stretch! The Popeazy insert is probably a touch more absorbent than the microfibre inserts, this is down to the fact it is mainly bamboo which is an extremelly absorbent material. The downside to the bamboo is that it is a very slow drying material.
Another element of the inserts is how easy or difficult it is to actually stuff them into the nappy pocket, and removing them once the nappy has been used. For me, I found the Fuzzibunz to be the hardest to stuff. The outer shell material is quite “sticky” and the insert gets stuck as you’re trying to put it in, also the crotch width of the Fuzzibunz is narrower than that of the Charlie Banana and the Popeazy, so getting the insert to lay flat in that area takes more effort. The Charlie Banana and the Popeazy were the same to stuff, really easy! The outer shell material isn’t at all “sticky” so it’s really easy to get the inserts in and in place with little effort.
The Fuzzibunz and the Popeazy pockets both open at the back of the nappy, and the Charlie Banana open at the front of the nappy. To be honest, I didn’t find much difference between the two options and had no issue with removing wet, soiled inserts from either. The only slight advantage I felt the Charlie Banana had in this area was there was no risk of the fleece lining sticking up over the nappy waistband which could lead to leaks onto baby’s cloths. So with the back opening nappies, I’d just say to be careful that everything is tucked in nicely below the waistband.
NB: You can see the difference I mentioned above regarding the waistbands in the photos below :)
Dirty nappies, and washing the nappies
So the things people ask about using cloth nappies are typically about how to deal with dirty nappies, and the washing of them. Both of these are really easy processes, and involve very little effort. There is an option to use a liner in any cloth nappy, bascially they look like a dryer sheet, and this is what catches any solids, this is then tipped into the toilet and flushed away. Simple as that. There tends to be very little residue left on the nappy, so there’s no major stink left lingering afterwards. It really could not be more simple than that! Used nappies can be stored in a bucket, and a few drops of Tea Tree oil will keep smells at bay until there’s enough nappies to do a wash.
The washing of the nappies takes a few stages, but it is in no way challenging First off the nappies need to go on a cold rinse cycle. This rinses out most of the urine, and is the best way to keep the nappies stain and stink free. They then go on a 40degree (celcius) wash with powder (liquid detergent tends to build up on the nappies and reduce the absorbency, which you do not want!), I set the machine to use extra water for this wash, and then once that’s finished use another rinse cycle to remove any remaining powder residue. It takes a little bit of time to get the wash cycles done, but minimal effort. I like to wash the nappies from that day inthe evening when my little one goes to bed, then hang them up on my way to bed; some will be ready for use the next day!
Comparing and contrasting all the pros and cons of each nappy, it ultimately came down to the Little Comfort Popeazy and the Charlie Banana. For me the Fuzzibunz just had to many cons for me to be 100% satisfied with using it all the time. Trying to stuff the nappy with inserts, the thinner waistband that just did not seem comfortable, and also the fact that my daughter just did not seem to be entirely happy with this nappy. It is a great option, but it just didn’t work 100% for us.
The Little Comfort Popeazy and the Charlie Banana are similar in a lot of ways, so it’s very hard to compare them. What I really came down to was which was I happy to order more of for using n our day to day lives and that was the Little Comfort Popeazy! This nappy is super value and it does a really super job. The fit is perfect on my tall and skinny daughter, apparently not having the adjustable elastics in the wait and leg area did not make a bit of difference. The quality o the nappy is supurb, and each of the materials was super soft. My daughter just loved these nappies too which was a winner for me, afterall it is her who has to wear them!
So what do you think, will you give cloth a go? If you’re still left wondering about the whole thing, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will advise in any way I can.
PS Well done if you’ve got this far, you deserve a prize for reading all the above