Every month after the main podcast is recorded I sometimes manage to keep the girls in front of the microphone just a little longer to answer some listener questions.
This week we try to talk about tips to dry your nappies but veer off into a discussion about maternal mental health and how parenting is hard and that’s ok. If you ever feel like you need to speak to someone or want to read more about new parents and mental health Beyond Blue is a great resource.
Vicki Simpson is the current President of the Australian Nappy Association and has been advocating for and selling cloth nappies in Australia for over a decade. She is the owner, creator and Chief Nappy Nerd here at Bubblebubs. Vashti Wadwell is the outgoing Member Secretary of the Australian Nappy Association and is the owner of Australia’s first bricks and mortar nappy store, Nest Nappies, in Brisbane, Australia. Both Vicki and Vashti have used cloth nappies for more than a decade each over three children and turned their passion into a business.
If you have any comments about the podcast, you can email us at email@example.com. If you found this podcast helpful, then the way to thank us is to leave feedback in the iTunes store.
Andrew: How are you, Jenna?
Jenna: I’m good Andrew, thanks for asking me first, I feel really special.
Andrew: How are you Vashti?
Vashti: I’m good thanks Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: Why am I last? Because he hates me that’s why.
Vashti: Because he’s caught up.
Vicki: This is just the classic example of how a man can never win, ever. Ever. Hi, Andrew.
Andrew: Is my face red?
Andrew: So today’s question. Actually, before we do, let’s remind everybody about the live event, because this show will publish the month before the live event. So…
Vicki: The live event that we know nothing about? What have we decided, we decided it’s going to be catered. You’re going to see the fact that it actually takes about two hours to record a half an hour podcast because we laugh too much and pee our pants. There’s going to be a little gift pack, and there’s going to be some lucky door prizes.
Vashti: And it will be fun.
Vicki: Oh look, it is fun.
Andrew: It’s going to be fun. So the idea is…
Vicki: Well we think it’s fun. It’s fun for me.
Andrew: …we’re going to do a podcast there you’re going to get to ask the questions. I may not even be there, because I won’t have to ask any questions.
Vashti: No, you’ve got the smooth introducing podcast-y voice. You’ve got to do that.
Vicki: You’ve got that 1900 voice. Go on.
Andrew: I can prerecord that.
Vicki: Who’s going to do this, with your new ridiculously expensive Macbook that we’re not going to bring up in this episode at all?
Jenna: I feel like you just brought it up.
Vicki: We did the sound checks talking about how much it cost.
Jenna: I feel like you just brought it up.
Andrew: Girls, girls, if you argue, disposables win. [laughter]
Vicki: New tag line. There is no worse dad joke teller than my husband.
Andrew: If I don’t have an expensive laptop…
Vashti: You should meet my father in law.
Andrew: …disposables win. [laughter]
Jenna: Can I use that as well?
Vashti: Disposables aren’t that bad, sometimes they’re needed, and if that’s what’s going to get someone over the line for the day…
Vicki: Using it part time…
Vashti: …then use a disposable.
Vicki: …not throwing the kid out a window, for instance. We’ve had those discussions haven’t we?
Vashti: Let’s not throw the children out the window, OK?
Vicki: We’re not meant to do that.
Vashti: No, no.
Jenna: Oh, OK, that’s good to know.
Vashti: No, Children’s Services look down on you.
Vicki: Note to self. Your future self. Everyone has been there. And if you are there, it is OK to leave your dirty, this is completely off topic, whatever the topic is, but it is perfectly fine to lock your child in a cot, let them scream, and you walk outside so you can’t hear them, so you can face that. That is the right thing to do. Throwing them out a window is not.
Vashti: Well now I know that.
Jenna: Plus a window is really expensive to replace.
Vicki: Exactly. But what I’m saying is, look after yourself. You can’t…
Andrew: You guys, you’re going to the monsters.
Vicki: This is the reality of parenthood.
Vashti: Sometimes parenting sucks.
Jenna: I wish everyone who told me that, that was one thing, people always do that, no one told me I’d have poop on the table. But I was like, everyone told me that, I don’t think my friends were honest enough about the fact that you will want to shake the baby. I kind of thought that was people who were struggling, maybe people with depression with no help for it.
Jenna: No, everyone wants to shake their baby, and if they haven’t, if you don’t, I’m sure there’s the 1% out there who don’t.
Vicki: The thing is, we don’t shake the baby.
Vashti: Don’t, no.
Jenna: What we do is we run down the other end of the house, we go Casey take the baby, take the baby, that’s what we do.
Vicki: Exactly, and you know what? If you’re actually at that point, it’s OK to reach out. You can reach out to me, I don’t care. You can call me in the middle of the night, and talk about anything, rather than…
Vashti: Vicki doesn’t sleep, she won’t care.
Vicki: Yeah, no I don’t.
Jenna: I have a friend down the street, she’s pregnant, and I’ve been really honest with her. I said, you will have those moments, and that’s fine. I said listen, I am home with Ryan most of the days. When I work, I am seven minutes away in the warehouse. You call me, and I will come. If your husband is at work and you are having that day and you need someone. And I’m like, you know when you’re trying to explain to someone no, I mean this. This isn’t an empty offer. Call me and I’ll come and take the baby.
Vicki: Because we don’t want to see those stories that you see, where it’s like she did throw the baby out the window. She’s a terrible mother and all of that. But you know, it’s actually getting…
Vashti: She’s not a terrible mother, she’s a normal mother.
Vicki: …it’s getting the mum before that.
Vashti: And knowing you’re not alone. Knowing that it’s normal.
Jenna: It’s safe to put the baby down in the cot, walk away, take a moment, take a breath…
Vicki: Compose yourself.
Jenna: …call someone if you’ve got someone, call Vicki. And then go back in and deal with the kid. And it’s normal. We all feel that way. The next day they smile at you and you’re like, everything is perfect in the world and you love them so much.
Vashti: It’s not even the next day, it’s half an hour. The magical. Andrew’s putting his hands up because I think he wants to talk about cloth nappies for some reason.
Vicki: But you know [laughter] … I don’t care because I am such a big advocate for mental health. For maternal mental health and I think it’s important, and I really want to reiterate that again. That it is normal to feel like that, and sometimes you need to step away. So don’t feel bad if you have to do that. If you have to put your baby in a safe place…
Jenna: Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you.
Vashti: Yeah, the corner chair at Nest is really, really comfy.
Jenna: I have breastfed in it. It’s delightful.
Vashti: It is perfect for breastfeeding. The kettle takes less than a minute to boil and our cookie jar is pretty much always full.
Vicki: Ours is never full. That’s a lie, there are cupcakes on the table.
Vashti: They’re a week and a half old. But there are cupcakes on the table.
Andrew: They’re more of a decoration. Not food now.
Jenna: So what we do is go to Nest. For food.
Vashti: If you are in Brisbane, if you are in Brisbane and you do need some time out, throw your baby in the car… well don’t throw them in the car, put them in a car, jump in the car…
Jenna: Buckle them in a car seat.
Vashti: …in a car seat, and come out to the shop, if we’re open. I, or Ang or Heidi would love to snuggle your baby.
Vicki: Actually, you know what some of the problem with that is though, I, actually, and we’re talking mental health, I have been driving the car and the kids have been fighting in the back. I’m honestly looked at poles and wondered how fast you would have to go to smash the car…
Jenna: I can tell you, I haven’t got Ryan out of…
Vicki: But that’s what I’m saying, is we all, we’re all there, where you’re just at the end…
Jenna: We’ve all had that moment.
Vicki: We all have a breaking point.
Vashti: We all have a tether.
Vicki: We all do.
Jenna: Friday, I called Casey going OK, that tether I was at the end of? I’m at the end of it now. I’m there.
Vicki: It’s about recognising it. It’s about recognising that you’re at the end of the tether, you don’t want to go past that point. So anyway Andrew, you can go.
Vashti: We’re meant to be talking about cloth nappies or something.
Andrew: So, the…
Vicki: This is important.
Andrew: We’re going to record the March episode live. So if you want to be in the audience, go to www.nappyleaks.com/live and fill out the application form.
Jenna: This is actually why you need to be at the live show. Because someone needs to steer the boat. That’s what we need Andrew for, someone to steer the boat.
Vashti: I’m so excited about that live show.
Jenna: I didn’t even know about it until today. Now I’m excited.
Vashti: I’m really, really over the moon about it. It’s going to be so much fun.
Vicki: I must admit, I’m not going not going to lie, I wasn’t.
Vashti: No, you weren’t.
Vicki: I’m probably still a bit…
Vashti: I remember telling you last week, I’ve been going what about this, we can do this, and do this, and like aha, aha. You want people to get in front of a group and talk about cloth nappies. Just let me do it.
Andrew: OK, seven and a half minutes into the episode.
Various: [inaudible – over talking, 07:50]
Vicki: We’re getting better.
Andrew: Let’s talk about drying cloth nappy tips. And the first question is…
Vicki: We all live in Queensland, for goodness sakes. Just put them on the line for 30 seconds.
Vashti: We get two weeks of the year in July August when we can’t dry them, OK? And I did do two years in central Victoria, and Mikayla was born in July, so I had two under two in fulltime cloth in July in the middle of Victoria. We did not hit double figures for about three months. If we got to ten degrees, it was let’s go to the park.
Jenna: There’s stuff under ten degrees.
Vicki: I was actually thinking 20, honest to God, I was thinking double figures was 20.
Vashti: No, double figures is 10 degrees.
Andrew: So how did you dry them?
Vashti: So we had clothes airers. We had three tier clothes airers. And I would double space my nappies on the clothes airers and shove them in around the wall heaters or over the floor vents, or under the ceiling fans at night. So we’d have the ceiling fans going at night in the middle of winter, in the dining room…
Vashti: At ten degrees.
Vashti: We’d turn them on when we went to bed.
Jenna: I’ve done that, not in winter, but when they were nearly dry and then it rained and I couldn’t be bothered to put them in the drier or something. I think our drier broke and I had them under the fans. It works really well.
Vashti: Here in Brisbane, or Queensland, humidity is the major issue, so through the really humid months…
Jenna: And storms.
Vashti: …it’s really hard to get things dry because there’s so much moisture in the air. So you really need to…
Jenna: I had it like that the other day. It was very, very hot and I brought my nappies in and I still wasn’t 100% sure they were dry.
Vicki: We had a day like that yesterday.
Jenna: Oh, it was yesterday.
Vicki: We weren’t drying stuff. We were building a fence…
Vashti: Yeah, good on you.
Vicki: …35 degrees and 85% humidity. Fun. Yeah, it was. It would have been fun for drying too.
Andrew: Was there a particular fabric that if someone was in a cold place, is there a particular fabric nappy they’d buy? Or someone in a warm place?
Vashti: Microfiber dries a lot quicker, your synthetic fibres will dry quicker than your natural fibres. So if you get Microfiber nappies. But the peekaboo all in one is a great option. Or terry flats because they’re a single layer.
Jenna: Anything that’s a single layer. Pre-folds or cottons, they won’t dry as quickly as either of those, but they will dry quite quickly. Muslin flats…
Vashti: Muslin flats dry in like 30 seconds.
Jenna: I love muslin flats as a booster for Ryan’s night nappy, and you can fold them up, I fold them up into about, a rectangle about the size of my hand. But you unfold them into this great big thing, and they dry in six seconds. So those are great.
Vashti: Yep, but the peekaboo…
Vicki: Don’t lie, it’s seven.
Vashti: …the peekaboo all in ones, I like those, and this is the thing. When Brisbane had the flood, Nest did up care packages for some of our customers who lost everything. Now, most of those care packages contained flats and pre-folds but we did throw in some peekaboo all in ones, because mainly microfiber, and when nothing else was drying, those things were. They were amazing.
Andrew: And the patterns were ones that people weren’t buying?
Vashti: No [laughter]. We wouldn’t do that.
Vicki: Actually, you know what? And off topic, talking about the floods, that was just an amazing time. You remember the mud armies? That was just, it’s like after major disasters like that, after the bushfire, I’m sure after the, no I won’t mention them, because that will date the podcast. But after bushfires…
Vashti: You look at Black Friday down in Victoria and things like that…
Vicki: That’s the Aussie spirit.
Jenna: I was just saying, it’s like look for the good people. Look for the helps.
Vicki: Look for the helpers.
Jenna: When you’re losing faith in humanity, you look at stuff like that, and it does help buoy your spirits.
Vashti: That’s the thing, and I’m pretty sure, I haven’t watched the news in ages, but the bushfires over in California recently, I’m pretty sure you will find armies of people going in there. I know that the bushfires here in Australia, whenever there is a major bushfire crisis…
Vicki: Up in Queensland.
Vashti: …there was one down south where there was a photo that got splashed all over Australia, of a clothesline. And it had the remnants of the dirty washing, and you could actually see they were remnants of cloth nappy. Now, the community came together. There was a Go-Fund-Me page. Itty actually donated a completely, a full stash for this family, but…
Vicki: No, they donated heaps more than that, it wasn’t just…
Vashti: …no, but the family got a complete stash, but there was also a full collection taken up and there were charity auctions and everything like that…
Jenna: Oh, my heart.
Vashti: …and the money went to the community around that person, around that family and other bushfire victims, stuff like that. But it was massive. But it was the way that the entire cloth community came together…
Vicki: [in unison] …came together.
Vashti: …to support not just this family who’d lost their entire stash, and they were lucky, they didn’t actually, from memory, it swept through the back half of their yard. They lost part of their house, but not all of their house. But their entire stash had been on the line. So they had no cloth nappies, and they pretty much got out with just the clothes on their back, and stuff like that.
Andrew: And the nappies on the baby.
Vashti: Well yeah. But yeah, the entire cloth community rallied. The picture was grabbed by somebody and thrown up into a cloth nappy forum and said what can we do? Who can donate? And the amount of people in our community who wanted to donate and wanted to help this family out was just phenomenal. And that’s Australia.
Vicki: Actually, funny you say that, because we have actually, we’re getting to the point now where we’re actually going to run with it, but we actually had a print run that wasn’t our print, accidentally made into candies, and change mats and wet bags and that sort of thing. And it’s actually, it’s another brand’s print. So they, it’s an I.P. crossover.
Vashti: I.P. is intellectual property, for those following on.
Vicki: Yeah, so we don’t want them to be selling candies, and they don’t want us to be selling the print, which is fair enough. But what we were going to do was just pay for the stock and donate it to orphanages in China. It’s not going to leave China at all, but we’ve got to get, otherwise it gets burned.
Vashti: Well, the factory needs to make their money from it…
Vicki: Oh, absolutely.
Vashti: They’ve produced it, they’ve spent money on the fabrics, they’ve spent money on the wages and stuff like that, so the factory…
Vicki: Exactly, so it’s a loss for them. But I posted about that in our V.I.P. group because one of our prints didn’t get printed. That was the problem. And everybody’s like, I want to donate, I want to donate. And I must admit, because I wanted to do it, I wanted to buy all the things.
Vashti: But everyone was like, Vicki, you donate the shell, we’ll donate the trifold, everyone was rallying around. No one was like, oh my God, I missed the print. No one cared about that. Everyone just straight back in was like, that’s a great idea, how can I help.
Vicki: And I actually, it took me a couple of days to step back and say actually, you’re being really greedy by wanting to do it all yourself, when other people are there wanting to…
Vashti: Wanting to help as well.
Vicki: …wanting to help as well. That’s got absolutely nothing to do with drying cloth nappies. But it’s got everything to do with how wonderful Australians are.
Andrew: Has anybody got any tips on to dry cloth nappies?
Vashti: So double space on a clothes airer in front of wall vents, like wall heaters, over the top of floor vents. Put them underneath a ceiling fan at night, double spaced on clothes airers once again. Try and hang them out, lay them flat so that there’s air circulating all the way around them, if they’re a modern cloth nappy. If they’re a flat or a pre-fold, peg them up so that the air can circulate all the way around them. If they don’t have P.U.L.s and elastic in them, throw them through the drier.
Vicki: That’s my tip, yeah, throw them through the drier.
Jenna: Use the drier. Don’t be afraid to use your drier. None of us are perfect, and Vicki and I have had some conversations about this, this week. If we all feel the pressure to be, stop feeling the pressure to be so perfect environmentally and…
Vicki: Just do the thing.
Jenna: …everyone do a little bit. Everyone do a little bit and the world will be better, rather than thinking that we have to pass this super high bar. Use your drier if it’s raining. It’s OK.
Vicki: It’s OK to use gladwrap if you don’t have to use the bees wax things if you don’t want to.
Jenna: That’s what we’re talking about, make it approachable.
Vicki: Set it for one cycle.
Jenna: Make it more approachable, wear a [inaudible, over talking 16:11]
Vicki: But if you can’t, but that’s exactly what we were talking about, is you have to do all the things. That’s the pressure.
Jenna: And I think it makes being eco-conscious less approachable.
Vicki: Yes, it does. Just pick one or two things.
Jenna: I think if everyone does a little bit, and hey if you want to do a lot, you do a lot. That’s awesome. But I think if we stop feeling the pressure to do all the things…
Vicki: It’s a bit like cloth nappies, about having to do it full time and do all the…
Jenna: Do it part time. Do what works for you.
Vashti: Here’s a good thing, is when Kylan was born, Brett was on contract in Sydney, I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before. At six weeks he had to go back to Sydney, and at seven weeks I was back in the shop. So Kylan was coming to work with me. But I still had two kids that I needed to do school runs for. I had a brand new baby, I was working, I was managing a house, and I was doing it all on my own. Kylan was fulltime cloth from birth, because of Mikayla’s allergies, we didn’t take that risk. My nappies regularly went through the clothes drier.
Vicki: Because that’s the thing, it’s what got you through the day.
Vashti: I was like, you know what? I’m not going to stand out on my back deck at 10 o’clock at night putting nappies on the airer, because he was born in July for starters. Yes, it’s Brisbane, but it’s still cold in July.
Vicki: It’s cold, oh my God, especially at 10 o’clock at night.
Andrew: It’s cold now.
Vashti: That’s because you’ve got the air con on arctic.
Jenna: Arctic? I’m a little warm now, actually. Vicki’s going to kill me.
Vashti: But it was like, at the end of the day I got to the point where it’s like, the nappies have been sitting in the washing machine since 8 o’clock this morning, and I haven’t had a chance to hang it out.
Jenna: Put them in the drier.
Vashti: Stuff it. And I picked them out of the washing machine and put them in the drier.
Jenna: You know what I got sick of? Lately the Queensland weather with showers and stuff coming across, it was anything, if it was a 30% chance of rain, if I hung them out, it was always going to rain. And I was sick to death of running out, grabbing them off the line, while I have a toddler screaming, wanting, where’s Mummy gone and stuff, and trying to run them in. And the other day there was like a 50/50 chance of rain, and my husband gave me like the eye about using the drier, and I was like, you can come home and take them off the drier. And he back peddled.
Vashti: See, what’s where I like my clothes airers though, because if I did hang it on the clothes airer, I didn’t have to worry about the fact that it was going to rain, because I could just leave the clothes airer on the back deck, or the back veranda or whatever.
Vicki: But then you end up with a Chinese laundry and a toddler.
Vashti: I had the clothes airers on the deck, and the toddler couldn’t get out the back door. So…
Jenna: I have like a north facing Hills Hoist, in summer at the moment my cloth nappies are drying in about 12 and a half seconds. But my tip…
Vicki: Again, you lie, it’s 13 and a half.
Jenna: But even in winter in Queensland, sometimes you can have troubles drying, and my big tip is I like to wash overnight, so I put the prewash on when bub goes to bed, and I put the main wash on before I go to bed, and I wake up in the morning and I hang the nappies out first thing in the morning before my husband leaves the house.
Vashti: That’s what I do. That’s what I used to do…
Jenna: Do it before the husband leaves.
Vashti: Remember this washing episode we did, where you should wash everyday and you wash overnight and then you dry them during the day, and you just do that cycle every day?
Vicki: Hear that, Andrew?
Vashti: Everyone at home, that has nothing to do with you. That’s Vicki telling Andrew something, and if you don’t know what it is, go back an episode.
Vicki: Or two.
Andrew: That was months ago.
Jenna: I can’t remember when that one was, but go back if you’ve lost context there. But no, I lie, I should give him credit, my husband usually hangs out the nappies before he goes to work. I’ll have breakfast after he goes, but that’s my thing that I make sure that gets done before he leaves the house so I can keep on top of life, because it’s anarchy.
Vicki: Because you don’t whinge when your husband, and my husband is amazing, he does the washing and he does the cleaning and he keeps the house. He’s actually, he’s just taken up so many of my tasks. In fairness, credit where credit is due.
Jenna: Oh yeah, Casey hangs them out, he doesn’t use the correct pattern. He doesn’t use matching pegs.
Vicki: He used to not use pegs.
Vashti: He doesn’t use matching pegs?
Vashti: That’s insanity. It’s anarchy.
Vicki: No, no, I can go one better…
Vashti: …the whole house is anarchy.
Vicki: …he uses no pegs at all. I’m not even joking, I am not.
Vashti: Do you mean when he uses the drier, or do you mean on the clothes line?
Vicki: No, on the clothes line. What is wrong with you?
Vashti: So when you’ve got clothes airers you don’t need to use pegs, just putting it out there.
Jenna: I’m sorry, are clothes airers sponsoring this episode?
Andrew: Now I’m just embarrassed again.
Vashti: He’s not nearly as red as he was that episode.
Andrew: So guys, I think we should finish it up, because we all have homes to go to. Thanks Vicki.
Vashti: I think my dog wants food.
Vicki: Thanks Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thanks, Jenna.
Jenna: Thank you.
Andrew: Bye, everybody.