All-in-one nappies are the easiest nappy to use, as close to a single-use nappy as you can get but you have to wash them! They go on easy and they’re great when you’re putting your laundry away because you don’t have bits and pieces to search for. The downsides are they take longer to dry and they have less flexibility in terms of absorption. They also have less flexibility in regards to laundering as you can’t separate the absorbent part from the waterproof part. They’re fantastic for carers because they’re easy to use and great for parents too in the middle of the night. Listen to the podcast to hear Vashti and Vicki do a deep-dive into all aspects of all-in-one nappies.
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.
Transcription: Nappy Leaks #34
Andrew: How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: I’m good thank, Andrew. How are you today
Andrew: If you’re wondering why Vashti’s still laughing, she’s laughing at why we had to start again. How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: Yeah, I’m good.
Andrew: You’re the reason we had to start again.
Vicki: Hm. Is that surprising?
Andrew: So today we will talk about all in ones. So Vicki, what’s an all in one?
Vicki: A nappy that’s all in one piece. In one sentence.
Andrew: OK, and can you elaborate?
Vicki: I could. But Vashti might.
Vashti: So basically an all in one is, it’s exactly the same as a disposable, with the only difference being you wash it.
Andrew: So you take it off, put it on like a disposable, take it off like a disposable, just throw it in the wash instead of throwing it in the bin.
Vashti: Exactly, so it’s all one piece, everything’s stitched together, you’ve got your waterproof shell, you’ve got your closures and you’ve got your absorbency, all in one handy little package. That collects packages. [laughter]
Andrew: Yes, and not the packages we had delivered here.
Andrew: OK, so as they’re just one part, they’re obviously no good as a night nappy?
Vashti: Well there’s all in one night nappies? And you could use a day all in one nappy for a light to moderate wetter, but it’s not something I would normally recommend.
Andrew: So are there all in one night nappies that have a waterproof component and don’t have a waterproof component? Is that a thing?
Vashti: How can it have a waterproof component and not have a waterproof component?
Vicki: That is the whole concept of an all in one.
Andrew: Yeah, the concept of an all in one has the waterproofing built in, doesn’t it?
Vicki: Yes. Still on the outside.
Andrew: OK, cool. Because for a second I thought there might be a nappy that is called an all in one but doesn’t have the waterproof component…
Vashti: That doesn’t have the waterproof component.
Vicki: You mean like all in two with three pieces? Is that what you’re getting at?
Andrew: No, I mean, well say the Bam bam. Technically, it’s a nappy, but it needs a waterproof cover though, doesn’t it?
Both: Yeah, but it’s a fitted nappy.
Vashti: And fitted nappies need waterproof shells.
Andrew: Right, excellent. I will write that down and not make that mistake again.
Vicki: You write something down? Please. He might type it out, but I won’t see him write it. And besides, that’s the thing I do.
Andrew: Is there such a thing as an all in one night time nappy then?
Andrew: There is?
Vashti: They are out there. They’re few, especially considering all in one take longer to dry, because they’re all stitched together. Now, a night nappy needs a lot more absorbency to get you through longer periods of time. So all that absorbency stitched together would take days on end to dry. So it’s not the done thing.
Andrew: So as far as, if somebody was in say a place it rained a lot, an all in one, would that be a good choice?
Vashti: Probably not.
Andrew: Because you don’t have very many drying days.
Vashti: No, unless you have a very large stash of nappies, and you’re happy to dry them on clothes airers inside or under patios or things like that.
Vicki: Or in the drier.
Vashti: Yeah, or put them through the drier. Which probably isn’t the best thing for them, because they’ve got waterproof shells.
Andrew: Yeah, because you can’t separate the pieces out. And that deteriorates the elastic.
Vicki: It would just deteriorate it faster, and it’s all about having realistic expectations. You can put an all in one in the drier, you need to know that it needs to be on low, and it will degrade the fabrics faster. In the same way you put t-shirts through the drier, and all that fluff that comes off is coming off of your clothes. So yeah, it’s about expectations. You can do that, but the consequence is…
Andrew: Yeah, sometimes when you empty the lint filter, you’re almost taking a nappy off the drier, there’s that much fabric.
Vicki: Yeah, there is.
Andrew: Jenna’s got something.
Vashti: Hi, Jenna.
Jenna: Hi. I’m half here.
Andrew: Have you been there the whole time?
Jenna: Yeah, I just follow you around and hide behind things.
Vashti: She’s the nappy police that jumps out your cupboards.
Jenna: I’m the nappy police.
Andrew: Do we cut that bit, because someone swore?
Vicki: And it wasn’t me.
Jenna: Shocking. Keren and I recently were doing absorbency testing on nappies, and we were weighing nappies when they were dry and then after when they were wet and squeezed out, and we noticed a stark difference between the well-worn nappies dry weight and the new nappies dry weight. Because some of our, my prefolds were a lot newer than some of hers, and vice versa. And we noticed there was a stark difference, so you can only imagine how that would be, and most of ours are line dried, so you can only imagine how much that would be sped up by the…
Vicki: Putting them in the drier.
Jenna: …putting them in the drier, exactly. Yes, that was just a, it was interesting. There was a 20, 30 gram weight between some of them, difference between some of them, that were more used than others.
Vashti: When you think about it, you get fluff in your washing machine; you get fluff in your clothes drier; you get fluff when you shake out your clothes and stuff like that. There are pieces of your clothes and your nappies, and your bedding and your sheets and your towels and everything that you wash, or every piece of fabric, small bits of them come off, as you use them. The pilling that happens on your clothing, it’s part of the fabric that’s disintegrating and coming away. Fabric is not designed to last forever. Plastic is.
Jenna: We want to make it last as long as we can though.
Vicki: As long as possible. I have another question for you though, Jenna.
Jenna: Gosh, can I go back to my hole?
Vicki: At which stage at university did you think, I’ll be weighing nappies and testing the absorbency. I’ll be doing videos, and I will want to be doing this?
Jenna: No, you know what? I had an arts degree.
Vicki: There you go.
Jenna: I stuffed like I sewed fabric on a tent for a project once, so I did weird stuff there too, so you don’t have to edit that out. I did weird stuff at university too. I did a project; we had to make up a fake product, and they were called O-Undies and they were a range of dark underwear to use during your period, with funny things on them. Out of order.
Vicki: Somebody stole it, and somebody stole it and made Thinx, Modibodies.
Jenna: Yes, I’ll sue them, because you know, I had thought that. No, these weren’t even reusable, they were just literally so if you got stains; it didn’t show.
Jenna: But the point is, I did weird stuff at uni. I was well prepared to do weird stuff now.
Vicki: As a parent?
Andrew: My question is more, what were you drinking, when you were weighing nappies?
Jenna: Cucumber gimlet.
Vicki: I could have answered that one. I could have answered that one.
Jenna: We were drinking and weighing nappies. Both of our kids were asleep, and we were having a delightful time.
Andrew: Something had to make you think weighing nappies was a fun project.
Jenna: Keren came down for a sleepover so we could do it.
Vicki: Actually, I suspect that somebody at some stage has sent a message and said, please find out the capacity of these nappies. Perhaps.
Jenna: Yes, Vicki is correct. At some point, Vicki sent me a message telling me to do exactly that, and I put it on my list to do it at some point. And Keren, my husband and Keren’s husband were both travelling, and we went oh, you know what would be fun? Let’s have a sleepover and weigh nappies. Because we need more to do in our lives.
Vashti: Did you ever think you would still have sleepovers in your 30s?
Jenna: No, no, but they’re so fun. You get to finish sentences after the children go to sleep.
Andrew: Have you posted that article?
Jenna: No, not yet.
Andrew: Is it going to be an article, or it was just a drunk day?
Vicki: No, no, we were actually going to, we are putting together data, because we listen to our customers and the questions they ask, and we go, that’s a great idea, we write it, well who am I kidding? I write nothing down…
Jenna: Vicki sends me a text message.
Vicki: Jenna writes it down, and eventually we get to it, and there will be a nice big flow chart time.
Jenna: Yeah, we will look at it, we’re doing, a lot of it is because we’re still deciding on how to put a blog together about that that isn’t boring and also helpful, but a lot of it is people say to us, I’ll get a message…
Vashti: Put the recipe for cucumber gimlet.
Jenna: That is a great blocker. Both of us with the cucumber gimlets.
Andrew: That will happen.
Jenna: I’ll add it, I’ll add it, don’t worry, I’ll put a link in.
Vicki: You’d better spell that for the poor transcriber.
Jenna: The transcriber got Önsklig recently out of one video.
Jenna: The things on the side of the change table. She got Önsklig. I think she might be a mother.
Vashti: Will she get it again?
Jenna: I think she might be a mother.
Vashti: Or an Ikea lover.
Jenna: Ha ha, Ikea lover.
Andrew: Excuse me, the transcriber one transcriber is a mother who home schools her children. They have told me. Not sure if this is going to be translated by that person…
Vicki: She’s probably going to freak out now! We’re talking about her.
Jenna: I do, when you talk and I’m not here.
Vashti: I love that. I really do, I love that you have taken the time to find out who is transcribing our videos, or our podcasts.
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Vicki: Andrew is all over it. He told me that when I first was like, how did they get got Önsklig? How? With the umlaut and everything. Umlaut, is that what it’s called?
Vashti: Yep, see I didn’t even know what an umlaut was.
Jenna: Pretty sure it’s the two dots.
Vicki: I still don’t know what an umlaut is.
Jenna: No, that is the noises that the warehouse makes when I’m here on my own, which is why I lock the door and think I’m always being killed.
Vashti: Those that want to know, I was just doing a knocking sound because there’s a sound and I thought someone might have been knocking.
Jenna: No, that’s the Jenna’s going to get murdered sound, which plays all the time.
Vicki: That’s because you listen to murder podcasts.
Andrew: Oh yeah, because nobody hears that.
Vicki: Fun fact, she really does.
Jenna: Yeah, it’s not the best idea when you’re working in a warehouse on your own. I’ll go back to my little hole now. Please continue. That’s my interjection.
Vashti: Bye, Jenna.
Andrew: Always fun to have a visit from Jenna. We don’t think these nappies will be good in rainy places. What about…
Vashti: It’s not that they will not be good in rainy places, it’s just that you need to know that they will take longer to dry. So…
Vicki: You have to have a bigger stash.
Vashti: And be prepared…
Vicki: Or something else in there as well.
Vashti: …yeah, be prepared for them to take longer. They’re perfect in any climate, you need to have realistic expectations of what will be required of them. And the fact is, they take longer to dry.
Andrew: So in a dry climate, not going to be a problem.
Vashti: Not too much of a problem.
Andrew: Like places you can just throw them over the balcony and they dry in an hour.
Vashti: Yeah, I know that here in Brisbane, through the middle of summer, all in one, all in two pocket, didn’t matter what sort of nappy it was, put them out at 9 o’clock in the morning, you’re pulling them in before lunchtime. And putting them on the bum, that same day.
Andrew: Do they all have the tongue inside?
Vashti: Most all in ones will have a tongue attached, and that’s just because if you had all those layers stitched together, the centre layers just would not dry. So having that tongue just speeds up the drying time a little.
Andrew: So they come apart a little, but they all stay together.
Vashti: Well yeah, they don’t come apart, they’re still stitched, but the flappy bit…
Vicki: They unfold.
Vashti: They unfold.
Andrew: Big advantage when you pull them out of the basket is you’re always pulling out the entire nappy.
Vicki: The disadvantage if they’re Velcro and you’re not using your laundry tabs though, is you literally pull all of them.
Vicki: Big chain.
Andrew: Like a train of china dolls.
Vicki: Pretty much, yes. Use your laundry tabs.
Andrew: Yeah, the tabs, once you take the tabs off, they actually, the tabs fold back in, so the nappy is open.
Vicki: Yeah, that’s Velcro nappies.
Andrew: Velcro nappies. While we’re discussing Velcro, there’s Velcro and there’re snap ones?
Andrew: And do we use all in ones on younger babies? Or do we use them throughout?
Vashti: I have, my customers use them all the way through.
Vicki: We used them all the way through for Abbi. And used them halfway through for Bella.
Vashti: I used them all the way through for all three of my kids. So Kylan had all in ones all the way until toilet training.
Andrew: And like all nappies, they come as a one size fits most, and they also come as a sized nappy, don’t they?
Vashti: Yep. Depends on which brand you choose.
Andrew: OK. Is there any disadvantages you can think of, of having the all in ones, besides the drying?
Vashti: You have to wash the entire thing, every single change.
Andrew: So you can’t have spare pieces to it, you’ve got to…
Andrew: But on the upside though, you take the whole nappy off, drop it in. And that must be much easier when Grandma comes over and…
Vashti: They’re fantastic for alternate caregivers, for day care, because it is just one piece. They need not think about it too much, they can just put it on.
Andrew: So like you say, it goes on like a disposable, just comes off like a disposable, you wash it. It’s really the simplest one then, isn’t it?
Vashti: So this will probably come across, and we’ll probably get spoken to about it. There will be somebody who will take offence, but it’s a dad friendly nappy, as we used to say.
Vicki: Or a partner friendly.
Vashti: See, it’s normally me saying partner instead of a dad, isn’t it?
Vicki: The non-primary care giver friendly nappy. The thing is, we’re getting, and this is exciting to see, we’re getting such a huge range of involved dads. Unfortunately, there still is a whole range of non-involved dads. Andrew’s brother in particular, I don’t know whether he’s changing his current bubby’s nappies, but he skirted that he changed, how many nappies did he change on his boys? I think it was like four or five. Literally, he was skiting, that he changed…
Andrew: Is this the second brother?
Vashti: What does skiing mean?
Vicki: Yes. Bragging.
Andrew: Oh, OK, I never knew that. He never said that to me.
Vicki: Oh didn’t he? Oh, maybe he suited it.
Andrew: Wow. Maybe he thought you’d think more highly of him, if he told you that.
Vashti: Can’t imagine he would.
Vicki: No, really, no.
Vashti: I met, at the last expo we did, I met a hilarious lesbian couple, and one of them was asking me all the questions and getting all the things, and she went to talk to her partner, and her partner is like, I don’t care, just tell me whatever I’m doing at the end. Just ignore, and it made me think of why we talk about partner friendly nappies and stuff. And it’s like, you know what? There’s often, no matter what configuration it is, if it’s the dad or it’s the mum, if it’s a lesbian or a gay partner or whatever, there’s often one parent that’s like, I don’t care, just tell me at the end.
Vicki: Yeah, one person makes the, you know what, it’s the primary and the non-primary care givers. So yeah.
Vashti: But yes, they were hilarious. She was like; she was just like, I could not, I had just been standing there talking to like an involved Dad, the next couple that came, and it’s one of those moments, you can’t stereotype anyone, people are people.
Vicki: No, you can’t.
Vashti: She cracked me up. She’s like, I do not care. I will find out at the end when we decide what we’re doing.
Andrew: Are these a good fit for a newborn baby?
Vashti: A newborn all in one is a great fit for a newborn baby. [laughter] Look, I love an all in one on a newborn.
Vicki: It will often get people over the line, actually, to try cloth, because it’s simple.
Vashti: It’s easy. And it’s fantastic to fit underneath all those newborn clothes, all those little clothes. And it will not be too big and bulky, so bum will not be up in the air, and…
Vicki: And they’re cute. They’re tiny, it’s that cute, tiny little nappy. We’re talking a seized all in one. But they’re that cute, tiny little nappy that will, when you’re pregnant and you kind of go goo-gah over just the little things, oh they’re so cute.
Vashti: Yeah, the tiny little jumpsuits and stuff, match it up with the tiny little nappy and it’s adorable. But it’s also fantastic for those 2:00 a.m. changes where your eyes are literally hanging out of your head, and your sleep deprived and you’re sitting there going, I don’t want to change another nappy. Grab an all in one. And do an all in one, because on a newborn, you will change through the night…
Vashti: …yeah, so lots of people use them for outings in those early days when they’re still trying to wrap their head around being a parent. It’s just easy.
Andrew: How many all in ones did you have in your stash?
Vashti: Oh yeah, no, that’s probably not…
Vicki: That’s enjoy asking how many nappies, how many nappies do we have in our stash?
Andrew: We don’t have a stash.
Vicki: How many did we have?
Andrew: Oh, 40. [laughter]
Vashti: I had more than that.
Vicki: Too many to wash at any one time.
Vashti: [inaudible, 17:14] I probably…
Andrew: Forty in the Monday lot.
Vashti: Yeah. I probably had way more than I needed. I know that there was, I can think of, Kylan is nearly five, and I can think of eight all in ones of the top of my head I used with him. So…
Vicki: Well I can think of ten I took to the hospital.
Vashti: Yeah, we took a lot of prefolds and fitteds to the hospital though.
Vicki: Well no, see I made Gabriel’s
Vashti: You did all that Just Hatched.
Vicki: Exactly, and I was still making them.
Vashti: See, I missed the Just Hatched. You’d stopped them by the time Kylan came along.
Vicki: I’ve still got some embroidered nappy cuts.
Vashti: They’re no good now, nearly five years later, are they?
Vicki: I could always make them bigger. Just hatched, out of the nappy. One day, I will… well fun fact. I would do a live video and show how quickly I could make one of our old all in ones, and so I went downstairs to get all the pieces and Andrew cleaned the warehouse up. [gasps] And so they were all up the top, like two metres high. I could see all the pieces I needed.
Vashti: He’s got that gorgeous new ladder, his funky new toy.
Vicki: I know, buy men a ladder, and he’ll put boxes up high. So that didn’t happen. And I was just going to give it away. I was just going to go look, that was a day I felt enjoy sewing.
Andrew: You know we will get emails about that now. People will want it. Maybe we should give it away as a prize.
Vicki: Well no, yeah, it was just going to be a random giveaway. It was just going to be sped up; I thought we’d do a…
Vashti: A time lapse?
Vicki: It takes me, it used to take me six minutes, once the nappy was cut out, because that takes quite a bit of time. But it used to take me six minutes to actually put together an all in one, from woe to go. And I was just going to do a time lapse, then give it away. Because I felt enjoy sewing that day. I don’t feel enjoy sewing today.
Vashti: It’s not a sewing day.
Vicki: It’s too cold.
Vashti: And the air con is really, really cold as well.
Andrew: I’ll turn the air conditioning down, that might put you in the mood. OK, I think we’ll finish it up there. Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Bye everybody.