For the next few months, we’re doing Questions and Answers from our Live Podcast! This is our fifth in the series and Vanessa is our special guest for this month’s Q+A. Vanessa is mum to Xavier and she asks about her fitted nappies coming off the clothesline “scratchy”, mid-nappy change poos and tips for fitting nappies on bubs with skinny chicken legs.
This Nappy Leaks episode is recorded in front of a live studio audience… and by “live studio audience” we mean in the Bubblebubs warehouse with an audience that was 50% babies! But we all had a great time and it was good to be able to pick Vashti and Vicki’s brains.
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.
Transcript: Questions and Answers Live June
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: Hi Andrew, good.
Andrew: How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: Awesome, Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: Just as good as I was at the first one. How many months ago was that?
Vashti: A few.
Andrew: Today we’ve got Vanessa. How are you doing, Vanessa?
Vanessa: I’m well, thank you.
Andrew: Excellent. And you’re a first time mum.
Vanessa: I am.
Andrew: And he’s, I forgot his name.
Vanessa: This is Xavier.
Andrew: Xavier. And he’s nine weeks old. Nine weeks old when you wrote this, or he’s nine weeks old now?
Vanessa: He was nine weeks old when I wrote that, so he’s ten now.
Vanessa: It goes by quickly.
Andrew: You were a primary school teacher for 20 years. You’re on maternity leave now…
Andrew: …is that like…
Vanessa: It’s extensive.
Andrew: …strange not having something to do during the day?
Vicki: You’ve never been a mother, Andrew.
Andrew: She’s only looking after one little kid, when she usually looks after 35 little kids.
Vashti: Well, hopefully not 35.
Vanessa: There is a bit of that. I keep forgetting that I’m not on school holidays, and so I drive somewhere and I’m like, I’ll drop in on this person. And realise they’re all at work.
Vashti: That’s OK, come and drop in on me. I’ll make you a cuppa, when I’m not flat out.
Andrew: So you’ve chosen cloth to reduce your baby’s exposure to chemicals.
Vanessa: Yeah, just the idea that you don’t really know what’s in a disposable nappy, and wrapping your new little lovely bundle in a piece of plastic didn’t really sit that well with me.
Andrew: So you didn’t have a bad experience? That’s what caused you to do it? You just decided from the start.
Vanessa: No, just try and keep a low tox household.
Andrew: Cool, OK, I shall let you ask your first question.
Vanessa: My fitted nappies are coming out stiff and scratchy from the wash. What am I doing wrong?
Vashti: You’re not doing anything wrong at all. Is it from the wash they’re coming out scratchy, or from the line?
Vanessa: From the line.
Vashti: From the line. So here in Brisbane, especially over the last couple of months, we’ve had very warm weather, which means that your nappies are drying very quickly. Now, when a nappy dries, or when anything dries quickly, what happens is the fibres stand up really strong and stiff, because they’re drying so quickly. If you can dry your nappies slower, so dry in the shade or under a ceiling fan inside, or something like that, the fibres will stand up slower, so they’ll be softer and more pliable. If you want to soften up your nappies that have been on the line and are coming in stiff, you can throw them through the clothes drier for five or ten minutes, if you have one. If you don’t have a clothes drier, you can actually rub the fibres of the nappy against each other, just to soften those fibres up, so that they are a little bit more pliable.
Vicki: Heat. And actually as soon as those nappies are on bub, they actually soften right up, because they’re against the…
Vashti: The body temperature.
Vicki: …body temperature, and they soften very quickly.
Vashti: Throw your nappies on the couch and lie on the couch and have a rest.
Vicki: I like that one. Yep, win.
Vashti: We don’t need to fold them, just throw them all over the couch and have a rest on them.
Vanessa: Thank you. My baby boy often poos mid change, when his nappy is off. Could I be fastening his nappies too tightly?
Vicki: No, I think that’s a boy thing. That is a boy thing. It is like, I remember changing Gabriel’s nappy, and the difference between the whole girl and boy thing is literally we would take the nappy off, and you would see, OK, we’re coming to attention and we’d put the nappy straight back, lay straight back on. I think it is literally an oh, I’m free, kind of thing. And yeah, I think it’s a boy thing. I didn’t notice it so much with my girls.
Vashti: All three of mine, it was normally when Brent was changing. He would lift their legs to slide another nappy under…
Vicki: Of course, and push on their bowel [raspberry noise]…
Vashti: They’d explode. So he’s quite regularly get poop down the front of him. And all over the change table and stuff like that. It is really, really normal. It’s not that you’re doing it up too tight.
Vicki: And it’s not a cloth issue either.
Vashti: It’s not a cloth versus disposable. It is normal. Some kids wait until they have the nappy off to go to the toilet. It’s like some kids wait until they get into the bath to go to the toilet.
Vicki: Or nappy free time.
Andrew: When he grows up, he’s going to say, I did it on purpose.
Vanessa: We have a regular 3:00 a.m. poo, and after putting the clean nappy on for a week, and having the poo in the clean nappy, it was like, I’m just going to wait now.
Vashti: There you go.
Vanessa: Do you have any tips for getting a good fit on skinny little legs?
Vashti: With fitteds? So with fitteds, it’s very much, it’s a lot easier to get a good fit. For skinnier legs you will always get a better fit with a sized nappy or a fitted nappy, or something that doesn’t have too many clips and snaps and things like that. Velcro is fantastic for getting a much better fit, but it is really about trying to get that nappy, start it up nice and high at the back and bringing it up as high as you can at the front, and getting the elastics into the undie line. Skinnier legs, Mikaela was very skinny. She had chicken legs all the way through. She just didn’t want to grow. And she always was a lot harder to fit a nappy on. But I found that I preferred sized nappies with her, and all in ones as well. So I found with an all in one, because it had more padding through the shell, I was always able to get a much better fit on her. Whereas with an all in two, because there was that little bit of room through the wings, and also through the sides, through the gussets or the channels near the legs, it just didn’t sit as nice on her. And that was just Mikaela.
Vicki: And I think firm fastening is much better for skinny legs too.
Vashti: So, but yeah, it can be a little bit of hit and miss at times.
Vicki: I used to find you can actually see, and this is where the whole front fastening comes up, is you can actually really pull the front of a nappy and wrap it around the legs, especially with your Velcro, and then you can angle the Velcro down. So you can kind of really get quite a tiny little leg fit. That’s what I used to do with Gabriel. It’s funny you used to say, I didn’t really have any… I used all in ones on him.
Vashti: Yeah, you did. Because they were your main focus back then. So yeah, does that help?
Vanessa: Thank you.
Andrew: Oh, that was your last question. So what tips would you have for new mothers just about to have their first?
Vanessa: I think take it easy on yourself. Don’t buy into anyone else’s expectations. Do what you feel is right for you, and when it comes to cloth diapering, take it as fast or slow as is comfortable for you.
Vicki: Yeah, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can just do a couple.
Andrew: In other words, look after yourself first.
Vicki: Happy Mama, happy bubba.
Vanessa: There we go.
Andrew: Thank you Vanessa.
Vanessa: Thank you so much.
Andrew: Thank you Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew. That’s Vanessa.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew. Did you know we’re all V’s?
Vashti: Vanessa, Vicki, Vashti. And Xavier.
Vicki: All at the end of the alphabet.
Andrew: Vicki Simpson is a wife and mother to three children, President of the Australian Nappy Association and owner and founder of Bubblebubs. Vicki has been making and selling cloth nappies through her website for 15 years. Bubblebubs is now one of the most recognised and awarded cloth nappy brands in Australia, and is currently expanding to other countries. You can find out more and contact her through her website, bubblebubs.com.au. Vashti Wadwell is mother to three children and has been using cloth nappies for 13 years. She is the owner of Australia’s first cloth nappy store, Nest Nappies, located in Brisbane, Australia. She can be contacted through her website, nestnappies.com.au. If you would like to give us feedback, go to nappyleaks.com.au. If you are finding this podcast helpful, the way to thank us is to leave feedback in the iTunes store or wherever you listen to podcasts. I am your host, Andrew Simpson.