This is a Questions and Answers from our Live Podcast a few months ago. This is our sixth and last episode in the series and Robyn is our special guest for this month’s Q+A. Robyn is a mum of two, her eldest is six-year-old and her youngest is six-months-old at the time of recording. Robyn is a babywearing consultant and you can learn more on her facebook page here. Robyn asks about pockets vs snap-in inserts, how to get nappies to dry faster and how to avoid compression leaks when babywearing.
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 in person.
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 July
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m good Andrew, how are you.
Andrew: Excellent. How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: Fantastic, Andrew
Andrew: And we’ve got a guest, Robyn.
Andrew: How are you?
Robyn: I’m good, how are you guys?
Andrew: And you’ve got two. You’ve got a six year old and a four month old.
Robyn: I do. I’ve only got one here today. She’s now almost six months old.
Andrew: Of course, because you wrote this…
Robyn: I did, I don’t remember when I wrote that. Feels like years ago. Probably last week.
Andrew: Excellent. Now, you’re a baby wearing consultant.
Robyn: I am.
Andrew: What does a baby wearing consultant do?
Robyn: I teach people how to wear their babies safely. So that can be in whatever they’ve got, be it a carrier, a wrap, a sling, whatever you’ve got. Or if you have no idea and want to try something out, we also bring our stash, or our collection of carriers to your house and show you all the options that are out there.
Andrew: Excellent. And how do people contact you?
Robyn: They can contact us through either Instagram or Facebook, or we’re @babywearingpractice on Instagram, or The Baby Wearing Practice on Facebook.
Andrew: OK, no website?
Robyn: Yep, www.thebabywearingpractice.com.au.
Andrew: Excellent. So I will let you ask your first question to the girls.
Robyn: OK. Well, my first questions, because since having my other daughter, who is now six, a lot has changed in the cloth nappy world. A lot. And I’ve certainly noticed it, because we lived in Melbourne for the first two months of Eliza’s life. And it was horrible. Cloth nappying in Melbourne was horrible.
Vashti: I’ve done it.
Robyn: Without a dryer.
Vashti: No, we moved to Melbourne when Braith was, well not Melbourne, central Victoria, when Braith was nine weeks old, and we were there for two years. So Mikayla was born in July of the second year. Two, under two, in fulltime cloth in July in central Victoria sucks.
Vicki: I swear to God, I would move to Melbourne if it wasn’t for the weather and the traffic. The two things, fix it. Fix it Melbourne, and you’ve won me over. I love it. I love Melbourne.
Vashti: It’s gorgeous, yeah.
Vicki: I just hate the cold.
Robyn: See, we moved to Melbourne for the weather, because my husband was working for the Bureau of Meteorology. And he still is.
Andrew: Is he the reason it’s cold?
Vicki: So why don’t you move to Tassie and go see the aurora? He could go and study the aurora, because so many people don’t know that we have southern lights here.
Robyn: I know. My daughter does, but I think that’s from T.V. that she knows that we have southern light. But my big question, after chasing the sun in Melbourne a lot of the time with all of my clothes on airers, which I know Vashti loves, is are there any particular techniques that you recommend for pegging our or hanging out your cloth nappies to dry them faster?
Vicki: I think Andrew needs to answer this question. Over to you, Andrew. How do you peg clothes, or nappies, on the line?
Andrew: You don’t peg, you just hang them over, because they’re not going to be there for very long, so you just hang them over.
Vicki: Andrew doesn’t use the clothes line.
Andrew: I hope the wind didn’t come up and spread them over the back yard.
Vicki: When Andrew did use the clothes line, like for clothes, he wouldn’t even shake them out. When I first started dating him, I swear, he had this clothes line, like he had a clothes dryer. He had clothes dryer, but he had this manky man thing, of like two, indoor, like he had an outdoor clothes line, but he had this indoor, two rows of line, fishing line or whatever he had strung up, and literally, I kid you not, he would grab the clothes out of the washing machine and chuck them over the line. And load after load, after load. I swear. And he continued that on into our whole married life. So I built him a heat pump dryer. Anyway. So we really can’t answer that question. That will have to be a Vashti question.
Vashti: So I like to hang my nappies longways. So that there is no pressure on the leg elastics.
Vicki: Like a hotdog.
Vashti: Yes, like a hotdog. But in colder weather, or when it’s really wet and nothing is drying, I actually hang them over two lines so that there’s more airflow, or if you can, have them laying flat along the line, just so that airflow gets all the way around them. Boosters, that’s with shells. Boosters or inserts or anything like that, just peg out. And then on my clothes airer, and shove it in front of your wall heater or stick it under a ceiling fan, if you don’t have some. The airflow around it will get them dry.
Vicki: The booster is on an octopus too, so you don’t end up with peg marks where they fold. So you get them all straight and flat.
Vashti: I never folded my inserts, I sort of had the peg, had them sitting just under the line and the peg holding them. Because I hated peg marks, really hated them.
Vicki: I think you need like a picture of that on the website, so you can see. I can see what you’re doing.
Andrew: Are you paying attention, Jenna?
Vashti: Jenna, pictures? I’ll take some for you later.
Vicki: Listen to the podcast. Because I won’t.
Vashti: We’ll put some photos up of what I’m talking about.
Robyn: Next question, because my husband always asks me this question, because I’m the one who puts the nappies together, sitting in front of the T.V. That’s my chillout time. Sounds really bad, but my chillout time, once the kids are asleep, sit in front of the T.V. and put the nappies together so they’re ready. Should I stick the insert inside the pocket, or snap it?
Vicki: I don’t like pockets. I’m not the right person to ask. And if it makes you feel better, I was watching Married at First Sight last night, putting swim nappies into bags in front of the television, so I get you. It’s the best time to do it.
Robyn: Oh yeah, it’s awesome.
Vicki: Besides, all of our nappies ended up in a washing basket and sometimes they got dumped in the drawer. I never put nappies together. Again, that’s a Vashti question.
Vashti: No, so Brent was the folder of nappies with the big two. With the littlest that was my job, and quite regularly it was a washing basket sitting next to the change table, because three kids, single parenting because Brent was constantly away. Who has time to put nappies together?
Vicki: It’s a bit more difficult if you’ve got multiple brands. Like in fairness, I say that, and we pretty much had one, maybe two styles. We did have the Shark pocket nappies, which we used a lot of the time over night, but pretty much we just had all in twos. So same booster. So the rummaging wasn’t quite the same as if you had a dozen different types of nappies, you’ve got to find the right inserts.
Vashti: See, I had a dozen different types of nappies, and I still didn’t care. But I franken-nappied quite regularly. It was like, that’s a good booster, that can go in that shell. I’m giving Jenna conniptions here, she’s really struggling.
Jenna: The opposite to me, Jenna.
Vicki: There really are two types of people that have to have the right insert for the right nappy, and the others just don’t care. I was a don’t carer. Once you understand, or once you’ve been cloth nappying for a while, you understand the concept of absorbency and waterproof.
Vashti: And functionality.
Vicki: And once you’ve got those two things, as long as there’s something waterproof over the absorbency, you’re set.
Vashti: See, with the first two, I was very much a that insert has to go with that shell, like this is brands. And you know, I even got to the point where I colour coded the inserts to go with the shells, so if I bought a new nappy in, that insert stayed with that shell. And if Brent put them apart, put them differently, God help him.
Vicki: That was your first child, wasn’t it?
Vashti: No, that was Mikayla. Because that’s when I was using Ittys. So yeah, my older Itty inserts went with the older Itty shells, and the newer ones. That’s how anal I was with my nappies at that stage. Number three came along…
Andrew: Anybody who’s been into Vashti’s store, you can see that.
Vicki: You know, I’m a perfectionist, so I just don’t start something I can’t finish. That’s pretty much how it goes. That’s why stuff ended up in a washing basket, because at least it wasn’t started.
Vashti: But that’s how I was with Kylan. Number three, I was a franken-nappy, I was a whatever worked. Because I’d worked out that it didn’t matter.
Vicki: It doesn’t matter.
Vashti: It doesn’t matter. Whereas I was that person who swept my person three times a day and vacuumed and mopped three times a week with the older two. These days, I sweep my floor when the nanny is coming, or I know I’m having visitors, but I can’t remember the last time I mopped my floor.
Vicki: I have a Robovac.
Vashti: I have a Robovac, I really hate it.
Andrew: You go the wrong one. You got the wrong one.
Vashti: I’ve completely forgotten your question, Robyn, we got side tracked.
Robyn: Snap in or pockets.
Vashti: OK, with pockets, I liked to put them inside the pockets. But I regularly, I think I know, you’re talking about a convertible, so it has the option of being one or the other. The nappy I know you’re talking about, the inserts aren’t stay dry, so it will come down to whether or not you prefer a stay dry fibre against your baby’s skin, or you’re happy for the natural fibres that will feel damp against your baby’s skin. For me, it was inside the pocket because it was easy and simple. But if you want to have that ability to change your inserts out, then just snap it, sit it straight on top.
Robyn: And on the franken-nappy, for our other daughter…
Vicki: I love that term.
Vashti: Isn’t it awesome? Thank you, Hayley.
Robyn: For our other… oh Hayley, hi Hayley. For our other daughter, we had nappies that, this is six years ago, the recommendations for washing were very, very different.
Robyn: And they just didn’t survive at all, these nappies. And so I went out and I bought covers. And so we are using these nappies, because we couldn’t afford to replace all of them. We’ve replaced a few, but we’re using these nappies with covers over the top and double gusseted covers. They’re amazing.
Vashti: Aren’t they awesome?
Robyn: They’re so good. But my last question, which I think I wrote before I discovered your podcast. I think I saw this come along to a live podcast on Vashti’s Instagram, and went, there’s a podcast? And so I wrote this question, and I think I’ve already answered it by listening to everything, and getting all your tips and going to Clean Cloth Nappies and all of this stuff. Because I’ve written here, what’s the best nappy to avoid compression leaks when babywearing? Because with my six-year-old, I used to have leaks all the time when babywearing. [baby noises] I know, that’s right. But with this child, I have not had a leak babywearing, because the cloth nappies are just so much, they’re more well cared for, I’m washing them correctly, they’re fitted correctly, all of these things. It’s not even really a question, but thank you very much to both of you, and to Andrew.
Vicki: Well compression leaks, to answer for someone who doesn’t know, generally microfibre. So if you’re using microfibre, you really need to have a natural fibre with it, because microfibre is like a sponge. So it absorbs quickly, and it releases quickly.
Vashti: It’s like your microfibre cleaning cloths. They’ll soak up lots and lots of moisture. As soon as you put any pressure on it, it comes straight back out.
Robyn: But it’s just amazing. Since having found you and reading all the information on the web, watching all the videos, and my husband thinks I’m crazy, I must admit, he does. He said, you’re going to a podcast about nappies? And I’m like yeah, it’s amazing.
Vicki: Things change. When you have kids, your priorities change, and no longer do you want to be sitting in a stuffy office talking about some project…
Vashti: Or the price of the Aussie dollar. Although we do talk about that.
Vicki: Yeah. I don’t miss my old job. And don’t get me wrong, I love I.T. still, but I certainly don’t miss those meetings with, hey?
Jenna: Ask me if I miss my job.
Vicki: Do you miss your job? [laughter]
Vashti: You know what, Robyn, I’m really glad that we could help you navigate that and work out what you needed, and not have leaks anymore. That’s fantastic.
Robyn: And the other thing is, I didn’t think I needed help. And I saw this on Vashti’s page, and I went oh, podcast. And I went, oh my God, I have been doing things completely wrong, because six years ago, that’s what we did.
Vashti: But also, it’s probably not completely wrong. I don’t believe there’s any right or wrong, it’s what’s best for you and your family. And if what you were doing six years ago wasn’t working, then yes, we change it up. But it doesn’t mean it was wrong. It just meant it wasn’t right for you at that time.
Andrew: So Robyn, what tips would you have for new mums?
Robyn: Buy a baby carrier [laughter].
Andrew: And who should they call about baby carriers?
Robyn: The Baby Wearing Practice. I would actually, and I have, I would say join the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Go along to breastfeeding education class before you have the baby, before you can’t concentrate on anything else, except this baby who is teething or talking.
Andrew: Is there a podcast for breastfeeding?
Robyn: There isn’t, but there should be. There should be.
Jenna: Andrew’s on it.
Andrew: I’ve got lot of [inaudible, over talking, 14:18]
Vicki: I’ve forgotten. I’ve forgotten. I breastfed for nine years, and I can’t remember. I actually cannot, I physically cannot remember all of those things, because you’re not in the moment.
Vashti: No. Well Kylan told me this morning there’s none left. On one side. The other side was fine.
Robyn: But the other thing I would do…
Vashti: I have chocolate and vanilla, apparently.
Jenna: Oh, they change.
Vashti: Yeah, chocolate and vanilla.
Robyn: The other thing I would do is I would just buy the new mum a cloth nappy as her baby shower present. Because then she’s got it, she’s going to at least look at it, research it, maybe use it, and make sure it’s in a pretty print.
Vicki: Using one cloth nappy per day saves 900 in landfill over the life of your baby.
Robyn: I was actually going to look that up before I got onto the recording.
Vicki: Yeah, it’s on our boxes. It’s on our boxes, we printed it on the boxes that go out. And that’s where you start. You don’t have to do this whole all or nothing. Just start with one.
Andrew: A lot of, don’t forget a lot of brands have a trial pack. And a lot of the brands also give a gift voucher away with the trial pack, so just make sure, give them the trial pack, give them the gift voucher.
Robyn: And I know a lot of retailers offer a class.
Andrew: That’s right, Vashti has an excellent class, and if you’re not in Brisbane, she will skype you. You still use skype?
Robyn: I do still use skype.
Andrew: You still use skype? I thought skype was old.
Vashti: It is, but it still works.
Vicki: And in Sydney we’ve got Alice from Nappyland.
Vashti; Alice is in Wollongong. She goes all the way through Sydney as well.
Vicki: Amanda is in Perth at Booty Crawl. Hayley is at Fluffy Bums in Adelaide.
Vashti: Darling Downunder and Ecobaby Tree.
Vashti: Eco Baby Boutique.
Vicki: Yeah, they both do classes down in Melbourne.
Vashti: There’s also a cloth nappy workshop in Melbourne. Can’t remember her name off the top of my head. I can picture her.
Robyn: The Nappy Lady?
Vashti: No, there’s Cloth Nappy Workshops Melbourne. They’re on Facebook. So a mum has started it, and I’m having a complete mind blank on your name. I’m sorry, I’m sure I’ll remember as soon as we stop recording this.
Andrew: That’s alright, we’ll add it in later. May sound like my voice, but we’ll add it in later.
Vashti: Honestly, contact your local retailer or get a hold of the Australian Nappy Association. If you jump on the Australian Nappy Association’s Facebook page or send them a message through their website, they will put you in contact with your closest retailer. Or someone who can start it up. There’s just been a mums, a cloth nappy mums group started in Albury Wodonga as well. So brand new one where they’re getting together and they’re helping other mums learn about cloth nappies in Albury Wodonga.
Vicki: By the time this podcast goes to air, there should be a lot more information available too, hey Jenna?
Vashti: So definitely, there’s always someone around who can help you. So even if you don’t feel comfortable going to a retailer, go to the A.N.A.
Vicki: Or find a cloth friend.
Vashti: Or find a friend who uses nappies. There’s heaps of Facebook groups that you can go to, to find out that information too. So yeah, there’s lots out there.
Andrew: Thank you, Robyn.
Robyn: Thank you very much.
Andrew: Thank you Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew. Thanks a lot, Robyn and Eliza.
Robyn: Thank you.
Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
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.