Following on from the success of our previous Live Podcast, we decided to do another one! Hayley is our special guest for this month’s Q+A. Hayley is a mum of three and is an admin for one of the largest MCN Facebook groups in Australia. She asks Vashti and Vicki about the most interesting questions they’re asked about using cloth nappies, and about cloth use at daycare. And Vashti and Vicki each ask Hayley a question which is fun!
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: Nappy Leaks Live Sep2019
Andrew: How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m good, Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: Excellent. Excellent as I was last time you asked me, five minutes ago.
Vicki: Not sensational?
Andrew: Not sensation.
Vicki: See if you asked Gabriel, he wouldn’t say excellent, he would say something like fabulous, or legendary.
Andrew: That’s right.
Vashti: See you know, I ask my kids and they’re like uh.
Vicki: Seriously Gabe, the new car, Gabe actually said, I said what do you think of the new car? Legendary.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: He’s seven.
Vashti: No, my big two are just like grunt mode at the moment.
Andrew: How are you doing Vashti?
Vashti: Good thanks Andrew.
Andrew: You’re not supposed to talk until I say your name, you know that don’t you?
Vashti: Sorry. Spoiled the surprise.
Andrew: And we have a guest. Hayley, how are you Hayley?
Hayley: I’m good, how are you guys?
Andrew: Excellent. You’re going to have to talk a bit louder because your son is talking louder than you are at the moment.
Hayley: Sorry. He’s just happy to see you all again. He’s missed you guys.
Vashti: Haven’t seen Rory in ages.
Andrew: So tell us a bit about yourself. You’re the admin for the M.C.N. Group.
Hayley: I am one of the admins. There’s a lovely team of mums in the M.C.N. Reviews on Stansford(?) Facebook group. We spend a lot of hours on there answering lots of questions. Yeah, answering lots of photos.
Andrew: What’s your favourite question?
Hayley: My favourite question? This might seem a little bit biases, but my favourite question is when people say I loved using my BamBams but my kid’s grown out of them, what’s something like it, and then I just send them to Vashti to have a look at the Bigs. But that’s my personal favourite question. But that’s about it.
Andrew: That’s excellent product placement.
Vicki: I was going to say, unbiased. Unbranded, completely unbranded there.
Vashti: They’re a pretty awesome nappy so I’m a little bit biased on them.
Hayley: Yeah, my child may be wearing one right now.
Andrew: Excellent, well you can’t tell because he’s got yellow pants on.
Vicki: No, but it is summer. It is summer, he doesn’t have pants on at all by the time this publishes.
Vashti: Maybe spring.
Andrew: Spring, yeah.
Vicki: Doesn’t matter, that’s summer in Brisbane anyway.
Andrew: But I’m making it winter anyway because of the air conditioning. OK, so you’ve got some questions.
Hayley: I do.
Andrew: Would you like to ask your first one?
Hayley: OK, what are some of the most random comment or questions you guys have heard or seen about using cloth nappies? Because we get some corkers in the Facebook group.
Andrew: You probably get the best ones though.
Hayley: I know, right.
Vashti: I think that’s actually a really good point is that I’ve been in the industry for just over 11 years now and I’ve been answering the same questions every expo and every day in the shop and stuff like that and I do agree. Every new parent deserves that same level of, they don’t know what they don’t know. So being there to explain that, explain the ins and outs and guide them through the process and help them make a decision that helps them is what we’re here for. And so while we’ve probably heard some really out there things…
Vicki: We still do get the odd one that is like that’s new. And you’ve actually put me on the spot because there was one the other week that I heard, and I’m like wow, OK that’s new. I can’t think of any. What about you? You have some corkers.
Hayley: I think we get a lot of the time we get questions about my husband is really quite concerned about our little boy’s…
Hayley: …genitals and the fact that…
Vashti: The nappies squish…
Hayley: …you do put cloth nappies on a lot more tighter and firmer and their daddies get a little bit concerned about little mates wee one. So that’s one we get a lot. We have to reassure them a lot that it’s perfectly fine, perfectly normal.
Vicki: Same with marks. There’s marks and there’s marks.
Hayley: We get so many photos, are these lines OK? Are they going to go away? Should I, am I putting my nappy on wrong? No.
Vicki: They’re normal.
Hayley: It’s just if you’re wearing a pair of jeans you get the line marks from your jeans.
Jenna: You do… hello this is Jenna, I’m dropping in now.
Jenna: I have just turned up.
Andrew: You’ve been here the whole time.
Jenna: Sh. I did see one the other day that was a new one. There’s a lot of ones like the marks, everyone’s concerned about their marks with their new baby. And when they get a bit older they’re like eh, they’ll live. But when they’re fresh we’re all concerned about them. But this one was a new one.
Vicki: What were you saying about third time mums dumping their kids at school?
Jenna: What’s it? First one you run them to the hospital, second one they eat dirt and you’ve cleaned their mouth out. Third one eats dirt and you go, do I need to give them dinner? But no, a new one I saw the other day that I hadn’t heard before was a mother in law who was very anti cloth saying that she was worried about the daughter in law using cloth nappies because then she would get nail infections.
Vicki: She would what?
Hayley: Yes, that was in our group.
Jenna: That was new and different. That was one I hadn’t seen before.
Hayley: Yeah, you can get contamination from handling the soiled nappies.
Jenna: And then you get nail infections.
Hayley: Yeah, my ma used to tell me that we’re going to get Hepatitis C or something.
Jenna: What, 15 years in the nappy industry and Vicki looks very confused. I think we’ve found a new one.
Vicki: I’d be more worried about somebody’s personal hygiene before I’d be worried about nail infections.
Jenna: Did we find a new question after 15 years?
Vicki: Yeah, but every so often one comes up and you go, that’s new. That’s new.
Jenna: That’s why I had to but in, because that was a good one.
Hayley: Yeah, no, that was actually in the group.
Jenna: I’ll leave now.
Vicki: Also different cultures too, because the more and more cultures that integrate within each other, I suspect that that would come from someone from another culture. That perhaps doesn’t think or doesn’t have the, I don’t know, the wash routine, doesn’t understand the concept of how the process actually works and is just thinking back to when they had kids.
Hayley: The old soilage buckets and stuff.
Vicki: Yeah, maybe it was an ongoing thing. You know, that she had cuts on her hand and thus dipping hands into buckets full of poo soup would likely give you a nail infection.
Andrew: OK, so the next question is interesting because Hayley’s asking you both to ask her a question. So we’ll start with you, Vashti.
Vashti: Oh gosh.
Andrew: What did you always want to ask?
Vashti: What made you use cloth nappies in the first place, Hayley?
Hayley: I was actually thinking about this this morning because I knew that I’d asked you to ask me questions. Because I’ve known you guys forever, so asking questions is really hard. When I was pregnant with Charlie, actually Dan’s sister had his cloth nappies and had mentioned it and one of my family members down in Dubbo had offered to send me a whole heap of stuff up. So it was family and then I just jumped on good old Facebook and got in a few groups. And then I’ve actually nearly hit my four year anniversary with Vashti, so that was a while ago.
Hayley: Went in and delved into it a little bit more, and then a little bit more, then a whole lot more.
Andrew: So much so now that you almost do it in all your spare time.
Hayley: Yeah, for free. I work for free.
Andrew: What’s your question, Vicki?
Vicki: OK, this is probably on par, how do you have the work life balance, so I apologise in advance.
Hayley: No, that’s OK, because I don’t work.
Vicki: You don’t cry?
Hayley: I don’t work.
Vicki: No, no, no, it’s not, how do you cope with three little kids, cloth nappies and a husband that is away a lot?
Hayley: OK, so my husband is in the Army and he is away for a good six to nine months of the year. I do have three children who are four, two and six months old. I currently have two children who are in fulltime cloth at home. I actually find that having the nappies and the wash routine helps me have a routine, otherwise I forget what day it is, I don’t know what’s what. I’ve just had to use disposables because Rory’s had a fungal infection and then I was lazy and had to strip all of them, and with a big stash it takes forever. I got completely lost. I find that kind of grabs me, especially having a lot of issues with mental health and stuff going on, I actually find it gives me some kind of routine to stick to. My house may not be getting other housework done, but my nappies, I’ll happily sit there and find it really…
Hayley: Yeah, to sit there and put my Netflix on my stand, and sit on the bed and fold nappies.
Andrew: Here’s my question. How many nappies do you have?
Hayley: I don’t know.
Vicki: That’s like asking a woman her age. That’s rude.
Hayley: I know I have enough that I’m not allowed to buy anymore from Nest…
Vicki: So that means you’ve got to come direct to me.
Vashti: You know, we could always organise some more videos.
Hayley: Videos are good.
Vicki: Or expos, work at expos.
Hayley: But I always end up pregnant. My baby ends up in hospital each of the last expos. So I have enough for a stash, a child, Andrew if that answers the question.
Andrew: Fair call. OK, so you want to ask your third question?
Hayley: How can I help my day care to get more on the page with being cloth nappy friendly? Mr Two, Jackieville goes to school in a cloth nappy. I send him in one with a wet bag in the change basket, and then each of the other change basket for the day, because they’ve got three changes during the day, they’ve asked me to use disposable pullups. But he has got a new director in that room who is cloth nappy friendly and she’s happy to try, but how can I make it easier and better for them?
Vicki: Well you know the phrase that I always use is continuity of care, and that’s all well and good in theory, but when you have actually got people that are really resistant, what you need to find out is what the objection is. And sometimes the objection isn’t really the objection.
Vashti: Do you like that one?
Vicki: Andrew is a salesman by the way and he taught me these things. Sometimes we think that, and I actually use this within our whole entire household, this philosophy of actually getting to the bottom of why someone is actually saying no, because they may not even realise why they’re saying no. So are they worried about cross contamination? Do they need plastic bags inside a wet bag kind of thing? You can overcome that, you can send in some mini wet bags.
Hayley: Yeah, because I send him a mini wet bag and then it always ends up in a plastic bag, in the mini wet bag, in the big wet bag. And I’m like…
Vicki: Maybe they don’t have an understanding of how wet bags work, that it is actually going to contain, maybe they’re worried about policies and actually, probably underlying it, because I can tell you from the business head, even looking at this, doing the safety warning, you have to be aware that you’re liable, especially for little kids. So that could be the objection. And then explaining and overcoming that. But yeah, it’s really actually finding what the objection really is, I think.
Andrew: Have you actually shown them how to put the nappy on? Have you actually put the nappy on for them?
Hayley: Yeah, and the previous staff I had even accessed the A.N.A.’s day care information pack, so I’ll try that again with the new staff member.
Vicki: And you’ll find it will start from the top, if you have got…
Hayley: Because I went back to basics and used an all in one Velcro nappy to make it as simple as…
Vicki: I don’t know, my mother in law actually put an all in one nappy on back the front and inside out.
Hayley: Oh my goodness.
Vicki: Because it was too easy. It must have just been too easy, she had to find some complicated way to put it on. I’m actually not joking.
Hayley: I can’t even get that.
Vashti: I’ve seen photos.
Vicki: Like the tongue was hanging out.
Vashti: I’ve seen photos.
Jenna: Like a tail.
Vicki: Yeah, it was. It really was.
Hayley: Catch anything.
Andrew: Not well, not well.
Hayley: No, unless you’re catching the kid.
Andrew: That’s right. Excellent, I think we’ll finish up there. Thank you Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew. Thanks, Hayley.
Andrew: Thanks, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew. Thanks Hayley.
Andrew: Thank you Hayley.
Hayley: Thank you.
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.