Today the ladies talk about switching to cloth “later” and if it’s worth it. Hint: it is 😉
Vashti and Vicki discuss the adjustments that need to be made to switching later. A lot of parents who switch later and pregnant with another child and want to start with the toddler to dip their toes, this is a great way to approach it so it’s second nature before you’re in the newborn haze. The other advantage is once your child is 12 or 18 months old usually parents have started to find their feet and are less overwhelmed so it’s a good time to try something new. You can change as much or as little as you want, trying cloth wipes is a great first step. Listen to the full podcast to learn more about transitioning to using cloth nappies with an older baby or toddler.
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: How to switch to cloth nappies late and is it worth it.
Andrew: Welcome Vashti.
Vashti: Hi, Andrew, how are you today?
Andrew: Sorry, I had to start, I’ve got an appointment. Hi Vicki.
Vicki: Hi Andrew.
Andrew: How are you doing?
Vicki: Hi Andrew [in husky voice]. Unless people listened to the last podcast, that was like 20 minutes ago, it’s not anymore.
Andrew: No, no, no, that was a month ago.
Vicki: It was a month ago, that’s right. I’ve got a terrific memory.
Andrew: That’s right. Sponsor. Let’s start with the sponsor. Today’s, this month’s sponsor is Prince and Cub, and what are Prince and Cub giving away?
Vashti: A Minnikin nappy and a wet bag.
Andrew: And this is a handmade nappy?
Vashti: They are, Prince and Cub do all their own stuff, and handmade wet bags as well, so made right here in Australia.
Vicki: Very sought after, too.
Vashti: Yeah, so Prince and Cub is a gorgeous brand…
Vicki: They’re just beautiful, beautiful.
Vashti: Absolutely stunning.
Andrew: Wow, OK. So win that, all you need to do is just give us a review on the iTunes store, or like us, or friend us or whatever you do on Facebook.
Vashti: Come join our Facebook page.
Vicki: Because Andrew doesn’t do Facebook, so he actually has no clue.
Andrew: I went to Facebook the other day to look at the Nappy Leaks website and ended up watching a guy build a house out of a container.
Vicki: And you loved it didn’t you?
Andrew: And I thought, what a waste of time that was.
Vicki: Yeah, but did you see any cat videos?
Andrew: No, no cat videos.
Vashti: Oh, that’s disappointing.
Andrew: Once you see cat videos, Facebook don’t have cat videos.
Vicki: No, it’s a meme. It’s a meme, we have the world in our pockets and we watch cat videos.
Andrew: It’s like Apple when they announced their talking emojis, first thing they did was they had a poop emoji talk.
Vicki: Did they? I thought they had the unicorn talk.
Andrew: The unicorn, but all this technology…
Vicki: You know that’s why I actually bought…
Vashti: The iPhone 10.
Vicki: …the iPhone 10.
Andrew: So you could have a talking poop?
Vashti: Yeah, tried it immediately.
Vicki: And how many times have I used it? Like it must be a whole three times now.
Vashti: I think within half an hour of you setting up your phone you were sending me talking poop emojis, and telling me that I needed to get an iPhone 10. Now you’re telling me I need to get a B.M.W.
Andrew: How many companies out there can actually use a poop emoji and it be related to their brand?
Vashti: I used one on Instagram yesterday.
Vicki: We do, Jenna really likes that, that she can actually use poop emojis and it actually be…
Vashti: It’s relevant.
Vicki: …entirely appropriate.
Andrew: On brand.
Vicki: I use them in emails too, like in email subject lines. That and the pregnant woman.
Andrew: So thank you Prince and Cub for your generous donation, and don’t forget the hosts don’t get paid for this. What we get given by the sponsor goes straight to whoever the person that wins. So keep an eye on the Facebook page so you can find out if you’re the winner. But if course if you haven’t entered, then you’re wasting your time.
Vicki: Is that why we don’t keep winning lotto?
Andrew: That’s it, no, no…
Vicki: Nobody said you had to enter.
Andrew: No, no, I have an account. I have a separate account, when we’re going to enter lotto every week, I put it into a bank account. There’s like $10,000 in that account now. So we win.
Vicki: Really? Can I do the kitchen?
Andrew: Do the kitchen [laughs]?
Vicki: Seriously, I’m on a Kitchen Connection website at the moment because had our floors ripped up this morning and I’m looking at my kitchen going oh I’d like a new kitchen. What is it with renovations?
Andrew: We had our floors ripped up last month.
Vicki: Yes we did.
Vashti: You had your new floors installed today.
Vicki: Our new floors are just amazing, and having tiles in such hot weather, I’m going to hate that in winter.
Andrew: You’ll love it. The reason we already…
Vashti: Just get underfloor heating.
Andrew: That’s what I said [laughter]. That’s what I said.
Vicki: For the two weeks of the year that it’s actually cold.
Vashti: Yep, that’s it.
Andrew: Or, buy a $10 pair of slippers.
Vashti: Ugg boots, you can’t go wrong with Ugg boots. Freakin’ awesome.
Andrew: Again, a big thank you to everybody who’s reviewed us on iTunes. And just before I do the reviews, something I forgot to mention in the last podcast, our podcast ranks at number 36 in Kids and Family when we publish an episode. We peak at 36 in the top 100 podcasts.
Vicki: Not 47?
Andrew: No, no, we’re up from 47.
Vashti: Isn’t it 42, the meaning of the world?
Vicki: No, 47.
Andrew: Yeah, 42 for…
Vashti: 47 for all the geeks out there, they can educate Vashti.
Andrew: 47 is a Star Trek reference.
Andrew: In a Star Trek story…
Vashti: So long, and thanks for all the fishes, OK. [laughter]
Vicki: Oh gosh.
Andrew: I love dolphins, dolphins are cool. Yeah, so we’re peaking at 36, so out of all the podcasts out there in Australia in the Kids and Family group, we peak at 36 when we publish an episode. And just so you know, I did ask the girls to do an episode every day and they shouted me down. I’ve still got the bruises.
Vicki: Not as big as my bruise. Worked out, I have this huge bruise on my leg. Everyone’s been asking, where did you get this bruise? Where did you get this bruise? And it wasn’t one of my low iron bruises, it was actually like a bruise bruise. And I was unloading the dishwasher last night and I’m looking going, that’s where it’s from.
Andrew: It’s the right height.
Vashti: Did you run into the door?
Vicki: Yeah, must have.
Andrew: Kicked the door.
Andrew: So a couple of reviews.
Vashti: Need some encouragement to do cloth? By Smeleanor. Is cloth nappies a realistic lifestyle? In short, yes. This was my hesitation with cloth nappies. This podcast is easy listening, judgement free and fun. The relaxed vibes from the presenters bring a light hearted doable approach to cloth nappies, ranging from funny antidotes (? Anecdotes) to top tips, Vicki and Vashti are your go-to M.C.N. warriors.
Vicki: It’s me, it’s really me. I’m the funny one [laughter]. Sarcasm is funny isn’t it?
Andrew: Only if it’s true.
Vicki: Sparkling Flamingo. Is this Marie?
Vashti: Might be.
Vicki: She is, she likes flamingos. Nappy Leaks keeps me company on a few too many hours driving my sleeping baby around. Oh that’s sad, I feel for you.
Vashti: I remember those days.
Vicki: Yeah, I do. Listening to Vashti and Vicki share their knowledge is like listening to the warm banter of old friends who know their cloth nappies. I always leave the podcast with fresh ideas to tweak our cloth journey. Oh, that’s nice, that’s really sweet.
Vashti: That one made me want to cry.
Andrew: Thank you very much to everybody who’s given us a review, they are excellent.
Vashti: We love hearing that. That just, that’s just made my day.
Vicki: Yep. Do you know why? It may seem like something really simple, but in business, you always hear the bad stuff first. You know, if somebody is going to complain, if they’re going to review something generally, it’s negative. So it’s actually really nice to hear positive stuff too. So thank you very much for going out of your way. And you know, if you’re not happy and you want to, you leave a negative review, that’s your prerogative, just make it constructive because we’re people too, and have feelings. As long as it’s constructive, we can take it on board.
Vashti: We’re always happy to hear things that we might be doing wrong, or…
Andrew: Anything you think we can be doing better, don’t hesitate to tell us.
Vicki: Absolutely, absolutely.
Vashti: But yeah, as Vicki said, we are people. And so it would be nice to know how we can improve.
Andrew: Special thank you to everybody who came up to say hello to me and Vicki at the Perth Expo.
Vashti: That was a while ago now, Andrew.
Andrew: It was.
Vicki: Oh yes, that was months and months ago.
Andrew: It was months and months ago because I forgot to mention it on the last podcast.
Vashti: How about thanks to everyone who came to visit Vicki and me in Cologne.
Andrew: Oh yeah, thanks to everybody who came to visit Vicki, and even the stalkers thank you very much to the stalkers.
Vicki: There’s some standouts. There’s some standouts. Guess who we got to meet? It’s funny, tell me about this in passing. We got to meet The Nappy Lady U.K.
Vashti: I know, that’s so exciting.
Andrew: Ever wondered who these girls fangirl? Know you know. They fangirl Nappy Lady.
Vicki: I have warned her we’re going to fangirl her. No, that we did fangirl her, that’s right. We prewarned her that we were going to fangirl her.
Andrew: So you’re just wondering who they’re fangirling, now you know.
Vicki: She’s the grandmother, I consider her the grandmother of cloth.
Vashti: She’s been around since before I started using cloth nappies.
Vicki: 19, 20 years now I think. And I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and that was certainly who I looked to for information because there’s nothing in Australia, 15 years ago there was absolutely nothing.
Vashti: No, well I started in industry just over 11 years ago. So yeah.
Vicki: Nappycino was where it was at. Before that it was actually Yahoo groups, Aus Cloth Nappies. Yahoo groups. That’s really showing…
Vashti: Yeah, there was.
Andrew: What’s wrong with Yahoo groups? I still have my membership.
Vicki: It’s probably been hacked and your password stolen.
Andrew: Probably has, yeah. Anybody who’s on Yahoo, change your password, and if you’re hearing this, if you’re relistening to this podcast, change it again. A special hello to everybody who came up and visited Vicki at the Sydney Expo. It’s funny, the Perth Expo, we sent Vashti to the Perth Expo last year.
Vashti: No, Vicki didn’t come, I went on my own.
Vicki: Yeah, she did.
Andrew: Yeah, we sent Vashti. This year it was us.
Vicki: And you know what? Yeah, but I send, whenever I send Vashti I send her Jetstar, because she says she doesn’t get, like Jenna, she says, I don’t care. And I fly Qantas. No, I think I send you Virgin, didn’t I?
Vashti: Yeah, I said don’t send me Jetstar to Perth.
Vicki: Perth, because it was too far.
Andrew: And they don’t feed you. It’s a long flight and they don’t feed you.
Vicki: It’s an awful flight too, because it’s a red eye. It’s a terrible, terrible flight. But I won’t fly Virgin, I don’t know why, I just don’t like Virgin.
Vashti: See, I won’t fly Jetstar, if I can help it.
Vicki: Yeah, but I find Jetstar better than Virgin, which was bizarre.
Vashti: See, if it’s just down to Sydney I don’t mind because it’s like a 40 minute flight.
Vicki: Yeah, remember that Jetstar flight that we took and I handed the guy my empty cider bottle. And he said, “Did you consume that on here? on board?” And I’m like, do you want me to say no? I had no idea that you’re not supposed to bring your own alcohol on board. So no, that was a Qantas flight. That’s right, and then the next time I caught a Jetstar flight, they actually gave you the heads up. They’re like you’re not allowed to bring alcohol onboard and consume it onboard. I had no idea.
Vashti: That’s because we had a couple of ciders left over from the hotel. That was the one…
Vashti: You ended up on a different flight to me because we booked you last minute. So we flew back separately on that flight. Or you came down late. Or something like that.
Vicki: I came down late I think.
Andrew: And here’s me thinking you guys were just sick of each other after spending a whole weekend together. How are you going to go spending ten days in Germany?
Vashti: No, we’ve been fine.
Vicki: Spent, spent.
Andrew: Spent ten days in Germany.
Vashti: We did fine.
Andrew: You seem fine yeah, still great friends, good to see.
Vashti: We did eight days in China.
Andrew: Did I say hello to everybody who said hello to Vicki at the Sydney Expo?
Vashti: Yes, you did.
Andrew: I did, OK, also thanks to everybody who liked or poked or whatever you do on Facebook, the Nappy Leaks page, thank you very much.
Vicki: I don’t think you can poke a page.
Andrew: I actually wrote that down, so I could remember. Poked, or whatever you do on Facebook. So let’s get onto today’s subject. Today’s subject is how to switch to cloth nappies late and is it worth it?
Vashti: It’s always worth it.
Andrew: So let’s start with the silly questions. Why would you switch to cloth nappies?
Vashti: Well, there’s lots of different reasons. Everybody’s got their own reason for switching to cloth at whatever stage.
Andrew: The number one reason I hear at Expos is they’re sick of their bin being full of cloth nappies every week.
Vicki: That’s a big one.
Vashti: Bin of cloth nappies? [laughs]
Andrew: Sorry, disposable nappies every week. And funny you know, driving around Perth and it was a bin day and I could see their wheelie bins were out. Their wheelie bins are half the size of the wheelie bins we have here in Brisbane.
Vicki: We have massive wheelie bins here, you don’t understand that ours are 240 litre, there are lots of places that have 80 litre bins as their regular bin collection.
Andrew: And some places only get their bins collected every two weeks.
Vicki: It’s massive.
Vashti: Yep. I want Brisbane to bring that in.
Andrew: Oh my gosh.
Vashti: Like my rubbish bin has only got two or three bags in it at the end of the week and that’s a family of five. And two or three bags…
Vicki: This is why we’re non-judgemental because we have two bins. Two 240 litre bins.
Andrew: We have two bins at home and two bins at the warehouse and they’re always full.
Vashti: No, our rubbish bin is always empty. My recycling bin, like it’s absolutely ridiculous that I go grocery shopping and I would love to go to the bulk food store, but I just never get there. But I go grocery shopping and the amount of packaging on the stuff in the supermarket is just phenomenal. I mean, you’ve got three kids that consume a box of cereal, my eldest, 14 next month, and I tell you, he’ll go through one of the big boxes of cereal in about three days.
Vashti: He just eats like holidays.
Vicki: But you’re right, it’s the packaging that is difficult. Our recycle bin is absolutely overflowing but this is one of the biggest reasons that I say do what you can, you don’t need to do everything. You don’t need to do zero waste, you just need to do little things. We’ve got chickens and I absolutely hate seeing our food scraps go into the bin, but sometimes it’s just like I can’t. I can’t get the kids to feed the chickens or for whatever reason I’ve had a crappy day and you know what? Today I just can’t be bothered going to feed the scraps to the chickens. So they end up in the bin and I think that’s OK because 90% of the time it does go to the chickens. And we don’t REDcycle either. I really want to REDcycle.
Vashti: See, I’ve got a massive bag of plastics…
Andrew: What’s REDcycle?
Vicki: We were talking about this the other day, REDcycle, where you…
Vashti: It’s your scrunchable plastics.
Vicki: Yeah, your soft plastics, where you’d heard a rumour that they were no longer being collected, even though people were dropping them off to the supermarkets, they were no longer being collected and recycled.
Vashti: Well I saw something in one of the…
Vicki: That’s an unsubstantiated rumour.
Vashti: OK, well I saw something in one of the groups I was in the other day about a REDcycle bin that was tucked away and the staff at the supermarket didn’t even know what it was for when the person went looking for it, and they finally got to the bottom of where it was and stuff. And the woman said, the staff member said, that’s because people just use it as a normal rubbish bin. So there was customers coming in and just putting their normal rubbish in the REDcycle bin. But I’ve got a big plastic bag full of soft plastics sitting on top of my dishwasher that I keep forgetting to take.
Vicki: That can’t trump the 10 cent bottles, we must…
Andrew: We’ve got $20 worth of bottles in the garage at the moment.
Vashti: I did my bottles recently, we had four boxes and then Mum had two boxes as well. We made like $60 odd dollars.
Vicki: OK, no we’ve got about $300 worth of bottles.
Vashti: I’ve got two boxes up on my front veranda at the moment, so plastic bottles go into one and glass bottles go into the other, because we learned last time that it’s easier to actually separate them before we get down there, because otherwise we’re having to stand between two of the conveyor belts and feed them in. But the kids love going down and putting the bottles through the conveyor belt, recycling it. Because they’ve got to work out which one, but you need to make sure you don’t peel your labels off your bottles. If the kids have peeled the labels of, it spits them back out, it won’t accept it.
Vicki: Oh, does it?
Vashti: Yeah, you need the labels on there because it needs to read the barcode.
Vicki: Oh, oh, I did not know that.
Vashti: So if the barcode has faded or if it’s been damaged, it won’t accept the bottle through the recycling.
Vicki: I’d better hurry up. I’d better hurry up before they fade like a receipt.
Vashti: Well, it’s not in the sun. You should be OK.
Vicki: Yeah, they are. They’re sitting beside the recycle bin which is probably where they’re going to end up anyway.
Vashti: But do you know what? I would put them in boxes and take the boxes down to your local centre.
Vicki: You mean the one that’s like two minutes away?
Vashti: Yeah, there you go. Get the kids, you get the kids to stand there with a box. Be prepared, wear decent shoes because those centres are really manky. They’re really, really gross. There’s like spilled bits and pieces. I was there and it must have been a Scout group or a community group of some description. They had a minivan that they’d lined with a tarp, and the van was just loaded, and they had washing baskets and boxes and stuff full of bottles. But the centre itself stunk of stale beer. And there was mank all over the floor. We had to be really careful where we put our box down, and I ended up not taking one of the boxes home with me because I didn’t want it to go back in my car because it had mank on the bottom of it.
Andrew: Because it stuck to the floor. [laughs]
Vashti: Yeah, but no, the kids love it. The kids absolutely thought it was fantastic, even Kylan was getting in, and he was getting annoyed because he wasn’t quite tall enough to reach the hole that you’ve got to put them in. It goes into a hole and through the hole is a conveyor belt that it then goes down into another area. It’s really cool. And then you can choose, if you download the Tomra app, well it’s Tomra here in Queensland, you can choose to either have the money go to your PayPal balance or for the thing to spit out a Woolworths voucher and you take the Woolworths voucher into Woolworths and they give you cash.
Vicki: Oh, OK.
Vashti: It’s well worth it.
Vicki: And considering you are actually paying 10 cents more for your…
Andrew: Fifteen cents more.
Vicki: Fifteen cents more, yeah.
Andrew: Of course Woolworths pushed the price up a dollar, before they dropped it back down again. I think they put it like that just so they can drop it back down and say now a new, lower price.
Vicki: Coles do that too.
Vashti: Coke, I was buying at $3.20 for a 600 ml bottle and it’s now like $3.70 for a 600 ml bottle. It’s cheaper to by the 1 litre bottle, which is $3.50.
Vicki: But it’s hot.
Vashti: No, it’s in the cold section.
Vicki: Oh, I need to go to your Coles.
Vashti: No, it was your Coles, just down there, where I got morning tea this morning and I got a 1 litre coke from one of the fridges.
Andrew: So back to cloth nappies.
Vashti: See, we go and get distracted again.
Andrew: So if you’re going to switch to cloth nappies, you’re probably past the newborn stage, would that be about right? So you’re past the changing nappies ten times a day and it’s a little bit easier. So roughly, do you think, how many do you think they’d need to start with? If they’re past the newborn stage, how many do you think they’d need?
Vicki: It depends on the age of the baby, but a dozen to 18, if your baby is like six months old. If they’re over 12 months old you can probably get away with a dozen. It depends on how many nappy changes you have a day.
Andrew: OK, so if you said 18, if they bought 18 and the child is one year old and they’re going to be in nappies another year, they’re still going to save money.
Vashti: Oh definitely.
Vicki: Yeah, yeah, for sure.
Vashti: And they’re going to save waste.
Vicki: And they’re going to, because those nappies have had only quite a small life span they’ll get a fair whack back for their, if they were to sell them second hand or of course use them on a second child.
Andrew: Yeah, use them on the next two children.
Vashti: We get it regularly in the shop. Parents come in, their little one is 12, 18 months old and they’re pregnant with their second. And they’re like OK, well we weren’t in a space to do cloth nappies with the first, but now we’re pregnant with the second, we want to do cloth nappies so we’ve decided to switch the toddler over and make sure that we are comfortable doing it with a toddler before the newborn comes along.
Andrew: That’s a good idea. It does help with toilet training too.
Vashti: Yeah, definitely. Because, especially depending on what sort of nappy you use, whether you’re using natural fibres or synthetic against their skin. Like a synthetic will draw the moisture away and keep bubby feeling dry, but natural fibres will still feel damp, so it allows the child to have more of an understanding on when they have done a wee, because it’s not drawing that moisture away like disposables do. Because disposables will use those gel capsule thingies to draw the moisture in and to lock the moisture away from the skin.
Vicki: And that’s why their nappy pants tend to, they advertise them that they let them feel wet before it draws the moisture away, which is what cloth does naturally.
Andrew: Cloth does by default. Now, this is probably a silly thing to say to you girls…
Vicki: This is you.
Andrew: Oh well, I’m Marty McFly.
Vicki: Are you?
Andrew: Yeah, well Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies, he did the same thing in three movies and didn’t learn anything in the whole movies. So I’m calling myself Marty McFly because even though I should know this because you guys have said it many times, I’m supposed to be the one that’s asking the dumb questions.
Vicki: Well you do a very good job of it.
Andrew: Thanks, thanks Honey.
Vashti: You know, I’m going to say Hi Marty next time we start this show.
Andrew: No, you would have been trekking around the world before then.
Vashti: No, we’ve already trekked around the world.
Andrew: You’ve already trekked around the world. [laughs] How was your flight?
Vicki: It was awesome. How were the brownies in Amsterdam?
Vashti: Wouldn’t know.
Andrew: Did you eat them on the side of the river, like you want to?
Vashti: Canal, a canal.
Andrew: Why do they call it a canal? It’s just a river, isn’t it?
Vashti: No, it’s a canal, it’s not a river. It’s actually, it’s a manmade water, it’s like Venice. They’re canals.
Vicki: They’re manmade.
Vashti: They’re manmade.
Andrew: So what about all those places in Australia here where they say you’re going to live on the side of a river but actually it’s a canal.
Vicki: No, they do actually say canals, like on the Gold Coast, they’re all canals.
Andrew: Oh, do they?
Vicki: Yeah, it’s all canal living.
Andrew: So are modern cloth nappies as easy to put on as like disposables are?
Vicki: A nappy is a nappy is a nappy. They all go on differently, very slightly differently.
Vashti: You have things like your all in ones. OK, Peekapoo, Peekapoo is a great example, or Baby Beehinds, they’re an all in one and they’ve got a Velcro close, so they do go on exactly like a disposable. There is no difference whatsoever.
Andrew: Just that you wash them.
Andrew: Take them apart and wash them.
Vashti: You don’t even need to take an all in one apart. Because an all in one is all one piece.
Andrew: Very good, very good.
Vashti: So it’s exactly the same as a disposable with the only difference being that you wash it.
Andrew: I just imagine you saying, McFly… [laughter] So when you’re switching from disposable nappies to cloth nappies you’ve pretty much got everything else you need, don’t you? So you’re going to have the wipes and everything like that aren’t you?
Vicki: And the baby.
Andrew: Baby, yeah.
Vashti: If you choose to stay with disposable wipes then yeah, you’ve got your wipes already. But if you choose to move over to cloth wipes, it’s not all that hard. you could start moving over to cloth wipes just with the face washers that you’ve got at home. Every parent has got a plethora of face washers because you get given so many.
Andrew: I don’t know, when Gabriel was out of nappies we all of a sudden couldn’t find any washers.
Vicki: They all disappeared. I think I’ve got like three and I feel like I need to buy face washers now.
Vashti: That was the thing that happened when the big two were out of cloth nappies, when we went to go and put Kylan, well when Kylan was born, and we went to go and use cloth again, it was like, where are all my cloth wipes? I know I had heaps of them. But obviously we’ve been using them so much.
Andrew: I think when we stopped using cloth nappies, cloth wipes didn’t become as important as they were, so they just got pushed aside. There’s obviously a place somewhere in the house.
Vicki: I bet its somewhere in the nappy stash. I’ve still got Gabe’s nappies sitting in a clean clothes basket which is probably, you know, who am I kidding, that’s where they lived. I saw them in the garage the other day.
Andrew: Yeah, but you used to come up to me and say, “Did you put the nappies away?” Yeah, they’re in the basket there.
Vashti: I found one of Kylan’s nappies sitting on my sewing table the other day. I had to pull out the sewing machine because, you know, Book Week. And of course I leave everything to the last minute, so I was up making costumes the night before the parade for Mikayla. And as I was cleaning off my sewing table, I found one of our beautiful handmade, embroidered Nest Nappies, nappies, because I got the logo embroidered on the bum of one for Kylan. It’s very cute, I’m not getting rid of that one.
Vicki: I’ve found dresses that I started making for Abbie when she was about one. Half made.
Vashti: I’ve got some things in my cupboard, some pyjama pants and some track pants for, well there’s some cut out and pinned track pants that I started making for Mikayla when she was in pre-prep. She’s about to go into high school.
Andrew: We’re currently doing this podcast in the Bubblebubs warehouse, and we have a shelf of things that haven’t been made.
Vicki: Yes, and I made Andrew pull one out the other day because I wanted the pattern of it, and it is way too early in the…
Vashti: You’re not to say anything.
Vicki: No, I won’t, it’s way to early in the development.
Andrew: Don’t say anything, but this will give people an idea of how long it takes. Vicki took out a pattern that she needs for something that she wants to make.
Vicki: That I knew, it’s a pattern that I developed, oh gosh, years ago, years ago.
Andrew: For a new product. So the new product has started to be born, and eventually we will announce it, but it could be six months before we have anything to say about it.
Vicki: Before we even have a prototype.
Andrew: Yeah, before we have a prototype. That’s how long it takes.
Vashti: Do you know what I found when I was wandering around downstairs in the warehouse before making my coffee, or while I was waiting for the kettle to boil?
Vashti: No, I found…
Vicki: Did you find any stock? Because there’s very little of that at the moment. Did you find me an elephant pod?
Vashti: I did find you an elephant pod, and I found myself one yesterday so I’m really excited. I got an elephant pod for myself.
Andrew: Just so you know, there are no elephant pods left, don’t go to the website.
Vicki: No, they sold out on pre-order and I didn’t even get one myself and we actually had a retailer return some stock, thankfully, and there was an elephant pod in there.
Vashti: Well there was two, you got one and I got one.
Vashti: I was so excited, so that’s going to, that was in my carry on bag when we went to Germany.
Vicki: Well let’s not get them mixed up. I’m glad we didn’t get them mixed up.
Vashti: No, but I found a Candy. It had the old label on it, it was all sorts, it was…
Vicki: Was it blue and red?
Vashti: Red spots.
Vicki: Yeah, I found that. I just kind of, because it was when I was looking for this pattern and I actually just kind of tossed it, that’s actually Cat in the Hat. That’s actually from the Cat in the Hat…
Vashti: The blue and the red?
Vicki: Yeah, because it’s blue with the red spots, so it’s actually part of the Robert Kaufman Cat in the Hat range when I bought that fabric, and I kind of just left it around the warehouse. It’s missing two snaps, four snaps. Just needs four snaps.
Vashti: Yeah, just needs snaps for the inserts and the snaps on the front.
Vicki: And I’ve been waiting for Jo to kind of say, what’s this? Can I have it? And she hasn’t. It’s been there a good week now.
Vashti: I’ll take it.
Andrew: But it’s been in a box of stuff that’s labelled Do Not Touch.
Vashti: It was, it was in…
Vicki: Well someone must have cleaned it up, because I actually just kind of hid it.
Andrew: It was in with the Cat in the Hat nappies.
Vashti: I can snap it for myself.
Vicki: No, no, it’s fine, it’s fine.
Andrew: No, I want to take pictures of it and put it on the website. This is how nappies used to look like.
Vicki: When I made them. I would have made that one.
Vashti: I’ll put it on my shelf. Andrew is sitting there going, that would have been one of our old labels, coming from China. And I’m like no, no, that was one of the labels from when Vicki was sewing them.
Andrew: Must be one of the last ones, too. So as I said, when you’re switching from disposables to cloth, you’re going to have most of the stuff, but are there any creams that you wouldn’t use with cloth nappies?
Vashti: No, any of your creams are perfectly fine if you’ve got a good wash routine. I mean, as we said last month, some of your zinc based creams can start to leave a bit of a build up, especially if your wash routine is off, but just make sure your cream is well rubbed in. If you’re concerned, throw some cornflour over the top of it, just to make sure it sticks, and use a liner.
Andrew: Cornflour or powder?
Vashti: We don’t use talcum powder, talcum powder is too fine…
Vicki: It’s a carcinogenic.
Vashti: …for your airways and clogs up your lungs.
Andrew: Oh really?
Vashti: Yeah, so never use talcum powder, cornflour.
Vicki: It’s new research.
Andrew: Not even baby powder?
Vicki: No, baby powder is talcum powder, same same.
Andrew: So baby powder is poison to babies, is that what you’re saying?
Vashti: And the parents who are spraying it all over the place.
Vicki: But come on, we used to use asbestos, we didn’t know. When you know better, you do better.
Andrew: True, true, but asbestos was a bit more of a problem.
Vashti: Tapioca powder is really nice as well. But if you want a powder for your baby, you can go and buy the baby powder, most of them have gotten rid of talcum powder and they new use cornflour, tapioca powder or something like that. And you can spend the $6 a bottle in the baby aisle.
Vicki: Or the 69 cent pack in Coles. Same stuff.
Vashti: There you go, go to the cooking aisle and buy the cornflour from the cooking aisle that costs nothing.
Vicki: Put a few drops of essential oil in it. Actually I think you need to get something to make it mix through with powder, don’t you?
Vashti: Yeah, but you know what? You don’t even need the essential oils.
Andrew: Wow, so it’s just the marketing plan.
Vashti: Yeah. It is all marketing.
Vicki: Then you can make your gravy.
Andrew: So laundry powder or liquid, are you going to need to change that? That’s pretty much the same, isn’t it? And your wash routine is not really going to change.
Vicki: Well it will a little because you’ll be doing a short wash.
Andrew: Pre-wash, yeah. I’m thinking of what Jenna said, because her son is out of nappies now, and she said she’s still washing as much as she was before.
Vicki: Yeah, she’s finding she’s not in the routine because you know, it’s like now that I’ve taken the washing back on at home, I have this whole routine, there’s this cycle. The dirty clothes go through the cycle of a basket in the machine, the drier, and into the clean clothes basket. And that is the cycle, and that’s what she’s struggling with at the moment is finding a new norm. Whereas it used to just be, she’d do the pre-wash every morning. It’s just a new routine. And yeah, she found that it hadn’t actually changed. Because the clothes get bigger and you’re washing just as much.
Andrew: So it’s pretty much just a pre-wash and temperature. I did learn at the Perth Expo that some people were coming up to me and saying they can only wash their nappies in 40, because their manufacturer said only 40. Is there a lot of nappies out there that you can only wash at 40? Because I know ours you can do 60, because the process that is used to put the waterproofing on is done at 70, so you can wash at 60.
Vashti: Look, the higher the temperature you wash at, the more it can affect the life expectancy of the nappy. It’s not going to kill it immediately, but it can shorten the lifespan. P.U.L. only has a finite lifespan and while it will last the average baby from birth to toilet training, if you’re washing at 60, 70, 80 even 90 degrees…
Vicki: Well 90 degrees will delaminate any nappy.
Vashti: Yeah, it will kill it.
Vicki: I’m going to say something, it’s probably a little bit controversial and I really try to steer away from this, so I’ll keep it fairly generic. But a nappy should be able to be washed at 60 degrees without issue. And if it can’t, is it fit for use? That’s a question you have to ask. But if you want to know the difference between the pricing of nappies it’s things like that, that will determine the quality of your nappy, if you know what I mean. Does that make sense?
Andrew: Yeah, that’s generic enough.
Vicki: Yeah. So if you’re struggling with cheaper nappies delaminating at 60 degrees, there’s a reason for that, it’s because they’re cheaper. If you’ve got a problem with quality nappies delaminating at 60 degrees, then you need to go to the manufacturer. That’s the difference, is I would expect a quality nappy that you’re paying good money for, should it delaminate at 60? Absolutely not. If you’re paying a cheap price, and it delaminates at 40, well you kind of get what you pay for.
Vashti: But in saying that as well, it is getting harder to tell what is a quality nappy and what isn’t a quality nappy because there are some on the market these days…
Vicki: That are rebranded.
Vashti: Rebranded, and selling at higher prices.
Vicki: And without getting into the whole China cheapy issue, that’s a massive issue that I have troubles with. Understanding, and this is one of the reasons we started the podcast, is understanding all of the components of the nappy actually help you understand what the value is for the nappy. So you’re basically not getting a $10 nappy and paying $30 for it. That’s my problem. That’s my problem with China cheapies. I have no problems with the nappy that you’re paying $10 for, but if you’re paying $30 for a nappy that you should be paying $10 for, that’s what irks me. That really, really gets my goat because you don’t know what you’re buying.
Vashti: No, you’re expecting to get a $30 nappy, and you’re only getting an $8 to $10 nappy.
Vicki: So if you buy a $30 nappy and it delaminates at 60 degrees, you kind of go, oh what? But if you get a $10 nappy and it delaminates at 60 degrees, you go, oh well, it’s because I only paid $10 for it. Do you know what I mean? I think that’s the expectation.
Andrew: I think you’re more likely to say, I won’t do that again.
Vicki: Exactly, exactly, but if you’ve bought a $30 nappy, you’re less likely, and this is what happens, you have a bad experience with an overpriced rebranded nappy. You have a bad experience with that, and then you tar all cloth nappies, all expensive cloth nappies with the same brush, and that is not the case. And that is the problem. That’s the underlying issue with brands that aren’t kind of open about what they actually are.
Andrew: So the other thing I was going to mention that Vashti’s already mentioned, is one thing you can do also is change your wipes. That could be something you do before you change your nappy. Change your wipes to cloth wipes. That’s a good start.
Vashti: Yep, super easy to do. It’s a nice little start. Families can spend upwards of $800 on disposable wipes from birth to toilet training, and I know one of the things I always noticed was if you pulled one disposable wipe out, five or six came with it. I reckon that’s a ploy to get you to use more.
Vicki: I reckon it’s a design flaw, no, no, no.
Andrew: As they say, that’s not a fault, that’s an undocumented feature.
Vashti: Yeah, but switching to cloth wipes is a nice little step to see whether or not cloth might be something that your family can do. Because you can just have a small container sitting at the change table, and your cloth wipes go into that, and at the end of the day, they just go in with whatever load of washing you’re doing. It’s a nice way to reduce your environmental impact. A small step. And also reduce your spending each week in the supermarket.
Andrew: And if you find out where they disappear to, let us know.
Vashti: The cloth wipes? Yes.
Andrew: We don’t know where they’ve gone.
Vashti: Look, we’re in the process of redoing our linen cupboard at the moment. I made the mistake of letting the kids put the linen away. DON’T DO THAT [stage whisper]. And I went to the…
Andrew: That’s almost as bad as Vicki letting me put the linen away.
Vicki: He doesn’t fold the towels properly.
Vashti: See, I was folding all the linen and everything like that, and I fold my linen so that the top sheet and the bottom sheet and the pillow case are folded neatly and then put inside one of the pillow cases and folded up, so you’ve got an entire sheet set in a pillow case. But you know, I got the kids to actually put it in the linen cupboard. I open up the linen cupboard, and I was like, what the… I went to the linen cupboard and there was towels and sheets and tea towels and everything higgledy piggledy, just shoved in sideways and upside down, and it was just a mess.
Andrew: Upside down? Come on, upside down?
Vashti: Your towels…
Vicki: Uhuh, uhuh. And the folds have to be at the front.
Vashti: The fold has to be at the front with the edges at the back and all the edges have to be on the bottom, with all the folds to one side.
Andrew: You’re supposed to yell, McFly.
Andrew: McFly, upside down.
Vashti: But no, it was just a mess. And it made me realise there’s actually more in our linen cupboard than we need at the moment.
Vicki: No, I can top you that, our linen cupboard is full. We’ve just pulled our laundry out and we’ve also, we’re having to rip our bathroom, retile our bathroom for the third time because it still leaks, and the bath is actually down in the garage full of linen, plus there’s another cupboard full of linen. Because those that have got nappy obsessions me, it’s linen.
Andrew: No, no, it switched from nappies to linen.
Vicki: It did, it did.
Andrew: And pillows.
Vicki: Cushions. What I hate about cushions is you have to buy the cushion every time. I prefer to buy just a cushion cover.
Vashti: You should be able to buy just a cushion cover.
Vicki: Not from Adairs.
Vashti: Oh God.
Vicki: Which is my favourite linen store.
Andrew: I think we’ll finish there. Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Marty.
Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Bye bye.
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.