Following on from the success of our previous Live Podcast, we decided to do another one! Caitlyn is our special guest for this month’s Q+A. Caitlyn is mum to Hugo, he is a gorgeous energetic 14-month-old who has starred in several Bubblebubs videos. She asks Vashti and Vicki about encouraging other parents to try cloth, the expected lifespan of cloth nappies and whether using different brands as baby grows and changes shape is normal?
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.
Transcription: Nappy leaks Live October 2019
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: Good thanks Andrew, how are you today?
Andrew: Yeah, not bad, not bad. And we have another guest, Caitlin. How are you, Caitlin?
Caitlin: I’m good, how are you?
Caitlin: Well we already covered that.
Andrew: Yeah, we covered that. Even though we cover it every time, the girls always ask me how I am each time. And I think, shall I give them a different answer every time?
Caitlin: Mix it up, keep them on their toes.
Andrew: That’s right. So you’ve got some questions for the girls. Actually, let’s find out about you first. You’ve got a 14 month…
Caitlin: Yes, this is Hugo.
Andrew: …who’s desperately trying to touch the microphone.
Caitlin: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting.
Vicki: You know what? I put a nappy on this kid, he was exactly the same. He hasn’t stopped since.
Caitlin: He was a crocodile. No. No, no, he doesn’t stop.
Andrew: Oh, this was the crocodile?
Vicki: Yes, this is the crocodile.
Andrew: Because he rolled and rolled and rolled.
Caitlin: Yes, which is good. Real life example.
Vashti: Like real life, very much real life.
Caitlin: And still is.
Andrew: And he’s 14 months old?
Andrew: And you’ve written down that you’ve used cloth nappies 99.7% of the time. Are you sure about that?
Caitlin: Yes, we did the maths.
Jenna: She’s my best friend.
Andrew: Did you bring the working out in so we can check it?
Caitlin: I didn’t but we could work it out again now quite easily. No, my partner wanted to know exactly how much we’d used because she wanted to do a post for plastic free July. So we needed the exact stat, because she thought it was more like 80%. Then we did the maths and we’re like oh we’re doing pretty well. Not that it’s a competition.
Andrew: No, it’s not a competition.
Vicki: But I think you beat me.
Caitlin: No, that’s right there’s still time, he’ll be in nappies a while.
Andrew: So do you want to ask your first question?
Caitlin: Yes. So how can I best encourage others to use cloth nappies?
Vicki: I’m a big believer that you never get somebody to change an opinion by bashing them over the head with it. So I liken it to a time, this is going to get a bit personal, so I can redo this if you want. Andrew was worried about my weight at one stage, and instead of telling me to lose weight, he lost weight. And that encouraged me. I saw the changes in him and it encouraged me to actually lose weight. And I think that is hands down the best way to encourage someone to do it, is to do it yourself. And not, it’s very had because when you’re excited about cloth, you just want to tell the world and it is actually really hard. But just you know, nothing negative. So always positive, and if somebody makes different choices, just find a positive spin on that, rather than you’re a bad person for using disposables. You know what? You’re doing the best you can, and that encouragement will then empower them to you know, perhaps give it a go.
Caitlin: That’s good.
Vicki: What about you?
Vashti: I’m pretty much along the same lines. But I think, I don’t think that keeping the negatives out of it is such a bad thing. I think that if someone’s interested tell them everything.
Vicki: Absolutely, don’t shut your mouth. If someone asks a question, that’s it, it’s an open. That’s an open door.
Vashti: And tell them the goods, tell them the bads, tell them the poo. Like parents, most new parents are going to be knee deep in bodily fluids for the first two years of the child’s life. So being honest and upfront about that is really, really beneficial because it means that they’re going to have a realistic expectation of what’s going to happen, and I think that’s the biggest thing is making sure that people have that realistic expectation and they know how things are going to go. So if someone wants to know, go for it. But like Vicki said, don’t bash someone over the head with your ideas, because that’s just going to make them dig their heels in and do something completely different.
Vicki: Because that certainly doesn’t work for me, in fact it will push me the other way. Every single time. That’s right, anyway. Second question.
Andrew: So, second question.
Caitlin: Second question, so what sort of lifespan can you expect if you buy brand new of cloth nappies and the inserts?
Vicki: Are you going to take it?
Vashti: That’s a really, really loaded question, because it does depend on a lot of variables. I liken a quality nappy, so we’re talking a $30 to $40 nappy to a $30 to $40 t-shirt. If you buy a t-shirt from Myer, David Jones, a good quality t-shirt, you wear it every second or third day, you go running in it, you spill food on it and you wash it constantly, every time you wear it. How good is it going to look at the end of two years? So are you going to be prepared to hand that t-shirt on to somebody else? Or are you going to ditch it after six months? Now I’m not saying a nappy is only going to last six months. Most nappies we expect to last from birth to toilet training on at least one child, and hope that they will then get through onto a second child. If you have a larger stash, where you’re not using the nappy every second day, it’s getting a little bit less wear, then it’s going to last longer. But if you have quite a small stash and you are literally taking the nappy off, washing it and then putting it back on as soon as it’s dry, it’s not going to last as long. We generally find that the first thing to go on nappies is the elastic. It’s the Achilles heel of a nappy, and there is really no way around that because it gets constantly used and stretched and stuff like that. But you know, the body of the nappy and the inserts, they should last. If you’re washing them and caring for them correctly, they should last for at least one child, if not more.
Caitlin: That’s good.
Vicki: The expectation would be at least a minimum of one child. And then perhaps some maintenance for multiple children.
Caitlin: The elastics. That’s good, that’s reassuring.
Andrew: And your third question?
Caitlin: So is it normal to keep having to change all the brands as the baby grows? So not sticking to one brand with the shape?
Vicki: That’s more a you question.
Vashti: As your baby grows they are going to change shapes. Some babies, and some families find that they can use the same nappy all the way through, without any issues whatsoever. Other families find that they do like different nappies at different stages, and as your baby grows, their output is going to change as well. So what you’ve been finding is working perfectly for ages, as your child goes through a growth spurt, and with most growth spurts there’s a huge urine output because they’re eating and drinking more, you know you may find that the absorbency is not quite there, so you might need to boost it, or you might need to change to a fitted nappy with a cover because there’s more absorbency in a fitted over a standard all in one. So it does, it varies with each child and there’s really no set answer to that.
Vicki: I’d actually put it to the 80/20 rule.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: 80% of nappies will fit, sorry…
Vashti: 80% of babies…
Vicki: 80%: of babies will fit into pretty much every nappy. It’s that 20%…
Caitlin: I’ve got the 20%.
Vicki: …that are the ones that are kind of on either side. For most people whatever they end up choosing will work for their baby and the only thing that you tend to see online, people don’t post when…
Vashti: Things are going perfectly. If everything’s going well, nobody’s going to jump and say hey help.
Vicki: Yeah, that’s right, because it’s just working. So all you ever see are the bad, and you need to keep that in mind when you’re researching and stuff like that, is people are very, very quick to complain.
Vashti: 20% of the people will complain 80% of the time.
Vicki: That’s true, that is true.
Vashti: And there’s nothing wrong, we’re not saying don’t complain, if you’re having issues, explain. Get in contact with your retailer or your provider or talk to your friends or something like that.
Vicki: I actually think complain is actually the wrong word. It’s actually rather than complain, it’s more vocalise…
Vashti: Has problems.
Vicki: …yeah, has problems.
Caitlin: Yep, thank you.
Vicki: You’re right, complain is completely the wrong word, no.
Caitlin: That’s good.
Andrew: Thank you Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew. Thanks Caitlin.
Andrew: Thanks Caitlin.
Caitlin: Thank you, thank you.
Vashti: Bye, Hugo.
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.