Following on from the success of our previous Live Podcast, we decided to do another one! Our special guest this week is Sonia; a Nest Nappies employee and mum of two boys, Nolan and Hyler. Sonia, Vicki and Vashti all brainstorm ideas to deal with Hyler’s huge output of urine using both reusable and disposable options. Andrew has a question for Sonia and asks what her oldest cloth nappy is which sparks an interesting conversation about longevity.
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 outgoing President of the Australian Nappy Association and has been advocating for and selling cloth nappies in Australia for over 15 years. 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.
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How you doing Vicki?
Vicki: Oh me? Oh yeah, good.
Vashti: You’re always first on these lives, he doesn’t like me.
Vicki: That’s right, because he puts you first on the normal.
Vashti: See, you know.
Andrew: Hi, Vashti.
Vashti: Hi, Andrew.
Andrew: Stop breaking the rule where you’re not allowed to talk until I’ve said your name.
Vashti: Oh no.
Andrew: Yes, this is one of our live ones, and we’ve got a guest, Sonia.
Andrew: Hi, Sonia.
Vashti: Hey, Sonia.
Andrew: You’re a Nest fan girl.
Sonia: Former Nest fan girl.
Andrew: Former Nest fan girl?
Sonia: Former Nest fan girl…
Vashti: She doesn’t love me anymore.
Sonia: …I’m now an employee. Purchased from Etsy. I am a hand-made fan girl.
Vicki: So you made them?
Sonia: I didn’t make these, I made this.
Andrew: She’s flapping her arms.
Sonia: No, I do not make earrings, I make other things.
Vicki: I was going to say, you’re a sewer.
Sonia: Yeah, that’s me.
Andrew: I like that shirt, that is a nice shirt.
Vicki: Yeah, nice.
Sonia: I made it last night instead of messaging Vashti.
Vashti: She just didn’t want to talk to me about exciting Secret Squirrel stuff.
Sonia: See, there you go. She was being cryptic.
Vicki: You remember all the times that I text staff after hours. Oh, but you’re not paying them, nyah nyah. They don’t have to reply. Correct.
Sonia: I replied for a bit.
Vashti: And this wasn’t actually Nest related. So it’s OK, isn’t it?
Vicki: Yes, it is a line, it’s a grey line.
Andrew: So that’s how you get a job at Nest, you just be a fan girl. How long were you a fan girl, what four years?
Sonia: Well, I first went to the shop in 2010 with my sister and her first child. Then I actually didn’t shop in the store myself until my son was just over one. We were having some issues with the nappies that we had, so I came and bought some new ones.
Vicki: Do you want to explain?
Vashti: Hyler was a model in one of our nappy shoots when he was only a few weeks old.
Sonia: And Hyler is currently the cover baby for the Nappy Leaks podcast.
Vashti: He is.
Andrew: Oh, is he? I did not know that.
Vashti: See, when we talk fan girl, we really mean fan girl.
Sonia: I go hard. Go hard or go home.
Vicki: Do you know what is really sad, is that was a Bubblebubs photoshoot and I didn’t even know that.
Andrew: The one on the left, or the one on the right?
Sonia: The one on the right. The one on the left is Annabelle.
Andrew: Nice, nice. It’s always good to know where these babies come from. Working for a nappy company, and it’s just a stream of babies and breastfeeding.
Vicki: Well the difference is, it’s not my kids anymore. Like, in our photos.
Andrew: Because our kids don’t wear nappies anymore.
Vashti: When it’s not your own kids, it is actually harder to remember, because we do have such a huge stream of new babies coming through constantly.
Vicki: Constantly, and it’s like I want a ten month old baby and I’d like a newborn baby, and all of this sort of stuff. And then all of a sudden I’m looking at a picture of a newborn baby that I then had him when he was ten months old. Oh, that’s actually the same kid, you know.
Andrew: Nice. So have you got some questions? You’ve got at least one.
Sonia: I have lots, but how many questions do I have about nappies? Basically my biggest issue that we are having at the moment, it’s been an ongoing thing for about 15 months now, is just out wetting every nappy we have.
Andrew: How many nappies do you have?
Sonia: Currently only 14.
Andrew: Only 14?
Sonia: We’ve been through a lot.
Andrew: Are you really a fan girl?
Sonia: I buy and I sell, and then I sell and I sell and I sell.
Vashti: And then buy wet bags.
Sonia: Then buy wet bags.
Vashti: Or G.G.B.
Sonia: Or G.G.B. Wet bags to fill the void, because I want the prints.
Vicki: Have you actually found anything that actually works? Like night nappies during the day? When we’re talking about out wetting, that’s the sort of capacity we’re talking, isn’t it?
Sonia: It is, yes. So 300 to 400 mils for a day nappy, and then 600 plus at night is our…
Vicki: You have to ask Jenna what a day nappy capacity is.
Sonia: A Candy boosted for example, lasts us about an hour. And then it’s a whole outfit change as well.
Vicki: So it’s not even one wee, is it?
Vicki: And I think that holds, off the top of my head, 250 odd mils, 220? I think it’s 212 for the trifold and it would be about 80 mils for the… no, it wouldn’t be that much.
Sonia: I think it’s 60-ish for the booster.
Vicki: Oh look, I have a spreadsheet just put in front of me here. So we have got absorbency of 61 and they’re not in order, 123, so yes, about 200 mils, yeah. And that’s actually, that gets most kids, most toddlers, through a wee. We’re talking massive, massive.
Sonia: So his output is in the range of two to two and a half litres per day.
Vicki: That’s insane.
Andrew: How much is he drinking?
Vashti: We do a fair bit of testing, and we’ve tried quite a few things as well. We’ve tried lots. And to put it in perspective, he’s now going through medical with that as well, isn’t he?
Sonia: Yes, he is. We’ve been referred for further testing, after going through the Children’s Hospital to their paediatric endocrinology and he’s somewhere in the middle between bad and OK.
Vicki: So what’s your solution? Do you just put night nappies on him for the day? Because disposables wouldn’t even hold that sort of capacity?
Sonia: I currently don’t have any night nappies because nothing was working for us, so we are doing disposables with a change overnight and fleece pants.
Vicki: Have you ever thought of double disposables? I know some people poke holes in the top disposable and put a second one on.
Sonia: I’ve heard that, but I don’t know. I don’t know.
Vashti: Can’t bring yourself to do two disposables a night?
Sonia: Well that’s what we’re doing.
Vashti: There you go, essentially.
Sonia: So we’re doing two disposables plus fleece pants over the top, and still…
Sonia: …wet nipples to knees in the morning.
Vicki: Wow, wow. No, I don’t have a solution for that one.
Andrew: Is he drinking that much?
Sonia: He does drink a lot. So he was being investigated for a medical condition called diabetes insipidus, which is a malfunction of the antidiuretic hormone. And basically doesn’t tell your kidneys to stop producing urine, so your body drinks more water to compensate it.
Vicki: When then has other issues of lack of salt and magnesium and stuff like that.
Sonia: Yes, yes.
Vicki: Wow, so I don’t have an answer. You’ve stumped me. Fifteen years, but you’ve stumped me.
Sonia: We pretty much do three outfit changes a day. Just run the gauntlet and see how wet I can let him get before he sits on the couch.
Vicki: And how old is he now?
Sonia: He’s two and four months.
Vicki: So you’re hoping to toilet train soonish?
Sonia: I would love to.
Vicki: He’s not ready.
Sonia: He can hold his wee really well when I need a sample.
Vashti: Five hours, wasn’t it?
Sonia: Five hours the first time. And that was waiting at the hospital in pathology, when they go you can go home and come back later. The second time it was overnight and it was actually one of the rare times when his nappy was only half full overnight, so still 300 mils, and then he held it for a further five hours once he woke up.
Vicki: In PICU, Abbie, at five years old, managed to hold her wee for three days, because she did not want to go in a disposable. And they would not let her off the oxygen.
Sonia: They can be stubborn when they want.
Vicki: Three days. I actually kid you not, they were ready to put a catheter in, and that’s when she went. And actually it was at the point where she couldn’t hold it anymore, and it went everywhere. You were there, weren’t you?
Andrew: I remember when she lost her first tooth, she didn’t eat for two days.
Vicki: Yeah, because she thought all of her teeth were going to fall out. Yeah. She’s a stubborn little thing, don’t know where she gets that from.
Andrew: I’ve got a question for you. What’s your oldest nappy?
Sonia: Oh, I…
Andrew: I know you said you buy them and sell them, but is there one you’ve hung onto?
Sonia: There are. There are actually a couple I’ve hung onto. So I do have a couple of Gro-Via hybrids, including their well worn inserts, and I have three Candies that were my sister’s for her niece, which were purchased in 2012.
Andrew: And they’re still being used?
Sonia: They’re still being used. They’re actually the ones my husband reaches for, and I don’t know if it’s because the elastics are that bit softer, because they’ve had seven years of use, or he just likes the pink and the green.
Vicki: So it’s not like one of those patterns that have just come back?
Andrew: Seven years ago we didn’t do patterns.
Vicki: Yeah, we did.
Andrew: Did we?
Vicki: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We started doing patterns, but we’ve just re-released a couple because this podcast is not coming out until next year, so it would have just happened.
Andrew: That’s right.
Sonia: They do have the crawling baby tag on them, and we’ve got Lime Splice, and a blue one, a minky one.
Sonia: That would be it. And the bright pink minky one.
Vicki: That’s always been Fairy Floss.
Sonia: That’s what we have.
Andrew: Wow. That’s good to know, has the elastic ever been replaced in that seven year old nappy?
Sonia: It has not.
Vicki: How, this is the underlying thing. How to nappies last seven years, the elastic lasts seven years on some nappies, and two years on exactly the same nappies? Who knows?
Andrew: It’s just how it’s treated really I suppose, isn’t it?
Vicki: Well no…
Sonia: I’m not the nicest to my nappies. My covers sometimes go in the drier as well. Wet bags do not survive the drier, just F.Y.I.
Andrew: Is that why you buy lots of wet bags?
Sonia: Yes, yes. Collateral damage.
Andrew: Nice, I think we’ll finish up with that, that’s good. Thank you Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: And thank you Sonia.
Sonia: Thanks for having me.
Vashti: Thanks, Sonia.
Andrew: Bye everybody. Vicki Simpson is 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.