Economical; fast to wash and dry; versatile; surprisingly easy to use; and will earn you kudos from your mum and grandma – traditional cloth nappies are making a comeback and it’s now easier to use that origami square than ever before! With families focusing on saving money and the environment, reusable nappies are becoming a popular choice when considering what type of nappy to use. So why not consider a step back in time to the simplicity of traditional cloth nappies?
Help I’ve run out of money!
You’ve bought that flash shiny pram, a sleep safe bassinet, an adorable wardrobe full of clothes, and a swag other things to welcome your baby into the world. You know the benefits of cloth nappies and the fact they will save you thousands compared to disposables but there’s just no budget left in the kitty to shell out for a full time pack of modern cloth nappies. All is not lost though! For less than half the cost of modern cloth nappies, you can have a stash of traditional nappies that will last from birth to toilet training! Grandma was definitely onto something when it came to saving money with babies.
What is a traditional nappy?
In a nutshell traditional cloth nappies are either: flats - large squares of fabric around 60cm by 60cm; or prefolds - smaller squares divided into three panels. The central panel of prefolds have multiple layers of fabric for absorbency and range in size from newborn to toddler. Both are made from a range of materials including cotton, bamboo or hemp. There are a few different fabrics used in flat nappies:
Terry towelling: think towels, but with shorter loops, so less bulky;
Muslin: a thin and easy to dry fabric, just like what you swaddle baby in;
Flannel: a brushed finish, imagine your snuggly winter PJs; and
Birdseye: a thin but highly absorbent weave with a tiny diamond pattern.
But I need to wash these, right?!
As your thoughts now drift to days gone by of soaking nappies in stinky, dangerous buckets of water – let me assure you this is far from how a modern Mumma (and modern daddies too!) wash and care for nappies. With advances in washing machines, detergents and laundry products, there is now an easy to follow a scientific approach to washing nappies. Exchange those soaking buckets for open, breathable baskets and remarkably the stench of ‘the nappy bucket’ is gone! Remove any time-consuming soaking and get your washing machine to do the hard work with a quick rinse wash and then a long warm wash and your nappies will have grandma curious to know your washing magic! If you want to see this in practice, check out this video.
Traditional nappies have a clear advantage compared to modern cloth nappies when it comes to washing and drying. As flats are only a single layer they don’t need to have multiple layers of thick absorbent fabric penetrated in wash cycles - easier to wash – easier to dry! In the cool, darker months of winter, traditional nappies can line dry before the day is out and are also able to be blasted in a dryer no problem!
The ultimate eco heirloom
You thought you were just buying nappies? Think again! These simple squares of fabric are handier than a two-way zip on an onesie! From caring for the baby to cleaning the house and car, this square of natural fibre will polish, shine, wipe, clean, absorb and do all the things! What more could you want from an eco-conscious product? Traditional nappies are great to use as burp cloths, makeshift blankets and towels and sunshades for baby. Useful to have when toilet training to quickly wipe up any little accidents! Wonderful to have as spare rags around the house and assist with cleaning windows and mirrors. We’ve even heard from motoring enthusiast parents who find they are amazing for cleaning the car too!
How about that origami?
Budget-friendly – tick! Washing seems simple enough – check! But how the heck do you get a square of fabric on a kicking, rolling baby?! Pull out your Cabbage Patch kid and practice… or maybe a wet cat might be more realistic! This is probably the most daunting aspect of flat nappies for most families. However, armed with a fold or two you will be able to magically whip up a nappy in seconds. Our blog your best friend in this department – get searching and have a date night with your significant other, a nappy and a doll. You’ve got this and it’s easier than you think! Promise! Check out our full selection of flat cloth nappy blogs here
And if you really are all thumbs, acquaint yourself with pre-folds! We have an entire section on our blog devoted to them. There is a handful of cloth nappy folds you can do with them, or you can simply fold in thirds and shove inside a waterproof cover! Simple! And pins? They are out of the question! Snappies are where the modern parent’s put their spin on the traditional. These little rubber superheroes ensure there are no pinpricks or stabs for anyone involved in nappy changing! Phew!
If you really want to get the nostalgic vibes pumping, involve mum or grandma in shopping for and learning to fold your traditional nappies. It really is a magical tradition to hand down from generation to generation. It’s amazing what we can learn from those who have walked this parenting path before us.
So now you know the names and types, you have your wash routine and favourite folds sorted, but what type of traditional nappy do you choose? At Bubblebubs we have a range of traditional options to suit all babies and situations. From the softest bamboo flats to snuggly bamboo pre-folds and indestructible cotton pre-folds – we have all your traditional nappy needs covered. We also have a wide range of gorgeous covers in adorable cloth nappy colours and prints.
At Bubblebubs there is nothing we love more than educating and empowering families to make the best cloth nappy choice for your individual family. Reach out to us if you're after any further information or still not sure which type of nappy is for you, we're here to help!
By Katherine Edwards