Due to Covid-19 Nappy Leaks was unable to have our usual live audience, so we have a special guest, Keryn. She is Bubblebubs’ Cloth Nappy Support Specialist and comes across all sorts of questions from families starting with cloth nappies through to those who have used it across multiple children. She calls in to join Vicki and Vashti, discussing with the ladies the top 3 questions she gets enquiries.
I have slack elastics, are my nappies able to be fixed?
What are the inserts made from?
I’m not expecting a tiny bub but wondering whether to invest in the newborn nappies or go with prefolds and flats instead. I have a bunch of OSFM from my last baby but how soon can I start using them?
Transcription: Live Feb 2021
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How are you, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m good Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: I’m doing fine. How are you, Vashti?
Vashti: Awesome, Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: Good, I’m just interrupting our Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy talk, that Vicki was really into. How are you doing, Keryn?
Keryn: I’m great, thank you.
Andrew: You were into the talk, you loved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, didn’t you?
Keryn: It’s a good book, a really good book.
Andrew: It’s a book? I thought it was just three crappy movies.
Andrew: That’s hilarious. So we’re doing our live episode because again, even though it’s 2021 now, we’re still not doing live episodes. And what’s your first question, Keryn?
Keryn: It is, I have slack elastics, are my nappies able to be fixed?
Vicki: Yes. Easily? Depends on the style, but yes, they can be. You know, some of them take a little bit of skill, but there’s lots of tutorials online for different brands, etcetera. Like a pocket nappy is probably the easiest to fix, and an all in two is one of the hardest ones to fix.
Andrew: I think my answer would be, contact whoever made your nappy. Chances are…
Vicki: They’ll generally have a guide.
Andrew: Yeah, chances are, they’ll either have a guide, or they’ll have someone that will do it for you.
Vicki: We’ve got videos.
Andrew: We have videos.
Keryn: So if you’re unable to sew, and follow the instructions, which are reasonably easy, it’s just a little time consuming, get in touch with a local sewing group, or even like a Country Women’s Association, some of them might know someone, so a granny might help you out. The hardest bit is probably unpicking, and most time consuming is unpicking.
Vicki: Unpicking, 100%.
Vashti: You’ve got to be really careful with the unpicking as well, because you don’t want to tear the PUL, because if you tear the PUL, that’s when you’re going to end up with leaks.
Keryn: So even if you can’t sew, if you’ve got a friend, or just a family member, or a sewing group, show them the video, say that you’ll do this and they’ll probably be able to help you out. At the moment finding a specific nappy repairer is a little difficult, I don’t know of any at the moment, so that’s my best suggestion. But totally fixable.
Vicki: And if you don’t actually feel like fixing them, you can donate them. There are ladies, Nappies on a Mission are still going. They’re up in Bundaberg now.
Vashti: Cloth Nappies for Charity.
Vicki: They’ll repair them and gift them on.
Andrew: Gift them on, brilliant. So they’ll still get another life, even if you can’t do it yourself.
Vicki: Yeah, absolutely.
Andrew: Nice. OK Keryn, what’s your next question?
Keryn: What are the inserts made of? Made from?
Vicki: That’s a loaded question, because it’s generally bamboo, hemp or microfibre.
Vashti: Or cotton.
Vicki: Or cotton.
Andrew: Or a mixture?
Vicki: Yeah, it really depends. Do you know what, when you’re buying the nappies, it should be listed. The absorbency should be listed, and the fabric composition should be listed, and the insert information should be listed. And if it’s not, go somewhere where it is. It’s not something that should be hidden. Charcoal bamboo is not bamboo, it is microfibre. So don’t get caught up in buzz words. But yeah, and if it’s not on someone’s website and you’re really, really keen for their nappies, email them. They should know.
Vashti: Ask them.
Vicki: They should know, and if they don’t, I’d be a little bit hesitant to…
Vashti: Just ask. Any reputable nappy retailer should be able to tell you what is in the nappies that they’re selling. They should be able to tell you off the top of their head. They may not know the exact composition. I know there’s some days where I sit there…
Vicki: Is it 70/30 or is it 80/20? But it’s bamboo.
Vashti: It’s a bamboo cotton blend, this one is a cotton hemp blend. But most reputable nappy manufacturers should also be able to tell you what material it is just by looking at it. So if you’ve bought your nappies from somewhere, take them into your nappy retailers, and say can you tell me what this is? Or send them photos. Photos are a little bit harder to tell sometimes. But most of them…
Vicki: For the most part I can identify most fabrics, just by looking at them.
Vashti: Just by looking. I mean, touching definitely gives you a better chance of having a better idea. But just a look.
Vicki: Can you imagine getting a picture of microfleece and suede cloth and going oh, which is which? But you touch them, as soon as you touch them, you know 100%.
Vashti: But yeah, every nappy is going to be slightly different. It really depends on what the manufacturers decided to use.
Vicki: And what weight.
Andrew: OK, let’s put it to the test. What are the Bubblebubs inserts made of?
Andrew: 70/30 what?
Vicki: 70/30 bamboo. That’s the trifolds.
Vashti: Bamboo cotton?
Vicki: Yeah, they’re 430 GSM, 70/30.
Andrew: Cool, OK I didn’t expect an answer that quick, OK.
Vicki: Just don’t ask me on the prefolds.
Keryn: What does trick some customers, particularly with our nappies, and I know other brands have similar, is that with the trifolds they have a centre suede cloth panel. Also with the Pebbles, they have…
Vashti: Microfleece. Or minky sorry, the minky.
Keryn: That’s right, so they’re lined. So particularly with the Pebbles actually, it’s not immediately apparent what the main absorbency is. I guess in that case you need to…
Vicki: Turn it over. Flip it over.
Keryn: …turn over the Pebble.
Vicki: The insert, yeah.
Keryn: But it does trick some people if you’re not used to looking at nappies, and you see something you think is synthetic, and you’re wanting to stay away from synthetic absorbency.
Vicki: We’ve got the composition of everything now on the website as part of the description. So I’m pretty sure the bamboo delights and flats and what have you, are 90/10. Couldn’t tell you the weight off the top of my head, but the absorbency is there, and the bamboo prefolds, I’m pretty sure are 60 something, 30 something and 5% spandex to make the stretch. But it’s all there, even though I don’t know those off the top of my head, the information is on the website, and the absorbency as well, so you can compare apples with apples. So you can look at a hemp prefold and a bamboo prefold, and go oh OK, this one is more absorbent than this one. This is going to hold… didn’t you do that Keryn? Wasn’t that a drunken adventure with Jenna?
Keryn: Yes, we did. That was a fun night, weighing nappies.
Andrew: You used water though, not wine right?
Vicki: Water, wine.
Keryn: With the absorbency tests…
Vicki: It wasn’t a great science, but it was a guide.
Keryn: No, take it with a grain of salt, because when we do the absorbency tests, we saturate the nappy, squeeze all the air and everything out, and then, well we weigh it first, saturate it and then squeeze as much as we can out so it’s wet. But not dripping, and then weigh it again, and that’s what we class as our absorbency. But in real life, that’s not how a baby wets a nappy.
Vicki: It’s a guide. It’s not an exact science. It’s at least something to compare.
Keryn: If you see those numbers, you can’t take that as Bible, basically.
Vicki: Do you know what? I could potentially actually work out the absorbency, if I could be math bothered.
Vashti: Math bothered, I like that. I love maths.
Keryn: Different fabrics absorb different ways, so it’s not an exact science.
Vashti: They do, but you’ve also got the issue, babies will, a little boy will wet more towards the front, whereas a little girl will wet more towards the middle. So if your little boy is wetting really, really quickly, the front is going to soak up and you’re going to need to end up changing the nappy before the back of the insert has gotten wet.
Keryn: And with night nappies as well, different sleeping positions, gravity.
Vashti: Yeah, if they’re a tummy position, all the front of the nappy is going to get wet. And then the back is still going to be bone dry, but you’ll end up with leaks if you don’t have quite enough absorbency at the front of the nappy. So yeah. What was that question? I’ve forgotten what that question was.
Keryn: What are the inserts made from?
Vashti: There you go. Well, we went totally off track there, didn’t we?
Keryn: No, not really, because…
Andrew: Keryn, ask your…
Keryn: …I think the absorbency is directed related to what they’re made from…
Vicki: It is.
Keryn: …so I think it’s really important.
Vicki: And I’ve done no microfibre absorbency tests at all, because we don’t use, we only use natural fibres, where possible, in our absorbency.
Keryn: …because microfibre is basically a sponge…
Vicki: It leaks.
Keryn: …so I can saturate microfibre then squeeze it out…
Vicki: It would weigh the same.
Keryn: Very low absorbency, because that’s how microfibre works. It catches the wee, it doesn’t absorb the wee.
Vicki: Yeah, and lets go of it quick.
Andrew: Cool. Alrighty Keryn, as your ridiculously long third question.
Keryn: I’m not expecting a tiny bub, but wondering whether to invest in the newborn nappies, or to go with prefolds and flats instead? I have a bunch of one size fits most from my last baby, but how soon can I start using them?
Vicki: Well if you’re having a large baby, almost straight away. But prefolds and flats, you can never go wrong with prefolds and flats.
Vashti: You’ll be using them for everything. I always like to bring this back to my three kids. So my first was born at 4850, which is 10 pound 11, and he cracked 8 kilos, when he would have grown out of most newborn nappies, at five and a half months. My second was born at 3580, which is 7 pound 14, and she cracked 8 kilos at 12 months. At two years of age, I could still fit her in a small Itty Bitty, which is designed for 0 to 6 months. So she was quite petite. Now, the absorbency wasn’t there for her, but it still fit quite nicely. Third bub was born at 3815, which is 8 pound 11. He cracked 8 kilos at four months, but he was still in dedicated newborn nappies until he was nine weeks old. That’s when we felt comfortable putting him in a one size fits most nappy. So you can definitely get your one size fits most on them at an early age if you have bigger bubs. You’ve just got to be prepared that they’re going to be a little bit bulkier. You might struggle with some…
Vicki: Fitting issues.
Vashti: …fitting issues and stuff like that. It might be difficult to get clothes on over the top, so if you have a winter bubby and you want to put pants on over the top and they’re not stretchy, they may not fit. But as long as you’re prepared for that, there’s no reason why you can’t use a one size fits most nappy straight up. But, prefolds.
Vicki: But there’s always second hand. And I see, I know this is unbranded, but Bam Bams in particular, holy heck do they sell fast. And you can usually, even if you were to buy them new, buy them in a bulk pack, you can generally get most of your money back. So if you’re buying them second hand, you can pretty much be guaranteed, as long as you look after them, that you’ll get your money back and essentially all you’ve forked out for is a bit of detergent and a bit of water.
Vashti: I had one of my customers buy a bulk pack from me, and…
Vicki: Didn’t she make money on it?
Vashti: …six months late she broke that bulk pack down and sold them in smaller packages, and made money. So her overall return…
Vicki: It cost her nothing to nappy her child.
Vashti: …it cost her nothing to nappy her child for nearly six months.
Vicki: And that’s the advantage of the bigger birth to toddler packs and things like that, is once you’ve finished with them, someone trying to sell a $1,000 pack is going to struggle to sell that second hand, but I tell you what, break it down into $100 lots, $50, $100 lots, and you will get well and truly your money back and then some.
Keryn: Stock market, invest in nappies, people.
Vicki: In this climate, yes.
Andrew: No, cash is king in this climate.
Vashti: No, cash is not king. Don’t use cash.
Andrew: Cash is king.
Vicki: This is February ’21, 2021. In 2020, that was so last year.
Vashti: That was last year.
Keryn: If you’re prepared to go prefolds and flats, I would definitely do that. Newborn nappies are a convenience nappy, but prefolds and flats, like Vashti said, you’ll continue using, even in conjunction with your one size fits most.
Vicki: You can use them as inserts and all sorts of things.
Vashti: I’m still using the flats I used on Braithe, and he just turned 15.
Vicki: You’d think he’d be toilet trained by now.
Andrew: What baby are you putting them on?
Vashti: No, we use them as cleaning cloths around the house. So 15 year old nappies…
Andrew: 15 year old nappies and harsh chemicals on them and they’re still not breaking down.
Vashti: Yeah, because we use them, they mainly get used in the bathroom, and so they get bleach and stuff like that on them. I did pull one out the other day, and it’s got all these lovely holes through it, where the bleach has actually sat. It hasn’t been washed out quite quickly enough. I use bleach in my bathroom.
Vicki: I use bleach everywhere.
Vashti: Bleach kills everything.
Vicki: It does.
Andrew: She uses bleach in our kitchen sink.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: We even found some bleach behind some old cupboards in the garage, and you know, I just gave Andrew a spray bottle, and it’s funny, his mum said, so what was the ratio of bleach to water? Because she had a bit of mould problem. Water? No, no, it was straight bleach, it was just in a spray bottle. It just made it easier.
Andrew: 100 to 0.
Vicki: That’s it.
Andrew: What do you mean, put water in bleach? It’s already got water in it.
Vashti: It breaks down to water.
Vicki: And salt, yeah.
Andrew: Salt water, that’s right. Anything, last comments girls, or shall we finish up?
Keryn: Maybe don’t straight bleach your nappies.
Vicki: No, no.
Vashti: Straight bleach your bathroom, not your nappies.
Andrew: No, that’s right. No bleach on nappies, they don’t like it.
Vicki: And I tell you what, bleach in the sink if you ever want a shiny stainless steel sink, bleach. Straight bleach, just go shh and wipe it down.
Keryn: …it just needs to be diluted.
Vicki: Why dilute it? You just use less.
Keryn: On your nappies.
Vicki: On your nappies, oh yes, sorry.
Andrew: You’d have to be hard up to need bleach on your nappies though, wouldn’t you?
Vashti: Well if you’re doing a strip, if you’ve bought second hand nappies and you don’t know how they’ve been cared for and stuff like that…
Keryn: We spoke about this.
Andrew: Strip and sanitise.
Vashti: Yeah, this was on an episode recently. With Amy. We did the strip and sanitise and talked about the ratios and stuff.
Andrew: It was like November last year.
Vashti: OK, so it was a few months ago. Come on.
Andrew: It was back in 2020. The bad year.
Vashti: That was so last year.
Andrew: The bad year, 2020 was a bad year. I’m so glad we’re passed 2020.
Vashti: Are you? Really?
Andrew: Yes, yes. We’re talking like we are, even though we’re still in 2020 now. Don’t want to date the podcast though. We like to get ahead because of the school holidays. We can’t record during school holidays.
Vashti: Six children? Not a chance.
Andrew: Doesn’t happen. Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, that was very roboticky.
Vicki: It’s because I see you looking at my boobs. Still. Four months later, he’s still looking at my boobs.
Andrew: What do you mean, we’ve been together 20 years.
Vashti: You still wear voluptuous looking clothing.
Andrew: We’ve been together 20 years, what do you mean four months later. What happened four months ago?
Vicki: Actually it’s February 2021, we’ve been together 21 years.
Andrew: 21 years, oh, caught me. Wow. Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Keryn.
Keryn: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: You can go back to your cold now.
Vashti: No, it’s hot down in Orange in February.
Andrew: Oh, it’s hot.
Keryn: 25 degrees.
Andrew: That dated us. Bye everybody.