In this second episode in this series How to Fix… we will focus on the long answer to questions people most commonly have on cloth nappies. We will also be joined each time by Jenna, who is looking after her 2nd son in cloth nappies. Jenna will keep us up to date in new things she has discovered during her second cloth nappy journey.
In this show, we explore the following questions.
How to fix fit on cloth nappies
How to fix nappies that the elastic is stretched
How to fix people who hate cloth nappies
How to fix not enough nappies
How to fix feeling overwhelmed/not knowing where to start.
Transcription: How to fix ... part 2
[Introduction – 0:00 to 03:10]
Andrew: How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: Good thanks Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: Excellent. How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m good Andrew, how are you?
Vicki: Why are you looking at me like that?
Andrew: I don’t know.
Vicki: Is it because I’ve got makeup on?
Andrew: I don’t know.
Vicki: My hair’s not done.
Vashti: Not got a low cut shirt.
Vicki: No, no, it’s very… it’s not revealing at all today.
Andrew: Well, you can tell because I’m looking at your face.
Jenna: You look, she looks really pretty today.
Vicki: Thank you. I actually put make up on.
Jenna: No one…
Vicki: My hair’s not… have you seen my roots? They’re getting done on Tuesday.
Vashti: Have you seen mine?
Jenna: It seems like an accident, but it looks like you’ve done a little bouffant…
Vicki: I did, I did. Because it was too flat.
Jenna: Do you want to see mine? What you can’t see in the podcast people, I just took my hair out and it didn’t move, because that’s how dirty it is.
Vicki: No, see I washed my hair this morning, because…
Jenna: I’m going home to wash my hair. It’s on my to do list.
Vicki: So two days until I get my hair done.
Andrew: How are you doing, Jenna?
Vicki: We didn’t even know Jenna was here.
Jenna: Hey, I’m here.
Andrew: Jenna’s broken the podcasting rule of not, of talking before she’s introduced.
Jenna: I’m so sorry, I don’t exist.
Vicki: Well, you shouldn’t look at me like that.
Jenna: It’s all Andrew’s fault, everyone do we agree? Andrew’s fault.
Vicki: Yeah, sure.
Andrew: That’s OK, Andrew’s going to edit that out, and it’s not going to be his fault at all.
Jenna: I’m doing really good, and I’m also not starting by eating a muesli bar this time, so doing great.
Andrew: Excellent. So what’s today’s subject? Exactly the same as last month, and that is how to fix, because we didn’t get through all of the questions.
Vicki: That’s Jenna’s fault.
Jenna: Well, who would have thought there’s so many things you need to “fix” in inverted commas? It’s the same as, I always say it’s like any group on Facebook, and I’ve been into a few new hobbies recently, but I’ve decided every group on Facebook that’s about like a hobby or something, like cloth nappies, it has the same five posts. And you know what, it always looks overwhelming, no matter what you’re doing, because no one posts and goes yep, I did it and it looked good again. No one’s like hey, I washed my nappies and they’re all clean today. Bye. So you only post negative stuff, so it comes over as really overwhelming and there’s lots of problems, but that’s only because there’s no reason to post hey, everything’s good. But yes, I’ve been joining a few other groups, and I’ve decided they all have the same five posts. I could just change the words out.
Andrew: You’d think after going through COVID we would be posting, everything is good, every day.
Jenna: No, probably should.
Vicki: Yeah you think COVID is over?
Jenna: Wait, it’s April. Things could be looking up.
Vicki: Oh yeah, maybe.
Jenna: Things could be looking up.
Vashti: No, we’re going back into winter, so it’s going to…
Jenna: But vaccine could be out. Fingers crossed.
Andrew: No, this is March.
Jenna: No, that’s optimistic. No. Things could be looking good. I’m being optimistic. I’m feeling glad…
Vicki: That’s because you went on that Virgin flight yesterday.
Jenna: And I haven’t seen that because I’ve been in a media blackout.
Vicki: OK, well we won’t just tell you about that one.
Jenna: Don’t tell me, no.
Vashti: That was three months ago. That was three months ago.
Vicki: That Virgin flight three months ago. I wonder what happened with that. It was someone who came in internationally and was supposed to self quarantine and they didn’t. They flew to Melbourne instead. So everybody on that flight…
Jenna: I don’t know about everyone else, but my faith in humanity has taken a nose dive in the last year. Me, me, me, me.
Vashti: All I can say is thank goodness they didn’t fly into Brisbane.
Jenna: I actually have, I vacillate between being really grateful to be where I am, and I’ve got a lot of overseas friends, and I have like survivors guilt almost, when I talk to them. I feel so bad about the fact that I…
Vicki: So do I.
Jenna: …we can go have our kinder gym with Ryan and stuff like that.
Vicki: And COVID really isn’t a thing here anyway.
Vashti: Not in Queensland.
Jenna: Yes, and no. I’ve got low level anxiety constantly still, and Andrew came up, are we hugging yet? I’m like, no, because I don’t think Andrew has COVID, but if I has a cold, because everything is so careful at the moment, I have to cancel 67 things if my kid gets a cold. So I’m still being very careful. I’m still limiting what I’m doing, to a degree, and I’m still being a little cautious. But you know me. I’m a very cautious person.
Vicki: That’s you.
Andrew: You used to be such a hugger though.
Jenna: I’ll hug later. Give me like six more months and I’ll hug. But to be fair, right now I should have breastfed my kid a couple of hours ago and I’m wearing a sports bra, so if I hug, I might explode.
Vashti: Didn’t you say you were going to pump during the session?
Jenna: Yeah, I forgot. I decided to just go back and drown my child by trying to feed him. Is that not a great system?
Vicki: On your back. Lay on your back, that’s the only secret I have, is you know, when you’re that full, just lay on your back so they don’t go [choking noises].
Vashti: They have to work for it then.
Jenna: He does OK. I’ve done that a couple of times when I couldn’t be bothered to pump, and he does OK with that feed. And then the next feed is OK, and then after he goes to bed at night, suddenly I’m like, ow, ow, ow, ow, and I had to have a shower and hand express a little bit to take the edge off. That was OK. I’d like to point out, I haven’t learned from this lesson. I’m not changing my…
Vashti: Do we ever?
Jenna: No. No.
Andrew: So back onto cloth nappies. Actually, that subject wasn’t too far off.
Jenna: It was like…
Jenna: I make breastmilk for him, he drinks it, it comes out into the nappy. It’s all related.
Vicki: And it was a great tip, too.
Jenna: What, to learn from mistakes, or don’t learn from mistakes.
Andrew: No, lie on your back.
Vashti: Lie on your back.
Vicki: Yeah, lie on your back.
Andrew: Lie on your back. Isn’t that how you got into this problem?
Jenna: Oh… was that some applause there, Andrew, because that was good, that was good. I’ll give you that.
Vicki: Yeah, because his jokes usually aren’t funny, and that was actually pretty…
Jenna: That was actually pretty good, I like that one.
Vicki: And quick.
Jenna: In so many ways.
Andrew: Was that a Freudian slip? So today’s subject is…
Jenna: Anyway, nappies.
Andrew: …part two of how to fix. And today’s first question, what’s a group of ladies called? Is that a gaggle?
Jenna: Gaggle? No, that’s geese.
Jenna: Pretty sure that’s geese.
Vicki: A luncheon.
Jenna: A lunch of ladies?
Andrew: Luncheon, OK. How to fix fit on cloth nappies.
Vicki: That’s pretty broad, isn’t it?
Vashti: Jenna’s hand is up.
Jenna: That’s because I brainstormed this before you all got here.
Jenna: So start here. Make sure you’re in some of the broad groups on cloth nappies, and post. Ask for help. If you’re not finding you’re getting the best advice there, the best thing is, most brands have VIP groups, and that’s really…
Jenna: …specific, I was like nyah, really specific advice on that cloth nappy.
Vicki: Or go to the brand.
Jenna: It’s next on my list, give me…
Vicki: OK, OK.
Jenna: I’m looking at my list.
Andrew: She can’t see the outline.
Jenna: Next says, contact the company. Most are super happy to help.
Jenna: Yes, contact, post in the group. If you’re not getting a response there, which you probably will be, you can also, or if you don’t want to post a picture, you’re not that person, email the company. Email your retailer, whoever, they’re absolute wealths of information. Contact them, they will be able to help you, and also if you’re not feeling social and you don’t want to talk to anyone, checkout YouTube, Google. Most brands will have videos about how to fit their cloth nappies, how to tweak it, how to get a perfect fit out of each nappy.
Andrew: Oh, oh.
Vashti: Andrew has a…
Jenna: Andrew is raising his hand as well.
Andrew: We have 100.
Vicki: Oh, we made the 100?
Andrew: We have 100 videos on our website.
Vashti: You know what? I’m a little biased here, but I think…
Vashti: …that the best way to get the perfect fit is to go to your local retailer. It’s not…
Jenna: I don’t like going places though.
Vicki: It’s not practical for the majority of people though.
Vashti: It doesn’t always work, but if you are in an area, like there are, there’s online retailers who are happy to meet up with you at a coffee shop, or come to your house, or they’ve got showrooms at their house. If there is a multi brand retailer in your area, then go into their shop. Take your nappies in…
Jenna: And you’re right, some people, that works better. Some people like, it’s the same as podcasts, videos, blogs. Some people like to read, some people like to listen, some people like to see it. Some people like in person things, and you know what? Actually I thought my fit with the nappy with Ryan was fine. I wasn’t getting any leaks. I wasn’t really having any problems, but I went and did a photo shoot with Vicki, and she was like yoink, yoink, yoink, adjusted it. And I was like, that’s so much better. So I did, and she has no idea what I’m talking about, but just agree.
Vicki: No, I do, I do, I do.
Jenna: You look blank.
Vicki: That was back, that was probably the last time I used my camera and I was saying, I need a hobby, and that was the last time I used my camera, and that was when Ryan was about six months old.
Vashti: Four years ago?
Jenna: He was younger than Liam is now. He was younger than Liam is now, and it was, actually that is his favourite nappy.
Jenna: Sedna, that was the one he always asked for, he was, whale nappy, Mummy, whale nappy. Until it was his phoenica. I once had a temper tantrum because phoenica was in the wash and he wanted his rainbow nappy. I’m sitting there, and I’m like, why don’t I own two of these things?
Andrew: Just two?
Jenna: Two of the same print, just so we didn’t have a temper tantrum while one was in the wash.
Andrew: I’d probably just buy your stash in that print.
Vashti: But you know what? You would have had two in the wash, and he would have still been asking for it. And you’d be saying, I need three. I need a whole stash of phoenica.
Jenna: You know what would be the solution? Don’t have children. There you go.
Vashti: But I think everyone that’s here is probably already past that stage.
Jenna: We’ve all already made that mistake.
Andrew: Or, don’t buy patterns, just buy the solid colours.
Vicki: No, no, no…
Jenna: I’m speechless, Andrew. Speechless.
Vicki: Then you have children that will only wear yellow nappies. I’ve got someone, Rebecca…
Jenna: Is it Rebecca Santolin who’s…
Vicki: No, Rebecca Cooper.
Jenna: Rebecca Cooper.
Vicki: I think. I think it was…
Jenna: Rebecca’s are yellow, because…
Vicki: No, no, she’s in WA and her son would only wear yellow nappies. And she was devastated when I discontinued pineapple.
Jenna: Ryan is so on theme in the last season or so. He’s obsessed with dusty pink. I’ve noticed everything he’s picked out for himself, shirts, shoes, something for Liam even, everything he picks out, that dusty pink that’s out at the moment, he’s obsessed with it.
Vicki: It was out three months ago, you mean?
Jenna: Yeah, it was out three months ago. Actually it was out three months before that. It was like second half of 2020. But yeah, he was…
Vashti: It’s so 2020. So 2020, definitely done with.
Andrew: It’s 2021 now.
Vashti: I know.
Jenna: That was so 2020 now it’s 2021 and an entirely new colour is in. What colour is in now, Vicki? [whispers] make it up.
Andrew: You know…
Vicki: No actually I haven’t got my pantone book. I’d be able to tell you if I pulled out my pantone book, I can tell you what the colour of the year was.
Andrew: You guys always wonder about the people who just order 24 white nappies? Now you know.
Jenna: Those people don’t have any kids having meltdowns, but I still, I couldn’t do it. I love prints.
Vashti: I love the colours. I love the prints.
Jenna: They make me so happy.
Vashti: It’s so hard ordering nappies for the shop. It’s like, I really love that one, let’s get lots of that. No, that one’s going to be way more popular.
Jenna: I get like sentimentally attached to them too. I gave some nappies to a friend, my entire newborn stash to a friend, and I kept my red pebble. Red the print, not red the colour, because that was the first nappy I bought. Do you remember when I finally started feeling ready for kids, and I bought that pebble. And so I kept that one. Fun fact. I forgot to put it on Liam, he’s never worn it. I was so sad, I found it after he grew out of pebbles and I was getting the next nappies out. I’d put it in the wrong spot.
Vashti: Just put it on him anyway.
Vicki: Once he hits one, he’ll probably fit back into it.
Jenna: At the moment, he’s not in that, he’s rocking…
Vicki: He’s still chubby.
Jenna: He’s rocking, he’s about to crawl. So right now, I could not. Right now he’s on like the fourth snap on a candy. But give me two months, he’ll be crawling, I’ll chuck him in it.
Vicki: Not for long, he won’t last long in it.
Jenna: Just to be, he’s worn it.
Jenna: Yes, what are we meant to be talking about?
Andrew: So next question…
Vicki: What was that question? I can’t even remember.
Vicki: Oh fit, oh yeah.
Andrew: Our next question is, how to fix nappies that the elastic is stretched.
Vicki: Well, it depends on the style of nappy, whether it is a turn and stitch which means that the elastic is hidden, or I mean, they’re all technically hidden. Or whether it’s a pocket nappy, where the elastic is easily accessible, or whether it is an overlocked nappy, where the elastic is kind of hidden as well. So, in those three instances, I’m pretty sure we’ve got one for an overlocked…
Jenna: Yes, it’s a bam bam or a bamboo delight.
Vicki: A bam bam, same same. There are two ways…
Jenna: Whichever one it is, Andrew we need to record a different one.
Vicki: There’s three ways to do it. You can unpick the overlocking and then undo the elastic and redo the elastic and redo the overlocking. That is the correct way to do it.
Andrew: We do have a video on that.
Jenna: And it’s also the very long way.
Vicki: It is also the very long way to do it…
Jenna: No, you go.
Vicki: The second way to do it is to cut off the overlocking, undo the elastic and just basically shorten the crutch a little bit. And the third way to do it is just sew the elastic on the inside of the nappy. If you just want to…
Vashti: Sew it straight over.
Jenna: And I’m going to present a fourth option, and this goes with mental health matters. Sometimes nappies are just done. Things have their lifespan. Just because you’re into reusables doesn’t mean everything has to be reused forever. If you’ve used your nappies on two kids and the elastics are dead, you know, you can donate them and see if someone else would do a random act of kindness in a group and see if someone else wants them, but it’s OK to throw things out eventually.
Vashti: There’s organisations that will take nappies that just need elastics or snaps repaired as long as the nappy itself is still usable.
Jenna: You don’t have to do it, and I think acknowledging that just because something is reusable, and just because we want to reuse things, doesn’t mean it has to be reused forever. Eventually things die.
Vicki: Yeah, they have a finite lifespan.
Jenna: Our shopping bags, I read somewhere someone said you’ve got to use those 17 times before they’re…
Vicki: Andrew threw out a new one because Abbie vomited in my car. And I was very upset about that.
Jenna: You can wash it.
Vicki: That’s what Abbie said too, but no, he threw it out.
Vashti: Yeah, you know what? I think I’d probably throw it out too.
Jenna: They don’t handle washing, but what I was going to say is…
Vashti: The green ones don’t handle washing. I’ve got canvas ones which are absolutely amazing and I’ve been using my canvas ones for probably, some of them are probably about ten years now.
Jenna: That’s what I was going to say. Someone said this to me, you know there’s only, and I calculated it, because I used to do, and I had used mine approximately 270 times. About the 300 time mark, they started to die. I threw them out. It’s OK, just because something is reusable, doesn’t mean it has an infinite lifespan, and it’s OK to do that. I wanted to add that because for someone who is overwhelmed, you can gift them, you can donate them, you can try and random act of kindness. All those things. But also, if you don’t, it’s OK. It’s OK, give yourself a break.
Vicki: Yeah, exactly. So the second one, after all that…
Vicki: No, that’s alright. So pocket nappies are the easiest to fix, because you can literally see the elastic. So unpick the elastic and resew it into the seams. And a turn and stitch is probably one of the hardest to do. Because they’re top stitched as well, so the best way to do is try and thread the elastic, we’ve got some videos on candies because they’re turn and stitch, is to grab the new elastic and pull it throw the channel.
Vashti: And just stitch it on either end.
Vicki: And stitch it on either end. But yeah, we do have some videos on that. There’s lots of repair videos online.
Vashti: Or, go to your local seamstress and see if she’ll do it for you. It might cost a bit of money, and sometimes we don’t…
Vicki: And unpicking actually is what takes the time. So if you unpick them and hand them over.
Jenna: Or better yet, do what I did and make your husband unpick them.
Vicki: Exactly. If you unpick…
Jenna: He sews. I do not. Vicki knows this. We had to repair some nappies recently. I’ve been putting off doing it for a year because the last time I tried to sew something it took me an hour and a half to thread the machine, is that the right word? So I just left them and made him do it, because guess what, he can sew and I can’t.
Vicki: We could change that. We could make it part of your professional development.
Jenna: I don’t want to.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: There’s lots of things you have to do in your job that you don’t want to do. Nobody likes to file, but you know.
Jenna: I love some filing.
Vashti: You file?
Andrew: We don’t have filing. What do we file?
Jenna: I digitally file.
Andrew: We have a bin.
Vicki: Yes, well. Sorry, what were you going to say Vashti?
Vashti: I have absolutely no idea now.
Vicki: It was about the turned stitch and the videos on YouTube?
Vashti: No, the seamstress.
Vicki: The seamstress, yeah, yeah.
Vashti: So yeah, contact your local seamstress. Keep in mind that it could actually cost more to get someone to repair your nappies than it would to buy new ones though, because it is quite a time consuming task. That’s what I was going to say.
Andrew: But if it’s got sentimental reason probably people are happy to pay that.
Vashti: Yeah, definitely.
Jenna: You may have one or two that mean something to you that you do want to do that and you can give the rest away. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing.
Andrew: I bet you those cat in the hat ones have probably been repaired ten times by now.
Jenna: Actually my friend that I mentioned in the last podcast, she redid all her elastics on her itty bitties which she’s had from her daughter, who is now seven or eight and they’re on their fourth kid and she’s redone all the elastics in those, because she can sew.
Vicki: And that’s pretty good actually, four kids. That’s eight years.
Jenna: That’s ridiculous, but yes, she redid all the elastics on hers, because she can sew.
Vicki: Well, I would. You know. I’d happily redo them, but you know. It also comes down to time. Unpicking nappies when you’re…
Jenna: It comes down to what fills your cup as well, if you like sewing and that’s not a problem for you, it’s like when people like, how do you do all those crafts? I’m like, I like doing them. I don’t feel like they’re a bother to do, I enjoy them.
Vicki: Whereas me, if you bring glitter into my house, you will be banned.
Jenna: I love me some glitter. Send it all my way.
Jenna: For those at home, Vicki just shuddered. I think she’s unhappy with that idea.
Vicki: No, no, it can all go to your place.
Jenna: Send it to my place. Next question, Andrew?
Andrew: How to fix people who hate cloth nappies.
Vicki: What was the… stab them?
Jenna: You can’t stab them. You can’t fix people. There’s no fixing someone. Some people hate cloth nappies and that’s their decision.
Vicki: Just don’t let them bother you.
Jenna: Vicki has a good line for this she used to tell me, and it was about asking people, and this is not about people who hate cloth nappies for their own kids. Everyone gets to make decisions for their own kids. This is about people like my co-worker, who laughed in my face and walked away when I said I wanted to do cloth nappies. That was her reaction. It sucked.
Vashti: Yeah, that’s a bit rude.
Jenna: She was rude. She’s a cow. Anyhoo.
Vicki: My boss told me I was an f-ing idiot.
Jenna: Yeah, excellent.
Vashti: But you know what? You just smile and wave, boys, smile and wave.
Jenna: She gave me really good advice once. She said, when someone says cloth nappies don’t work, when someone says this or that, turn around and say, what brand have you used, because I might steer clear of them. Because that will point out that they never tried before they told you that they’re crap.
Andrew: So there’s a quote that I like in this case. If you’ve got somebody who’s positive and you’ve got somebody who’s negative, the positive person can’t make the negative person positive. All they will do is make themselves pessimistic.
Jenna: And that’s one thing I will say, and one thing it took me a little bit to realise, and this goes with any parenting decision, really. When someone’s making a judgement about you, it’s usually about them. When someone is judging you for using cloth nappies and goes oh, I couldn’t do that, blah, blah, blah, it’s not about you. It’s about them feeling guilty because of their choices. Them being unhappy with, and I’m not saying everyone has to, I’m saying it’s them being guilty and having feelings that they wish they had done it, or that they don’t, they need to make cloth nappies bad to justify their own decisions. And this goes the same with so many things with parenting.
Vashti: Well, it’s the same as breastfeeding, bottles…
Vicki: Actually, not just parenting, it’s everything. It’s tall poppy syndrome, almost.
Jenna: I really notice that Australia is very bad for it. America, Americans than I went to high school with at least, it wasn’t as prevalent. When I moved back to Australia, I was like, what is this? And Mum had to kind of explain to me. And it’s that real tall poppy syndrome in Australia. And I think you’ve just got to remember when people make judgement on you, you can’t change them. Exactly like Andrew said, you cannot change them. But for your own mental health, try to detangle what they’ve said, and remember that it’s not about you, it’s about them. I have someone in my life who shall remain nameless, who makes a lot of judgements, makes a lot of comments about me. And when I look and try and analyse it, it’s about their regrets of how they parented. It’s about their own insecurities. What she comments on for me is about her insecurities not about what I’m doing well. So try and stop and remember through the lens of what is this really about for them. Because generally speaking, people are selfish and it’s not about you.
Vicki: Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Jenna: We’ve done that one. Andrew, what’s next?
Andrew: How to fix not enough nappies.
Vicki: Buy more.
Jenna: Buy more. Magic money off a tree.
Vashti: Wash more often. Use disposables. There’s no hard and fast that it’s got to be all or nothing.
Vicki: Buy more inserts. If you’ve got all in twos.
Jenna: Buy more inserts instead of covers, that’s a great idea.
Vicki: Do nappy free time.
Andrew: Toilet train them after five years.
Jenna: Elimination communication is a great way to use less nappies. If you’ve got a tight budget, some of the things to keep in mind are cotton prefolds, flats, muslin flats, terry flats, all those can be really cheap. And second hand. A lot of the premium brands, because they do last well for a few kids, you can get some great deals on second hand nappies. I, through a series of convoluted things that it isn’t necessary to explain, my friend got my entire newborn stash. She paid $300 for it. It’s got a good three to four thousand dollars worth of nappies in that newborn stash. It’s enormous. It’s a double time newborn stash, and some of those nappies have been on…
Andrew: It’s a, I work for a cloth nappy company stash.
Jenna: I work for a cloth nappy, I shared it with someone else, I got someone else’s who worked for a cloth nappy. I cannot… some of those nappies she’s receiving, her baby will be the fifth baby to go in them, and I love that. I think that’s amazing, and you can get a really good deal on second hand cloth nappies.
Jenna: But remember cheaper options like terries and prefolds and stuff, and just buy less covers and more inserts is always a great idea.
Vicki: Also depends what you think is not enough. You know, if you’ve got a dozen nappies and you’ve got a newborn, that’s probably not enough.
Vashti: That’s a day’s worth. You’re washing every single day and you don’t have any time for drying.
Vicki: Whereas twelve nappies for a one year old is more than enough. So for a newborn stash, you’re probably looking at 24 to 30 nappies will get you through fulltime.
Jenna: Exactly, and then as you go into toddler years, you’ll be looking, as Vicki said, more like 12 to 24, depending on the kid. This is a conversation Vicki and I have had a thousand and one times, because I had a high pooper, and she has low poopers.
Vashti: Yeah, see my kids were all prolific pooers.
Andrew: Because I wasn’t there to record those previous conversations, you have to repeat that conversation now.
Vicki: I used to…
Jenna: I thought you meant the one we just had. Andrew, what’s wrong with you? Why don’t you turn the microphones one? Basically Vicki and I, when we talk about the stats about how many nappies you use, how much disposables cost and all those things, you just can’t get a decent answer on because human beings vary, I used to say seven or eight cloth nappies a day for a toddler was a reasonable thing to estimate, and Vicki thought that was insane. But Ryan was still pooping four times a day.
Vashti: Well, see, I would have been even all the way through until toilet training, I would have still been using six to eight cloth nappies a day on a two year old, because my kids were prolific pooers.
Jenna: If you have a husband like mine, who his favourite thing about, what Casey loves about cloth nappies is he can change his child’s nappies as much as he wants without worrying about the cost. He loves that he can constantly have them in a dry nappy. It used to be a running joke how many nappies Casey could use before he went to work in the morning, and it would be three or four sometimes.
Vashti: You know also, you’ve got to take into account I’ve got one customer who wants as much natural fibres on her bubby’s bum as she can. And they don’t use PUL covers. They use fitted nappies with no covers, and they just change really, really frequently. They’re changing sometimes every hour or more than every hour.
Jenna: So we’ll have the stats to say 24 to 36 nappies is probably what you need for fulltime. But for a newborn, huge asterisk, huge asterisk, because there are so many different circumstances. And this is the problem with giving advice for anything with kids, is your milage may vary. Families vary and like you said, it depends on the parents. My husband has an obsession with changing nappies all the time. Some people don’t like to change nappies all the time, so they go through far less. Jess, I’m looking at you.
Vicki: Or your kids just don’t wee, I remember…
Jenna: You might have a save and wee kid.
Vicki: This is an example of, I can fly to Hong Kong without peeing. That’s an eight hour flight, and Vashti can…
Vashti: I will go to the toilet three times on that flight.
Vicki: Andrew will go like four or five…
Jenna: I can pee before I leave the house and then pee where I’m going.
Vicki: See Andrew, we’ll go shopping and he’ll be, walk past a toilet, I need to go to the toilet. I’m like, are you serious?
Jenna: I’m with Andrew.
Vicki: Anyway, I can hold on. Abbie, when she was in PICU, she was on CPAP, so they couldn’t take her to the toilet and she refused to wee. Now, how many days did she go without weeing? And she had a nappy on?
Andrew: I don’t know.
Vicki: I think it was three days.
Andrew: They even got an ultrasound out.
Vicki: And she was having, she had a drip. And it was either two… I think it might have been two days.
Vashti: So she has your bladder control.
Vicki: Absolutely, she could…
Vashti: Cast iron bladder, Vicki has.
Andrew: They got an ultrasound out and said…
Vicki: They were worried, actually worried that she had a blockage, but she was just holding it. She refused to go in the nappy.
Vashti: I have vivid memories of getting around China with Vicki, and like we’d go out to dinner and we’d be drinking, it would be a range of different things, and I would have to get up and go to the toilet two or three times during that meal, because sometimes those meals are a couple of hours.
Vicki: But they had squat toilets, and you know, like no.
Vashti: Vicki would not use them.
Jenna: I love me a squat toilet, because you can avoid… context, for people who don’t know, I grew up in Asia, so a bit of experience here. But I love a squat toilet because you don’t have to touch anything. In Australia you’ve got to try and hover and stuff, it’s so hard. In squat toilets, you can just float above, float above.
Vicki: Do you remember when Hung Jo (? 30:17) train station, I was busting to go to the toilet, I was busting.
Vashti: You were, and we were about to get on a train as well and you were like, I can’t even…
Vicki: I went in there to go and they were squat toilets, and I’m like no, I can hold it.
Jenna: See, I should have given you like a squat toilet lesson before you went, because they’re actually much, I prefer a squat toilet in public, not that they have them in Australia, because if you do it right, if you know how to do it, you don’t have to touch anything at all. It’s way better than sit down toilets in Australia.
Vicki: Well the best part about going to say Shanghai or something, even Shanghai Disney in particular, there was never a line up for the western toilets. Never a line up.
Jenna: So funny.
Vicki: The line up for the squat toilets, but never for the western toilets.
Jenna: That’s really funny.
Vashti: There were a couple of the squat toilets. I did, I have a small bladder, but there were a couple of toilets that I walked into and ended up having to walk back out of, because there was like, yeah, I can’t even squat over that.
Jenna: See, I’m a little like, I’ve had to suck it up and deal with it, that’s where I grew up. When I came back to Australia, I was like, these are public bathrooms? They don’t smell like urine. I don’t understand. Because what happens a lot of the time, in Malaysia, I can’t speak to other countries, but in Malaysia, they would take the mop in, no bucket, dip it in the toilet [horrified squeals]… that’s why the floors smell. That’s why the floors smell, that’s how they clean the bathrooms.
Vicki: That’s clean?
Jenna: And you’ve just learned something new. You’re welcome.
Vashti: I’m not going to Malaysia anytime soon.
Jenna: Hate to break it to you, I think it’s all over Asia. I remember having this conversation with Keren because she’d just changed Ford before we went to the Philippines. She was like, toilet train him before you go, and I was like yeah, nah, because I didn’t want to deal with about to go off and a kid needs to go to the toilet. And I was like, have you ever been into a public bathroom in Asia? And she was like, no. I was like no, I’m not toilet training a kid, it’s disgusting. I can barely hold him over and toilet here, like no.
Vashti: At least you have boys.
Jenna: My kid doesn’t know that standing and peeing is a thing. He doesn’t actually know that’s an option. No, he does know that’s an option now, but he doesn’t like doing it.
Vashti: He only knows it’s an option outside?
Vicki: Gabe didn’t like doing it either.
Vashti: On a tree?
Jenna: He’s never peed on a tree. No.
Vashti: He’s never peed on a tree?
Vicki: Neither has Gabriel, he just does not like it.
Jenna: I have a real, and this is each to their own, but I have a real thing… in an emergency of course, but we have a porta potty to take with us, and I do not want to teach him that because he’s a boy, he’s allowed to pee on the world.
Vashti: See, I have that feeling as well. But for some reason, my kid’s father thinks its OK.
Jenna: We haven’t had, we have a really good, they can sponsor us if they want, this travel potty and I don’t remember the name of it, and it vacuum seals. You close it and you can shake it up above your head and nothing comes out of it. And we take that with us wherever we go.
Andrew: Did you really test it like that?
Jenna: With water. When I first got it, I was like, how leakproof is this thing? And poured a cup of water in it and closed it and shook it above my head. Nothing comes out. So we use that whenever we go out and you can just chuck it wherever you want. Everything stays inside it. It’s a bit like using cloth nappies when you’re out. Deal with it when you get home.
Vashti: Fair enough.
Jenna: But yes, that’s what we use. Ryan now knows that standing is an option, but doesn’t like doing it.
Vicki: I don’t know, does Gabe stand?
Jenna: Where did we start this?
Andrew: Gabe stands when he pees, yeah.
Vicki: Yeah, but he just doesn’t, he does not like going outside.
Andrew: Do you know how I know?
Vicki: Well, I assume you’ve seen him do it.
Jenna: I bet he cleans the bathroom.
Andrew: No, it’s all over the place.
Jenna: And that is why I never taught Ryan to stand and pee, because I don’t want to clean it. I say this like I clean my own toilets, I don’t.
Andrew: He’s a terrible aimer.
Jenna: Oh by the way, thanks a lot, I got your cleaning spot on Monday.
Andrew: You got my cleaning spot on Monday?
Vicki: Last Monday.
Jenna: No, coming, coming Monday.
Andrew: Coming Monday? No, we booked that.
Jenna: Oh, maybe that’s why I’ve got 11 now not 9. She wasn’t sure. Sorry. That is a totally unnecessary part of the podcast.
Andrew: Too many things happening last Monday. So, how to fix feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. Did you like that dramatic voice?
Vicki: Do we have an e-book? I’m pretty sure we have an e-book.
Andrew: You… you…
Vashti: I’m sure you did an e-book.
Vicki: I wrote two e-books.
Andrew: Yeah, you wrote all the e-books.
Vicki: Which are really, really basic about the styles. So one book is about the styles, one book is about, what was the second book about? Newborn versus one sized nappies, and it’s really very basic. It doesn’t go, it’s point form. It’s not too overwhelming. Or we’ve got the first two episodes of this podcast.
Vashti: They’re awesome.
Vicki: Which basically go into those things, but a lot more detail.
Jenna: And we also have, that’s more getting informed to start, but the actual diving in and doing it, we actually have a blog, I think it’s just called how to…
Vicki: And by us, sorry, I do actually mean Bubblebubs, sorry.
Andrew: Bubblebubs.com.au/start. Which as I announce that, doesn’t currently work, but Vicki will have that fixed before this episode launches.
Vicki: April? I have until April to have that fixed, do I not?
Jenna: March, I think.
Jenna: What month are we in, theoretically?
Andrew: We’re in March.
Jenna: We have a few. And my advice is, just dive in. I know that’s easier said than done, but just use one. All you’ve got to do is use one, and because it is one of those things, like a lot of things are, where they sound really complicated when you’re talking in theory, and when you’re reading everything, it sounds so complicated. Put the nappy on your kid. It’s not that hard. And once you start, we do talk a lot about not pressuring new mums especially to start with cloth from newborn, but I kind of wish I was empowered to. There’s pressuring and there’s empowering. I wish I was empowered to start straight away, because I feel like I spent, with Ryan, three weeks trying to put on a disposable to just change it and learn something else. Everyone acted like disposables were magic and fixed everything. That was the easy option. I got peed on with disposables, because I didn’t know which way to put his penis and he peed straight out the side of it and I didn’t have it fitted right, blah, blah, blah, but it’s just starting in that.
Vicki: Just starting how you want to finish.
Jenna: And then you don’t know any different. It’s just what you know. It’s just part of that parenting thing where you just keep going and it’s just part of your life. I realised recently we’ve been using fulltime cloth with Liam for seven months and I hadn’t put a single thing up on my Instagram or anything about it, because it’s just what we do. It didn’t occur to me. It didn’t occur to me to post anything or say anything. I just kind of forgot. He’s done modelling and we’ve been doing all sorts of stuff, but I haven’t even though to say anything because it’s just normal. It’s part of our daily rhythm. And that daily rhythm can seem like a lot of work, but also we’ve had a lot of people tell us about how that daily rhythm of washing and folding and doing that, actually really helps in the blurry newborn stage where it can give your life a bit of rhyme and reason.
Vicki: Actually it’s funny, I’ve had some mental health issues recently, and talking to psychologists and they actually said, the routine is actually the best way to get through any sort of, you now, through the haze and all of that, making your day a routine and actually knowing that you’re doing for the day, which is hard with a newborn, of course. But actually having a little bit of structure.
Jenna: It’s your touch point, almost.
Vicki: Yeah, yeah.
Jenna: I went to write a blog and it was one of the crown sourcey blogs where I asked people for their input, and I was trying to do one about the little things to like about cloth, and I, in my head was thinking I’d get stuff like the patterns are fun, the community I’ve built through it, stuff like that. That’s where I thought we were going to go. Oh my God, the answers we got, I was in tears reading them. It blew me away. What we actually got was a bunch of people talking about how getting out in the sunshine and hanging out their nappies helped with their postnatal depression. How exactly what you just said, postnatal depression, having a rhythm and a routine, even that little bit in those newborn days really helped people. I will link it, and it’s called something like, the little things to love about cloth, or something like that. But holy moly, it turned into something I didn’t expect it to be, and it really blew me away, and oh God, it warms my heart, that blog, it fills me with joy every time I read it. People really shared, and it was really amazing. What was the question?
Vicki: And the community did come up as well.
Jenna: Oh yeah, community. All sort of things came up, but there was a whole mental health aspect that I just didn’t see coming, really. And the community with cloth is just amazing.
Vicki: You find your tribe. So much easier in a cloth…
Jenna: Absolutely. It’s funny, because I am not actually 100% sure that Ryan knows that people throw out nappies. Because I don’t, all my friends who come over, all my friends we have playdates with, they all use cloth. And Ryan said something once, we were reading a baby book when I was pregnant, and the big brother helped and threw the nappy out. And Ryan laughed, that’s silly, you don’t throw nappies out. And I was, I don’t think he knows it’s a thing. I was like, I was trying to think, all my friends use cloth who come over, because most of them I met… one I didn’t, but I helped her get into cloth because she was using it part time, but a lot of them I met through cloth. Through cloth. So that’s what Ryan’s seen. He doesn’t really know there’s other options, I think. There’s a beautiful community through cloth nappies.
Vicki: Yeah, there is. Less sancti-mummies I think. Yeah, they’re everywhere.
Jenna: [noises] I meet sancti-mummies other ways, and also it can attract a certain demographic. And if you, for instance myself, do not fit in some of those demographics, you can feel judgement about other things that might not be so true.
Vashti: In saying that, I think in the last two to three years, the cloth community has changed a lot. Cloth has become…
Jenna: Cloth has become so much more mainstream.
Vashti: …so much more mainstream.
Jenna: I think you’re right, I don’t feel like I’ve seen that around the same so much.
Vicki: Whereas it used to be that whole natural parenting.
Jenna: I definitely am not a natural parent.
Vashti: Five years ago, it was. It was that whole attachment parenting, breastfeeding, baby wearing community. Now, it is very mainstream and you have people who will do cloth nappies just because they like the prints. You’ll have people who do cloth nappies because it’s trendy and hip. You’ll have people who do cloth nappies…
Jenna: I just don’t like the waste. I remember having a play date with someone and she was talking about how she approached food with her kid, and I was like, we’d do it differently, kind of thing, and she was trying to convince me to join a certain Facebook group, and I was like, I don’t think I’d fit in there. And she was like oh, but you use cloth. And I was like yeah, that’s about where it ends. I was like, I take bits of everything, but I think you’re right, in that time since I’ve had Ryan, I think in those early days there was a lot more of that assumption, if you use cloth nappies you were…
Vicki: A hippy mum.
Jenna: …a hippy mum and a crunchy mum. And I think these days it’s a lot more mainstream and a lot more diverse parents using… there’s a lot more diversity of style in parenting who are using cloth nappies.
Vashti: There was the diversity back then, but I would say that it was assumed that it was more crunchy. There was a lot of people…
Jenna: People aren’t making that assumption anymore. I think that might be it, you don’t make that assumption so much anymore.
Andrew: Do you want to mention some of the Facebook groups that you’re in?
Vashti: MCN tips and tricks, Get into cloth Australia.
Jenna: Get into cloth Australia, that’s Amy’s one?
Vashti: Yeah, and MCN Tips and tricks is Amy’s as well.
Jenna: I have this thing where, I do this thing where I never look at the… which is why I sometimes answer stuff and put my disclaimer, and people are like, you’re in the Bubblebubs group. And I’m like, whoops.
Vicki: But join the VIP group.
Vashti: But honestly, on Facebook, just type in cloth nappies and see what comes up. Or speak to your local retailer or manufacturer.
Jenna: I don’t know about anyone else, as far as I’m concerned, technology is never evil, people are evil and you use technology for what you use it for. But, I am loving at the moment Facebook groups, really finding your community and your niche of whatever you’re interested in. And I find that can be so heart warming. And so helpful and you can find a bit of a tribe there and look up whatever you’re interested in. There’s a Facebook group for bloody everything lately. And I think cloth nappies there’s a ton of different ones, and you might find one that is more your vibe, or is less your vibe. But I think look up cloth nappies and look up mum groups in your local area.
Vashti: Speak to your local baby wearing group, or mums group, your local playgroup. There’s bound to be at least one mum in your local playgroup that is using cloth, has used cloth, wants to use cloth.
Jenna: Be the awkward one who says oh, I see cloth. I did it the other day in a baby sensory class, turned out to this guy who I’d been kind of chatting with Ryan…
Jenna: Yep, Liam.
Vashti: The other one.
Jenna: Really likes this guy. Every time we sit next to him, he doesn’t look at me or do any of the things, he just stares at, he’s South African, his name’s Quibex. And he stares at him. I noticed his daughter’s butt the other day, and I was like oh, do I spy a cloth nappy under there? And he’s using some, and they’ve got microfibre inserts. So being the person I am, I’m like, can I bring you a nappy? I’m totally like, I’ll get a clean one and I’ll bring it to you. I brought him a nappy just to be like, do you want to try one of these? These are really cool. And it’s not salesy, it’s I have a ton of nappies and I like to share. So I will do that, and I’ve met friends. I was sitting in a baby sensory class with Ryan, I got the right kid then, and someone turned around and went, oh my God, Jenna. Yes? You’re Jenna? Still yes, but what’s happening. She was like, you work for Bubblebubs, right? How do you know this? She was like, I recognise your voice from the podcast.
Vashti: There you go.
Jenna: I was like, oh OK, that scares me now.
Andrew: Excellent, Jenna’s got her first stalker.
Jenna: No, that scares me like, oh my God, what have I said, and people are listening? But yeah, just be the awkward one you see who talks to someone with a cloth nappy out. Like, you never know who you’re going to make friends with that way. I’ve actually made friends with someone that I have a playdate with on Monday, that way. Be the awkward person. Or, you could go to Nest Nappies, in Brisbane, and you could just randomly butt in and tell a friend, tell a random stranger what nappies to buy. And be friends with her. That’s what I did one day.
Andrew: I do that every time I’m dropping stock off.
Vashti: We have so many friendships that have been formed in Nest. Now we’ve got the loungeroom, it’s really gorgeous to see, when we moved into the new shop, gosh that’s 18 months ago now, that was September 2019.
Jenna: As I said, real 18 months or podcast 18 months?
Vashti: Podcast 18 months.
Jenna: Nicely done.
Andrew: It’s time for a bigger shop.
Vashti: But yeah now, with the loungeroom, we had it in a courtyard before, but you know, we see mums come in to go and change their baby, and another mum comes in to feed their baby, and then they end up sitting and chatting, and the next thing you know, they’re actually walking in together three weeks later because they’ve actually just been at a playdate together…
Vicki: And they’ve clicked.
Jenna: One of my best friends in the entire world was a Bubblebubs brand rep, and then we started realising we were both into like open ended wooden toys, and I was like, so hey… and we have, you’ve got a built in friendship there. You’ve got lots in common, and Megan’s now one of my best friends in the entire world.
Vashti: And I’m pretty sure both you and Megan started off at Nest.
Jenna: I don’t know about her, but yeah, I did. I remember poor… I don’t know who was in there that day, but I walked in, she did not know what I was… I was like, I have come with my list. I am overly researched. I will have these things. But yes, it just… there’s a really great community. Don’t be afraid to be awkward. Worst case scenario, someone thinks you’re weird and you never talk to them again.
Vashti: And you know, you probably don’t ever have to see them again either.
Jenna: I was like, when I had Ryan I was like a single person, a newly single person. I would ask anyone on a playdate. Anyone at all. And you know what, some of them clicked and we had, and friendship grew out of them and some of them we didn’t click, and we kind of just didn’t have a playdate again. I’ve looked at it like dating. Just go on a playdate, see how it goes. You never know what will grow out of that. You never know what will happen and how your life will be changed by those kind of people. One of my other friends I met on a Facebook group and a mums group, and we went for a walk and we decided that we were best friends.
Vicki: And you know, you could always, those people, because the question was, how do you stop people, how do respond to people who hate cloth nappies. Become friends with them and they can see how easy it is.
Jenna: Yes, and Jess was doing part time when we met, and I was doing it fulltime, and after we talked for a little bit, she goes, I think I might try fulltime, it sounds a bit easier than managing two different systems. And that’s how she got into fulltime cloth.
Vashti: There you go.
Jenna: And that was all because we meant to go on a walk, but everyone else bailed but us two. And her husband was like, so you’re meeting a rapist in the forest?
Andrew: She’s not a rapist, she’s a cloth nappy person.
Jenna: He was like, you’re going and you’re meeting a stranger in the forest? In fairness, I see his point, but I’m a nice person. I didn’t hurt her, I promise. But you never know where a friendship will grow out of things, is what I’m trying to say. Just put yourself out there. Worst case scenario, you have an awkward couple of hours and you don’t see them again.
Jenna: I feel like we’ve answered that, whatever question you asked and every other question in the world.
Andrew: Yes. Should we finish?
Andrew: OK. Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thanks, Jenna.
Jenna: Thanks for having me.