How are you feeling as you look ahead to 2023? You might be thinking about how to make 2023 your most sustainable year yet, or you might just be recovering from a whirlwind Christmas where you fell off the cloth nappy wagon. Either way, sticking with a sustainable lifestyle can be difficult and it’s all too common to find yourself struggling to reach for the cloth nappies.
Perhaps you took a break from cloth while travelling over the Christmas break, and you just can’t bring yourself to get back to your cloth nappies. Perhaps you’re struggling with other pressures in your life and now doesn’t feel like quite the right time. Or perhaps you want to get back to your cloth nappies but you’re finding them difficult to get to grips with. Wherever you’re at, remember that it is very normal to find cloth nappies tough at one point or another.
Today, to help you get the best start to a sustainable 2023, we’re bringing you 5 tips to help you keep going with cloth nappies this year.
1. Troubleshoot your routine
You’re most likely to stick with cloth nappies if you feel confident that they’ll work reliably. If you’re finding you’re dreading using your cloth nappies there’s a good chance it’s because something isn’t working well.
The first step is to choose nappies that you know will work consistently (we think our nappies are great!) However even with excellent nappies you may come up against issues. If you’re struggling with leaks, try checking that you’re fitting your nappies correctly, or try adding additional nappy inserts for extra absorbency.
Perhaps you’re struggling with getting your nappies really clean and tackling stains or smells. In that case, check your wash routine by reading our guide here.
If you’ve tried all these ideas and you’re still struggling, there’s nothing better than reaching out to someone for advice. You can contact us or get in touch with your local nappy library for advice and support.
2. Get some help
There’s no doubt about it, cloth nappies take more work than disposables. Of course, we wholeheartedly believe that the extra effort is worth it, but nevertheless you do need to find time in your week for washing, folding and storing your cloth nappies.
If you’re at a stage of life where taking on this extra effort is difficult, why not consider asking for help. You could enlist the help of a willing partner or family member. Stuffing cloth nappies is a great job for an older child in your family. Or if there’s no-one available, consider contacting a cloth nappy laundry service or asking for the help of a local cleaner.
3. Simplify your routine
If you’ve been using cloth nappies for a little while, you’ve probably established a routine. Routines are excellent for helping you stay on top of caring for your nappies, but it’s easy to over-engineer the process. If you’re finding the prospect of washing your nappies overwhelming, consider simplifying your routine. There’s lots of advice on the internet suggesting you need to prewash your nappies daily, wash them within in a certain number of days, and use particular products. All this advice, which is sometimes conflicting, can be confusing!
Thankfully, cloth nappy washing is actually very simple. As long as you’re using enough detergent, you can drop the daily prewashes and just wash your nappies every 2-3 days. If you’re struggling to wash every other day, switch to every 3 days to free up some time in your week.
Another way to reduce the time and effort of your wash routine is to make use of your dryer. While it’s generally best not to use your dryer for the sake of the planet, our nappy inserts can be tumble dried. Making use of the dryer, particularly in winter, can be a lifesaver for staying on top of your washing.
When it comes to folding your nappies when they’re dry, store them however is easiest for you. For some people, that might mean having them stuffed so they’re ready to put on at change time. Others prefer to have buckets for the different parts of the nappy and grab all the bits to put together when they use them. Either way, choose what works best for your family, regardless of what you might have seen on social media!
4. Consider part time
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that sustainable lifestyle choices have to be all or nothing. You might feel that if you’re only making small eco-friendly choices that you’re not the ‘real deal’ or that you need to be doing more. The truth is, any small change is a step in the right direction, and baby steps can be better than giant leaps.
Nowhere is this more true than with cloth nappies. It’s tempting to think you need to dive straight in and use cloth nappies 100% of the time. In actual fact, you’re much more likely to stick with cloth in the long run if you allow yourself breaks and pauses in your cloth nappy journey. Think about it - you’ll save more nappies from landfill if you use one cloth nappy a day for 2 years, rather than 6 cloth nappies a day for a month.
Instead of setting the bar high and burning out, try starting small, using cloth nappies part time for a few weeks or months. Then, as you build confidence, you could try add more cloth into your routine if you’re able.
5. Don’t expect perfection
Last but not least, know that there is absolutely no shame in taking breaks and using a few more disposable nappies for a little while. The odd day in disposables won’t make much of a difference in the long term, especially if you usually try to use cloth nappies as much as you can. Life with little ones is hard and these years are precious. A few disposable nappies are a small price to pay for your sanity!