Back in early December last year, my husband Jake and I discovered we were expecting our first child. We decided not to find out the sex of our eagerly awaited arrival. Whilst we did not know the sex, we were aware almost instantly of all the life changing and important decisions we would have to make before and after the baby’s arrival.
As a first time Mum with very little knowledge on what I would need for our arrival, I decided that a trip to The Baby Show at the Excel in London would be a good starting point. After enlisting the help of Jake and our mothers (future grandmothers), we prepared ourselves and spent a full day at the show.
Tots Bots was one of the first stands we encountered. Jake was drawn to it as he had already expressed a wish to be environmentally aware when raising our children. He was particularly interested in cloth nappies. The ladies at the Tots Bots stand were so friendly and took all the time we needed to give us advice and demonstrations on how Tots Bots could work for us.
So why did we choose cloth?
For us there were two key factors in choosing cloth: environment and cost.
First, a baby can get through up to about 4000 nappies. If you use disposable ones, they go into your dustbin (most not collected for 2 weeks) and then into landfill. This in itself was bad enough to me, but I then learnt that those nappies will still be around 500 years later! What kind of legacy is that to leave our future generations? So, along with reducing our family’s carbon footprint and halving our expected weekly waste, a little bit of future preservation of our planet could not go amiss!
Second, in this day and age with the poor economy being at the forefront of the minds of most families, we looked at the financial benefits. Despite the initial outlay of between £250-£300 for a good birth to potty set of cloth nappies, going down this route can save you in the region of £500! And it is a proven and approved idea; local governments are presently getting on board with reward schemes for families using cloth, often cash-back incentives. Our local council gave us back £50 when we showed we had purchased cloth.
Choosing which Tots Bots are right for you
Teenyfit – 15-20 for a comfortable stock
Selling points: These nappies are nice and snug for newborns up to 12lbs. As they are not used as much as the birth to potty they have a great resale value, or can be used for a second baby due to them not being too worn. They also make a wonderful addition to a baby keepsake box once they grow out of them.
Easyfit – 15 – 20 for a comfortable stock
Selling points: These are great fuss-free nappies for in the day, they are very fast drying due to their minky interior and just so easy if you do not want the fuss of a two part nappy. These can also be boosted with Tots Bots bamboo boosters for heavy wetter.
Bamboozle Stretch – 5 -8 for a good night stock
Selling points: These nappies are a two-part system. They are great night nappies as they are super absorbent. The bamboo material nappy comes in two sizes for your baby and can be boosted for heavy wetters. Once you have the bamboozle, you then use a waterproof wrap on the top to keep in the wetness. These wraps come in so many fun patterns and in 3 sizes for newborns, babies and toddlers.
What is in my collection?
After much thought, we bought a birth to potty starter kit at the baby show. This was a good way to get started. But as I am such a huge fan and wanted to make sure I really take on this challenge for my blog, I have now got the following:
Teeny fits: 22 a mixture of whites, colours and prints, some “pre-loved” to keep costs down.
Easy fits: 25: I have all of the V3 prints and then one of each colour and a lot of white ones.
Bamboozle Stretch: 10 with 5 wraps. I have three striped bamboozle stretch in size 1 with 2 size 0 wraps and seven 7 size 2 bamboozle stretch in colour and cream with 1 size 1 and 2 size 2 wraps.
I am sure I will keep adding to my collection as I just love these adorable nappies: the quality really shines through and the logic and benefits are so obvious.
So how did I prepare for the arrival of my little one?
Prewashing the nappies:
Washing your nappies a few times prior to use increases their absorbency. Tots Bots recommend 10 washes to bring your nappies up to maximum absorbency, but you can start using them after a few washes. After seeking further advice from some other cloth-using mums, I prewashed my nappies the following way:
Remove the liners from nappy if separate and pull out the longer part of the minky that is tucked into the back part of the nappy. Fold back the hook and loop tabs as the Velcro on these can catch and damage the fabric of the nappy.
This is another tip given to me by the cloth-using mums: soak all the nappies in a bath of just cold water for 12 hours (I did this overnight), which helps to build up the absorbency.
The next morning pop the nappies in the washing machine. Wash the coloured nappies separate from the white and lighter prints. The red or poppet nappies should be washed separately the first few times. I always put in a colour catcher and add a tiny amount of my chosen non- bio. I used the Tots Bots Potion as it can be washed at 30 degrees and is more environmentally friendly (if not using Potion I, would recommend Ecover). After a full wash, I then rinse three times.
Remove the nappies from the machine and hang to dry: outside if possible as the nappies dry quicker and get some air. Once dry, re-stuff the longer minky part back in the nappy, place in a liner for ease in using next time (if required), do the nappy back up, store and admire!
What else will I need?
Other than the nappies, you will need a bucket and mesh bag inside and a wet bag. These all come as part of the Tots Bots accessories kit – if you purchase one. I recommend that you get these from Tots Bots as their bucket is specifically designed for the nappies with a good sealing lid and the mesh bag fits inside so you don’t have to touch them when transferring to the wash.
Liners & Boosters
Tots Bots provide two types of liners: a disposable, flushable liner which is great when you are out on the go and a lovely fleecy liner which is so soft against the baby’s bum and keeps them dry. There is also do a great Bamboo booster that can be used in Easy fits and Bamboozles – I love these, although I doubt I will be using them until baby gets a bit bigger.
A few final thoughts before the blogging begins.
In my buying and preparation part of my journey, I have been surprised not only at the quality of reusable nappies these days and their practicality, but also at the huge community of mums that are willing to offer support. Tots Bots has its own help line, but I would also recommend its Facebook group Tots Bots Preloved in order to meet some mums who have been using them for years. I learnt some interesting tips like putting a breast pad on the top of your bucket with some lavender drops to stop the smell; newborns will get through 8 to 10 changes a day; once weaned need 5-6 changes and toddlers 3-4 changes.
I now feel ready and prepared to start my cloth journey. I feel reassured that I am not alone in each step and have a strong support group behind me should I feel that I am struggling… Stay tuned to see how I get on!