A lot of people come to reusable nappies for their first baby, but there are plenty of parents who use disposable nappies and want to switch to cloth nappies. This article has helpful tips for parents who want to make the transition with as little stress as possible.
So you've been doing some research and you're really interested in switching from using disposables to cloth nappies...
But it's such a big change, seems so complicated and you're a little worried that (like New Year's Resolutions) that you won't be able to keep it up and you'll be left with a stash of expensive cloth nappies that you don't use and just make you feel guilty. So what can you do to make sure that this change occurs with the minimum of stress and gives you the best chance of success?
A change to your routine will always take some adjustment, and while some people like to move to cloth full time all at once so they don't give themselves an 'out', there is no 'all or nothing' rule about using cloth nappies. Plenty of long term cloth nappying parents use cloth part time and use disposables at night or when out or at child care. It's about what works for your family.
Most of us like to make a change gradually, though, and there are certain advantages to doing that when you start using cloth nappies - especially if you've been used to using disposables exclusively.
Start with just a few nappies. This way you're not up for the expense of a full time stash of cloth nappies and you get a chance to try several different sorts (a mixed starter pack of several different styles/brands is a great place to start if you're not sure), and work out what nappy suits you best. Then you can add to your stash as you feel more confident and as your budget allows.
Start at home
Don't worry about using cloth when you're out and about to begin with. Get the hang of using them at home and setting up a change table to laundry system first.
Start a routine
For most of us, having a routine to stick to helps us when we're making changes. Work out where to slot washing that load of cloth nappies in, and how you're going to dry them so that you'll have clean and dry nappies when you need them. A popular summer routine for those with small stashes is to put a load of nappies on in the evening and then hang them out before bed. It won't take too long for them to dry in the morning.
Don't sweat it
Don't get too set on how you want it to work. Be prepared to adapt your cloth nappy use (and the washing routine) to suit you and your family as you go.
Don't get discouraged
There will be setbacks for whatever reason. There's plenty of advice out there, though, and if you're dealing with a particular problem, then your local cloth nappy store, the nappy manufacturer, or one of the online groups of cloth nappying parents are all useful sources.
There may be times that you fall off the cloth wagon. Don't give up. Once you've made the decision to get back on that horse, it's not long before you get back in the swing of things (yes, mixed metaphors, I know!).
Don’t think you're a failure
So you tried cloth nappies and it didn't work for you or your baby. Don't let yourself feel judged (and trust me, most cloth users aren't sitting round talking about how lazy parents who use disposables are!) and don't judge yourself harshly. Some people have bad experiences with cloth first time around for various reasons. You may find that if you try again later that you'll have a different result. Or not. Every family is different and as parents you know what works for you. And you tried. That's more than most people do!
If you need any advice or information about transitioning to cloth nappies, don't forget we're just an email away!