Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Cloth Nappies - Baba and Boo Review

I have a confession to make, my name is Niamh and I am a cloth nappy user! While I was pregnant I did a little research on types of nappies and realised how funky, stylish and practical cloth nappies had become. When you say cloth or reusable nappies to people their first thought obviously goes to terry cloths and safety pins and imagining me up to my arms in soapy, pooey water. Cloth nappies have moved on in a big way since then!

The reasons I was interested in cloth nappies was a) to save money and b) because I wasn't comfortable with the amount of waste using disposable nappies produces. I'm not really the hippy, environmentalist type but in Ireland 600,000 disposable nappies are used everyday and 94% of these end up in a landfill. It just seemed like a lot of waste to me and if using cloth nappies also saves money in the long run, it made sense to give it a go. One thing we are not short of in Ireland is rain so I wasn't worried about using extra water. I know parents in drier areas often have to weigh up the environmental impact of sending nappies to landfill versus the increased water using washing the nappies causes. 

I did a bit of online research about the different types and brands of cloth nappies and read reviews of different brands. I decided to start with pocket BTP (birth to potty) nappies. BTP nappies do what they say really, they are adjustable so they can be used as your child grows. Each nappy consists of an outer nappy shell with pockets and then two microfibre inserts that go in the pocket. 

Baba and Boo Cloth Nappy

This seemed to be the best all round option for me and I chose to order from a company called Baba and Boo. They offer a more affordable range than other companies as well as having a starter kit that interested me. Also they have some fab designs which really appealed to me (pic of some of my stash below!):

Baba and Boo Cloth Nappies

I bought a starter kit of 20 nappies, 40 microfibre inserts, two wetbags (for transporting dirty nappies home with you), a nappy bucket and two mesh bags to put the dirty nappies in to. This cost £168 plus delivery. They really are very simple to use, one insert gives you three hours of dryness and two inserts gives you six. The nappies have poppers on them to adjust the size. The nappies are advertised as being suitable from 8lbs to 35lbs but I found that although J was 8lbs 1oz at birth the nappies did not fit him well enough to use until he was about 3 weeks old. 

It took a little bit of experimentation to find the right combination of poppers to fit him but we got there in the end. We do have leaks occasionally, mainly if he has a dirty nappy and I don't change him quick enough after it. We have found that the disposables we use occasionally actually leak more often then the cloth nappies which I found surprising. We do occasionally get some "wicking" on the legs (this is when the edge of the nappy at the legs gets wet and then soaks through to the vest/babygro) but this is mainly at night. There is the option to "boost" your nappies (for instance for keeping baby dry all night) by adding hemp, bamboo or charcoal inserts into the nappy to make it more absorbent. We use charcoal inserts for this and they are great.

With regards to the dirty nappies, we rinse them with the shower head, either in the bath or down the toilet (luckily our shower head stretches to the toilet) then they go in a mesh bag in the bucket which is kept in our bathroom (this is called dry pailing). Once the bucket is full I pull out the mesh bag, put in the washing machine on a cold rinse and then wash at 40C using a small amount of washing powder. You can add napisan or something similar into your wash but the best stain remover is actually the sun. Even though we live in an apartment and therefore don't line dry our nappies the sun can still remove stains through the windows if we place the clothes horse in the sitting room window. 

Using cloth nappies really works for us and I would recommend it to anyone. I like that I don't have to buy nappies (apart from an up front cost) and that our waste hasn't increased. Also the cloth nappies seem to agree with his skin more, when we were using disposables he got an awful nappy rash that we needed prescription cream to clear up. Now, when he wears a disposable nappy it gets stuck to him in exactly the same place that he had the rash so really I think they are so much better for his skin. Yes, it is more work but really not a huge amount  especially if you consider the benefits we get. 

If you are interested in using cloth nappies I'd recommend checking out the Irish cloth nappy library. You can trial nappies from here to see how you get on before purchasing. In hindsight I should have done this as the Baba and Boo nappies might not have suited J and us. Luckily they did but if they hadn't fit him very well I would have been stuck with twenty nappies I couldn't use. There is also a cloth nappy users group on Facebook where you can chat to other women who use cloth nappies. Another option is to buy second hand or "pre-loved" cloth nappies if you want to try any out. Cloth nappies do hold their value well and there is a good market for second hand nappies. There is also a Facebook group for that here. 

Be warned though it can become addictive, there are so many brands of nappies with fabulous designs, styles and structures. It's easy to get caught up and just keep buying more and more! I have my eye on a wolverine one for J at the moment. Mr HNW is a big X-Men fan. There also seems to be a limitless amount of brands and styles so I'm currently trying out some other kinds to see how we get on. 

As you can see J is pretty happy with his fluffy bum:




  1. Great blog Niamh, really informative and definately something to think about!

  2. Thanks Karen! If you some more cloth nappy details, or want to try one out when your bubs arrives, you know where to find me :)


If anyone is out there I would love to hear any thoughts you have after reading this blog!