Setting up your home to get started with cloth nappies
One questions that comes up often is "What does it actually look like to set up your nursery/home to do cloth nappies".
Don't worry, there's not a huge amount to do. A few additions to the main nappy change area and your laundry is all it takes to get ready to start using cloth nappies!
Nursery/Nappy Change Area
You will need to have somewhere to:
- store clean nappies that are ready to use,
- store dirty nappies as they come straight off your little babes bottom and
- keep cloth wipes and some water to clean bub with.
- get some terry towel nappies to either use as nappies, or use at the bottom end of your change mat to dry you little babes bottom and protect your pretty change mat!
(Image description: a set of white drawers with a 4 space cube storage unit on top. Top left in the unit is nappies already put together, Top right is a stack of terry towel cloth nappies. Bottom left and right are cube drawers for nappy shells and inserts. Next to the cube unit is a wicker basket for storing clean and dry cloth wipes, an empty bowl and a bottle of tap water).
How you choose to store clean nappies is completely up to you and it can really be anything. It also depends on if you are someone who likes to put nappies back together from the wash basket, or if you like to store them separate and put them together as you go. Some people like to have them on display and use shelving or a cube storage unit to have the nappies on display (because lets be honest, the prints are gorgeous!). Others use a tub or crate and have it under the change table so that you can easily accessible. After having three babes myself (and at one stage I had 2 in full time cloth nappies), I actually ended up getting a small chest of drawers to store them in. I was not someone who would have all of the nappies sitting pretty on a shelf. This phenomena was quite surreal to me as with 3 boys under the age of 5, there is always so much washing to do, the nappies were always clean and ready to go... just in their separate pieces!
The chest of drawers has three drawers:
- Top drawer for nappy shells and a separate spot for wetbags
- Middle drawer for inserts
- Bottom drawer for night nappies (shells and inserts)
I love this system. It means that when I grab a load of nappies from the line or dryer, I can easily tip them straight into the drawer and they aren't sitting in a pile on my couch. Also when I have to change a nappy, I can easily find exactly what I need... AND when I do get some extra time or am feeling enthusiastic, I do like to stuff some nappies and have them looking pretty on the shelf!
The chest of drawers was a very cheap find from Facebook market place and can easily be sold on, or used for toy storage once we are out of nappies!
As you are taking the dirty nappy of your little babe, you will need to put it somewhere! I always use a dry pail in the nappy changing area. In the early days of doing newborn nappies, all of the nappies (wees only or if it has poo as well) can be kept in a dry pail (basket with holes) and I would then take them to the laundry at the end of the day, or when I got some time during the day. Newborn poo doesn't smell very much and so I didn't have a problem (nor did any visitors) with keeping nappies where our main nappy changing area was in those early days, which happened to be in our front lounge room. Since our boys always spent most of the first year in our bedroom, I set up the change mat and drawers for the nappies in the front lounge. It was right next to our bedroom so that I didn't need to go far for nappy changes in the night. It actually was a beautiful space with a salt lamp for night lighting and a super comfy chair to feed bubs in too! When nappy changes weren't as frequent and not during the night (YES!) we moved the set up to bubs bedroom.
If you don't want to keep your dry pail in the nursery or wherever you happen to have your nappy changing area set up, you can keep your dry pail in the laundry. If that is the case, I would keep a small bucket at the change table so that you can put the dirty nappy and wipes in, to then carry it to the dry pail in the laundry once bubs has a nice clean nappy on :)
(Image description: A change table in the corner of the room. Under the table is a grey basket for putting dirty nappies straight off the bum. On the change table is a nice teal cover with a terry towel nappy at the bottom end- to dry bubs bottom and prevent the pretty change mat cover from getting dirty. There is also a bowl for wetting the cloth wipes, jug and basket for storing wipes in the picture.)
Cloth Wipes and Water
When you are doing cloth nappies it really is no extra work to be using cloth wipes as well. Actually I think it's quite a bit more fiddly to be doing disposable wipes with cloth nappies because you then need to get the wipes out of the nappy before you wash it and you're likely to get much more poo on your hands. Also cloth wipes are SOOOO much better at cleaning off poo!
In the early days when I had only one child, I used to fold each wipe in half and have a neat pile on the chest of drawers, ready to use (lol, what I could have done with all that time in hindsight!!). By the second child I then stored them in a little wicker basket on the chest of drawers, and now just chuck them straight in once they're dry, absolutely no time these days to fold a wipe in half and stack, when it's just going to get soaked in water and used on a bottom!
We have always used only water to clean bottoms in our house. I trialed having some wet at the bedside, but then found I was often needing to go back to the tap to wet more if it was a gross nappy, or other times, wet wipes were hanging around too long and I didn't want to have to worry about mould. So now I have a little bottle of water at the bedside and a bowl. I pop a couple of dry wipes into the bowl, pour the water over the top, and then I've got my wipes all ready to go! I can easily squeeze out any excess water into the bowl or leave an extra wipe there for the next change.
There are two main things that you will need to store your nappies in before and between washes:
- A "dirty" dry pail
- A "prewashed" dry pail
(Image description: the photo is taken in the laundry and shows the washing machine with a dry pail; basket with lots of holes, and some laundry in the basket. There are also different types of washing detergent sitting on top of the washing machine.)
A dry pail is needed to store dirty nappies before they get washed. As you can see from the first images in the nursery, we have one on the change mat. There is also another one on top of my washing machine. That way I can remove the poopy nappies that need to be sorted before they go into the machine, and bubs room won't smell like poo (however having said that, newborn poo doesn't really smell, it's when they start solids that you have to move them to the laundry).
Pre-washed Dry Pail
(Image description: the photo is taken in the laundry showing two large washing baskets with washing in them on the floor. There are also racks attached to the wall with nappies hanging on them and a rack system with laundry in them to the right of the wash basket.)
The prewashed dry pail is where all of the nappies that have been pre-washed, but waiting on the main wash go.
These dry pails really are just washing baskets. If you can, buy top quality Australian made plastic that can be washed and continues to be clean and will last years and years!
That's it for setting up your home to be able to easily fit cloth nappies into your life! Leave me a comment below and share how you set up your home to make life doing cloth nappies easier :)