bummer of a confession

If you drop in here, you might get the impression I'm all down with the homesteading. Got a bit of a garden, do a bit of cooking, know my way round a sewing machine. Pretty green. The baby appears to have an amber necklace on. Buddhist tendencies, hippy inclination.

And I have a guilty secret. Disposable nappies. 

Not just now, for the third babe. *Cough*. All three.

You know, when we were having Henry, I canvassed the options, as you do. I asked the greenest person I knew (my sister in law) what she thought. I read up a bit. And I took the road most travelled, and went with disposables. Usually eco disposables, but we're kinda clutching at straws there. 

It's always bothered me and I've occasionally made enquiries and talked to a few friends using cloth; always mad keen advocates.

It was only when Ivy came down with a terrible rash this week that I remembered Tilly had reacted to the same nappies (Ivy is currently in Huggies.) Turns out Ivy's rash is viral (poor wee thing) and nothing to do with the nappies, but in the meantime I had poked around my linen cupboard and found a stack of terry cloth nappies I use for everything else other than on bottoms. 



I found some safety pins and two pairs of 1970s plastic pants that I bought at an op shop for 50c and we were away.






Yeah I think we might need the help of Youtube, Ives. I've stuffed that up. 




And with the help of Youtube I now know how to fold a good old fashioned terry nappy. And that apparently plastic pants have been superceded by nappy covers, which look like they might work a bit better. (I've just ordered a couple via eBay to try.) 

Notwithstanding the amateur-hour effort above, once I had her in a cloth nappy it felt really good. I like them, philosophically. 

And for heavens sake, my mother had quads in cloth nappies. I'm embarrassed to think one child might be too much work. 

And for the record, Adam and I agree on most things. This idea, he thinks, is completely insane. 


P.S. Tilly toilet trained at two and Ivy is starting to tell me if she's pooey. It's very late in the game, really. Better late than never?

20 Comments on “bummer of a confession

September 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Great post- I say ditch the nappies all together and toilet train. And while you don’t think much of bein a quad – i find that kind of fascinating.

lily boot
September 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm

hysterical! they are the funniest photos ever. And it’s never too late 🙂 We cloth nappied until Abby was about 1 and then she was just drenching everything – so we succumbed. Eeeek! Never mind – we do what we can and you make such a marvellous effort in so many other domains. Nappies schmappies!

September 23, 2011 at 2:32 am

Make sure you tuck in all the terry cloth otherwise any use of said terry cloth by the little one will wick into clothes or carpets or anything that absorbs liquids.

Alex Nolan
September 23, 2011 at 3:35 am

Strange as you may find this, I used cloth nappies for all three of mine, but not exclusively and definitely never at night! I started with each one about 6 weeks and went until about 14/15 months. Loved them. I go the Motherease ones which are shaped and have the wraps that go over the top. Love, love them! Shame you don’t live a tad closer and I’d give them to you – I’m desperate to find someone to sell/give the lot to!

Enjoy your week of Youtube tutorials! xx

Thrifty Household
September 23, 2011 at 4:31 am

Very, very funny photos…On the nappy question- do what’s best for you!

September 23, 2011 at 5:22 am

Alex, what do you want for them? (Trying to think if I have anything worthy of swapping. Do you want any craft supplies?) I’ve been thinking of going to one of those services where they take them away and wash them, as I’m definitely not getting a tumble dryer. Might manage, though, as you say, not exclusively. My Henry was in cloth for 3 1/2 months, then we went to eco disposables, “just for this month” of wedding/extended family holiday, and never went back. Whoops!
Thing is, laundry is my favourite chore, and now we have house space I should just buy more drying racks.
Fi, I love my old terry nappies for 100 things, but I wish they were pretty colours like yours! Might need to dye them, just ’cause.
(Drove past a hairdresser the other day, called “Curl Up and Dye.” Cute, Huh?)
Another question- where is the balance between the evils of landfill and the energy and non-renewable resources going into making disposables, vs the evils of laundry (water water water! and soap! and bleach, probably, if you use that delivery service, huh?) and stuff, with cloth? I mean, if you live in a huge, dry, fairly empty country, (ie pretty much the exact opposite of the UK,) aren’t the priorities a bit different re garbage vs laundry?
…brain hurts now…

September 23, 2011 at 5:46 am

Ha, I just got the Bummer line. Ha!

September 23, 2011 at 6:01 am

You’re a quad! How sensational! I didn’t realise…
I am a cloth nappy devotee. I used terry squares and some early modern cloth nappies when my 6yo was born (I didn’t know any better!) and now my 2yo wears Itti Bittis and Baby Beehinds (though not to daycare, I’ll grant). She’s almost out of them, toilet training is going well, so if you want a couple of used (but cleaned right up!!!!)ones to try just let me know your address and I’ll happily pass them on.
You know, cloth is SO not hard. It’s only one more load of washing for me a week and we don’t own a tumble dryer. I just wait till they eventually dry. I guess the secret is to have heaps of nappies so you don’t have to stress about getting them washed and dried.
If you don’t dig cloth nappies though, well, does it matter? Fi, you and your family do so many other good things for the environment through your lifestyle that I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

September 23, 2011 at 6:25 am

I’m with Ad…

September 23, 2011 at 7:57 am

Ad is a wise man. Those photos of Ivy in the cloth nappy are coming out in a few more years to haunt you- they are HYSTERICAL! poor child 🙂 But I know loads of people who use cloth nappies without the dramas- they are the more fitted, cut out style and look fabulous. I have no idea of details but if you’re interested, give a yell and I could have the info to you in about 10 mins (the joys of facebook).

P.S. Jimmy is cooking your Lazy Lady slice this morning as his family job! Thought that might make you smile!
And Doug asked (he was trying to be a smart alec) was Lazy Lady called that because only lazy ladies made it? He was a bit shocked when I said yes! Ha!

September 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi Fiona

I came to your blog through Rhonda at down to earth. I have been loving your blog thought I would say hello. You are a beautiful writer and very funny. Just to say school holidays and we made your utterly awesome chocolate cake yesterday for friends coming over, it got eaten in one setting. By 08.30 this morning my son and I have made a batch of cupcakes with the recipe for another morning play. It certainly has been a hit. So thank you and I will be trying some more of your fab recipes.

September 23, 2011 at 8:41 am

I laughed very hard over your gorgeous photos of the attempted cloth nappy wearing!
I’ve also got lots of colourful cloth nappies and also some of the fancy shop bought fitted ones I am about to get rid of also. I’m in the Wollongong area if you are still interested after your experimentation. Good luck!
I think you do a great job with your house, cooking and family, I wouldn’t beat yourself up over a few disposable nappies.

rhonda jean
September 23, 2011 at 8:49 am

I’m a cloth girl from waaaaaay back. :- ) When I became a grandma, I wondered how the modern cloth nappies would work and I’ve put many of them on Jamie backwards, ahem, but they’re so much easier than the old terries. Jamie’s are bamboo and cotton, it’s so soft, but I think you can also find microfleece and plain cotton, and probably many others. And yes, the covers hold the nappy on really well so that you don’t have to fold the nappy like we used to, you just fold it over a couple of times and place it in the cover, then button it up. There are some covers that have a pocket in the crotch and you slide the folded nappy into the pocket. It’s just like using a disposable. I got all my info and nappies from bean sprouts bubba, I hope you don’t see this as a plug but Rebecca is so generous with her information, I think when we see the variety of modern nappies, it would be very easy to make your own. I intend doing a workshop on frugal parenting soon and making cloth nappies will be a part of it. Good luck!

September 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

Hey what’s up with the blue towels? I’d call it a knickerbocker nappy!

September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am


I used cloth for #1, but current #2 at 12 weeks old hasn’t seen much cloth. Too much washing as it is.

I’m thinking maybe when summer rolls around I’ll get back to them.

Loved them in general.

September 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

We’ve clothed but at night she’s in disposables. Those pics are hilarious!

suzy hausfrau
September 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

If it’s confession time…then you’re on. I am still on disposables for number two despite making these a couple of years ago. I made them, felt the inner glow, used them then she grew out of them and I never did it again. My hubby thought I was crackers too, he eventually supported it when I pointed out the financial savings. I’m thinking of sewing some training duds for her, as we’re getting nowhere with the pull ups.

September 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

What? What?! All I got out of that is that you are a quad! Oh my gosh, your mother! Oh WOW!!!

In other news, we’ve used cloth on both usually from about 6 weeks, cleaning newborn baby pooh out of car seats gets tiring when the nappies leak. I honestly don’t know why more people don’t use them – maybe an education thing? – because out of all the parenting stuff I do in a day, the cloth nappies is the easiest!

If all you ever do is that one nappy she wore today, then that is one less nappy is landfill and that alone is good enough. xo

September 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm

That is one sad looking nappy! I used cloth nappies for my first two and went with disposables for the third. My back couldn’t take the strain of lugging a big bucket of shitty nappies up and down the stairs any longer. The landfill factor used to make me feel really guilty.

Better late than never, although I hope your technique improves somewhat.

And if you’re going to Napisan them, the Woolies home brand is just as good as the expensive ones and smells deliciously lemon like. Perfect for getting rid of that nappy aroma. Well, it did when I finished with nappies four or five years ago anyway.

September 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Don’t worry, my third is my first to be a full time cloth nappy wearer, though I did use them part time with number one after he was 6 months…and not at all with my second. You do get so used it that it just becomes a normal part of the washing after awhile. I do think they are so much more comfy than the disposables. We use a combination of the terry cloths, a few dozen homemade prefolds (I blogged about it a few weeks ago) and a few modern cloth thrown in for outings. Had to smile at your nappy pics. Been there too 🙂


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