Meet the first TotsBots Real Parent of 2023!
Meet Sam and her baby Tabitha; our first TotsBots Real Parent of 2023! We chatted to Sam (and a sleepy Tabitha!) to ask her about her experiences using cloth nappies.
Hello! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name’s Sam and I’m 33. I live in southwest Scotland with my husband, daughters Felicity (featured in the Matchy 2021 launch wearing a Hedgehug Bamboozle) and Tabitha and our two black Labs - Benji and Murphy.
I'm currently a full-time mum and before I had kids, I was an outdoor events co-ordinator.
How did you first hear about cloth nappies?
A friend of mine used cloth nappies on her baby and she was quite enthusiastic about them so I ended up having a look online to find out more (I did a LOT of research!).
My only prior experience or knowledge was handed down from my mum as she talked about the times she used cloth on me and my siblings. Once I realised that modern cloth nappies were no longer just terry squares, I really wanted to do it.
What motivated you to start using cloth?
I was on the Nappy Lady website doing research one day and discovered that every disposable nappy that has ever been used is still in landfill. That's horrendous. It is a really shocking fact, one that I still find upsetting, to think that all my nappies are still in landfill is horrible.
There was also an image showing you the amount of bags of waste disposable nappies create per annum compared to the amount you generate using cloth. Seeing the volume, it's quite depressing. I'm so glad I'm using cloth instead of creating a mountain of bin bags full of disposables.
Did you have any reservations about using cloth?
No but people around me did, especially from my mum's generation. They were imagining old terry squares and buckets of dirty nappies. Cloth nappies today are so much easier, and the washing machine does all the work. Once my mum saw my nappies, she loved them and was so impressed.
When did you start using cloth nappies?
I was gifted a pack of new-born disposables when Felicity arrived but didn’t use them right away. I had read that you shouldn’t use them for the meconium stage as it could stain your nappies. However, I used them right away with my second child, Tabitha, and it washed out fine.
What products did you start out with?
I did a Nappy Lady Questionnaire and from there bought a few different types to try. I decided I much preferred all-in-ones, especially for during day, they are just easier to take on and off. I used two-part nappies at night time though.
Do you use nappies during the day and night?
I used nappies during the day and night with both my babies. I was worried about leaks at night but I can count on two hands the number of times we have actually had leaks!
It's funny how people are worried about leaks with reusables yet everyone else accepts up-the-back poos with disposables. It's as if real nappies need to be perfect but disposables don't!
The number of times I have taken a nappy off and it has been edge to edge poo and thought, “Thank goodness I use cloth, a disposable would never have contained that!”
What do you like about TotsBots compared to other brands?
I love that you are made in UK. My main motivation was environmental, and buying TotsBots nappies that are made in the UK complements that. When you buy from companies that import from overseas, you’ve got to factor in a much bigger carbon footprint.
I also like the idea of supporting local businesses. TotsBots nappies are also easier to use compared to some of the other brands I have tried.
What is a typical day using cloth nappies like?
I use five nappies per day. Every other day I get up in morning, pop the nappies in on a rinse cycle, then we have breakfast. I then pop them on a wash and hang them up later.
When we had two kids in nappies at the same time, I put a wash on every day. I used to bulk out the wash with baby grows, towels, breast pads etc to make a full load as it was never a huge amount.
Were cloth nappies easier or harder than you expected?
They were easier, especially compared to the reactions I received from others when I told them I was going to use cloth. Most of the work was in the beginning when babies poo and pee all the time. It gets easier as baby quickly grows and doesn't need fed and changed so often.
Do you have any advice for people considering cloth nappies?
See them in real life if you can; try to find a nappy library.
Just looking online can be quite confusing – there’s so much jargon and so many different types. Once you see the nappies in real life it all makes so much more sense and you understand how easy they are.
Try a couple out, then buy once you are happy. Try cloth wipes too; they do a much better job than wet wipes!
Any final thoughts?
I think more people should know about cloth nappies. Disposables are everywhere and they dominate the airspace, we need to get away from that. It's a shame that disposables are the norm. There is a place for disposables, but they should only be available as a back-up.
Cloth Nappy Jargon Buster
If you can’t tell your booster from your liner, or don’t know what PUL stands for, have a look at our cloth nappy jargon buster:
A booster is a piece of material added in to a cloth nappy which boosts absorbency - great if your little one is a heavy wetter. TotsBots boosters are made from three layers of knitted bamboo and they fit all TotsBots nappies and most other brands.
An all-in-one nappy is most like a disposable – it’s an absorbent cloth nappy and a waterproof nappy wrap sewn together to create one piece.
The waterproof material in a TotsBots all-in-one cloth nappy is made from recycled plastic, so every TotsBots EasyFit saves two plastic bottles from landfill.
Disposable liners are placed inside the nappy to help with poo disposal. They’re placed over the gusset (or booster) and sit closest to your baby’s skin. They also help prevent staining to the nappy.
Liners are designed to let urine pass through, but as they’re not absorbent, urine doesn’t come back through. This helps to keep your baby's bottom a bit drier.
TotsBots nappy liners are 100% biodegradable.
A waterproof nappy wrap is the outermost layer of a two-part nappy system. It’s used to stop moisture soaking through to your baby's clothing.
A wrap is used over a shaped/fitted nappy such as our TotsBots Bamboozle nappy. All in one nappies come with a waterproof layer built in, so they don't need a separate wrap on top.
PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate and is a fabric used for the waterproof element of cloth nappies; e.g. a waterproof outer wrap.
TotsBots is the first reusable nappy company to start using recycled plastic in our PUL for our cloth nappies. This super-soft polyester yarn is derived from plastic bottle waste, knitted to our specification and then coated with a state-of-the-art waterproof membrane. The resulting cloth is super soft and stretchy, really durable and even better for the environment. It's just perfect for making nappies and wraps and saving plastic from landfill.