Cloth nappies? They’re way too much effort. The poo, the washing, no way!

These were all the things that came to mind when I was first pregnant. After starting to set up the nursery and looking at the cost of nappies and calculating just how many of them I would need I decided to take on board modern cloth nappies (MCNs).

Okay but isn’t dealing with poo in cloth nappies really gross?

Whether you’re using disposable or cloth nappies, you’re going to have to deal with poo no matter what, that’s just part of becoming a parent. The poo from a baby under 6 months on a milk only diet is really easy to deal with as it doesn’t smell the same way a solid poo does and they can go straight into the wash as it is more water soluble. I personally liked to rinse the poopy nappies as I have a bidet hose attachment to my toilet but a really easy way is to just hold the nappy inside out in the toilet bowl as you flush it which removes most of the poo. The great thing about MCNs is that they don’t need to be soaked like what the old flats used to be. The reason for this is that soaking them can actually degrade the fabric over time and is a breeding ground for bacteria, not to mention a drowning risk. All you need is a basket/bucket that is nice and airy and you simply put the nappies in there until it’s wash time.

Okay but what about when babies start solids?

There is definitely a transition time when the poop does not come up smelling like roses. You can use a bamboo liner which catches most of the poo or again, you can use the toilet bowl flush trick to get rid of the bulk of it. Once their little tummies adapt to solid food, you’ll find that some even just shake off easily into the toilet. One of the ways I like to look at is, even with a disposable, you’ll still have to deal with the poo anyway unless you want that poo sitting and stinking out your nappy bin. If you’re out and about, you simply put the used nappies in a waterproof wet bag and then deal with it once you’re home.

I simply don’t have time for all that washing!

Yes cloth nappies do require extra washing but when you have a baby, you’ll soon find out that Mt Washmore is a real thing. Between spill ups, poonamis, more spill ups and then add in solids, you will always be doing washing. I remember when Scarlett started solids, it was a full outfit change every meal! The great thing about cloth nappies is that once you do a shorter pre-wash to get rid of the initial poo, you can actually then just add the nappies into the main wash with the baby clothes, face cloths, and smaller items of your own clothing. I have an indoor metal peg rack which I find amazing as it is so quick to hang them up and I can take the whole thing outside easily if it’s nice weather. Little Genie nappies are fabulous in particular as they dry so quickly. In terms of stuffing pocket nappies with the inserts, I found it helpful to pre-stuff them so they are ready to go. I just make this part of what I do when Scarlett is playing and now she often attempts to ‘help’. Or if I run out of time, I do it during nap time with the TV on.

Aren’t they tricky to use with those snaps?

I admit that I was disappointed when I first learnt that Little Genie didn’t have velcro tabs as i thought it would be much easier to use. One of the things I’ve found with the cloth nappies I bought with Velcro is they are much more susceptible to wear and tear as even though they have laundry tabs, they have begun to come off and stick to other nappies and clothes in the wash. They’re also much easier for cheeky toddlers to try and undo. You do get used to the snaps and learn which setting is best for your child.

I’m worried about leaks.

I have definitely had leaks in cloth nappies but I also have had them in disposable. Just like anything, it’s a learning process. The reason for leaks in cloth nappies is usually because the fit may have been too loose. There are some great visual guides out there and the Clean Cloth Nappies Facebook group is a fantastic page to join to help troubleshoot. One of my tips here is to check the leg line and make sure the elastic is tucked into the leg rather than flicked out like on a disposable. The other reason for leaks is the absorbency isn’t quite right or you may have just left it too long before a nappy change. Nappy changes are part of my daughter’s routine so she always gets a nappy change when she wakes up and before she has a nap. In the afternoon she is awake longer so I just roughly look at the clock for how long it’s been and read her cues as well. I have actually found that cloth nappies hold in any poonamis far better than disposable and they also hold the smell in which is great for if you’re in the car! If you’re nervous about leaks, why not just try using cloth nappies when you’re at home so it’s easy to deal with?

Natalie Gyenge


I'm Natalie and am originally from Sydney, Australia but moved to Tauranga to be with my husband. I’m a trained primary teacher but after having my daughter Scarlett decided on the stay at home mum life for now.

It was actually the journey into motherhood that made me consider the footprint that I’m leaving on this earth for my daughter and I started to reconsider some of the decisions I’ve made in the past and looked into more sustainable parenting practices. Having a baby in 2020 during covid where people were panicking about supplies also contributed to this!

I’m hugely passionate about play and being outdoors as well as supporting other mums however I can.

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