Due to Covid-19 Nappy Leaks was unable to have our usual live audience, so we have a special guest, Keryn. She is Bubblebubs’ Cloth Nappy Support Specialist and comes across all sorts of questions from families starting out with cloth nappies through to those who have used it across multiple children. She calls in to join Vicki and Vashti, discussing with the ladies the top 3 questions she gets enquiries for.
What temperature do you wash nappies at?
What do you suggest for a night nappy?
How do you use boosters/ how do you boost nappies?
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: Yeah, I’m good Andrew, and yourself?
Andrew: I’m just as good as I was before.
Vicki: That’s good.
Andrew: How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: Good thanks Andrew, how are you today?
Andrew: Excellent. And we have a guest. Who’s our guest?
Keren: It’s Keren, hello everyone.
Andrew: It’s Keren. What was the cool title we made up for you last time? I can’t remember what it was.
Keren: It’s not made up, it’s my title, Andrew.
Andrew: Sorry, sorry, what’s your title that we made up for you that you use?
Vicki: You just said the same thing.
Vashti: What’s your title, Keren?
Keren: Cloth nappy support specialist.
Vashti: That’s pretty awesome.
Andrew: That’s it, that’s right, and you’re also doing social media and you’re also doing any other bidding that we have at the moment.
Vicki: You know there’s one thing that she’s not doing? Putting timesheets in.
Vashti: Are you not getting paid, Keren?
Vicki: And I get in trouble from the ATO every single week. Where’s your single touch payroll?
Keren: I have to do it every week, it’s so annoying.
Vashti: It’s really annoying getting paid, sorry.
Andrew: It’s annoying getting paid. We should do it like I did to my daughter once. You don’t eat your dinner, you go to bed without dinner. You don’t put your timesheet in, we don’t pay you that week.
Vicki: It doesn’t work that way. No, no, I can’t finalise anything without it.
Keren: You can rest assured I always do them at least once a month.
Vicki: The next time the ATO contact me, I’m going to give them your number and I’m going to say, talk to this employee.
Andrew: This is our payroll manager. Bug her.
Andrew: You’re here to answer some cool questions, Keren. What questions are people asking online at the moment?
Keren: So these are some questions that are coming across through customer support. So if there’s a few people asking them, I thought maybe some of the wider community are also interested in similar questions. So the first question for this week is what temperature do you wash nappies at? So hand that over to you.
Vicki: Warm to hot, so 40 to 60 is pretty much… you can wash them in whatever you want. You should be answering this, because there are people who want to wash in cold, but then you have to twig other parts of your wash routine if you want to wash in cold. You’ve got to use more detergent and stuff like that. If you wash in warm, then the water is doing the work for you.
Andrew: Is that all you have to do, just more detergent?
Vicki: You’d be asking Keren that.
Vashti: Well I would be, if you’re wanting to wash in cold, I’d be using a more mainstream detergent, not a plant based detergent or eco friendly detergent. Eco friendly detergents are generally a bit weaker in formulation. So having something that’s got a bit more oomph to it would help with your cold washes.
Andrew: And there are detergents that are specifically made to wash in cold water, aren’t there?
Vashti: Definitely, yeah. So there’s a few of them.
Andrew: So choosing one of them, would that fix it?
Vashti: As long as you’re using the full amount of detergent and you’ve got a really good load size, and really great agitation and stuff like that, it will help. I would still say if you are planning on washing in cold, most families find that they still need to do the occasional hot or warm wash to give their nappies a bit of a jush up. But if you’re washing in cold and you start to notice a bit of a musty smell or a wet dog smell in your nappies when you bring them out of the washing machine, the cold wash probably isn’t working for you. In saying that, I washed all my kids’ nappies in cold water. It worked for me and we never had any issues. Because I’m a bit cheap and nasty and don’t want to pay for heating the water. Most families find a 40 to 60 degree wash is what works for them.
Andrew: OK, cool.
Keren: And I’d also recommend if people who are washing in cold might be in a different situation, so they might be in a caravan or camping, or using a communal laundry or something like that where they don’t have control over things, so aiming for nappies that have less layers or less delicate fabrics. So looking at things that are cotton, a high level of cotton and flats, prefolds, things that don’t need a deep, any treating clean perhaps.
Vicki: Good tip.
Andrew: Cool. Were you going to say something, Vicki?
Vicki: I did.
Andrew: Oh, what did you say?
Vicki: Good tip.
Andrew: Oh, good tip. OK, what’s your next question, Keren?
Keren: What do you suggest for a night nappy? Which is just a very…
Andrew: It’s such an open questions, isn’t it? Because you’ve got so many follow up questions to ask after that, don’t you?
Vicki: Fitted and a cover.
Keren: Yeah. Probably what Vicki said is the most foolproof method of cloth nappying overnight, because they’re easy to boost, what else? They’re absorbent all the way around. What else? You can just put a cover over it and off you go. But there are different ways I suppose. What other nappies do you have, Vashti?
Vashti: Well there’s lots of dedicated night nappies on the market that are specifically designed to have enough absorbency in them to last 12 plus hours, but a lot of that also comes down to how heavy your baby is wetting. If you have a super heavy wetting baby who is still feeding several times through the night, you might need something with lots and lots of layers of absorbency. If you’ve got quite a light wetting baby who goes most of the night without weeing, you could possibly get away with a day nappy. We’ve got some customers who do use a day nappy with just an extra booster in it, because their babies are wetting quite lightly. Most families find that a fitted with a prefold or a flat over the top of it and then the cover works quite well. So something like your Bamboo Delights, your Bigs, your Baby Beehinds fitteds, your Honeypots, anything like that, you just pad fold either your prefold or a flat, and pop that over the top. You could use night boosters. Some brands have specific night inserts that go quite well with your fitteds. So yeah, it’s really a little bit of a hit and miss with night nappies. I think the easiest way to find out what is going to work best for you and your child overnight is to weigh the nappy before you put it on, and then weigh it again after you take it off, and that will give you an indication on how much your baby is wetting. Most children wet about 500 to 600 grams overnight. So having a look at the brands. And most of your good quality brands will actually be able to tell you how much their nappies will absorb. So that will give you an idea of what’s going to work best for you and your child overnight.
Keren: My advice probably would be, I had dedicated night nappy for my son, and the drying time was not working for humid Queensland…
Vashti: Or for freezing cold Orange?
Keren: Everything dries pretty quickly here. It’s drier maybe? I don’t know.
Vashti: Dry heat.
Keren: So my advice is to have a night nappy that has different parts that you can pull apart, either if you want to put it in the dryer or on the line, it can dry much faster, rather than taking days and days to dry. I even used a flat with a prefold, particularly when travelling. I really liked that as a night nappy. Not for everyone, but it was surprising how absorbent it actually was.
Andrew: Nice. So what’s your third question?
Keren: This sort of carries on from the night nappy, but it can be used for day nappies as well. How do you use boosters, and how do you boost a nappy? So I guess there’s different nappies that can and can’t be boosted to begin with.
Vashti: Yeah, so there’s lots of different ways. You can boost with anything that’s absorbent. We quite regularly say, if you’re finding that your child is out wetting their nappy or flooding their nappy, because that can happen as your baby goes through different growth stages, just try popping a face washer folded in half in the wet zone. So for little boys, more towards the front, for little girls, more towards the middle. And see if that helps. That will generally give you enough absorbency, just to get a little bit longer out of your nappies. If you’re finding like with flooding, so if your baby is wetting, holding on for a while and then wetting quickly and it’s not giving the absorbent material in the nappy enough time to soak that up, popping in a microfibre or a synthetic insert, making sure that if it is microfibre, it’s not directly against the skin, like you have a fleece layer on top, or something like that. The microfibre will absorb a lot quicker and allow time for that wetness to soak into the more natural fibres. So anything that is absorbent can be used for boosting. If you’re boosting inside an all in two, a pocket or an all in one, you’ve got to be careful about how much boosting that you do put in there, because you don’t want to breach the seal of the nappy. There’s only so much you can boost those styles of nappies without pushing the elastic away from the body. If you’re boosting on top of a flat, a prefold or a fitted, so you can pop the nappy on and then put the boosting over the top of the nappy before you put the cover on, and that gives you more chance to be able to boost the nappy to get the absorbency that you do need in there. We regularly used even dedicated night nappies with a prefold over the top to get us 12 plus hours overnight. Or as, like when Kylan was little, we would use a Bam Bam with a prefold over the top of that when he was having his longest sleeps. It fit beautifully and it contained everything, but as he got towards the end of being able to fit into it, he was starting to out wet it, which meant we needed some extra absorbency in there and popping that prefold over the top gave us all the absorbency we needed to get three to four hours without any issues whatsoever.
Keren: Yeah, that’s why I always recommend prefolds, thanks to you, Vashti, with a newborn, selling any newborn nappies. Because even though you might not use them the first few weeks, towards the later stage of newborn, they’re always handy, up until toilet training. They’re a good standby nappy if you’ve run out of nappies, or just for boosting.
Vashti: The prefolds we had when Kylan was in the hospital, we were still using when he night trained the month before he turned four. So that’s nearly four years out of a nappy with no issues. And it works in different ways. It’s fantastic.
Keren: And with the boosting with a fitted nappy, flat or prefold, using a cover that has double gussets I think is really useful. So if you’re looking at wanting to boost a nappy, specifically boosting a nappy for a reason, if you’re wanting a cover, I think looking for a style that has double gussets, to just give that extra space between the legs is a good idea.
Vashti: Definitely it drops the shell of the nappy or the cover down a little bit, because that inner gusset is what will sit up against the skin while the outer gusset will sit more on the thighs, and that outer gusset doesn’t have to touch your baby in any way. It’s more to drop the nappy down to give you more room to boost in there.
Keren: And you also mentioned, this is something that confused me when I was first learning about nappies. When you’ve got a synthetic layer that you, the microfibre that you don’t want against baby, and putting a fleece layer over the top, what’s a fleece layer?
Vashti: Do you want to answer that? Vicki is probably better at answering that. The materials are all Vicki’s realm.
Vicki: [coughing] Except I’ve got something caught in my throat.
Keren: What’s fleece?
Vicki: Microfleece is just 100% polyester and it works as a stay dry layer, and it can be separate which means you don’t have to use, like just easier to remove poo and what have you with whatever method you’re using. It will often roll off.
Keren: So how would you know if you’re using microfleece or microfibre, or which one to put on top of which?
Vicki: Well microfibre is the one that you get, you know your cloths, and it’s all spidery on your hands.
Keren: It sticks to your hands.
Vicki: Yeah, and it’s awful. Whereas microfleece is the same as your tracksuit pants.
Vashti: So it’s a more fluffy material?
Keren: Like a thinner polar fleece, I guess you would call it.
Vicki: Yeah, pretty much.
Vashti: Well if you’re looking to make fleece liners or something like that, a lot of local haberdasherers like your Spotlight, your Lincraft, they don’t sell microfleece, but they do sell micro polar fleece.
Vicki: It’s just the way, as long as it’s 180 GSM or under, that’s fine, and it will have that on the label generally. Whereas your tracksuit pant fabric tends to be close to the 220, 240.
Vashti: That was actually, can we discuss GSM, because I did have a question about GSM. One of our Nesties is actually making her own training pants at the moment and she’s talking about what GSM she needs for making those. So are you able to give more of an indication of what the GSM means?
Vicki: Well that’s the grams per square metre. So it really depends on then the fabric combination. So it’s easy on 100% polyester, it’s obviously 100% polyester over 180 grams per square metre. If it’s a metre and a half wide, that means a metre of fabric would weigh about 250 grams or so. So it depends if you’ve got a bamboo cotton blend, a 70/30, like 70% bamboo, 30% cotton, that’s 420 GSM is going to be less absorbent than say one that is 80% bamboo, 20% cotton at 420 GSM. So yeah, it’s not the only thing you take into consideration. It’s also the composition of the fabric.
Keren: The type of fibre.
Vicki: Yeah, that’s right, because you can have 50/50. So that’s when all fabrics aren’t created equal. It’s like only having one part of your algebra question. You actually can’t answer. It’s only knowing the value of, it’s like X plus Y equals 5. Well I can tell you what X is, but you can’t actually work out what Y is until you know it. How’s that for all mathy? I hope that was right. I think that is actually how algebra works. It’s been a while.
Andrew: Have you been helping Gabriel with his homework again?
Andrew: Have you been helping Gabriel with his homework again?
Vicki: No, thankfully…
Vashti: Is he doing algebra?
Vicki: No, he’s not. No, but he’s doing the English stuff that he does, and it blows my mind. I just don’t care about articles and pronouns and what have you. Whatever.
Andrew: Nice. I think we’ll finish there. Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thanks, Keren.
Keren: My pleasure.
Vashti: Bye Keren.
Andrew: Bye everybody.
Andrew: Vicki Simpson is wife and mother to three children, and owner and founder of Bubblebubs. Vicki has been making and selling cloth nappies through her website for 16 years. Bubblebubs is now one of the most recognised and awarded cloth nappy brands in Australia, and is currently expanding to other countries. You can find out more and contact her through her website, bubblebubs.com.au. Vashti Wadwell is mother to three children and has been using cloth nappies for 14 years. She is the owner of Australia’s first cloth nappy store, Nest Nappies, located in Brisbane, Australia. Vashti can be contacted through her website, nestnappies.com. If are finding the podcast helpful, and would like to make it easier for other parents to find, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I am your host, Andrew Simpson.