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The STINK side of Cloth Nappies

Updated: May 16, 2019

We're all pretty clued up on the reasons we should use cloth nappies (quick refresh in seven words: save planet/save money/super cute babies)... but what about the reasons why we shouldn't? CLOTH NAPPIES STINK. Yup I said it.  Cloth nappies stink.  And not just the pooey ones, that ammonia ooooey acid stench may even be worse than the pooey ones.  I guess the issue is not really so much the stink itself, but the fact that you can't just throw the stink in the bin like you can with a disposable nappy.  You actually have to deal with it. CLOTH NAPPIES LEAK. That oh-so-special feeling when you're holding your baby on your arm, and you feel a moist warmth spread up your sleeve... Quite simply, cloth nappies are just not as absorbent as their disposable counterparts. This means you either have to be super vigilant with frequent nappy changes, or you have to deal with leaks.  Nights and outings are probably the biggest issues here, which is why so many people use cloth nappies at home during the day, but disposables at night or when they're out and about. CLOTH NAPPIES CAN BE VERY INCONVENIENT.When I asked my husband what his biggest issue with cloth nappies was he put it in a slightly less PC way ('pain' and 'arse' were definitely amongst his reply, plus one or two expletives).  Having to wash them, having to fold them, dealing with used ones when you're out and about, attempting to use them when staying away from home... all major inconveniences of cloth nappies. Now, you may be wondering what I'm trying to do here... discourage people from using cloth nappies?! Ignite a disposable revolution? No way!  I just think that we need to talk about these obstacles to cloth.  80% of New Zealanders DO NOT choose to use cloth nappies, and the stink-factor, the leak-factor and the inconvenience-factor are no-doubt a huge part of that figure.  So rather than ignore these issues, I am suggesting we talk about them, and most importantly, share our solutions!  So this is of course where you come in!

How do you minimise, or even eliminate, the stink?  How do you prevent leaks?  How do you cope with the inconvenience factors? Please please PLEASE share your ideas, experience and solutions!  Comment on this post on Instagram/Facebook (or both). I'll get the ball rolling with two of my top tips.  I use a mixture of cloth nappy brands, but mostly Bambino Mio.  I bought a few BabyCo cloth nappies from The Baby Factory for a very reasonable price.  Each come with the nappy shell and two inserts.  I use one insert to supplement each of my Bambino Mios.  It makes for quite a chubby bum, but it's well worth it for the double absorbancy! My second tip is a bit of an all-rounder, but especially for dry nights...Despite trying many different brands of cloth nappies, I have not been able to find one that keeps my babies dry all night, and if there is one thing I don't want to mess with, it's a sleeping baby!  Until recently I just accepted the fact that I had to use a disposable overnight, but then I discovered a brand new Kiwi start-up that is currently quite little (although I can't see that lasting for long) and what they are doing is very courageous... brave even!  Little & Brave Eco Nappies! Little & Brave Nappies are the first fully compostable nappies in New Zealand. At this stage it's only available here in Auckland, but hopefully that will change in the not so distant future!  Now don't go thinking you can chuck them in your worm farm at home... they need a commercial composter for that... but as well as designing and creating these nappies, Little & Brave has also set up a commercial composter in Penrose, Auckland.  You can drop your used nappies there, or they offer a drop off/pick up service. (check out for more details).

It took us a few goes to master getting these nappies to stay put on our little one (you have the nappy itself, and then a wrap which secures it in place), but by using the wrap as well as the Babyco nappy shell that I mentioned earlier, we now have it down to a fine art, and have night after sweet night of leak-less nappies!  Price-wise the nappies range from around 54-70cents per nappy.  Right now at Countdown, Huggies range from 38 cents (on special) - 78cents per nappy.  Obviously cost is a pretty personal thing; for me, the fact that I use cloth nappies all day (and am onto my third child with the same set) more than offsets any costs. And the fact that I am no longer sending a single nappy to landfill, well that offsets any stink in my house.  Ok, the stink still creeps back from time to time, but I certainly don't feel stink anyway! Progress not Perfection. Eco Nappies and wrap

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