Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Classic baby needs: terry nappies are only the beginning!

Many people don't want to fill their homes with gaudy plastic things once a baby arrives.  Also, some people like TV character and Disney baby clothes and that's fine, but it's not everyone's style, it may not fit with your decor etc.  If you have a sense of traditional style, want to maintain a classic look or simply prefer the time-worn and better-for-the-environment old ways of doing things here are some ways to do it.  Also, these may make a good idea for baby shower gifts, something different from the latest craze of baby diaper cakes...

Thanks for the image, chatirygirl!

  • Terry nappies
  • Wooden high chairs
  • Thrifted clothes and handmade clothing
  • Toys made from wood or felt/cloth
  • Getting outside to play in nature instead of staying in the house and getting bored with the same old toys

Please keep tuned for more to come, I will be writing about many eco-friendly and traditional baby items in the near future!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Terry nappy general storage and use

Once terry nappies are washed, bring them in off the line and put them in a pile.  Then pick a nice quiet time of day (traditionally after the baby has gone to bed, according to most mothers!) and fold up your squares.  Some people like to fold them into quarters to make a square, and stack them; some people like to pre-fold them into the nappy fold they will be using.  Others store terry nappies open and flat, maybe in a shelf beneath your change table.  You can also fold them neatly alongside your baby blankets, infant girl or infant boy clothing, modern cloth nappies and other baby paraphenalia in the airing cupoboard.  Terry nappies don't seem to mind how you store them.  :)

When you get ready to use your squares, you will probably be one-handed (baby on the other arm!) so make your change spot easy to use.  Your  nappies will be seeing the light of day a lot so organise them and everything else so it's fast and simple for you.  Some people like to use a stay-dry liner inside the nappy fold, like some which you can get made out of microfleece or microfibre suedecloth.  Make sure if you buy it off a roll that it is the right kind, a test piece will show you because it needs to let moisture through quickly and then alow the moisture to be drawn away from the other side by the absorbent fabric.  Once you have seen it you will know what I mean.

You can use stay-dry liners with your terry nappies to solve several problems.  For starters your terry will be less likely to come into contact with baby poo so they will stay whiter.  Secondly your baby will be less likely to get a nappy rash because the nappy will hold the wee while the liner stops his or her bottom from getting wet.  You still need to change the terry nappies as often as you would without a liner, though, as it's healthier for your baby, as it's not good for their skin to leave them sitting in the ammonia from pee.  If you don't want to think about washable liners you can get disposable liners as well, some that you have to throw out, some that you can flush and some that will compost.

Of course if you want to extra-green up your nappy system you could go cloth or compostable as it's not even more work to throw a few liners in the washing machine along with your terries.  Or in the compost, compostable nappy liners can break down into the earth again.  When you use terry nappies you will porbably be more aware of your baby's movements more than if you were using throwaway products.  Your baby, toddler or preschooler will find it easier to toilet train as he or she won't have spent all his time feeling unnaturally "dry".  Baby is also less likely to get nasty chemicals on his or her skin if you are using terry nappies, so that's a very good thing for baby.  Well, I can't think about any more to say about the wonderful and legendary terry nappy right now, so that will be all for today!

I loved  these Bright Bots Terry Nappies in thick 100% cotton - we used several packs of these in the gender neutral colours, but they can also come in either "boy" colours or "girl" colours.  In summer it is lovely to pop these brightly coloured Bright Bots on your baby and they can run around in nothing but the coloured terry nappy and the Snappi.  Baby + coloured terry nappies... so cute.  :o)

Well, I can't think about any more to say about the wonderful and legendary terry nappy right now, so that will be all for today!

How to wash your terry nappies

There are two ways to wash your terry nappies, essentially... the old way and the new way!

nappy bucketsYou can a) put them in nappy bucket with water to cover and add 2-3 tbsp. white distilled vinegar OR 1tbsp. sodium bicarbonate OR 5 drops of tea tree oil, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties (and top up the water over nappies when you add them and they fill up past the water line), or b) "dry pail" them in the bucket or put them in a "wet bag" and leave your nappies in there until you need to wash, then put them on to wash just like you would any other item.

As terry nappies are cotton they can handle boiling but you don't need to do this as it will reduce the life of the nappy while not really doing anything useful.  Don't use too much detergent on cloth nappies because if you use too much it will not rinse out fully and when the baby wees in the nappy, it will rehydrate and sting/burm your baby's bottom.

Never use fabric softeners or antistatic products, they can lessen the absorbency and the life of your nappies.  Terries will be disinfected just by hanging in the sun, so you don't need to go nuts with washing them with extra washing powder.  In fact, use less than the manufacturer's recommendation when washing them.

When it comes to drying them, hang them out in the sun if possible because the sun will bleach your terry nappies white again and they will look nice and clean and pretty hanging on the line!  If you can't hang them outside, hanging them inside in a sunny airy room will dry them in next to no time too and direct sun on them will keep your terry towel squares fine as fine can be.  Terries dry so fast, with just a little sun or a breeze, you couldn't ask for nappies that are faster drying.

At the top of this post is an example of a plain plastic nappy bucket.  Some people choose to use "hanging pails" or large wet bags instead.  We used wet bags, as they can be easier to grab and move to the laundry, but some people swear by buckets.  Buckets are bulky, of course, and even if you dry-pail rather than soak they are still heavier than a PUL and cotton wetbag.

That said, pails may hold in smells better, and they still generally cheaper - a large wetbag may set you back more than $30, but a nappy bucket can be "made" simply by begging, borrowing or hopefully not stealing (lol) from a local bakery - the buckets that bakery flour comes in are often an ideal size for nappy dry pailing.

Covers for terry nappies - the different types explained

TotsBots Rainbow WrapYou can get all sorts of covers for your terry nappies.  We have tried PUL ones and wool ones.  They all have different purposes.  Some of them are better for car trips and some of them are better for running around the house on hot days and some are better for ovenight and basically there so many different kinds that you will probably end up with a few different ones to put over your terries.

The nice thing about wool is that after lanolising, you don' thave to wash it for a while again (unless it gets poo on it).  The lanolin neutralises the wee and it is safe and clean to re-use it, so manyu people use wool covers over their terry nappies for for overnights. Nice to have a clean nappy cover yet not actaully having to wash it every day.  Just think of the work you can save.  That's the beauty of wool nappy covers.

The downsides to wool is that it will "wick" through if there is a pressure point, so if your baby is for instance sitting in a car seat for a long time and the nappy gets soaked, the weight of your baby might push the moisture downwards as through the cover a bit.  However, it won't pour out - just wick a little in the worst case.  One good thing about wool that no one can complain about is that it will breathe, so baby's bottom gets air!

Terry nappies being a natural alternative, you would be glad to know that what is greener and safer and healthier for the planet is also healthier for your baby too.  Other covers that you can try for your terry nappies are PUL covers and fleece covers.  Fleece acts a lot like wool except it will need to be washed more often, wheras PUL is breatheable to a lesser extent but the good thing is that is really is waterproof for times when you really don't want baby to leak out of the terry nappies.

PUL covers can be either just a cover that goes over the terry nappy or they can be a special design where you fold the terry nappy and put in inside the cover as a pad.  This way you get a lot of absorbncy from the terry nappy as it is all going where it is needed the most.  PUL covers come in many cute prints making them ideal baby boy or baby girl gifts.  Here's how to use your nappy cover or "nappy wrap".  Either fold the terry nappy into a pad or else put the nappy on the baby using one of the terry nappy folds and secure with a Snappi, Nappy Nippa or nappy pin.  Make sure it is snug enough.  Life baby's bottom and get the wrap under the baby and nappy, so that half of it is under your baby's rear.  Pull the nappy wraptabs out and secure the sides of the wrap to the front, aroudn the baby's bottom.  To change baby when wet/poopy, lie baby down, fold the dirty nappy in half so the poo doesn't get anywhere you don't want it to!  Wipe from front to back, especially important if you have a little girl.  Then repeat the process from the beginning, using a new terry nappy and/or terry inside a nappy cover/wrap.

Thanks for imcountingufoz for the image of the hanging nappies and covers on the line.  It's always such a cute sight to see in this modern throwaway day and age.

The different kinds of terry nappies explained: bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, fitted...

Nothing like a lovely white terry square...  the kind your grandmother used.  But wait, there are many other kinds of terry nappy available.  Check out your options!

There are many different kinds of terry nappy available these days.  Not only can you get plain cotton terries, you can also get a range of different sorts for all purposes.  Have you tried coloured terries like the ones available from Bright Bots?  Department stores also sell coloured terries for a very reasonable price.

What about an organic terry nappy, like Green Baby - these are always thicker and more absorbent because the cotton, when grown organically, grows better and is of a higher quality.  Organic cotton also reduces your carbon footprint even further, making your nappy choice extremely green.
Bright Bots also make plain white nappies too.

Then there are bamboo terry nappies, very thick and plush and soft and have many exceptional qualities.  For instance bamboo terry squares will not go "hard" on the washing line when you dry them, like cotton will.  This makes it very nice for newborns as they are so squishy and fragile and we all want to put only the softest most cuddly fabrics next to their skin!  Can't forget either that bamboo is grown without the use of pesticides making it a really good choice for green-ness.  When you use a bamboo terry nappy, you may be able to use a less bulky nappy fold, as they are so absorbent.

What about a hemp terry?  Yes you can get terry nappies with hemp, but usually they contain some cotton too, as hemp can be quite stiff and unyielding without having cotton to balance it out and soften it a bit.  You can find 100% hemp terry nappies if you look for them, though.  Did I mention there is French terry and there is stretch knit terry?

Then there are fitted terry nappies.  Once you get into fitteds, the world of cloth nappies really explodes into a world of choices.  It can be overwhelming, and sometimes the price tag can be higher than with terry flats, because you are paying for the convenience of not having to fold your nappies.  Of course, it only takes a moment to fold a terry nappy flat, so I tend to recommend these for price, versatility and fast drying, but there are many people who are totally delighted with their fitted terry nappies so don't hesitate to check them out if you like the sound of them.  One of the best brands of fitted terry nappy are Little Lamb.

So all these are some of the kinds of terry toweling nappies that you can get.  I hope I have helped you to understand a little more about the different types and the benefits of each kind.

Some brands you may be interested in: Green Baby Organic terry nappies, Cosatto Terry Nappies 'white'- 12 Pack, 12 X Supreme Quality Baby Terry Nappies, 100% Cotton, 12 Pack White Terry Nappies 100% Super Soft Cotton, 100% Cotton Terry Towelling Nappies, 12 Pack or 12 Terry Towelling Nappies Supreme Quality Pack.  See also Bambino Mio Nappy Sets, Tesco Terry Nappies.

Versatility of the terry nappy - all the different ways you can use your terries

They're literally "versatility on baby's bottom" - terry nappies can be used in so many different ways.

You can use many different folds, all for different size babies and for either boy or girl.  Can I recommend the kite fold and the butterfly fold?  These are the two that have got us through most of the time, except for the newborn phase.

What other ways can you fold a terry nappy - for newborns for example?  Well, there is a fold called the Jo fold which is just right for newborn babies.  Using terry nappies on a newborn you want a fold that gives a good pad, contains newborn runny poos and doesn't make too much of a bulk aorund the baby's bottom.  On that note make sure that you do not use a too-thick wad of terry nappy on a baby who is still in a rear-facing capsule, because it can cause their spine to go out of alignment.  When using terry nappies for car trips, you can use a bamboo or hemp terry if you want to reduce bulk yet provide extra absorbency.  You will probably want to put a cover over the terry nappy when you are going for a longer car trip, just in case of leaks.

I will get to hemp and bamboo terries/terrys in a minute.  :)  As I was saying earlier, you can use many different folds with terry flats.  There are several ways to make a pad fold that you can simply place inside a cover either designed specially for terrys or designed for a different kind of absorbent nappy other than terrys.

I will get to covers soon, but I guess I am just saying that terry nappies do not have to be used all the same way as they once were.  There are no rules about how to use terry flats, but in essence the idea is to fold them in such a way that the number of folds you have sit in the right place for either your newborn, or your boy or girl crawler or walker.

Did I mention you can also get different closures for the terry towelling fabric?  There are still nappy pins around but most people would prefer to use a Snappi or Nappi Nippa, this clever little thing that is a "T" shape with little baby-safe hooks onit that stretches to keep the sides and middle of the terry square around the baby.  Watch out, Snappis like to go walkabout, and babies like to play with them too, although they probably shouldn't because even though they are plastic, they do have sharp "grippy" teeth.  So keep them up high out of baby reach.  (They won't be able to get them off the nappy when it's on them, though.)

Terry nappies are also versatile in that a pack of terries, maybe coloured ones, make a great liner for homemade baby hampers or gifts for a baby shower or a friend who has just had a baby.

We like the fact that even once your baby is no longer a baby, and is completely out of nappies day and night, your terry nappy stash can still be used to mop up spills, to use as impromptu clothing covers when the children are indulging in some messy kid-style eating, for nicely sized rags, or even for sewing into a set of fitted nappies (the old terries cut up into pad-sized shapes and used as the absorbency pad) for your next baby (wink, wink)!

Thanks to 1Happysnapper for the sweet image.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Welcome to terry nappies - the fast, affordable, simple, eco-friendly, healthy, cute and traditional nappy solution

Welcome to the world of legendary terry nappies. Okay, okay... terries may not quite be legendary, but they sure are versatile, long-lasting (or could we even say everlasting? as they do break down eventually into organic matter once again!) and cost-effective. Yes, these plain ole terrys are amazing things, and today I want to point out that matter what kind of lifestyle, budget and style you have, you should definitely have some of these nappies in your stash. After you have read this article and tried a few of the cloth nappy suggestions, you will have enough knowledge to spread the word on this nappying style to other parents. When we share our knowledge we can all be specialists in nappies, informative and helpful... if everyone learns just one of the terry toweling nappy folds, and shows just one other person, then they are an expert in that fold and thus we can all help spread the word about the traditon and versatility of terries.  And make the world a little more green-friendly and baby-friendly.  Yay!  :)

You may have found this page by searching for "change a nappy, how to guide, cloth nappies, washable, reusable, folding a terry nappy slideshow, reusable cloth nappy, which type of terry nappy or terry nappy with a wrap?" or similar terms...   (You may even have come here via my Personalised Chocolates blog!)  Good quality baby items will always be needed, so I am starting with terry nappies but hope to gather together some information about other things you may need, soon.  For now there is also this site about baby walkers to check out, and have a look at my post on classic baby needs.

Here we go, the tradition of terry nappies... You know, terry towel squares are the quite possibly the best kind of cloth nappy that there is, even though there are many newer kinds of cloth bum solutions out there these days. So there's our first reason.

When you use terry nappies, you are participating in a long-held tradition from throughout time, where mothers used squares of plain, basic fabric to wrap around their baby's bottoms. The ritual of hanging the terry nappies on the line, each terry nappy pegged up by the same peg as the next square. Something satisfying about seeing your terry squares drying in the breeze and bleaching pure white again in the sun. I don't know what I would have done without my folding ritual in the early days of having a baby, mess everywhere like it is when you've got a newborn in the house and no time to clean it up because it's this roulette of feed baby, wash baby, rock baby to sleep, get yourself food, take a nap, put on laundry... and in amongst all this a neat, squared pile of terry nappies folded in one corner - because it's the one little ritual you can hold onto in those early days (at least I found that!). Ah, order and sanity!  (Thanks to mrsraggle for the gorgeous photo.)

And in the wee hours after the little one had gone down to sleep and you are up late over a cup of tea folding terry nappies, this little ritual reminds us of how it was for our mothers and grandmothers. The same nappy system. Even after they are no good for baby's bottom anymore, they can be used as rags for spills, or dishcloths, or oil rags for your car or bike, rags to arrange around the area where you're painting. Try using a modern or fitted kind of nappy to do all of those things.... No it's true, terry nappies win hands down in longevity... So by using them you will be participating in a time-tested tradition!

Check out some of my other posts on terry nappies (you can see a list down the upper left sidebar) to learn more about the multiple benefits of using terries.