I started buying cloth nappies while I was pregnant with my daughter, and it turned into a bit of an obsession, as I couldn't resist buying different colours and patterns - there are so many to choose from and it's incredibly tempting to just grab every different pattern! I had done a lot of research prior to buying them (Facebook, various parenting websites, articles, friends who also have babies and so on) and had decided that it was a route that I wanted to go down - not only to save a substantial amount of money in the long term, but also because I believed that they were much more eco-friendly compared to disposable nappies, and would also be better quality, as well softer and comfier than the run of the mill disposable nappies due to the fleecy material. Also, due to the softer material (opposed to the plastic-like material of disposables), I was also pretty confident that cloth nappies, when used correctly - eg hygienically - would be very gentle on my babies skin, therefor potentially reducing the risk/severity of nappy rash as well as any other skin irritations. I remember when I first started researching cloth nappies and browsing online, and I was incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of brands and different types. There are so many companies out there throwing different claims around and it was hard to decide on which company to buy from. I ended up purchasing all of my cloth nappies online, from a company called 'Itti Bitti' as this company had been recommended to me by a number of people on a pregnancy and baby forum, who assured me that their nappies were A. easy to use and B. good value for money. I found this company to be the best option for me due to their straight forward method of sizing, and I also loved their different patterns. More importantly, I found their prices to be fair and their product descriptions were informative and easy to understand, even to a cloth nappy newbie.
Itti Bitti is an international company who ship worldwide, and it was established in 2005 by Sue McLachlan, a Mum to two from Newcastle in Australia, who designed the nappies after becoming fed up with the bulk of many disposable nappies. Sue's new design - the design of the Itti Bitti cloth nappies is described on the official Itti Bitti website as 'very trim, much trimmer than anything else on the market. The slim crotch and high cut shape of the front suits not just small babies but those with chubby legs as well, with a super snug fit making them truly as tiny as a disposable.' By the time that my beautiful little girl, Erin finally arrived, I had an impressive stash of fifteen cloth nappies from Itti Bitti, all varying in patterns and colours. I absolutely adore the range of patterns and there are so many to choose from. Most are unisex and are a solid colour, for example blue, yellow, red, white, orange etc however they also have patterns aimed at one sex, e.g. pink and white or blue and black and so on. Itti Bitti, the company who's cloth nappies that I am reviewing also have limited editions which I personally think are a bit over the top (for example zebra print, stars etc) however I admit that a few of my daughters cloth nappies are from the limited edition range as I couldn't resist the cuteness! Cloth nappies, or at least mine from itti bitti, are 'one size fits all'. They have four size settings and can fit a child from seven pounds to 20 kilograms. As they are suitable from birth we have been using cloth nappies on and off since my daughter was born, although there have been numerous occasions where I have had no choice but to use disposables (eg rainy weather, no tumble dryer = no dry, clean nappies!) so I am able to compare the both types, which is important in my opinion, as what's the point in buying cloth nappies if they're no better than disposables? Not that they aren't, but you know what I mean.
The 'one size fits all' sizing design hugely appealed to me, as it obviously ensured that I would save money and get my money's worth, too - babies grow ridiculously quickly and it made sense to get a load of nappies that would fit my baby until she is potty trained. As mentioned briefly above, these cloth nappies have four different settings, which are easy to adjust as at the front of the nappy there are little press clips which you clip together with the clips on the side of the nappy when you are happy with the fit on your baby. I know that might sound a little confusing to some people, but it is honestly, once you get the grasp of how to do it, just like putting on a disposable nappy - as long as you have adjusted the size setting so that it suits your baby. My daughter was tiny when she was born and lost additional weight within the first month, meaning that unfortunately the cloth nappies were useless for her as they fell off and didn't contain any 'mess', however now that she is almost four months old she is able to fit into them fine and is on the second to smallest setting of the nappy, and we have never had problems with leaks. We did struggle at first to work out how to fit the nappy on my baby correctly and I got a little frustrated, however we soon worked it out and I have since discovered that there are actually YouTube tutorials on how to fit the nappy onto different sized babies correctly.
The price put me off a little at first, as these nappies retail at an average price of £17.50 each. They can be purchased individually, however Itti Bitti also offer 'value packs' - packs of six, twelve, eighteen and twenty-four. I was going to purchase just one of the nappies at first, but then I thought 'well what if the baby messes it up within a couple of hours?' so I ended up browsing the 'value packs' section on the website and was going to get the pack of six (the smallest multi-pack), which retails at £89.95, however I went a bit crazy and thought 'what the heck' and ended up with the twelve pack as well as three limited edition nappies, with the help of my boyfriend's debit card - with his permission, of course! The twelve pack cost £174.95 which apparently cost over thirty pounds cheaper than it would of had I bought them separately, and delivery was around £3.75, which was a bargain as the nappies came in a mahoosive box! They were packaged securely, which is worth mentioning. Although I bought the nappies in a multi-pack, I was still able to choose the colours that I wanted; they don't just send you twelve red or twelve blue. There are a wide range of colours and patterns to choose from and I got a wide variety. The nappies when they arrived were folded in half and had a cardboard sleeve wrapped around them, which was very basic with the product name written on the front. I was quite impressed at first by how soft they are and they are incredibly fluffy.
The nappies are waterproof with 'stay dry suede cloth' which keeps baby dry and comfortable. I didn't realise that the value packs do not come with soakers so I had to place another order. Soakers are the pads you need to insert into the nappy before joining it up, to avoid any leaks. I purchased five of the soaker sets which were around seven quid each, and each set had three soaker pads meaning you can adjust the absorbency depending on how much your baby pees, lol. The soakers are described as luxurious, soft and waterproof. I bought organic cotton soakers and bamboo soakers are available, too. I use two soakers in my daughters nappy in the day time as she pees a lot and I put in three at night to be on the safe side. Putting the soakers into the shell in the correct position was a little confusing at first due to how they need to be snapped together, but now I have got the hang of it it's really quick and easy. The colour coded poppers make it easier to get the hang of quickly as well in my opinion. I put the one which is medium length in first, then fold and clip the longest in place with the smallest in the middle of the longest, which sounds confusing but it's easy peasy. Despite how absorbent the pads are, they don't bulk the nappy out by a noticeable amount. The poppers are really secure and I have never had any problems with them coming un-done.
Itti Bitti recommend different combinations on how to fit the pads, depending on the sex of your baby so if you are interested in how to fit in the soakers with more in depth instructions it's worth checking out the itti bitti website. Saying that though, every baby will be different when it comes to which soakers/how many you use. The soakers are easy to wash and should be removed from the nappy before washing them, as according to Itti Bitti, there is the potential for snaps (the poppers) to rip out of the nappy shell, and for the elastic to deteriorate quicker than normal due to extra stretching from the weight of the soakers. Getting stains out of the soakers (and I mean really bad stains!) isn't too hard, although sometimes in cases of severe diarrhea, even after 3-4 washes there are still small marks. The soakers do not hold nasty smells at all and even after daily use since my daughter was around a month old, they're all still soft and in good condition. Washing the cloth nappies is a simple process, although admittedly very time consuming. I use Rockin' Green, which is a cloth nappy & laundry detergent. It is totally safe for cloth nappies and is free of phosphate. The ingredients isn't full of any nasty chemicals and is better for the planet than a majority of other detergents. The product comes in three different scents. The one that I have smells lovely - like fresh watermelon, and it leaves the nappies smelling clean and feeling soft. It is fine to be used even if you or your baby have sensitive skin. The wash loads are quite big, which is a major drawback and I usually wash batches of five or six every 2 days to ensure my baby always has a fresh, clean nappy available. The nappies dry quickly if it's good weather, but if not they take around 2 days to completely dry but if you have a tumble dryer this will not be a problem. I hang mine on the washing line with two pegs and if it's windy enough, they will be dry within around eight hours. All of the nappies have been washed several times now and have lost the initial fluffiness, however they are still soft to the touch, have not shrunk, faded or changed in texture and look adorable.
If you're a busy Mum like myself and are always out and about with baby, I would reccomend getting one of the Itti Bitti wet bags. I have one and find it so handy to use as I can just pop the dirty nappy in there when we're away from home then wash it when we get back home. The wet bag is waterproof and holds smells and wetness in so I feel confident that it won't leave my baby bag smelly or dirty, and I can fit four nappies into the wet bag, which I think is a decent amount. The wet bag was around £12 and it's really handy. The cloth nappies fit my baby securely and are very soft and gentle on her skin. She's never had nappy rash (so far so good!) which I personally think is down to these nappies; they're lovely and soft and in my opinion let her skin breathe more than disposables, which are, in my opinion, really unpleasant material. The waistband area is secure and is not too tight on her, but it is not too loose either - same with the leg holes. My daughter seems to like her cloth nappies - by that I mean she shows no discomfort when I change her or when she is wearing her nappies, as she is used to them completely, although to be completely honest on the occasions where I have put her in disposables she has not shown any discomfort and there have been no nasty effects on her skin. I feel that by using cloth nappies though, I am saving money and doing my bit for the environment, and it's nice not having to carry a massive bag of dirty disposable nappies out to the bin every day which will be sent to landfill. Also, cloth nappies look so much better and are a lot less bulky than disposables.
The only minor disadvantage with these nappies is that they mask smells incredibly well due to the padding and thickness, and the Rockin' Green smell lingers on them and smells quite prominent so it's virtually impossible to tell if baba needs changing or not just by having a quick sniff (unless obviously she's done a particularly nasty poop!) - which is a little awkward when at friends houses etc as instead of just having a sniff I have to take my baby to the bathroom and check by taking the nappy off and then I have to faff around putting the 'shell' of the nappy together again which is a total waste of time if it's clean, this is not a huge disadvantage but it is not very practical. When it comes to storage space for these nappies it can be a little awkward, as they are quite bulky when folded in half. Up until recently I kept them folded in one of the drawers in a cabinet in my babies room however recently in my local B&M I came across a plastic door hanger - the transparent type you use for clothes and shoes, with different compartments and the nappies are a perfect fit and when stored like this they are easy to organise and take up very little room. Overall, reccomended. Whether you are expecting a baby or have a baby who is a number of months old, I really do think that all mums should convert to cloth nappies - they're so much better for the environment, luxuriously soft, simple enough to clean, great quality, absorbent and stay on my baby securely, despite the fact that she has recently learnt how to roll! Oh, and did I mention that they're also absolutely adorable?!