Terry square nappies made easy

Terry square nappies have been the staple of our cloth nappy journey almost from the start. I say “almost” because for the first month or so of Talitha’s life, we folded muslin cloths instead.

Knowing that I use cloth nappies, I’m often asked about brands and styles that I’m honestly not well-versed in. Terries really are that good. I’ve not needed to explore.

A lot of people seem to find this way of nappying daunting. In fact, cloth nappy advocates often try to encourage skeptics by explaining that cloth bums have moved on from your grandma’s traditional nappy, which is what a terry square is.

I still think terries are a valuable option though so I thought I’d put together a clear, simple guide on why and how we use them.
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How to organise a cloth nappy changing station

Choosing reusable nappies over disposables can be daunting when you’re trying to work out what exactly happens in the changing process.

As it’s Real Nappy Week thought I’d make a video to answer the questions I’d been getting about how exactly we do cloth nappies. I’m also taking this opportunity to big up my sponsor for the BritMums Live! blogging conference in June, reusable nappy brand Bambino Mio.

The surface
We start with a chest of drawers as our nappy changing surface to protect our backs. Of course you can change a baby anywhere. I like having everything in one place and found that kneeling beside the bed was scuffing up my knees while sitting on it was uncomfortable. When I change her on the floor, no matter how firmly I hold her, she just crawls away. I wouldn’t bother with a changing station though. Why buy a piece of furniture you’ll have no use for later?
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How we do flat terry nappies

In my online quest to find the cheapest way to deal with the nappy situation, it became apparent that the answer was to go old-school. I’ve followed in my mother’s footsteps. Flat terry nappies it is.

Encouragingly, my mother bought metres of terry towelling, cut it into 50x50cm squares and seamed the edges. She’s a legend like that.

Armed with 24 of them, these are our main nappies. They also operate as burp cloths, washable wipes for particularly messy poo situations and bibs. I even lay one on the changing mat to keep Talitha’s bum comfy if it’s cold.
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Kitty litter vs Nappies

My husband Laurence, oft mentioned on this blog, decided to try his hand at guest posting here. He normally blogs about photography at eyediamondeye.tumblr.com.

Head to head – the ultimate show down. These are exciting times for both corners. We have nappies in the red corner and kitty litter in the blue corner. The winner, well the winner doesn’t get anything at all apart from slightly less frowns and sighs!

kitty litter vs nappy's

The warm-up:
For any big event preparation is key: getting your mind in the right place, visualising what is going to happen and when. The unpredictable timing of nappies means that kitty litter takes the first point. Every evening I change/clean the kitty litter before I go to bed [I know, I know I should probably do it twice a day, but they seem to cope and life is a little short to be so fastidious].
Kitty Litter 1 Nappies 0

The equipment:
A bad sportsman blames is equipment. Hell yeah! Good clumping litter is pretty rewarding allowing you to quickly identify and target Number 1’s but non-clumping litter is frustrating beyond belief and you’re using a shovel with holes in it. Regular readers of Adele’s musings will know that we are using reusable nappies, they seem to work (and my vs Adele’s thoughts on the pros and cons of this could be another post). So forgetting disposables for a minute…

When I approach a smelly and screaming girl I have to choose between the origami of terry towels/muslin cloths and Bum Genius style nappies, weighing up time of day, location and the state of my mind. I would choose Bum Genius every time if I could, but we don’t have enough of them, and I’m told they take too long to dry. Clumping beats terry toweling, Bum Genius beats non-clumping. A goal each.
Kitty Litter 2 Nappies 1

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Affording the baby – so far

Before we got married, Laurence and I took a marriage preparation course. It involved a computerised quiz we took separately and it compared our answers to highlight areas of disagreement or uncertainty. When we were shown our answers, every single money-related statement was flagged. We were both floaters and didn’t really want to know about anything financial.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that we’ve spent the last year and eight months of marriage trying to work out why no matter how much we earn, we spend it (though the other side of this is that even when we’ve earned less, we’ve managed).

Modern reasoning would probably have asked why we were choosing now to have a child and whether it was “accidental”, especially with all these scaremongering news reports of how much it costs to raise the little buggers.

Well, with seventeen days until the creature’s estimated due date, we’ve gotten pretty much everything that comes with a baby. It’s all sitting in bags and boxes or in the Moses basket (I never claimed to be that organised) but I’ve realised two things: we’ve used almost every channel for getting stuff imaginable and we’ve really not spent much.

I know a few other baby-making machines read this blog, so here’s how we did it.
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Five things to do before the baby comes

At thirty-three weeks pregnant, the countdown has begun. Laurence asked me yesterday if we’re in the third trimester yet. I pray he was joking. At any rate, I’m determined to make the most of these next seven (or five or nine or God alone knows how many) weeks.

This does not entail, as has been previously suggested to me, clubbing. Anyone who’s made that suggestion (and they’ve tellingly all been male) doesn’t quite understand that this thing around my middle really is as heavy as it looks.

Nope, dancing days waved goodbye a week after I peed on the sticks. Then the first trimester’s exhaustion/nausea/generally-feeling-like-I’m-dying was speedily followed by the ligaments in my pelvic girdle deciding to fall apart and do a fancy jiggle called SPD. Though that’s admittedly chilled quite a bit with exercise and listening to my body, the third trimester has brought the return of exhaustion, coupled with needing to know where the restroom is at all times.

So, in short, I’m afraid this list won’t be as active as some of my friends would probably like but it reflects how excited I am about meeting the creature. Call me 25 going on 50.

Before the baby arrives I want to:

1. Get all things “baby” ready

This might actually strike some as surprising, since I clearly have the kid on the brain rather a lot of the time, but I haven’t set up the nursery yet. Yes we’ve bought things. We even have the pram and car seat. But everything is sitting in the room, mostly in bags, unwashed and wondering if a baby is really coming. Then Braxton Hicks rudely reminds me that it’s worth getting my tush into gear, even though I do have loads of time left.

2. Learn origami

I mentioned this to a crafty friend the other day and she seemed excited that we were going to make a mobile or something (not a bad idea though, not at all). Really, I meant that we need to work this nappy situation out.

We’ve opted to do the cloth nappy thing. My brother and I wore reusable nappies and I’m keen to continue the family tradition mainly because we don’t have much money and I saw an exhibition in Bristol Zoo last year that freaked me out about what disposables do the environment.

I now have a collection of pocket nappies, all-in-ones and terry toweling but little idea of how to use them so I’ll be having some fun with Videojug and online diagrams these next few weeks. I say “I” but I do mean “we”.
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