So as promised here is my guide to reusable nappies (not very exciting post alert!) Again as with the reusable wipes there is no right or wrong, this is just my way and it works for our family. And if you'd like a little background here's a link to my original cloth nappy post.
I must emphasise that there are loads of different brands and kinds of cloth nappies out there. To try out different ones maybe visit your local nappy library and see what works for you and your babber.
We have 24 Close Parent Pop-ins Bamboo New Gen V2 (we also have 2 First Gen but they are less user friendly in my opinion). They have bamboo inserts which means they are more absorbent but because they hold more liquid take longer to dry after washing. We rarely run out, it's only when I'm behind in washing that we run out.
On a 'normal' day I'll change Baby D's nappy every 2-3 hours depending on how much she's been drinking (she's a fairly heavy wetter). And of course inevitably the poops always arrive into freshly changed nappies. So we go through 4 or 5 per day (plus 1 disposable at night).
Pop-ins have an outer piece - usually in a pretty pattern or colour then inside a soaker and booster which attach using poppers. For tiny babies you may not need the booster until they are bigger and producing more wee. Once it's all poppered together you put a biodegradable liner in which catches the poop and can simply be flushed down the toilet. If any poop escapes from the liner - sometimes around the edges, especially with breastmilk poops but this doesn't happen much once baby is on solids I just shake off any solid bits into the loo then rinse off with the shower head.
At home we have a nappy bin to put used nappies in. It's a Filur from Ikea, it's great as it has a flip up lid which holds any smells in.
Then, when we are out and about we have a nappy sack or 'stuff sack' which holds 2 used nappies inside.
I generally do a wash every 2 or 3 days depending on how busy I am. I un-popper everything first (some people don’t but I think they get cleaner and less tangled if un-poppered). And ensure the laundry tabs are done up - this prevents the velcro from attaching to everything inside the washing machine. You have to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards because yes, you get wee on them!
I then either do the insides and outsides separately if there's a lot of them or if there's 12 or fewer I'll put everything in together. I do a rinse (no spin) first, then a wash at 30° or 40° using non-bio powder plus a scoop of Mio Fresh. You only need half a scoop of powder to reduce chances of powder residue remaining in the fibres. For our clothes we use Ecover but apparently you can't use it with nappies - something to do with an enzyme or something so I found a sensitive powder in Asda that is only £3 a box. You should never use liquid detergent or so I've been told and definitely never use fabric conditioner. Mio Fresh is a nappy sanitiser that doesn’t contain any bleaches or nasties that might irritate baby’s skin or negatively effect the fibres in the bamboo.
If I've put everything in together or am just doing outers I do a final rinse after the wash with a spin because the outers have a waterproof coating sometimes soapy water gets trapped inside.
After a few washes sometimes the inserts get a bit crispy like towels do so I put in the tumble drier on a low heat to soften them up. Bamboo doesn't like to get too hot and effects its absorb-ability. The outers have to be line dried and cannot get tumble dried.
In ikea they have handy octopuses that are great for hanging all the nappy bits on and are only £3.
We have had a few issues with leakage:
1) for a while I wasn’t putting the nappies on quite right. It’s important to get the gusset sides tucked right in on the knicker-line. Once I realised this and rectified it the leakages stopped.
2) we sometimes get compression leaks when Baby D has been strapped into something (highchair, sling, buggy or carseat) for a while. It took me ages to realise that if she’s sat in a wet nappy it’s like squeezing a wet flannel and the liquid comes out the sides. I simply put her in a fresh nappy before going on a long journey or whatnot.
So that’s it really. It’s not rocket science, just takes a little while to get your head round and work out your own system.
Oh and for the record I've counted that we've now saved 1420 disposable nappies from going to landfill (yes I've counted! My inner geek compels me to keep track of such things!)
Let me know if you give it a shot!