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Review: Freeva cloth nappy

Freeva nappy

As you’ll know if you’ve read this blog before, we love our cloth nappies in the Toby Goes Bananas house so when new cloth nappy company Freeva gave us the opportunity to review one of their nappies we jumped at the chance.

The Details

Freeva cloth nappy

Freeva nappies are ‘one size fits most’ and come in a variety of plain colours and funky prints. We chose the Jungle Animals print for our review. The nappies have three rows of poppers on the front to adjust the rise of the nappy, and have hook and loop (velcro to you and me!) fastenings at the waist. They are pocket nappies, meaning they have a removable insert which fits in a pocket between the waterproof outer layer and the suede cloth inner layer of the nappy. All Freeva nappies come with one microfibre insert included. If you need more absorbency from your nappy then extra inserts are available to buy from Freeva, either in microfibre, a microfibre and bamboo comination, or just bamboo. The nappies retail at £10.95. Freeva also sell a selection of accessories such as nappy buckets and wetbags.

The Pros 

  • I prefer velcro fastenings on a cloth nappy as they make it much easier to get a good fit. Toby is very long and skinny so getting a good fit with some cloth nappies is tricky but the Freeva was a got fit, even after a few hours of wriggling!
  • It’s good to see the Freeva nappy has laundry tabs to fold the velcro back onto while they are in the wash so they don’t all get stuck together.
  • I like the selection of prints and colours available (which we all know is one of the main reasons for using cloth nappies!)
  • The nappy arrived with information about how to use and look after the nappy (including advice on pre-washing before use). All this information, along with other cloth nappy advice is also available on the Freeva website.
  • I was impressed with the performance of the nappy. On the first use it lasted three hours with just the one insert before it started to leak slightly around the legs. On the second use I used the microfibre insert along with a bamboo booster and the nappy lasted almost five hours! (I wouldn’t normally leave a nappy that long during the day without changing it anyway, but I just wanted to see how long it would last!)
  • The microfibre inner and pocket outer washed well and are very quick to dry. I usually dry my nappies in the airing cupboard in winter and both parts were dry in a few hours.

The Cons

  • The nappy only comes with one microfibre insert included. In my experience this might be OK for a younger baby but older babies might need more boosting so you will have to purchase extra inserts if you don’t already have them.
  • The microfibre insert is a bit bulky, especially on a smaller baby. There are other fabrics which could give the same absorbency but with less bulk.

The Verdict

Freeva cloth nappy

The Freeva nappy we tried performed very well. With its adjustable rise and velcro at the waist it really should fit most babies. Freeva nappies are also at the more affordable end of the cloth nappy scale. Whether you are new to cloth nappies or a seasoned user and you are after a pocket nappy I would recommend Freeva nappies as a great addition to your collection.

Freeva have kindly offered all my readers a discount code to use on their website. Simply enter TOBYGOESBANANAS at the checkout for 5% off. And even better, you can use this code as many times as you like!

**Disclaimer: I was sent the cloth nappy in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Cloth nappies – Part 1: Why choose cloth?

Cloth nappies on washing line

We’ve been using cloth nappies full time since Toby was seven weeks old. So that’s about five months and he hasn’t worn a disposable nappy once. Recently there seem to have been a few people asking for advice on starting to use cloth nappies so I thought I’d write a few posts to try and dispel some of the myths about cloth nappies and share what I’ve learned since we’ve been using them. In part one we are looking at why you should choose cloth nappies.

There are loads of reasons to choose cloth nappies over disposables.

There were two main reasons we chose cloth; firstly the cost. Estimates can vary but if your baby wears nappies until they are two and a half years old (and I know some wear them longer) they will probably use between five and six thousand nappies! Disposable nappies do vary in price but if you take an average of 15p per nappy then you are looking at between £750 and £900 spent on nappies. Compare that to reusable nappies – again there is a variation in price; cloth nappies vary from the cheapest terry squares with a waterproof cover for a few pounds up to the more expensive nappies at nearly £20 each. To use my own experience as an example. We have 15 bumgenius Freetime nappies which retail at about £15.99. We got 10% discount on most of ours by buying several at the same time, and some in a sale for £10. We also have one Tots Bots Easyfit which was £14.99. These are our daytime nappies which cost a total of £193. For night time we have four Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch nappies which we use with Blueberry Coverall wraps (of which we have three). These cost £11.50 for the nappies and wraps £12.50. We also have five bamboo boosters which cost £6.50 – a total of £90. We also use fleece liners in the nappies – I made these myself from a couple of fleece baby blankets that I bought in Tesco for £2.50 each. Lastly we have a nappy bucket which was £9, a mesh liner for inside the bucket which was £4.50 and a two wet bags for when we’re out and about which were £3 each. So, if my maths is right, a grand total of £307.50. This amount of nappies allows me to wash every two or three days. I do use the tumble drier sometimes but mostly my nappies are either dried outside on the line or in the airing cupboard overnight. The extra washing and drying adds around £35 a year to my electric bill. Even so the overall cost of £377.50 is still less than half that of using disposables. AND if we have another baby we’ll use the same nappies again meaning another saving. Added to that we also use washable wipes saving us another £150 or so! This is just an example of what we use. It is possible to use cloth nappies for a lot less (or a lot more if you get carried away with all the lovely colours and prints that are available!) but whichever cloth nappies you choose the savings are considerable. The only real disadvantage to cloth is that you do have a big financial outlay at the beginning, but once this has done you are saving all the way.

The other main reason for us choosing cloth was environmental. Even before Toby was born I was concerned about the amount of waste we would be creating if we used disposable nappies. Approximately 8 million disposable nappies are sent to landfill in the UK every year and they take 200 years to decompose. Yes, there is an environmental cost to using cloth nappies – they still have to be manufactured and there is extra washing involved. But the impact on the environment of using cloth nappies is far less than using disposables in the long term. And if I wasn’t convinced by the waste argument, a few weeks of having a wheelie bin full of disposables soon confirmed it for me!

There are also several other reasons to choose cloth nappies. They are better for your baby. Disposables contain all sorts of chemicals which can find their way out of the nappy and on to your babies skin. Cloth nappies are soft and fluffy, and contrary to what you might have heard they don’t cause nappy rash. In fact Toby has never had nappy rash and his bum is kept nice and dry by using a fleece liner. They are much better at containing poo-splosions than disposable nappies. And lastly, they’re just so damn cute!!

Despite all these benefits to cloth nappies, lots of people still seem to be put, usually for one of two reasons.

1. There’s a lot more work involved than in using disposables.

2. There’s somehow more contact with poo involved in using cloth nappies.

So let’s have a look at those two reasons. Firstly, they really aren’t much more work. Yes, you will have to do a few extra loads of washing a week but since Toby was born I seem to have been washing all the time anyway so it really doesn’t make that much difference. Other than that, it’s no harder to put a dirty nappy in the nappy bucket than it is to put a disposable in the bin.

Which brings us to the second reason – does using cloth nappies really mean you have to get up close and personal with baby poo?? Not really, no. We use fleece liners inside our nappies so I just pick it up by the edges, tip any solids in the loo and then the dirty liner goes in the nappy bucket. I use a mesh bag which goes inside the bucket so once the bucket is full I just lift the bag out and put the whole lot in the washing machine. So yes, I have to dispose of poo down the loo, but we have never ever had poo leak out of a cloth nappy, I’ve never had to take poo covered clothes off my baby and clean him up, so probably, I’ve touched less baby poo than you have! In addition to that, I have a bucket (with a lid) in my downstairs loo which doesn’t contain any solid waste (that all went down the toilet, where poo belongs). If you use disposables you’ve probably got a wheelie bin sitting outside your back door with up to two weeks worth of dirty nappies sat in it. I know which smells worse!

So now we’ve got that out of the way; you have decided you want to start using cloth nappies on your little cherub’s precious bum, what do you need?

In part two of my cloth nappy series I will be looking at how to choose the right cloth nappy for you and your baby. Come back next week to find out more.

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The Clean Green Nappy Machine Competition Hints!

The Clean Green Nappy Machine

Regular readers of this blog will already know that Toby and I are big cloth nappy fans. We’ve got enough nappies now that we don’t really need to buy any more and hubby rolls his eyes at me every time I spot a new design that we just have to have! So, I’m always on the look out for a great competition where I can win some more nappies or accessories instead of having to buy them…

And here’s where The Clean Green Nappy Machine comes in. The Clean Green Nappy Machine has a great website stocking everything a cloth nappy user could need. There’s also lots of fantastic and helpful information if you are just getting started. Throughout December The Clean Green Nappy Machine are running a daily competition – all you have to do is find the numbered bauble on the website, fill in the entry form you find there and you could be in with a chance of winning the product on that page. The baubles will always be on a product page but they can be a bit tricky to find. So the lovely people at Clean Green have offered my readers a chance to get a special clue emailed to them every day. This clue will not be available on the website or on social media.

So click on the link below, sign up for your special clues…and Good Luck!

http://www.cleangreennappy.co.uk/advent-calender.html

 

**Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation to share this competition and link

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Review: bumGenius Freetime

Bumgenius Freetime

We have been using bumGenius Freetime nappies full time since Toby was about 7 weeks old. I am writing this review simply because I think they are a great nappy – we were not given any nappies or other incentive.

The Details

bumGenius is a family run American company – I believe that most of their products for sale outside the US are produced in their own facility in Egypt. bumGenius nappies are available from a variety of UK stockists. I got mine from a few different places depending where I could get the best offers at the time. The Freetime usually retails at £15.99 (unless you can get one in a sale or get discount for bulk buying) which is towards the top end of what you would expect to pay for a cloth nappy. However, the nappies are an all-in-one (AIO) nappy which essentially means you don’t need to buy any extras like inserts or wraps. It is also a birth-to-potty (BTP) or one-size-fits-most (OSFM) nappy so they should last as long as your baby needs to wear them. And they should last for more than one baby so the cost works out quite reasonable in the end. These nappies are available with popper or velcro (sometimes called aplix or hook and loop) fastenings and in a variety of colours and prints. All but one of our nappies are velcro fastening as I find it easier to get a snug fit and we have pretty much one of every colour I think!

The Pros

bumGenius FreetimeThe nappies are really easy to use as you can see in the pictures above. The length, or rise, of the nappy is adjusted using three sets of poppers on the front of the nappy. We currently have the nappy on the middle setting. As the nappy is an all-in-one the inserts (the part that actually absorbs the pee) are attached, which means there’s nothing to get lost in the wash and no need to match things up with the right nappy afterwards. As the inserts are only attached at one end they open up for drying (1) which dramatically reduces how long it takes. On a fine, breezy day they will dry in an hour or two on the line. Seeing as we don’t have many of those at the moment though, mine usually dry overnight in the airing cupboard or in about an hour and a half on low heat in the tumble drier. Once you have your clean dry nappy then you simply fold the flaps back in. They can be folded several different ways. Because we have a little boy we fold the front flap in half before folding it back into the nappy (2). This makes it more absorbent at the front where the majority of a boy’s pee ends up.
The back flap is then folded over the top (3) and a fleece liner (if you are using them) is placed on top (4). I then store my nappies in a drawer like this so they are just ready to take one off the pile and put on when needed.

bumgenius FreetimeThese nappies, like a lot of others, also have laundry tabs which are used to protect the velcro during washing and to stop all your nappies ending up stuck together in one big ball when they come out of the machine.

The Cons

There really aren’t many; I think the bumGenius Freetime is a great all round nappy. They only thing I would say is that, compared to my Tots Bots nappies, the velcro is quite stiff and can be a bit scratchy. This doesn’t actually matter if the nappy is put on properly as it doesn’t come into contact with your babies skin but if they aren’t put on quite right it can catch his tummy if he’s been sat up in a car seat for example.

We have only had a couple of very minor leaks from these nappies. Even then it was only a little bit where the moisture had wicked through at the leg seams and really my fault for leaving the nappy on too long! Usually Toby can wear one of these nappies for two or three hours before it needs changing. Because of this I don’t think I would recommend the bumGenius Freetime as a night time nappy unless you want to change nappies as frequently at night as you do during the day.

The only other minor negative is that there isn’t quite the same variety of cute prints and patterns from bumGenius as you get from some other brands of nappies (for example these by Tots Bots or these from Baba and Boo). This of course has no bearing on the performance of the nappy but it might sway some people.

The Verdict

I would recommend the bumGenius Freetime to anyone whether they are starting out with cloth nappies or are seasoned users. They are especially good for anyone new to cloth nappies (or maybe any reluctant Dads out there!) as they are really just like changing a disposable. The only thing I think that might put you off this nappy in favour of an alternative would be the price. We have 14 of these nappies for day time use so the initial financial outlay was quite high. That said, I only wash every two to three days so if you were willing to wash more often you could get away with less and they are quite often available in promotions or you may even be able to pick some up pre-loved making them a more affordable option.

So, in conclusion, the bumGenius Freetime is a great all-in-one birth-to-potty nappy. It certainly gets my vote.

**Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Review: Nappykind Boutique

Baby leggings and legwarmers
As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, Toby is a cloth bum baby. I’d seen other reviews of baby legwarmers suggesting they are a useful purchase for cloth nappy wearing babies and although I wasn’t convinced they would be that useful, particularly for a baby boy, I was interested to give them a try.

So when the lovely people at Nappykind Boutique offered me the chance to try some out I decided to give them a go. I was given a discount code to order whatever I wanted from the website so I chose the Huggalugs By The Ocean legwarmers and then I couldn’t resist the Cow Jumped Over The Moon leggings. (Both items seemed to have disappeared from the website so I am guessing they are out of stock at the moment.)

The Details

The legwarmers retail at £7.99 which to be honest is a bit expensive – but Nappykind have plenty of their own brand legwarmers from £1.99. The Huggalugs are very good quality though – they are soft and washed very well. Although the legwarmers are one size and sold as fitting ‘babies and kids’, at only 4 months they are quite big on Toby just now. They stay up without any trouble (and without leaving any marks on his skin) but because the cuff at the bottom is loose they to tend to slip over his feet leaving them flapping around. They do look very cute though and Toby seemed happy enough to wear them.

Baby legwarmers

The leggings are what you would expect – there are quite a lot of different styles available, all with cute designs on the bum! I ordered the 6-12 months size as Toby is quite long and his cloth bum takes up a fair bit of room! The leggings are still quite loose but stay on fine and at least they’ve got plenty of room to grow into. I was a little disappointed with the quality of the leggings compared to to legwarmers – the label was quite scratchy and not sewn in properly and there are quite a lot of loose threads on the reverse of the pattern. However at only £3.99 I thought they were reasonably priced. They have held up OK in the wash too.

The Cow Jumped Over The Moon Baby Leggings

The Pros

Both the legwarmers and leggings look very cute and they are useful for putting on around the house – although I can’t really see myself taking Toby out in them. I think though,as he gets more mobile, they should be good as they don’t restrict his movement at all like dungarees or jeans might. There are also none of the problems I have with getting trousers to fit over his big cloth bum!

The Cons

None really – they are definitely more of a ‘nice to have’ rather than essential items. I can see both the legwarmers and leggings being more useful for a little girl. The legwarmers would be a great alternative to tights under a dress, and you would be able to show off the cute bum designs on the leggings under a dress too.

I have to say as well that the legwarmers are sold (not just by Nappykind but all over) as being great for quick nappy changes. But with my wriggly little baby I wouldn’t risk leaving them on during a change as he would be bound to get them dirty as soon as his nappy was undone!

The Verdict

Nappykind Boutique have a great range of legwarmers, leggings and other baby items (hats, shoes, cloth nappies) and they are all very reasonably priced. The only thing that slightly let down the service for me was that my order took two weeks to arrive (to be fair this was due to a supplier issue and they thought I had received an email about it but I hadn’t) and the parcels were sent using second class large letter stamps which would be fine if I hadn’t been charged £3.20 for shipping. Having said all that I believe Nappykind Boutique is run by two university students and is a fairly new business so I’d be happy to buy from them again in future.

**Disclaimer: I received a discount on the purchase of these items in order to write this review and was able to keep them. However, all opinions are my own.

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Cloth nappies are the new black

Cloth nappy wearing baby

Today saw the start of the Halloween Great British Nappy Hunt. Until Sunday you can follow Billy’s clues around a variety of cloth nappy retailers to be in with a chance of winning over £120 of cloth nappy goodies. The aim of the hunt is to try and raise awareness of cloth nappies and all their benefits by spreading the message that ‘Cloth isn’t scary’. To find out how to join the hunt have a look at the Great British Nappy Hunt website.

In the spirit of the hunt and its aims I thought I would share my reasons why I think cloth isn’t scary. I had thought about using cloth nappies while I was still pregnant and I did some research. What I found out is that there seems to be a limitless amount of options available in the world of cloth nappies. There are two part nappies, pocket nappies, all in ones, sized nappies, birth to potty nappies not to mention wraps, disposable liners, reusable liners, wet bags, reusable wipes… To be honest, the only scary part about using cloth nappies is making a decision about what kind of nappies to use. Other than that it seemed like a no brainer – cloth nappies are cheaper than using disposables (although there is an initial financial outlay needed), they are better for the environment (even when you take into account production and washing/drying cloth) and they are better for your baby (keeping all the nasty chemicals found in disposables away from your precious little one’s bum!).

I did decide that having my first baby and dealing with all the new challenges that would bring would be enough to cope with in the first few weeks so we would leave cloth nappies for the first month or so. A lot of the advice I read also suggested trying a few different types of nappies on your baby to see what kind of system works for you before committing to buy a full set of nappies. Obviously this isn’t going to be possible until your baby is actually here! The other thing that put me off starting with cloth nappies was the cost. Cloth is definitely cheaper than disposables in the long run and I was pretty sure I wanted to maximise this cost saving by choosing a birth-to potty nappy. This is a nappy which uses a series of poppers and sometimes velcro to adjust the nappy to fit your baby. However, these nappies are usually very bulky on a small newborn baby. Toby was only 6lb 10oz when he was born and we would probably have had to invest in some specific newborn nappies to use them straight away. However, if I wasn’t already convinced, the amount of nappies that went in our landfill bin in those first few weeks certainly cemented the decision to use cloth nappies in my mind.

So, when Toby was about 5 weeks old I got some personalised recommendations from The Nappy Lady and ordered two different nappies to try out. There are lots of cloth nappy retailers that will provide you with free, impartial advice to help you choose which nappies to use. Some also offer trial schemes, or you might be able to find a nappy library in your area. Anyway, after trying the nappies during the day for a few days I was really happy with them. I chose my favourites (the Bumgenius Freetime – an all in one nappy for day time, and the Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch with a separate wrap for night time), took the plunge and ordered some more. Toby went into cloth nappies full time at about 7 weeks old and it actually makes me very proud to say he hasn’t worn a disposable since. I added a few more nappies to my collection over the next few weeks and now with 14 day nappies and 4 night time nappies I have enough to wash every 2-3 days and dry them on the line (if it ever stops raining long enough!) or more usually, hung in the airing cupboard.

I absolutely love our cloth nappies and sing their praises to anyone who will listen! Toby has never had nappy rash, we’ve only ever had two leaks and that was only a tiny damp patch on his trousers because he’d been in the car seat for too long without a nappy change. I love seeing his colourful little bum in his nappies every day and most of all I love that we are not sending hundreds of nappies to landfill every month. We use reusable wipes (the brilliant Cheeky Wipes that I have mentioned before) and washable fleece liners too so everything from Toby’s nappy changes is just washed and is ready to be used again and again and again.

Cloth nappies do seem to be gaining in popularity. I’ve seen quite a few babies wearing them at the various baby groups we go to and there’s been quite a bit of interest from other mums when they see Toby in his. Lots of the blogs I read and people I follow on Twiiter are cloth nappy users too (although that could well be due to the fact I tend to find other people who are similar to me when deciding what to read). Judging by the number of nappy retailers you can find online, cloth nappies are certainly big business and as we become more aware of our environment I can only see that they will become even more popular.

There will be more posts to follow about the ins and outs of having a cloth bummed baby (including the all important ‘what do I do with the poo??’) as well as my opinions of the nappies that we have chosen to use. I’m still pretty new to cloth but if you have any questions about using cloth nappies then I will do my best to help. Do you use cloth nappies on your baby? Which are your favourites? Are you considering cloth or could you not even entertain the thought? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts and opinions. Do you think that cloth nappies are the new black??

*Disclaimer -I did not receive any compensation for this post. These are all products I have bought and I’m just writing about them because I think they’re great! All opinions are my own.

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