Cloth Nappy Library: Wouldn’t that be GROSS?

Cloth nappy library??

You mean, used cloth nappies??!!


Hang on, now!

Haven’t you slept in a hotel bed where hundreds of other people have slept, knowing the sheets are cleaned properly?

Have you used a shared toilet, knowing the seat is cleaned properly?

Have you borrowed someone else’s cloth nappies, knowing they were cleaned properly?

Finally, have you just spent roughly $80 on three new cloth nappies to try them – and they turned out to be below your expectations?

Parents are seeing the many benefits of cloth nappies, but are often left confused and frustrated by the process of choosing a cloth nappy for their baby. Fortunately, cloth nappy libraries are growing in popularity all over the world. You can find a cloth nappy library being offered by work at home mums, local councils and charity organisations*, and chances are there is one within easy reach of you or your mail box.

(*There are currently no charity organisations that hire cloth nappies in Australia. They are only to be found in other countries, like the following:

– Kaw Valley Cloth in Kansas, US

– Giving Diapers, Giving Hope in US)

Typically a cloth nappy library will fit into one of three categories:

  1. Hire a range of clothes nappies from a retailer for the sole purpose of trying before you buy from their range,
  2. Hire a cloth nappy pack for the purpose of using cloth nappies for a short period of time, i.e. a newborn pack for 6 weeks until they fit larger cloth nappies, or
  3. A library offering a both of the above.

Thankfully, cloth nappy libraries are starting to become popular in Australia. They are a must-have in the US and UK. So why is Australia so far behind?  I believe it is because we have yet to see cloth nappies make a big, mainstream comeback…but it isn’t far off. Our mums and grandmas still believe a ‘modern’ cloth nappy is a terry toweling square. How shocked they are when they see what is now available! But also Australia has become flooded with so many styles and brands of cloth nappies that parents are more confused than ever, and so they stick with the “easier” disposables or perhaps turn to the China Cheapies as they are sooooo cheap and easy to come by. But too often that cheap nappy experience turns people off cloth and back to the disposables.

There has been no real education for parents about the extensive benefits of cloth nappies, or the benefits of accessing a cloth nappy library. When an expectant-Mum is pregnant in Australia, her only exposure to cloth nappies may be through a friend or a quick Google search – there is nothing in prenatal classes and little advertising for nappy libraries to get an expectant-Mum’s attention. The cloth nappy industry has also moved away somewhat from the practical benefits of even basic cloth nappies so that they are becoming some sort of status symbol. Terry squares?? So 20th century! In the current economic climate, and with concerns for the Earth’s climate, how did we end up with the current prevailing attitudes that have almost everyone scoff at the mere hint of a basic square terry and a pin? The industry as it stands now seems to almost shoot itself in the foot. Yes there are excellent modern cloth nappies and many are exceptionally well priced for what they do, but any new Mum looking at her options doesn’t see the big cloth picture thanks to the massive array of options…a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees. She sees $$$ out of her already tight budget, when the local supermarket has Huggies on special every second month.

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So with the sum total of the above reasons it is no wonder that parents are confused and frustrated. Many parents have a concept of the environmental and monetary benefits of cloth nappies, but this does not seem to be enough for parents to make the switch. I think access to honest and practical information directed at the needs of families is what is needed. Cloth nappies are a money-saving, environmentally-friendly and aesthetic choice (oh so plush and colourful!). Many, however, only use cloth for their appearance, and their performance is secondary, but there is a nappy out there that both looks good AND does the job as good as a disposable. But how do you find that perfect nappy? (Obviously for those using cloth nappies, there are some absolutely gorgeous and trendy cloth nappies out there to add to the stash. The newest addition to our cloth nappies is Baby Bare – Jenny has some gorgeous colours, all in minkee, but at affordable prices!)

Enter: the cloth nappy library.

The cloth nappy libraries available at local councils are wonderful, as it allows parents to trial up to two cloth nappies for a fortnight, in agreement with some terms and conditions. This is a free service provided by many local councils.

There are cloth nappy library services provided by home businesses who, like myself, offer a means of trialing the brands they supply in order to best choose from their range before committing heaps of money to a purchase. The cost is anywhere between $25 to $50 a week with postage or a courier service in addition. The courier service can cost up to $30. These services come with the added benefit of being able to talk to someone with a lot of experience in using cloth nappies, who knows the ‘ins-and-outs’ of each brand and can provide an almost tailored solution for you and your baby. And don’t forget extra financial benefits for using their cloth nappy library, as many offer a discount on subsequent purchases following the use of their trial packs.

I see the benefits, but what about the original question:

“EEWWWW that’s gross, isn’t it?”

For the local council cloth nappy libraries, you don’t know if the last person cleaned and washed the cloth nappy properly, nor how the council cleans them in between users, if at all. If you go down this avenue, as it is free, I would suggest washing the cloth nappies before use in an antibacterial rinse and drying in the sun for a couple of days. Then use to your hearts content with peace of mind!

READ  Apikali! What happened to your Nappy Library?

If you opt for a cloth nappy library service provided by cloth nappy business, you are guaranteed of the cloth nappies being washed, disinfected and properly dried after each use. Each cloth nappy library attached to a business has a clear set of Terms and Conditions which detail how the nappies are to be cared for by each user. At Apikali, we require the cloth nappies to be washed before return, and we supply the laundry materials for you. Once returned and before the cloth nappy library pack is sent out to the next customer, the cloth nappies are disinfected, washed again and dried in the sun for several days. You can start using them the moment the postie delivers the pack!

If this has changed your mind about the benefits of using a cloth nappy library, check out My Green Nappy for a cloth nappy library.

And in addition, the majority of cloth nappy business that provide a cloth nappy library also provide a discount when you to purchase your cloth nappies from them after using the library pack. At Apikali we provide 10% off all cloth nappy packages when the Cloth Nappy Novice Pack has been hired. There are other discounts for the other hire packs available.

However we think the best part of a cloth nappy library is the money you WILL save from not having to purchase so many brand new cloth nappies to try on bub, or purchasing trial packs from retailers, in the hope of finding that perfect nappy for you.

So check out your local cloth nappy library. They all offer something different. Use the owner’s expertise and experience. They love cloth nappies and firmly believe in this option for all little babies.

And while your at it, check out Apikali’s cloth nappy library. If you are just starting out, our Cloth Nappy Novice Pack is just for you.

Or are you having trouble with night time leaking, we now have a Night Time Cloth Nappy Pack.

Consider using your local Cloth Nappy Library!

For about $30 you will be able to try over 15 types of cloth nappies! Now that is better than spending almost three times that amount just to buy only a few you’ve read or heard good things about from others….and you’ll be stuck with them if they don’t suit!

Cloth nappy libraries make it easy to physically explore the ease of use and the environmental & monetary benefits of cloth. But also take a moment to consider the comfort it provides for your babys’ bottom! Would you want to wear a plastic disposable all day? Didn’t think so. Stick with cloth!

Dr Tennille Graham

Your cloth nappy doctor


Next post is how to start your cloth nappy stash for under $100.  My research is nearly complete!

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