My baby girl is growing up now so she is moving out of nappies and into her toilet training pants. For me, it is with a certain sense of sadness that I will not be needing our wonderful Mandy Mac nappies anymore (well at least until number two baby graces us!)
You may be wondering why I am writing about modern cloth nappies today since previously I have advocated for Natural Infant Hygiene. I do still think that Natural Infant Hygiene is the way to go, but it also works best if you start from birth. Something which I did not do because I did not find out about it until my daughter was already six months old. We are doing well together at Natural Infant Hygiene though, which is why she is moving from full time nappies to part time nappies as she is already using the toilet successfully for most of her eliminations at twelve months. When baby number two graces us I will use my Mandy Mac nappies while I am learning the baby’s elimination cues and for out and about.
So why do I think Mandy Mac modern cloth nappies are the bomb?
1. The Design
They are a one size fits all nappy with built in liner for catching solid wastes. Made from either hemp/cotton blend or bamboo/cotton blend they fit all sizes of baby from birth to conventional Western toilet training age. The shape is almost identical to that of a disposable nappy making it easy for people to work it out. You put the nappy on, pull the front up over baby’s crotch and secure the sides with an elastic snappy clip, or with some pins.
Another great thing about the design is that they are not waterproof. Now you may think that a nappy which needs an additional PUL cover would be more fuss than it is worth but it is not. The main idea behind modern cloth nappies is to change them when they are wet and not to let your child sit around in his soiled nappy until it is “full” as you would do with a disposable. If you use a modern cloth nappy your baby will feel wet and is generally unhappy with this feeling. He will let you know that he needs changing and this serves two great purposes. Firstly, a modern cloth nappy baby rarely gets nappy rash. His bottom is kept clean and dry and does not stay in contact with his wastes. He might still get the odd teething rash but this has nothing to do with the cleanliness of his nappy. Secondly, you can toilet train earlier because baby does not like feeling wet. This helps with Natural Infant Hygiene as well as conventional Western toilet training, as even when you conventionally toilet train a baby it is often recommended that you switch to a cloth nappy precisely for this reason.
Also, by not using a PUL cover while you are at home gives the nappy’s fabric more breathability, and further promotes a hygienic environment for your baby’s bottom.
However, by using a PUL cover over the Mandy Mac nappy you can then go out and about with confidence that your baby’s nappy is not going to get full and create a puddle where he is sitting, until you can get to a change room to change him again. PUL is more breathable than a plastic cover.
2. The Fabrics
They are made of either a hemp/cotton blend or a bamboo/cotton blend.
Bamboo is soft, delicate and highly absorbent. It is a lovely fabric to use, and if you are having only one child then this is a great option. Being highly absorbent it can take longer for these nappies to dry especially if you live in a wet and cold area.
Hemp lasts well and dries quicker but can feel a little scratchy at times. This actually is not a problem because baby’s body does not come into contact with the hemp itself, the baby’s body comes into contact with the built in liner, so the slightly tougher texture of a hemp nappy is not actually an issue. In addition, hemp is very durable so depending upon projected usage you might need to use the hemp ones if you are going to hand them down through subsequent children.
Mandy Mac has some fabulous night time nappies called “Purple Nights”. So called because the built in liner is a gorgeous royal purple colour. They are bamboo which makes them highly absorbent, and with twenty two layers of bamboo your baby can go right through the night without a nappy change. Best used when baby is sleeping through the night and no longer wakes for a feed in the middle of the night. I have three. One for use, one in the wash and one on the line.
Mandy Mac modern cloth nappies are not only ecologically friendly they are made under fair trade working environments. The people who make the nappies are given fair pay, excellent benefits for themselves and for their communities in exchange for their labour.
So how many modern cloth nappies would you need to get started?
For a newborn baby you can expect that, until he gets settled into a comfortable feeding and sleeping routine, you may need about 8 to 10 nappies per day, especially if he is a breastfed baby. Do not be concerned, it does not take long for a newborn baby to settle into a routine that he is comfortable with and you can start to reduce the number of nappies required because you can predict how often he will need to be changed.
For an infant 3 – 6 months you may need about six to eight per day.
For an infant 6 – 18 months you may need about six per day plus a Purple Nights for night time use.
I bought 14 Mandy Macs, 3 Snappies, 3 PUL covers and 3 Purple Nights. I also use a couple of prefold cotton nappies if it has been raining and the washing has not dried in time! You can use a dryer for your modern cloth nappies, I simply choose not to for environmental reasons.
Where did I buy them from?
You can get them from Mandy Mac herself but I bought mine from a wonderful fair trade baby shop in Canberra called Brindabella Baby. Now, I do not have any monetary affiliations with Brindabella Baby, I just think that a fair trade focused baby shop is a jolly good idea and should be promoted. At the time of writing they have a Mandy Mac Hemp six pack for a very reasonable price and they estimate that you could save thousands of dollars choosing modern cloth nappies over disposables for the usage lifetime. They also offer a 9 month layby so that you can pay off your investment in installments while you are pregnant.
So, Mandy Mac, they are the ones for me and my babies. What will you choose for yours?