Cloth nappies and Big Families!

So often we hear parents saying, they can’t possibly use cloth nappies as they have so many people in their family and their washing machine is always on, so they just couldn’t cope with the extra washing. How ever on the flip side, we hear larger families saying, they are doing so much laundry, they don’t even notice the extra load!

Today we have a guest blog post from Christine McRitchie from Plush Pants who is the mother of four girls and used cloth nappies –

“I’m Christine, I’m a married mum of 4 children, with only 5 ½ years between my eldest and youngest, and I chose to switch to cloth nappies when my second child was a year old.  So how does someone with lots of small children very close in age, get into using cloth nappies?

I’d considered cloth nappies a few times, but I thought it would be a lot of work so was put off, until another mum inspired me.  I knew Alison from a parenting website.  At the time she had a 4 year old, a 17 month old, and newborn twins.  She decided to use cloth nappies on her 3 youngest ones when the twins arrived.  I realised that if she could do it, it really couldn’t be that hard, after all I only had one in nappies at the time – how bad could it be?  So I tried cloth nappies at night only to start with, and they worked.  Amazingly well in fact.  Admittedly my toddler had the most enormous bum with the extra boosters we had to use, as she was a super heavy wetter, but that’s the thing about cloth nappies, you can always add a bit more absorbency to get it to where it needs to be.

Shortly before our third baby was born, I decided to put the toddler into reusable nappies full time.  We were already washing every 2-3 days for the night nappies.  I figured it would be no extra washing to do daytime ones as well.  I borrowed some nappies using the Plush Pants Cloth Nappies postal trial scheme (back then nappy libraries weren’t a thing), and found out which ones I liked, which gave me the confidence to invest.  I had a mixture of new and preloved nappies, so it didn’t cost me much money to get started, and for the new baby, I surprised myself by picking up a pack of terry squares – trust me, they are surprisingly addictive once you get going with them.  So in the space of six months, we’d gone from 2 to 3 children, from 1 in nappies to 2 in nappies, and from disposables full time to cloth nappies full time!  Quite a turnaround!  We did use the odd disposable when it suited us, cloth nappies don’t have to be “all or nothing”, it’s absolutely fine to mix and match.  At first I used them mostly at home, and as I got more confident, I was happier to take them when going out, or even on holiday.

Lots of people worry about the washing, but when the washing machine is on constantly, another load every 2-3 days really isn’t a big issue.  Plus you’ll never run out, because you can always run wet nappies through with other clothing or towels, and you’re never waiting for a full load, as you get there pretty quickly with lots of mess magnets in the house.  In our case, we got rid of the daily bedding changes as our previous nappies had been leaking, so we actually had less washing with cloth nappies.  When we put the new baby into washable nappies too, we were amazed at how few leaks we had in them compared to disposables.  They just seemed to handle her runny breastfed poo explosions perfectly.”

Victoria 18mths (One of Christine’s daughters at 18 months in a terry nappy)

“Although our decision to try cloth nappies wasn’t about money, or waste, as the weeks went on, we became keenly aware of how much less waste was ending up in our bins when we’d been using cloth nappies all the time.  This became a really big motivator for us, and with our council moving to fortnightly bin collections, even more so.  As for the money, when I was challenged to work out how much I’d spent on cloth nappies, I added up all my purchases, both new and preloved, took off the money I’d got back by selling on things I didn’t get on with, and was delighted to discover that my net spend was only £250 or so.  And those nappies were used on 3 children for 5 years!  The savings really ramped up with our 4th child, who wasn’t ready to toilet train until she was 3 years old, yet the nappies didn’t cost me a penny more, apart from minimal laundry costs.  Personally, I found that cloth nappies fitted in very easily to our chaotic, busy, large family lifestyle, I only regret that I didn’t discover this sooner!”


If you want to try the Plush Pants postal loan, just as Christine did (before she own the company) check out her website here!

If you would like to know more about terry nappies, check out our website here! 


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