What about the extra washing?
To me this wasn't an issue but I understand why it's most people's biggest turn off. Since my first child was born I've had a vastly increased washing pile and in the baby days let's be honest plenty of items were heavily soiled. With four children I wash at least every other day and adding a bag of nappies was not a big deal. They don't need soaking or rinsing just a quick pre-wash after which I add any other clothes, towels, sheets of like colours to fill the drum and press start.
In fact needing to do this has kept me on top of the rest of the washing. For the first 3 mths they should be washed at 60 degrees to ensure thorough sanitisation; F being older I usually put on a 40 degree economy wash and run at 60 once a week or so.
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Don't they leak?
Occasionally; but from my experience no more so than a disposable does. Having had small babies, more often than not I had to change the whole outfit with the nappy. A reusable will leak if left on too long but under normal circumstances will go 4hrs between changes and except for at night I wouldn't leave a reusable on longer than that either (extra absorbent night nappies are used in a cloth system). Reusables provide far more options to fix leaky scenarios too either through different folds, extra absorbent boosters different shapes and sizing. Disposables are a one size fits all; you go up a size or down and hope it fixes the problem.
What about the solid matter?
Or not so solid when it comes to teeny ones. When I considered cloth I couldn't fathom how this worked, I understood it went down the toilet but not how you got the squishy produce off the nappy and wouldn't they be horrifically stained. The solution flushable liners, whipped out and popped down the loo just like that. You can use washable liners too; I have fleece ones and they really are washable!! Obviously this is the material all baby clothes should be made of as that staining really does come off - no I wouldn't believe it until I'd seen it either!!
But how do you leave the house?
Waterproof material is an amazing thing. I pop washable wipes and clean nappies in a waterproof bag. The liner goes into a public toilet or if really stuck a fragranced nappy sack and bin just like a disposable would (I know this isn't the point but its still much smaller). Then all the wet stuff goes into the waterproof (smell proof) bag and so far it all seems perfectly civilised to me. They do take up a bit more space in a changing bag, I've rearranged mine and chucked out as much stuff I didn't use as the space they need. I have a huge changing bag anyway - they don't seem to make the bag weigh more which is the main thing for me.
Cloth Nappies are bulkier?
Yes they are some less so than others. This is no negative to me I have small children and they're only assisting trousers to actually stay up. I had always assumed no one told clothes manufacturers how thin disposables are now because they're always disproportionate around bum and hips. Clothes sizes and babies always seems hit and miss 100's of clothes of the same size yet only a handful are a really good fit - even then only for a couple of weeks at best. I'm sure this is the same for big babies in disposables as it is in cloth.
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Bulky nappies restrict movement?
I'd like to say 'no comment'! My little girl flies about in hers and they don't look like they hinder her at all but she learnt to move before wearing them. As far as I'm aware I was a super crawling terry towel wearer. I think these things all vary so much from child to child. Sounds like nonsense to me but I'm sure there are some that would disagree.
I hope I've highlighted and answered most the common concerns about reusable nappies, I'd love to hear if there's anything I've missed. I haven't brushed over possible negatives because if you want to use cloth nappies and are aware of possible difficulties its easier to plan ahead and be successful. Disposables aren't the perfect fix and I have yet to tell you all the advantages to cloth.