And you can see a post giving a broad overview of our stash here.
So let’s get this said right at the beginning, a lot of people don’t like Alva Nappies. This is because they are made in China, now while some people may object to this, there is certainly an up front cost to reusable nappies and that does have go be considered.
We got our first Alva nappy after we won an online competition. We’d seen the lower price tag and the fact they only come with a single insert and had been put off by that. However these nappies have become a staple of our stash.
What we liked…
First of all we were impressed by the quality of these nappies. They feel well made, the poppers are sturdy, but un-pop at the right amount of force meaning that you’re not just tugging on them hopping that the fabric doesn’t rip.
The soft fabric that sits against your baby’s skin is also extremely soft, and quickly pulls any moisture away from the baby leaving them feeling relatively dry to the touch when the nappy is removed. The pockets of the nappies are also a decent size, and while the insert that comes with the nappy is certainly enough for short periods, there is plenty of room in the nappy to add additional inserts for ensure that the nappy can be worn for longer, and without fear of leaks. Alva nappies are also easily adjustable for your baby’s size, using poppers to make the nappy bigger or smaller, allowing you to find the perfect fit.
Perhaps one of the best things about Alva nappies however is their eye catching and beautiful designs. One of the many benefits of reusable nappies is that they can look extremely attractive, and Alva nappies certainly embrace this fact. The sheer quantity of designs means you are sure to find something that you like.
What we didn’t like…
So as we mentioned above, Alva nappies are produced in China which we know might put some people off of purchasing these nappies.
The real drawback however is that these nappies only come with a single insert. And while this is plenty for short periods of wear, we don’t feel that it really gives you the peace of mind that you’d want from a nappy. We are fortunate that we have a number of spare inserts in our stash, others just starting their collection won’t have such convenience.
The white fabric is also a little prone to staining, while these does not effect the quality of the nappy, it can be touch unsightly. That said, we found that successive washes removed the stains with ease, and the use of napisan (or something similar, we use Bio D Nappy Fresh).
It says a lot that of the nappies we’ve purchased for Gracie, the one nappy that we ensured that we had on hand was the single Alva nappy that we randomly had. Since that I have purposely purchased more Alva nappies for pad out our collection and provide us with more tolerance when it comes to washing and drying our nappies. More than this we intend to purchase more Alva simply because we love the designs, trust the quality, and find that, simply put, they fit Gracie extremely well.
If you are just starting out along the road of reusable nappies, then perhaps these are not a great place to start, but if you have a collection, or are looking for a few statement pieces then I couldn’t recommend them highly enough! However I would suggest a purchase of additional inserts (especially charcoal ones that fit these well).
Do you ever look at another parent’s changing bag and wonder at what marvellous things that they surely contain. Well here is your chance to have a sneaky look in what I’ve got in my bag! And unlike most people, I decided to forgo the typical messenger style bag, opting for a backpack. This allows me to wear the baby on the front, while also comfortably carrying the changing bag.
So without further ado, these are the things I carry about in my bag!
I really doubt that there is a single changing bag on the market that doesn’t come with some sort of changing mat. These tend to be thin, lightweight and waterproof, so obviously the first thing I did was take that out and put in my own, soft, not waterproof, and rather chunky.
Personally I love the Close Pop-In Change & Go which is wonderfully soft and warm for Gracie. The whole thing rolls up nicely and fits neatly into one of the stretchy pockets in the back of the bag. It even has a handy pocket that will hold your reusable wipes, or nappy sacks if that’s your jam.
Nappy Wet Bags
If you are using reusable nappies then at some point you are going to be out and about and your baby is going to need a change, and while you can easily throw away disposables you cannot do that for cloth nappies.
I rock a couple of Tots Bots Waterproof Nappy Bags. These things are excellent, they can be folded down so when not in use they take up practically no space, they hold roughly three or four nappies, and once your done just tip the contents out, turn them inside out and shove them in the pail along with your dirty nappies. Eventually you can toss them in the wash together and then they are ready to be used again.
While I am happy to use any nappies from my stash, there are certainly a few that I prefer to pack in the bag. I typically pack a Close Pop-In Nappy, an Alva Pocket Nappy or a Smartie Pants Pocket Nappy. I favour these because they fasten tightly, and I don’t usually have leakage problem with these nappies.
If you are using reusable nappies, then you might as well use reusable wipes. Once used they go in the wash with the nappies. I use Cheeky Wipes, just grab them out of the wet box, and pop them in the waterproof travel bag your good to go.
The Little Bits
I also pack small bottle of hand sanitizer just in case my hands get mucky
A small Sophie la Girafe teething toy
Emergency wet-wipes & nappy sacks
Change of Clothes
Milton Wipes just in case she throws her dummy on the floor
The Extra Stuff
Typically these bits are for me, and get thrown into the bag if I have enough room!
If I know I am going to be out for a while, or if I am going to go to a coffee shop etc. I pack my tablet just in case I can get in some blogging/writing
Glass Bottle/Coffee Cup
In my attempts to be green I have started packing my reusable coffee cup in case I get desperate for caffeine, and I pack myself a drink in my glass bottle
A reusable shopping bag
Just in case I need to pick up some bits or bobs, plus one of the main reasons I go into town is to the visit the butchers or green grocers
And you can see a post giving a broad overview of our stash here.
Before purchasing any cloth nappies, we did what anybody would do when face with a potentially large spend, we researched. In the hope of narrowing down what we wanted from our cloth nappies we purchased a tester pack that contained three of the larger brands, one of these was a Charlie Banana One Size nappy.
Now during our research Charlie Banana had rapidly become one of the forerunners for a brand that we were likely to use. We’d watched videos, and we’d read things online. We liked that they seemed easy to use, that there were not too many poppers on the front, and we absolutely loved the bright designs. I was delighted when we received a Charlie Banana nappy in the tester pack. We immediately went about putting it through its paces with all the enthusiasm of soon to be parents. We liked these nappies a lot, and ultimately only went with a different brand at the time due to their cost.
What we liked:
Firstly, we have to say we loved the colours and designs. Bright and bold, many Charlie Banana nappies are statement pieces that you wouldn’t really want to cover up (roll on summer). One of our favourite nappies is the pink coloured one with robots, it just stands out amongst our already bright collection.
As of 4 months old we’ve had to deal with a fair number of nappy leakages but as of yet Charlie Banana has been leak free! We tend to use both inserts at all times with Charlie Banana and they hold up well for your standard 2 to 3 hour nappy stint.
As with many popper nappies, Charlie Banana is great and fastenings in a way that is perfect for Gracie. It is easy to adjust how you fasten these nappies as your baby grows but this leads us into something we don’t like…
What we didn’t like:
Most popper nappies allow you to control the “length” of the nappy by a series of poppers on the front, however Charlie Banana have opted to use elastic that can be loosened inside the pocket. This is just so incredibly fiddly, the first time we needed to adjust the nappy in this way it took us 15 minutes to get it right. And because these nappies use elastic it is difficult to ensure that both straps are loosened off equally, and while not particularly damning, it does bug Daddy.
Most pocket nappies have their opening at the back of the nappy, and while we’re not sure of the benefits or drawbacks of this, the fact that Charlie Banana put the opening at the front throws us right out. The number of times that the Charlie Banana nappy has been sworn at is actually staggering as we’ve set it up the wrong way round mid change.
There are certainly many benefits to the Charlie Banana one size nappies, but some of the small things certainly make us think twice about buying more of these nappies. That said I would highly recommend them for there absorbancy and style.
And you can see a post giving a broad overview of our stash here.
The majority of our Cloth Nappy collection is made up of Little Lamb. When Gracie was first born we used Little Lamb Shaped (two part) nappies (pairing them with either Little Lamb covers, or Motherease Rikki covers). Now that Gracie is a little older, we’ve swapped to using Little Lamb One Size nappies during the day, and two parts at night.
We chose to use Little Lamb as they came at a reasonable price, and appeared to be of remarkable quality. We originally purchased the One Size nappies when we first decided to use cloth nappies, but following a little research realised that they wouldn’t be a great fit for a new born, unless she was born exceptionally large. After doing some reading we settled on the Shaped nappies as they seemed to be highly regarded.
Little Lamb Shaped Nappies
As we knew that Gracie would be in these nappies for the first few months we bought several of the shaped nappies, a mixture of microfibre, cotton, and bamboo. We picked up a selection as they all profess different absorbency and drying times. The quickest, but least absorbent was the mircofibre, with cotton in the middle, and bamboo absorbing the most, but taking the longest to dry. In total we had 15 nappies, 5 microfibre, 3 cotton, and 7 bamboo.
In the whole we were extremely happy with the shaped nappies, they seemed to fit Gracie extremely well, and the layers did a great job of pulling the moisture away from her skin. During the day we used the lighter nappies, while at night we used bamboo which meant we could go longer between changes.
One issue we found specifically with the bamboo nappies is shrinkage. Now all bamboo nappies have this problem, so its not something particularly new, however we felt that after regular usage that they would no longer fit Gracie comfortably, even though she is two pounds under the upper limit of the size one nappies. Regardless of this we found these to be our best option for a nighttime nappy, and purchased 5 more bamboo ones in size 2. A notable difference between size 1 and size 2 seems to be that the main insert is attached to the nappy in size 2, which could make adjusting for boosters more difficult.
We used two different wraps for the shaped nappies. Firstly we used Motherease Rikki Wrap which seemed to fit the nappies better when Gracie was smaller. Specifically they were lower on the waist than some wraps which accommodated the umbilical cord better. As Gracie grew bigger we swapped to Little Lamb wraps which are higher waisted and provide a more comprehensive cover.
Little Lamb One Size
The first thing I need to say about all one size nappies is that they can take a little time to get used used to. We experimented with sizing, and length of time that Gracie could wear a nappy without leakage. Every baby is different and it can take some time to get the hang of. I say this because we were nearly tearing our hair out when she kept leaking. Be patient and it will be fine
With that out the way, we love the Little Lamb One Size nappies. We use both booster pads that come with the nappies for our average use, and stuff with a charcoal insert if going out for long periods of time. On average we get between 2 to 3 hours of wear from a nappy, any more than that and she gets uncomfortable. The pocket is a decent size, and easily fits the inserts.
The poppers are strong, and keep the nappies tightly closed. The poppers are so strong that one of our nappies actually broke when trying to undo the popper. So you need to be a little careful when opening them.
We are also happy to report that while using Little Lamb nappies we’ve not had a single poop explosion, and they have contained some pretty serious baby bowl movements.
In short the One Size nappies make a solid backbone to our nappy stash. I would certainly recommend these nappies to anyone, especially for the reasonable price.
We received a number of packages in the post today, and I couldn’t be more excited! The majority of the swag is from Little Green Radicals, we got a hat, one long sleeve, and one short sleeve top, two lots of leggings, a romper, and a pair of dungarees. We absolutely these pieces, they are bright, beautiful, and importantly unisex so reusable should we have a second baby.
We also received a pair of second-hand pink leggings by Fred’s World. Rounding out our swag, we got a 5 new Little Lamb two part nappies to replace the set that we’ve been using at nighttime as Gracie has basically outgrown them! These new nappies have their main liner sown directly in so that will be interesting. Once we’ve used them a couple of times we will post a review of the whole Little Lamb range.