We sat down with Olivia from Little Popkin to learn about her journey into cloth nappies.
Olivia has a wealth of knowledge. From designing cloth nappies, to selecting eco-friendly fabrics, to tips and tricks to get the most out of each nappy, she's explored it all.
If you're considering cloth nappies for your little one, this is a great interview that covers everything you need to know before getting started.
Who would have thought cloth nappies could be great for the planet and your wallet?
What initially drew you to designing and selling cloth nappies?
When my daughter was born I became quickly aware that we were creating a huge amount of waste with disposable nappies and our bins were full every week. I was horrified at the amount of plastic waste we were creating.
I was gifted some second-hand cloth nappies and once I started using them I became a bit obsessed with them! I loved how much I was saving from landfill and was surprised by how easy they were to use. I also felt much better about cloth being against my baby’s skin as opposed to the plastics in a disposable nappy.
There were some features in the nappies that I liked and others that I felt didn’t work so well and I began trying out several other brands in search of my “perfect nappy”.
After trying out several brands I discussed with my husband the features, design and sizing of my ideal nappy which I hadn’t yet found, he suggested creating my dream nappy, and that sparked the idea of Little Popkin.
I spent the rest of my maternity leave focused on designing my “ultimate” cloth nappy. I created the design and liaised with several manufacturers - ordering and numerous samples, tweaking the designs, testing each design on my own baby and my friend’s babies, and getting feedback on the designs. I wanted to ensure that the nappy provided a great fit for babies of all shapes and sizes, and was simple to use.
Comfort was really important to me so I designed the nappies to be soft and flexible whilst providing a comfortable fit.
It was also very important that the nappies were ethically manufactured so I chose a manufacturer who is certified and complies with ethical manufacturing standards.
What are your cloth nappies made out of?
The outer layer of the nappy is made of Polyester which is laminated with a film called TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) which creates a water resistant material. The outer layer on the Little Popkin cloth nappies is not only durable, but buttery soft and silky.
Many cloth nappies use a PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) outer shell, however I chose TPU because it is produced in a way that is cleaner than PUL, and the material is toxin-free. TPU is bonded using heat whereas PUL is bonded using chemicals.
The inner of the nappy is micro-suede cloth which has a stay-dry effect, wicking moisture away from the skin.
The nappies come with two soft and absorbent bamboo terry inserts (newborn size and a larger size).
We also have thick, 9-layer, organic bamboo-cotton trifolds available for parents who are looking for more absorbency. These are great for overnight cloth nappy use.
The bamboo terry inserts can be snapped into the nappy so that they sit against the baby’s skin or else can be stuffed into the pocket opening, leaving the micro suede cloth against the skin.
The benefit of snapping in the inserts and laying against the baby’s skin is that the child will still feel a bit wet. This is helpful for parents in the process of toilet training as the child will have the sensation of feeling wet (a sensation they won’t have with disposable nappies), which can speed up the toilet training process.
Using the pocket is beneficial for younger babies or little ones who have sensitive skin, as having the micro suede cloth against the baby’s skin will wick moisture away so that they don’t continue to feel wet.
The Little Popkin nappy has gentle leg elastics which don’t dig into the skin. It also has a small tummy elastic to provide extra flexibility and comfort.
The fabrics used in our cloth nappies are OEKO - TEX Standard 100 certified meaning they are free from harmful chemicals. GOTS certified organic cotton is used in our bamboo-cotton trifolds.
What’s the most challenging part when it comes to using cloth nappies… and the best part?
For me the most challenging part of using cloth nappies is definitely the washing!! Washing can quickly pile up if I don’t keep on top of my nappy wash routine.
The best part of using cloth nappies is knowing that I have saved thousands of nappies from going to landfill and have contributed to a cleaner, better planet for my daughter. There is also the benefit of the significant financial savings we have made by using cloth nappies!
For parents just getting started with cloth nappies, how many do you need to start with?
For parents just getting started with cloth nappies and planning to use them part time I would recommend starting with around 8-10 cloth nappies. It is recommended for a full time stash approximately 20 - 25 nappies. I would recommend purchasing extra inserts and trifolds to boost your stash. Inserts take longer to dry than the nappy covers, and having extra inserts on hand is helpful when a little more drying time is required.
Adding an extra insert to your nappy is also a great way to boost the absorbency for times when there may be a longer stretch between nappy changes i.e. when going out or for naps and overnight use.
Do regular cloth nappies fit newborns or do you need a separate set for newborns?
The Little Popkin Cloth Nappy is designed to fit from approximately newborn (3.5kg’s) to toilet training (17kg’s). However depending on the size of your baby they may take a little longer to fit into, for example if they have particularly thin legs.
What can I do if my nappies leak?
Many parents are hesitant to use cloth nappies because they are worried that they will leak. Leaking cloth nappies are actually quite rare if the cloth nappies are good quality, are washed according to the manufacturer washing instructions, are changed regularly and if the fit is correct.
For anyone experiencing leaking cloth nappies, I would recommend first checking the fit. Check the leg rise snap settings and consider sizing the nappy one down one snap around the thighs to ensure a snug, secure fit. Make sure that you can run your finger under the leg elastics to be sure they are not too tight.
Cloth nappies will leak when there is not enough absorbency in the nappy to soak up the wee. If your nappies are leaking regularly you can add an extra insert which will boost the absorbency and prevent leaks. We recommend that cloth nappies are changed as regularly as a disposable nappy (recommended to change approximately every 2-3 hours or sooner if the nappy is soiled).
As your baby grows their output will be higher and they may require more absorbency added to their nappy.
How to use cloth nappies overnight?
To use your cloth nappy overnight, simply increase the absorbency in your nappy. We recommend our 9-layer, organic, cotton-bamboo trifold for overnight use. If your baby is over 6 months of age, include a bamboo terry insert for extra absorbency.
We recommend that nappies and inserts used over night are rinsed the following morning to prevent ammonia build up, which can cause the nappies to smell over time.
What would be your words of advice to parents who are considering cloth nappies?
I think any parents considering using cloth nappies should absolutely go for it! Like anything the hardest part is starting, but once you get into a routine, it is honestly the most rewarding thing to do.
It is really such an easy change to make, and even using cloth nappies on a part time basis saves thousands of nappies from going to landfill.
Have a look at Olivia's beautiful cloth nappies on the links below...