When I first decided to switch to reusable nappies four months ago, I didn’t know where to start, how to use them or what a good cloth nappy should look like. Without any friends using cloth, I relied on a few reviews by fellow bloggers and just decided to take a big leap of faith to ditch disposable nappies for good (you can read about our journey in my earlier post Cloth bum diaries – how we’ve switched to reusable nappies and love it). As the time’s gone on though, I feel like I know so much more about what makes a good cloth nappy – for my little boy, at least.
So what I look for in a cloth nappy now is the following areas:
- Absorbency. My younger son Max (6 months) has turned out to be a heavy wetter so absorbency is definitely the number one aspect for me then.
- Quality and type of fabrics used. Reusable nappies need to withstand the test of time as they’re used and washed over and over again.
- Ease of use. Max will be going to nursery in the next few months when I return to work so I need to consider who will change his nappies at nursery and if they’ll find them fiddly if they haven’t used cloth nappies before.
- The fit. Max is a fairly chubby baby with chunky thighs so I’m looking for a nappy that will, first of all, fit him well (and therefore won’t leak and will contain what it’s meant to contain) but also won’t look bulky on him.
- Speed of drying. With plenty of washing to be done every week with our family of four and the extra loads for cloth nappies, it’s important for me that nappies dry quickly so I have enough of them between the washes.
About Tickle Tots
Tickle Tots was set up in 2012 by Sophia Ferguson, a Mum-of-two, who wanted to create a nappy that would not only work for her baby daughter but also provide the convenience and ease of a birth-to-potty (BTP) nappy.
Tickle Tots design their nappies in the UK and operate from their offices in Shropshire. They are committed to very strong ethical standards, with eco-friendliness and ethical manufacturing at the core of their operations. The nappies are made in China but Tickle Tots only work with manufacturers who pay their staff a fair wage and enable safe working conditions. They also use minimum packaging for their nappies and on top of all of that, to offset the carbon footprint of manufacturing abroad, they plant a native UK tree for every 1,000 nappies they create.
For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been testing the Tickle Tots Original nappy. It’s an all-in-one (AIO) birth-to-potty nappy which comes with a bamboo booster (70% bamboo and 30% cotton). You can increase the nappy’s absorbency using the bamboo booster by popping it inside the nappy’s pocket.
The core material of the nappy (which is attached to the insides of the pocket) is made of four layers of bamboo fleece which is super soft to the touch so it’s bound to sit very comfortably against Max’s skin. At the front, the nappy has a very generous panel of Velcro fastening and three levels of double poppers to adjust the rise and fit. It’s a very slim nappy as well, the slimmest I’ve seen so far.
So how did the nappy perform?
Having tried a few cloth nappy brands over the past few months, I’ve come to realise that Max’s heavy wetting can only be dealt with by more frequent changing. Most AIO nappies that we have at the moment need to be changed after two to three hours, whereas we’ve found that for Max, two-part nappies last up to four hours (when boosted). With our Tickle Tots nappy, we can get a good two and half hours of use, even with the booster, so you can imagine what a heavy wetter Maxi is! This nappy is unlikely to work for us at nighttime but it’s a good choice for everyday use, as long as we keep an eye on changing times!
Quality and type of fabrics used
I remember when my Mum used to buy clothes for us when we were younger, she used to inspect the seams and fabrics to see that the clothes were well-made, and I seem to have got into the same habit now. The Tickle Tots original nappy consists of an outer PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) waterproof shell and the inside cover made of very soft suede-like material, whilst the insert (attached to the insides of the pocket) is made from 70% bamboo and 30% cotton. Now that I’ve tried a few types of nappies on Max, I much prefer cloth nappies made with bamboo because not only it is up to 60% more absorbent than cotton but it’s also naturally anti-bacterial.
Ease of use
As I mentioned before, Max will be going to a nursery in the next few months when I return to work. When reviewing the nursery we chose, I did ask the staff showing me around if they’d ever had a child in cloth nappies and if it would be an issue for me to bring Max in cloth nappies. They had no reservations about reusable nappies but none of the staff had ever looked after babies in cloth so they said they’d rely on me to teach them how to use them. So for that reason, it’s important to me to choose the right type of nappies that work for us at home as well as at the nursery. As the Tickle Tots nappy is an AIO nappy, it’s super easy to use – you simply fasten it using the Velcro the same way you would a disposable one. The only thing to learn is really to adjust the rise and fit by selecting the appropriate level of poppers but once shown, anyone can quickly get the hang of it. AIOs are perfect for those who may not have used cloth nappies before so I’ll be confident leaving the Tickle Tots nappy with the nursery staff.
The Original nappy has a very generous panel of Velcro fastening which I’m really impressed with as most nappies tend to have very short panels. This has been a bit of a concern for me if Max, being quite chunky, will outgrow them soon. With the Tickle Tots nappy though, there’s still so much more room for the Velcro to be fastened so I have no doubt it’ll last for a couple of years. The double leg gusset makes the nappy fit around Max’s hips and thighs very snuggly, even when he’s being very wriggly (as seen in the photos below). I’m really impressed with how snug the nappy is for him and it’s definitely one of the best fitting nappies we’ve had so far. There are no gaps between his tummy and the nappy, nor between his thighs and the nappy, which is important to ensure good containment. My only worry is to do with the nappy’s slim size. Because it sits quite low on the hips, it’s currently set on the highest rise (i.e. all poppers are shown/ ‘unpopped’) – otherwise we get a ‘builder’s bum’ situation – so I do worry whether this will mean the nappy won’t fit him as well when he grows a bit bigger. My older son was also quite chubby as a baby but then got leaner as he started crawling and cruising so if this is the case with Max as well, I’d imagine the nappy will continue to fit him just as well.
Speed of drying
Drying time seems to vary between brands and kinds of cloth nappies, mostly depending on the fabrics used. Bamboo tends to dry slower than cotton so with this particular nappy, because the bamboo insert is attached to the nappy, it takes a while to dry (roughly two days in our house, without the use of a tumble dryer which we don’t own). However, when turned inside out, you can reduce that time down to approx. one day. This isn’t a particular issue for us anymore as we have enough nappies in our stash now but it may be for those with less indoor space or smaller number of nappies in their stash.
To summarise, we’ve found this nappy to be more suitable for us during the day than nighttime, due to Max’s heavy wetting. From our experience, we now opt for nappies that are made from bamboo as it’s much more absorbent than cotton, so this is one of the features we liked the most about this nappy. Finally, the Tickle Tots original nappy has an amazing fit on our chubby baby boy (which we’ve struggled to achieve with other brands) – this means the nappy stays firmly in place even when Max wriggles around and there’s a lot of that going on now, as he’s just started rolling over.
You can shop for the Tickle Tots Original nappies here.
Disclaimer: We were sent a Tickle Tots Original nappy to test, as part of our involvement with Tickle Tots as their Spring Brand Reps. Nevertheless, the views expressed in this review are 100% mine and honest.