Nappy Trial – Tots Bots Minky! – Day One

Well we have been using the latest Minky Tots Bots easy fit for a few weeks now and so here is our official report for all those fluffy mums and fluffy mums to be

After starting to think about nappy testing back with our Bambino Mio tests some months ago I have decided that the only fair way to test nappys is to actually discuss the same points for each nappy type so that it is easy to compare directly if you put my reviews side by side. I will also then follow-up with a users guide video on my last day. As Tots Bots is a new version of an existing nappy and I have the V2 I will do a user guide and a side by side comparative video at the end of the week of the old style Tots Bots, for those that are interested in what Minky has to offer.

There are a lot of points to cover with nappies so I will write a section a day over the course of the next week – so here it is todays topic, How easy are Tots Bots to start using, especially if you have never used cloth before?

Well for the first time I have discovered a nappy that doesn’t need pre-washing. Most nappies need to be pre-washed to increase their absorbance before use but with the Minky Tots Bots you can literally take it straight out of the packet and put it straight onto your baby; EXCELLENT because pre-washing quite frankly makes me nervous, I am not the most experienced cloth bum mum and I always get paranoid that I am going to get it dramatically wrong and have nappies leaking everywhere, so this element I LOVE. Also I love the idea that if I am caught short and need an extra nappy I can pop into a local retailer, if there is one, and buy a reusable nappy to put on Sam rather than having to pay out for a packet of disposable. It was a very surreal experience not pre-washing a nappy and letting Sam wear it but as far as I can tell it has done no harm what-so-ever to the nappy so it is totally fine – saying this he did only last an hour and a half in it until he pooed so how long it would last straight out of the packet I couldn’t comment on.

When you take your new nappy out of the packet it is already set up for you EXCEPT for a liner –

liners basically catch the poo and, in theory, stop all or the majority of it from getting onto the nappy. Liners come in 2 types disposable and fabric, usually fleece. – I will explain about what to do with liners tomorrow when I discuss washing but it’s really up to you which type you prefer. disposable liners arent recommended for newborn poo because it is so runny it pretty much just goes straight through it. They obviously have the disadvantage of being something you have to purchase but a roll of 100 costs around £5. Fleece liners obviously can catch some of the more runny poo and can be purchased or made yourself so after the initial expense are just a case of throwing into the nappy bucket. Some fleece however does become quite scratchy over repeated high temperature washes and also when out and about you obviously are then carrying the most dirty part of your nappy with you. I personally use a mix of the 2, at home we use fleece and if we are going to be out all day I use flushable liners so that I can get rid of as much poo as possible. 

Tots Bots recommend that you use a liner in their nappies so you just pop one of those onto the inside of the nappy to line it and then you just need to adjust the nappy to fit your baby.

AMENDMENT – When we received our Minky nappy it came with a liner but at the time this wasn’t planned to be as standard however just before the release of the Minky was released for general sale Tots Bots decided to include a liner with the nappies! The liner we received was really lovely, it wasnt minky but super soft and hasn’t become scratchy, which some of the other liners I have used have. The liner not only acts as a poo catcher but also as a stay dry layer between the nappy and your baby’s skin – so when you remove your babies nappy their bottom will be lovely and dry!

On the front of the nappy are 3 rows of 2 snaps and these adjust how long your nappy is in the body, all you do is snap the front of your nappy to the level for your babies weight – this is really easy to do with the Tots Bots, the snaps aren’t too stiff and yet once they are done up they stay that way. There is no exact science as to how big to make your nappy you just need to make sure its a good fit for your baby but as a guide Sam is now 20lb, 11 months old tomorrow and still on the second row setting, nowhere near approaching the third and he has been since he would have been about 3-4 months old.

Putting your new nappy on your baby is just as simple as putting on a disposable and if you are using velcro, or aplix as it is often refered to, there really isn’t any difference at all. All you do is exactly the same as thing you do with disposable, you lay your baby on their back, fold up the front and do up the tabs. This ease of putting the nappy on to your baby makes the Tots Bots velcro nappy really easy to leave with non cloth using babysitters and in actual fact my friend, who occasionally babysits for Sam, requests he is in Tots Bots because they don’t worry or confuse her at all, there are no adjustments that may need to be made, no folding etc I just set the nappy up with the liner inside ready and when she comes to change him she just pops it on him with no concerns. The velcro on the Tots Bots nappies is very very good quality, with my older nappies it hasn’t bobbled or begun to look tired and every time I get it out of the machine it still looks like new and I have been using some of my own collection of Tots Bots for some months now.

The only thing you need to make sure of when putting your nappy on your baby is that there isn’t any gaping around the legs, that they fit snugly but obviously not tightly, that the white from the inside of the nappy isn’t showing – because this can cause what is known as wicking – and the same goes for liners, make sure they are nicely tucked into the nappy and not sticking out.

wicking is the term used for when the urine travels from the inside of the nappy up to the exposed areas of the nappy, like the liner or the exposed insides of the nappy that are hanging out of it. The urine then travels onto the baby’s clothes etc in the same way a flame travels down the wick of a candle. This is the case with all reusable nappies not just Tots Bots and it is very easy and only takes a second to prevent.

For the first time the NEW Tots Bots are available to purchase in a snaps option. When we were asked to test the new nappies we were asked which we would prefer, velcro or snaps and I stupidly automatically said velcro. I say stupidly because I was basing this on my experience using other brand cloth nappies that have a snaps option, which has led me to prefer velcro, however this was unfair to Tots Bots because for all I know their snaps option is great. The other reason why I am also now kicking myself is that Sam is, as I say, very nearly 11 months old, and he has discovered that he can open his nappy up if he pulls the velcro and thinks that this is a great game. You may think this isn’t a problem, aside from when you are changing your baby and you are battling to do it up because as quick as you do up one side they have the other side undone and visa versa. However in fluff world the one thing cloth bum mums love to do is show off our babies funky pants and I am no exception to this, so in baby massage class there is Sam in his nappy repeatedly undoing his velcro during the class (he would be doing this if he was in a disposable also) and when it is warm enough for him to mooch around the house in just a nappy and a t-shirt or nappy, babylegs and a t-shirt you can’t really trust him to keep his nappy on. This problem would be solved with a good set of snaps that wouldn’t come undone so easily. I will have a look around for any reviews on the Tots Bots snaps and if I find any I will put the link on the blog.

Now comes to the subject of boosters

Boosters are additional inserts that you can put into your nappy to make it more absorbent – as far as I am aware and please correct me if I am wrong but Tots Bots do not currently sell boosters for their nappies – boosters are not something you have to use but are useful if you have a baby that is a heavy wetter and you find wees through their nappies quickly, any time you may need to go longer between wet changes – long car journeys for example it is always handy to pop in a booster in case you get stuck in traffic etc – The most common use of boosters is to add extra absorbance to a nappy for use overnight.

Tots Bots, in the past with V2 in bamboo, have always been a nappy that experienced cloth nappy users havent recommended for using as a night nappy – for this is the Tots Bots range they strongly recommend the stretchies range – I have never used V2 over night but one of the reasons many mums havent gotten on with them, I believe, it that they were not the easiest nappies to boost as the out PUL layer wasnt the most giving. This week I need to finally test this nappy overnight, something I keep planning and not managing, but my feedback so far is that the new minky has a very stretchy PUL layer and there appears to be plenty of room and give in these nappies to add additional boosters to it. The most effective results for whether this is the case however will be my attempt at night nappying. On first impressions I don’t think you would have any trouble what so ever getting a standard booster into this nappy for day time use.

Cloth nappies have got a reputation for being big and bulky, some people love the cloth bum look but sometimes it can be a bit of a pain getting those large nappies into modern clothing. Sam wears a lot of leggings because they are a lot easier to get over a cloth nappy but if I want to put a pair of jeans on him for example I have had to put him in a size larger than he would normally wear to accommodate the additional bulk. So another great element to these new nappies is that they really aren’t bulky at all – in fact they are very slim fitting and I have found that a lot of my clothing issues have been solved with this nappy.

This is Sam in the minky and a pair of leggings, he does have quite a round bottom naturally so it probably looks bulkier than on another child but this really is an obvious difference to other cloth nappies

So really to use your nappy for the first time that is all you really need to know and in this respect the nappies are VERY user-friendly as you really can just get started straight away.

As this is quite a lengthy first post already I will discuss how long you can go between changes with these nappies, what to do with them when they are dirty and how to set them back up to use when they are dry in my post tomorrow.

For now if there are ANY questions at all PLEASE ask as well as feel free to comment on this post, anything relating to Tots Bots nappies themselves or anything you feel I havent covered and that you would like me to.


Tots Bots – Drying Time Comparison

I would love to be able to report today on the absorbancy of the new minky version of the Tots Bots Easy Fit nappy but Sam had other ideas because within less than an hour in the nappy he decided to have a poo and it was all over and into the nappy bucket…..well actually that isn’t strictly true it was straight into the machine because I was so keen to get it back onto him I didn’t want to wait!

Due to the children both being ill I have to admit that the nappy wash had been neglected and so it was rather full with the vast majority of my stash going around into the machine, I should have split it into 2 batches because some of the nappies had to go back in a second time for rewashing . As such our new nappy also came back out with a little bit of staining on it but I honestly think this was for 2 reasons, 1 – bad over stuffed washing machine and 2 – Sam has weetabix for breakfast every morning and someone recently said this can have the effect of making grainy poo stick to nappies, which is what we had.

When the nappy came out of the machine the first thing that was screamingly obvious was that the minky liner felt almost dry to the touch and actually it was the pul outer that needed drying. We don’t have a tumble dryer and at this time of year the only option is to dry nappies in the house and my usual place of choice is in the airing cupboard next to the hot water tank but not everyone has one of these so to keep conditions to those that everyone can reproduce I decided to just pop the nappy side by side with a bamboo tots bots on an airer in front of the radiator.

The only trouble we ever have with Tots Bots is the drying time and that, again, is due to not having a tumble dryer. It can sometimes take up to a day for a Tots Bots nappy to dry, depending on how many are in the airing cupboard at the time, and this is purely down to the fact that they are made with a layer of bamboo – bamboo is great in nappies because it is extremely absorbent, has antibacterial properties and is also softer than cotton, especially if you aren’t tumble drying because cotton can go hard and crusty. Bamboo is also very eco friendly as it is fast growing and doesn’t need chemicals to be so. I knew this when I started using Tots Bots nappies and honestly the benefits of using them vs the lengthy drying time was outweighed so we have now built our “stash” to include 12 Tots Bots Easy Fit.

So here they are side by side to see how fast they dried. It was obvious that the new nappy would win hands down on drying time but I was still shocked by the results. The way the nappies were able to get lots of air to them probably helped as they went on the airer at 9pm and the bamboo was dry by 9am the next morning, the new nappy however was dry by midnight! I think this has to be the fastest drying nappy I have found, I couldn’t believe it!

I think for us with the new tots bots the drying time is no longer a compromise for a really great nappy but actually a bonus because I really can wash my nappies in the morning and realistically have them on Sam in the afternoon!

The next test I was hoping to do on the new nappy was, again, to see how long it would actually last for however, once again, after an hour Sam pooed! So it is back in the nappy wash and I am about to get it out and dry it and my hope is that tonight I can do a very brave test and see if it is realistic to booster as a night nappy!

I am first to put my hands up to the fact I am very inexperienced with using cloth at night as it’s always scared me a bit but we have done it a few times now and Sam isn’t a heavy wetter so I’m going to give it a go. The new nappy has a much more stretchy outer cover so it has more ability to be able to add boosters etc for overnight use so I will not only take pictures once he is stuffed ready for bed but also take a picture of what I am going to put in there – results will hopefully be in tomorrow, so watch this space!

The thing about buggys….Our Pre-Moodd Post

In case anyone is wondering our new Quinny Moodd, that we will be product testing and reviewing as part of the Quinny Casters 2012, has not quite arrived yet 😦 The reason being that have chosen to test the Moodd in Blue Reliance and this is the last colour due to arrive into the UK, BUT it should be here early next week. Are we excited? DARN STRAIGHT we are excited!

Isn’t is strange how we all get giddy and excited about a new pushchair? I don’t think my husband is alone in not understanding one bit what the fascination and desire is behind them, to him its a practical functional piece of baby gear, but I don’t understand what the big deal is with cars or the latest games console. I think it’s just the way you are wired and many women covert buggys.

As children we push our dolls around in a buggy and see that as being the thing you do when you’re a grown-up, so we start thinking about buggys from a really young age. I bet that I’m not the only one who upon starting to think about baby shopping flicked to the pages in the catalogue with the buggys  FIRST and then worked from there.

I think to a certain extent a buggy to a woman is like your handbag or the way you dress, its you representing to the world who you are and what you are about. Its also how you represent your baby. I personally HATE HATE HATE it when my buggy looks scruffy or dirty – I HATE seeing a dirty buggy, I would hate to think that’s how people see my children, as dirty and uncared for.

I think when we  choose our buggys we very much conduct ourselves the same way we conduct a relationships – here is what I mean, We have high standards and high hopes when we embark on a new buggy but when they start to let us down we start off by excepting them as little quirks, we all have to compromise in life and you can’t get everything you want. Then when things keep going wrong we feel let down and hurt and we start to display our frustrations and at this point we fall into 3 catagories…

1 We take no prisoners we kick our buggy to the curb telling all our friends about how it was a rubbish performer

2 We moan about it constantly but put up with it because it will do for now

3.We just have to get on with it, we never expected too much in the first place and if this is our lot in life then so be it.

I am a kick it to the curb type but with limited finance and a husband whose favorite phrase is “do we really need another pushchair?” I tend to end up being a constant moaner 😦

The Moodd is different for me, no browsing catalogues and choosing from a range of pushchairs, being able to compare looks and different functions we really have got what we have been given and really who would complain about this!

Even my husband has to admit that it looks “nice” and for him that’s positively gushing!

So before it arrives and purely based on the videos and instructions etc that I have seen I am really looking forward to giving it a try, I’m a bit dubious about the bumper handle bar, I like a bumper bar for Sam and not only is this one going to, probably, have to come off to fit anything other than either a split leg or an official Moodd footmuff but Im not sure if I like the concept of him having a bar between his legs like a shopping trolley. I am also really curious to see if Sam can still, at 8 months, squish in a babynest. I like the automatic unfold, VERY handy for when we have to catch a cab and I have to hold Sam and put up the buggy at the same time when we get to the other end because the cab driver “dunno what I’m doing love” and also “don’t do babies” so can’t hold mine so that I have 2 hands free. I think the most relevant thing however, to 90% of people, is that the Mood looks to be a big beast of a buggy so I’m very curious to see how it fits in the back of our car and that of my good friend who drives a much smaller car, which we travel in often.

Obviously with us comes also the challenges of London City Transport and whether I am able to attach Elliott’s buggy board to the back and even squish Elliott in for a quick ride!

So I guess at this point I have one further question; are you feeling in the Moodd?????