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29 January 2011

Introducing Bean Sprouts Bubba nappies and baby products

I get emails from people almost every day asking if they can advertise on my blog.  I reject them mainly because they don't share our values and because I don't like blogs that are weighed down with advertising.  I often criticise mindless advertising in my posts so it would be hypocritical of me to criticise it and then accept money to feature it on my blog. Recently I asked for Australian nappy/diaper suppliers to contact me about an idea I had about bartering blog space for nappies/diapers for my soon to be born grandchildren.  It was a slow start but eventually three suppliers made contact.

When I had my babies back in 1980 and 1981 we used terry squares and plastic pants.  Disposables were available but just like today they were expensive and didn't decompose.  Do you know that every one of the ordinary disposable nappies ever used is still sitting in land fill somewhere?  They don't decompose; who knows when they'll be gone.  Shane and Sarndra and Kerry and Sunny all want to use modern cloth nappies (MNCs) and I'm really pleased to be able to help them get set up.  

I was new to MNCs  and I needed someone who knew her topic to show me the way.  Enter Rebecca at Bean Sprout Bubba.  Not only was Rebecca timely and very helpful in her emails to me, her website and blog are a wealth of information.  I thought nappies were nappies - not so!  I'm grateful I found Rebecca who explained the world of big tummies, fat thighs and small bottoms to me.  Thanks to her we won't be getting our fitted nappies until we see what our babies are like.  We have some pre-folds and Whisper Wraps here and I'm very pleased with them. They're similar to the terry squares I'm familiar with, they feel soft and gentle and seem to be very absorbent.  I am a happy soon-to-be-grandma and I'm also happy to help a resourceful and hard working woman promote her business.  

Please click the ad in the side bar or the links within the post to go to the site.

I'll let her take over now ...

I have three young children (aged 4, 2 and 3.5 months), we live in Bunbury WA. My interests include sewing, knitting and of course MCNs! We're thinking of homeschooling our children, and am currently doing some informal work with Abi my eldest. As part of science/life skills we tend a little veggie garden that is starting to produce lovely tomatoes, supersweet strawberries, fresh cucumbers and big beautiful figs! The rest of the veggies weren't as successful, but now we know what grows well for next time.

On MCNs:

Before I had children, I knew I was going to use cloth nappies, as mum had used muslin flats with all of us. I remember helping mum to fold and stack them ready to use for my younger brothers.

I first heard about MCNs from a Freecycle moderator in a neighbouring suburb, pre-baby. When Abi was born in late 2006, I used a mixture of muslin flats with terry flats. Muslin was very soft but not very absorbant, while terry was superabsorbent, but scratchy to newborn skin. We had a few rash episodes from unnecessary soaking in Napisan, and no nappy covers, as I didn't want to spend money on PVC pilchers while searching for modern nappy covers! I discovered that fleece receiving blankets wrapped over Abi actually worked very well in keeping the cot dry.  I then bought my first every MCN and the rest is history.

Brienna was born in 2008, she was a petite baby, so what fit Abi didn't fit Bri very well. She was cloth nappied from the newborn-stage, and wore small sized nappies until she was about 1. With Calvin's birth late last year, I'm now experiencing how MCNs fit a baby boy, and how important it is to place absorbancy where boys need it! He's my biggest and cuddliest baby, so I'm finding yet again how certain nappies fit him so much better than on petite little Bri. I now know firsthand how different nappies fit different babies differently. I have used most Australian nappy brands, sewn nappies and knit woollen pants as nappy covers in the past 4-5 years.

I started Bean Sprout Bubba in mid-2009 when I took over 'Bubba J', a handmade nappy brand with a range including pocket nappies, fitted nappies and nappy covers. 'ecoBumba' was born when local mums requested for a one-sized version of the Bubba J pocket nappy. My first market appearance was in August 2009, and later the online store started at the end of Sept 2009. In 2010, I decided to become a stockist of different nappy brands sourced in Australia to provide a one-stop service for mums with babies with different body shape and different wetting behaviour. I post my products all over Australia.

I still sew my own nappies for Bubba J and ecoBumba, though progress is a little slow at this point with 3 young children to care for. I love that I am able to care for my children, and indulge in a bit of sewing on the side, while keeping house as best as I can. I love meeting with mums and giving advice on nappies that suit their requirements and budget.

On being real:

The house isn't tidy all the time, I give myself very generous deadlines, and rest when I can. Things are not perfect around here, sometimes life is rather energy draining, but I am happy and content.

So there you have it. I am sure if you need new nappies and advice on what type or brand to buy, Rebecca would be able to help you. Go and look at her website and blog and if, like me, you have no clue about MNCs, or are looking for sustainable gifts for a new baby, you'll find out all you need to know right there. If your baby is currently in disposables I encourage you to look too. Maybe you'll see a reason to change.


  1. What a wonderful idea! I tried to use cloth nappies on my son (a long time ago now) but he ended up with the worst nappy rash despite everythin we tried, we had no choice but to use disposable. We were more successful with our daughter.
    These would certainly have made life easier!

  2. I just jumped into the cloth diapering world about a week ago with my 16 month old (2nd born) in the US using prefolds and covers. To be honest, while I agree that cloth diapers definitely seem to be friendlier to the environment, we didn't have our own washer and dryer when our first was born, and our finances were so tight that disposables were about the same or cheaper, and much more convenient, than washing them in our apartment building's two washers and dryers (which often broke down, and which we shared with 18 other units). A cloth diaper service was the most expensive option of all, so that was out too.

    However, now we are due with our 3rd in a couple of months, and our oldest is still bedwetting, so we've used Pull-ups on him, and when I sat down to do the math, I realized that since we now have a washer and dryer, it would be much cheaper to invest in cloth diapers and use them for all three (I've ordered fabric to make my own overnight trainers for our oldest).

    So far it hasn't been inconvenient at all - it is much easier to wash them than I expected, and there is less trash to take out, but I must admit there is still stress and confusion when you are researching cloth diaper types or which detergent is best, or if your son seems to have a reaction and instead of just switching to a different brand of disposables, you have to ask yourself ten different questions about whether it was the detergent, the sensitivity to the diaper material, etc. when he's wearing cloth. Still, I have been enjoying the process so far, and look forward to when we move into a home with a yard this year so I can start line drying them in the sun.

  3. I'm sorry but these don't fit in with my idea of a simple/frugal life at all. They are horribly expensive - I can't imagine paying between $25 - $35 for ONE nappy! Terry Towel and Flannelette nappies did my babies just fine - and a daily 'airing' where bubs got to go nappy free did wonders. Of course what works for one may not work for another - but seriously I don't see why something as basic as nappies needs to be so expensive.

  4. I hope you will continue to host ads for several reasons such as: We need to boost like-minded small businesses and support them and this is an excellent platform for that, and you, my dear, are most deserving of the revenue. It's win win.

  5. Dear Rhonda,

    Thank you so much for sharing this link. I know she's based in Australia, but does she/will she eventually sell to customers in the USA? I don't have kids, but most of my friends do. This would be a wonderful resource!!! My mother used cloth "nappies" as you call them when I was a baby. If I'm ever blessed with children, I plan on doing the same!!! I can't bear the thought of a store-bought nappie not decomposing in a timely fashion. Renewable/washable is the way to go :) :) It seems more economical to me too!!! This is great!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  6. The MCN products look wonderful. I haven't heard back from Glodina to barter with you Rhonda, but as they're probably mostly a South African company, I'm going to leave it--much better to use Australian products closer to you. I'm sure your blog MCN adverts will influence many to make the switch or reaffirm their commitment to using cloth.

    I remember bringing my Glodina large terry squares with me on a visit to the USA in 1992 to show off our first baby and how my American friends & family marvelled at my use of cloth instead of disposable. I also brought my steri-nappy powder in a large sealed sandwich type bag....and prayed all the way through Customs that I wouldn't be hauled away to test that it wasn't cocaine...LOL.

  7. Mrs Horty, I disagree with you. I think they fit within the simple and frugal framework well. The same nappy may be used for all the babies in the family, they're well made by a local woman and the materials are very absorbent and soft on baby's skin.

    Thanks Melissa.

    Heather, I believe she does send internationally.

    Thanks Becca.

  8. The nappies look wonderful. I wish we had them when my children were babies. There's so many lovely fabrics to chose from and it's much more environmental friendly.
    We had swimming nappies in those days, but not such great nappies like these made from cloth.

    Have a great day.

  9. Hi Rhonda,
    Arr, finally it's all starting to come together. I've been on this journey with you and I'm feeling almost as happy as I'm sure you are Rhonda! Rebecca sounds very committed to her ideals with the continuation in home schooling also so I'm sure as another reader said it will be a 'win'win' for all.

  10. Its all about doing your research Mrs Horty. Ive used MCN from the begining. Over here we have 'TradeMe' which is like Ebay and there is a huge market for 2nd hand nappies, which can then be used for all the babies in the family, and then onsold on TradeMe again. So what is perceived as an expensive option in fact pays for itself over time.

    I asked a lady in a nappy shop once what the feedback from customers was about why they were buying disposables rather than cloth and she said the outlay was too much. But research has proved that the outlay may be large to begin with (I beleive you have 9 months to save up for and/or buy them before baby arrives) but in the long run MCN are by far the cheaper option and so much better for the environment, and babys bottom too!

    What I've realised is a lot of people come up with excuses as to why not to use MCN's, when really what it comes down to is that you have to really want to use MCN's.

  11. I agree with Mrs. Horty to some degree. baby "stuff" is so over-priced. I too had terry squares which cost 6 pounds per dozen back in the 70s and I used plastic pants and a nappy pin - I bought an extra dozen with each child and used the old ones for rags. It maybe that the new diapers are marketed as eco-friendly locally made in home industries but that is not the same as frugal.

  12. My husband and i will be trying for our first baby soon and i always planned on using modern cloth nappies for both environmental and financial reasons. All my friends use disposables for their babies and when i told them i'd be using cloth they said "wait until you have a baby, you'll change your mind" as they believe the convenience of disposables outweighs the benefits of using cloth. I have one friend who is 6 months pregnant and she plans to use cloth so we'll bond together!
    I worked out that to buy all the cloth nappies i need from birth to toilet training will set us back about $700 but to use disposables would cost over $1000 a year so we'll save thousands. Sounds quite frugal to me!

  13. Hi all, I agree these nappies are expensive, and I certainly got by with terry and plastic pilchers, but since they can be re-used so much, what about asking your friends to each buy you one or two rather than other baby stuff. I really love the cool colours and wish they had been around when my child was born. I'm going to buy some for my niece who is expecting.

  14. Yes Terry squares and nappy pins do the job. I used them with all 4 of my babies that now range from ages 19yo down to 2yo. But I did change to MCN when the youngest 2 were both in nappies(2yo and 6 months at the time).But never used plastic pilchers, only fleece and changed from pins to Snappis with the last 2.
    If you wish to be very frugal about nappying terry squares are still an option. And I imagine the very frugal typw will now this and use this.
    BUT the reality is that over the last 20 years most parents have stayed away from cloth, and if MCN's are luring people back into the world of cloth, then that's got to be a good thing.
    Among other reasons, one that does put people of traditional cloth nappies, is the bulkiness of them. And unless you are able to sew your own babies clothes, a lot of store bought clothes just won't fit over a traditional nappy.They are designed for disposables. This was an issue even when I had my first bub 19 years ago. And I did sew most of his pants.
    MCN are a lot trimmer in fit. That was part of the reason I changed to MCN from terry squares, and also that my Husband just didn't like terries. He did in theory but in practice used to complain. He loves MCN and spreads the word about how easy they are to use to work colleagues etc.
    I too have converted several friends including one that had already used disposables for her first 3 children. I swayed her on her 4th bub and she is loving them.
    I made some MCN for the dolls at kindy, to show the kids there are options. And from that, one of the teachers asked me to make some for her to give as a gift and also a few for her future Grandchildren, that are nowhere near happening. She loved them that much!

    But I do still love white terry nappies flapping on the line. For me washing nappies is part of being a Mum :) I'm almost sad that my last Bub has just toilet trained.

  15. So many viewpoints, it's been great reading, thank you!
    The points that Mrs Horty brought up are very valid, for some cloth nappies can simply be terries/flannies and a nappy cover on top. I know, I started off that way too with Abi.

    MCNs may seem expensive compared to terry cloth nappies, because they are made out of specialty fabrics such as absorbent bamboo/cotton blends (heavy fabrics), and PUL material used in making the nappies waterproof.
    But they are more convenient and still cheaper than disposable nappies.

    I have met clients who do not wish to spend a lot of money on MCNs, so I offer tips to boost the use of terry cloth nappies.

    Tips like adding absorbancy to terry nappies with bamboo boosters, investing in good quality PUL nappy covers to reduce rashiness and last longer than PVC pilchers, using microfleece cut up as stay dry liners laid inside a nappy, cutting up old flannel sheets to be used as washable wet wipes -- all these practices can help enhance the use of terry cloth nappies.

    Another crucial tip that has helped so many make the change from disposables to cloth nappies: there's no need to soak nappies in Napisan anymore (modern or terry toweling), as long as there is a modern washing machine for your use :)

    I've elaborated on these points in my blogpost "Nappy on a budget"

    I'm happy to take some questions if you have any more.

    Anyhow, thanks Rhonda for the feature! :) Rebecca

  16. In Anna Maria Horner s book Handmade Beginnings there is a pattern for something called Quick Change Pants. (The most adorable and EASY baby/toddler pants out there there. I have made 11 pairs)
    The thing about the pants is they are fit to accomodate MCNs. Check them out they are brilliant.
    Also napisan is not essential I guess but if you are washing in communal washing machine do dry the nappies in a hot dryer to prevent e coli and other pathogens.

  17. I'm an absolute convert to cloth nappies althugh second time around it took me an appalling amount of time to get around to using them! Too many house guests (in laws for 6 weeks) and wet weather plus a dose of scarlet fever for Boy 1 and I just made the first few months too hard. I did use Moltex eco-disposables which I recommend too. But cloth nappies are infinitely better for my conscience, my budget, the earth and my baby's future. He's our last bub but I'm glad he's a cloth nappied little man.

  18. I love reusable nappies for my son and invite anyone who has not explored this option to give it a go. Mixing absorbant inserts of different brands into one-size pocket nappies is a blessing for us. We appreciate oznappies, softbots and pea pods among others. No one brand suits everyone. Snaps are dependable fasteners for us because our son can detach velcro! Would not find that desirable with a full nappy:)

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