Brand: Itti Bitti
Bought from: Itti Bitti Online
Paid: $12.50 per shell (bought as value pack of 12) & $10.80 for a soaker set (bought as value packs of 6) = $23.30 per nappy
Contents: Each nappy is made up of a minkee shell – which is essentially a waterproof polyurethane laminate (PUL) layer with a fluffy outer in the shape of little pants with different snaps to allow for adjusting the size – and a 2 piece soaker set – which includes a square piece that folds into three (trifold soaker) and an hourglass shaped piece (which looks a lot like a sanitary pad) with a stay-dry microfleece surface. The soaker set snaps into place by using the colour coded snaps. There are also two red snaps on the bottom of the hourglass shaped piece which can be used to attached a mini booster (sold separately) for extra absorption.
How I use it: As per Itti Bitti’s recommendations, I prewash the shells on cold once prior to use and prewash the soakers on warm 5 times to get them up to a good level of absorbency. Apparently the manufacturing process leaves residue on them that makes them not hat great to start with. Why Itti don’t prewash them prior to sale, I’m not sure. I would think that this would be better for the environment as they would have an economy of scale. Anyhoo.
I snap the soaker in with both pieces lying flat with the hourglass over the top of the trifold, so that the stay-dry layer is closest to W’s skin. You can fold the trifold to make most of the absorbency at the front for boys, but this ends up pretty bulky up front and I haven’t found it to be necessary.
At change time, I either change just the soaker set (if he’s only wet or done a small poop without any soiling of the shell) or change the whole thing (if he’s soiled the shell or the shell has been in use for a few changes. I make sure I unsnap the soakers from the shell before putting them in the nappy bin. Putting nappies in a bin without any water is called dry-pailing – a term you’ll come across on cloth nappy websites.
If the shell isn’t soiled, I pop it in with his dirty clothes as hot washing (which I use for nappies) isn’t great for the elastic or PUL in the shells and will shorten their lifespan.
I wash the nappies in a front loading machine and use a wet towel to ‘trick’ the machine into using more water than it thinks it needs to as this helps rinse out all the poop. I do a rinse cycle then a hot wash with a pre-wash and extra rinse. Unfortunately, with a front loader this all takes about 4 hours! I use a low residue laundry powder (have been using Earth Choice, but just switched to Aware to give it a go). I have also tried sample packs of Rockin’ Green which seemed to work well.
I dry the nappies either on the line in the sun (when the sun is out…which it hasn’t been much as W was born mid-winter) or in the clothes dryer. Our dryer turns off automatically once it thinks things are dry and I occasionally have to give them another spin as they are still a little damp. A side effect of being pretty absorbent material. On the odd occasion that there have been visible yellow poop stains on the nappies after the wash they have miraculously vanished with natural bleaching from the sunshine.
Problems: The main problem we’ve had is with the nappies smelling like ammonia (wee) after washing. We have a fairly heavy wetter on our hands, I suspect. This smell is mostly noticeable if we use the clothes dryer. I emailed Itti about it and they were very helpful and so to try to fix it I’ve been using even more wet towels and an extra rinse.
Although I read a lot about “strip washing” in preparation for my life as a cloth nappy-er, I have since read this and it seems it is probably not a necessary chore to add to one’s list. In fact, since I started following the GroVia website advice of using a normal amount of laundry detergent (rather than the half-dose recommended by most MCN websites) the ammonia smell has pretty well vanished.
I think the main time I get the ammonia smell now is when I’m doing a large load and I suspect the washing machine is adding the maximum water it can but it’s still not enough.
We’ve only had occasional poonamis which have leaked – and this is no more than my disposable nappy using friends’ babies. Only wee leaks have been with the All-In-One nappies (AIOs) – more on them later – or when trying (in vain) to use the SIOs overnight (a task they do not claim to be up to).
Pros: Eco friendly, kind on sensitive baby bottoms, easy to use, look super cute, up to the task of daytime use even in a heavy wetter, dry quickly (compared to AIOs)
Cons: Sized nappies means buying more as bub grows (compared to Bitti Tuttos which grow with baby), laundry techniques require a bit of trial and error and are harder in a front loader (I gather), need to unsnap prior to laundering does require some practice not to get poop on your hands in the process, shells shouldn’t be hot washed so need separation from nappies if wanting to hot wash nappies, expensive up front, need to be ‘made up’ prior to use
If I had my time again: I’d put W in these sooner (I persisted with the prefolds longer than I should have). I wouldn’t buy any AIOs. I’d start keeping an eye out earlier for discontinued prints (often cheap!).
Overall rating: Raving about them!
Pearls (applies to all MCNs not just Itti Bittis!):
- Be prepared to always have something in the washing machine … but I suspect this is the case with a baby even if you’re not doing cloth nappies! This is probably a lot faster and easier with a top loading machine (front loaders have insanely long wash cycles).
- Be prepared for a bit of trial and error with using the nappies – what I like may not work well for you, etc
- Consider how many you want. Are you doing cloth full time or part time? Maybe try part-time before you buy loads of them. We are full time now and do a (half) load of nappies every 1-2 days with 12 shells and 24 soaker sets. A cloth nappy library is also an option (albeit one I never tried as my husband was too grossed out by the concept of second hand nappies).
- Don’t skip the recommended prewash when you get your new nappies unless you’re quite happy for them to leak everywhere.
- Read the care instructions closely – things like nappy rash cream, fabric softener and the wrong detergent can cause problems.
- Don’t get sucked into the vortex of strip washing regimens (the internet is full of them)
- Email or call your nappy supplier if you are having issues with them (leaking, smelling, etc)
- Use the recommended amount of laundry detergent (you do actually want to clean those things)
- Sunshine really does bleach things. Don’t get stressed by faint yellow poop stains as you hang your soaker sets on the line. They’ll be gone in no time. Promise.
- Find your washing machine instruction manual (online if you don’t have the hardcopy). Took me a while to work out that I couldn’t tell my machine to increase the water level and so I had to ‘trick’ it with a wet towel (adds weight so it thinks there is more laundry in there).