I first became aware of cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my first daughter four years ago. It was on my “to do” list although quite far down as I was so overwhelmed by all the other things you “must” have for a newborn baby. Safe to say, Alba was born and I never got to the end of that list!
Fast forward to September 2020 and baby Lola arrives. Two weeks after she was born, I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram when I came across Happy Baby Cambo. Reusable cloth diapers from a local brand...interesting! I started chatting to Shazia the owner (a fellow Londoner!) over the next few months and that’s when I had my lightbulb moment. Seeing the amount of trash we were throwing out every day was really starting to get to me and I now know that we’ll be using diapers for at least 2-3 more years plus the Happy Baby Cambo prints were just so cool! I knew we had to try them! It’s quite daunting deciding to make the switch so I’ve tried to answer some of the questions I originally had and what I have now learnt:
- Cleaning them is gross! Like changing a nappy, the first time it’s hideous but soon enough you have done it so many times that you don’t even notice. A bum gun works miracles, we are so lucky to have them here! Also I would really recommend using the diaper liner rolls which catch the worst of it. On a side note, Lola used to get pretty bad rashes which have almost completely gone since we made the switch.
- It’s a pain washing them! It takes a few weeks to find your rhythm but then it’ll work like clockwork. I do a short 15 minute wash every 1-2 days and then dry them in the sun. I like to do it first thing (as it tends to be sunnier in the morning!) and in a few hours they are dry. Did you know that ultraviolet light from the sun has disinfectant properties and can help kill bacteria? Fascinating and another benefit of cloth diapering in Cambodia! Then every weekend I do a long three hour wash to give them a good soak and clean. Also use minimal detergent. I only use a small amount on the weekend wash and that’s it. After every wash they smell fresh and ready to go! Also always make sure you use natural products - we like Baitang Soap's Coconut Laundry Powder (also works really well for washing newbown clothes!) and Kambio's Diaper Rash Cream.
- They are so expensive! Yes the initial investment seems like a lot but let’s do some maths. The average price for disposable diapers in Siem Reap is $11 for 50pcs. One set of 6 cloth diapers is $49.50. Lola uses on average 7 diapers a day so in five weeks we had covered the cost completely. Plus it’s so nice never worrying if the diapers are almost finished and having to run to the shop to get more.
- Part time cloth diapering is ok! We still have a packet of disposables at home for travelling or if we run out of clean cloth ones. I’m thinking of switching completely to cloth (as we still have another 2-3 years of diapers ahead of us!) but going part time is definitely better than nothing! Our Kingdom Collection of 6 diapers is the perfect starter kit!
I find it so satisfying to pop a big bucket of cloth diapers in the washing machine and just think how much trash I am saving from landfill. Honestly, one of my biggest regrets will always be that we didn’t use cloth diapers for my first daughter too.
Shazia’s slogan is Happy Baby, Happy Planet in our case it should be Happy Baby, Happy Planet, Happy Mummy!
Evi-Elli - Founder of SATU