It can be overwhelming to think about using reusable diapers, especially with a new baby. But it is possible, even fun, if you are prepared and willing! I’ve just gone through it with my newborn and have five tips to help you.
You’ll find it easier than you thought
Getting through the first few months and weeks can be challenging, especially if this is your first child. You can say you don’t have time to wash nappies as you learn to be a parent. If you are physically and mentally able to do so, cloth nappies can be an excellent option for a new parent.
First, you don’t need to worry about poo. All poop is water-soluble before babies start eating solids and can be washed in the machine. No need to rinse; pop your dirty nappy into the wet bag.
Second, they do not wriggle. It’s great to learn how to fit nappies in the beginning properly. This is also a great way to learn how to use flat nappies like terries and prefolds.
Special newborn nappies may not be necessary
Most nappies are designed in one size to fit babies from birth until they potty train. In reality, many will not fit babies under 10 lbs. If you plan to use cloth from the start and your baby is tiny, this will be a problem.
If you have a giant baby or expect to use disposables for the first few weeks, you can go straight to one-size nappies. The same 25 nappies or so could last your child until potty training.
One size and newborn nappies overlap. This does not mean your baby will outgrow their newborns just because they fit one size. Many newborn nappies can be worn for up to 3 months. Some people have even managed to do toddlers in generously sized newborn nappies.
Many people fear nappies because they think they will be challenging to fold or old-fashioned. They are still some of the most popular options for newborns. Most newborns wet a lot. They consume a considerable amount of calories compared to their size. It is the equivalent of consuming 5,500 calories per day by an adult woman. They need something absorbent to cope, such as flat nappies.
Flats are also great because they are affordable and versatile. You might not use newborn all-in-one or pocket nappies for over a few months and need many. This could make them a poor investment. You can build your stash by buying flat nappies. They are affordable, and you can use them for boosters or as they are.
It’s easy to fold flat nappies once you learn the technique. You can find my favorite folding methods in this blog post.
There are several options.
The easiest way to fold pre-folds is because they are already partially folded. They will dry a little slower than muslins and some terries but are less versatile. Prefolds are usually cotton, although hemp and bamboo are also available.
They’re great for smaller babies because they aren’t too bulky. You probably have them if you had previous babies. Some muslins may be too thin for use as nappies. Muslins tend to be made from cotton.
The Terrie’s absorbency is such that they can be used for any baby, no matter how heavy. They’re classic! There are terries in bamboo, cotton, and a combination of both. Bamboo terries, while less common, are lighter and less bulky.
It would be best to choose muslins or terries that are 50cm square and size 1, so they stay manageable. You will need a waterproof cover for all of these. The Comodo Seedling Mini Wrap is my favorite wrap for newborns because it suits a variety of babies.
Have a large stash
They must be changed frequently because newborns have sensitive skin and are heavy wetters. You will need more nappies to change a newborn than an older child. If you plan to wash your baby every other day, I recommend at least 25 nappies. It’s best to have a few extras, as there will be days when you can’t even face washing!
Newborns don’t do nights
The bad news is here. Your baby won’t sleep well at night if you don’t have a magical unicorn. As you would during the day, it’s likely that they will need to be changed at each feeding throughout the night. You don’t have to buy special night nappies. The same nappies can be used at night and during the day. You can switch to a system for night nappies when your baby stops pooing at night and has fewer predictable feeds.
Innes writes her blog at, Aboderie, where she documents her family’s journey towards a sustainable and handmade home. She has used cloth diapers with her three children, and she loves them so much that her two youngest have never worn disposables!