A complete guide to choosing newborn reusable nappies.
Reusable nappies are a great way to save money and the environment. I know what you’re thinking, “Reusable nappies? Isn’t that just too much work?” It’s actually quite easy and worth it in the end! Most parents will need to use newborn reusable nappies before progressing on to birth to potty options.
Here are 6 reasons why newborn reusable nappies are well worth it:
– newborn nappies don’t require as many changes as disposable ones do
– newborn cloth nappies typically fit your baby for the first 6-12 weeks
– reusable nappies can be used over and over again, for future babies too!
– If you hire or buy preloved, newborn cloth nappies offer economic benefits such as lower cost per diaper, less waste created by using fewer diapers, and potential tax credits from your government
– newborn reusable nappies are less environmentally harmful when compared to disposable diapers. They reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, they help conserve natural resources such as trees, water and petroleum by reducing the number of diaper changes made a day leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Newborn Cloth Nappies For Beginners
Newborn Cloth Nappies are a lifesaver for new parents. There is something about those newborn diaper changes that can be daunting and awkward- newborns are so petite!
However, newborn cloth nappies are designed specially to allow you to get the perfect fit.
Newborn reusable nappies are available in a wide range of styles, materials and options today meaning that you can easily find something that will fit your budget.
Newborn diapers can give your baby the comfort they need without any extra work or hassle compared to disposable diapers!
You’ll definitely want to be sure newborn reusable nappies are for you before deciding to jump in. If newborn cloth diapers seem like something that would work well with your newborn, then be sure to check out the wide range of styles, materials and options available to buy.
Cloth Nappies for Newborns
Reusable nappies are a wonderful option for eco-conscious parents, as they are kinder to the environment, to your baby’s sensitive skin, and to your wallet.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing between reusable and single-use nappies. However, there is no requirement to use reusables right away.
Some parents choose to use cloth nappies from day one, while others wait until they are settled at home and into a routine before switching. Others wait several weeks until baby will be ready to go straight in to birth to potty diapers.
There is no wrong or proper method to use reusable nappies; all you have to do now is figure out what works best for you.
Newborn xsmall nappies
Newborn or xsmall reusable nappies are suitable for newborns and fit babies easily, however, the downside is that your baby will outgrow these quickly, likely by around 12 weeks old at the latest.
When purchasing a reusable nappy kit for your family, there are a few things to think about:
- What is your preferred washing frequency?
- Do you have any special circumstances that need to be considered
- How much money do you have available?
- Do you have any other children in nappies?
- Are you planning more children?
- Are you expecting twins (see our best diapers for twins)?
Eco-disposables have a bad reputation in cloth nappy circles however for many parents they are still considered a better alternative to regular disposables.
While they don’t biodegrade swiftly in a landfill environment, they do use ingredients that undergo environmental degradation and fewer chemicals than traditional disposable products do. Some popular eco disposable brands include Beaming Baby and Kit and Kin.
Lots of parents use eco disposable diapers in the first few weeks so that they can avoid the expense of buying newborn cloth diapers.
What you need to get started with reusable nappies
There are few things that can help you get started- most of these are optional but are very handy to have!
- A nappy bucket or pail for storing wet or dirty nappies
- Fleece liners to keep baby’s bum feeling dry, preventing diaper rash
- Extra nappy inserts- these are used to boost nappy absorbency
- Cloth wipes- these will help you save more money and are kinder to skin than scented baby wipes
Can’t I just use birth to Potty nappies from birth?
A one-sized reusable nappy is a type of baby diaper that fits from approximately 8-9 pounds (approx. 4 kg) and up. In reality, most newborn babies weigh less than this threshold, so one-size washable diapers are generally too big for the first couple of months of life.
Getting a decent, dependable fit with a newborn reusable nappy will give you peace of mind when it comes to cloth diapering and save you a few clothing changes!
On the move
Many parents worry about using cloth diapers out and about, but, in fact, using cloth nappies can be simpler because you don’t have to look for a bin! A reusable nappy wet bag can be used to store wet and soiled diapers.
A good diaper change bag can hold your clean diapers and reusable wipes along with your wet bag for used diapers.
Packing a hospital bag
We would recommend packing 10+ reusable nappies along with some disposable nappy liners. Do not forget to pack wet bags to store reusable diapers until wash time at home. Check out our handy Hospital Bag Checklist for new great advice.
Bring reusable wipes made from cotton wool and just wet with warm water as you go, you can also use a spray bottle for this. Modern nappies are very easy to use. Newborn babies don’t need night nappies just yet, not until they are sleeping more so don’t panic!
How many nappies are needed for those early weeks? I would say 25 really. You can loan them from a nappy library.
If you’re planning an overnight stay, you’ll need half a dozen extra nappies with you.
Reusable newborn nappies and umbilical cord
You can still use newborn diapers even before the cord has fallen off!
When you plan on using reusable nappies from day one close the tabs under your baby’s waist so air flows around the umbilical cord.
Which cloth diapers are best for newborn babies?
The Nappy Lady recommends that the most economical solution is to use flats – which is a square absorbent nappy you can fold and place inside a waterproof cover or wool cover. Flats can be used on more than one baby and so are usually great value for money.
There are some different types of flats, the most typical being Prefolds and Terries. Unlike prefolds, terries require you to learn specific folds to tie the reusable nappy on to your baby, using a nappy nippa or safety pin to secure it in place. You will still need to place a waterproof or wool wrap on top. Wool covers are a more breathable solution to modern wraps which tend to be made of PUL.
Bambino Mio have made the two piece nappy very straight forward with their peenut wrap and pad system- these come in lots of cute prints, and you need only snap in a rectangular pad and pop the nappy on baby. Close pop ins work similarly, however these are one size nappies.
Fitted nappies, such as Little Lambs Bamboo Fitted Nappies, work in a similar way, except you have a shaped absorbent nappy that goes straight on to baby, you then place a waterproof wrap on top. These are great for a heavy wetter.
Another popular reusable nappy option is a pocket nappy; This type features a waterproof layer that has soft fleece lining, and a pocket into which an absorbent core is inserted- you can use one insert or two if your baby needs extra absorbency. They are usually one size often have the benefit of being quick drying, but are best for day time use for a few hours at a time. They are less effective for heavy wetters.
Many beginners favour an all in one nappy for it’s simplicity- an all in one nappy goes on very much like a disposable, all in one piece. Bambino Mio also have an all in one Mio Solo nappy, however this is birth to potty sized- You might want to try Bumgenius Littles for a newborn sized nappy.
Newborn vs birth to potty nappies
The term ‘Birth to Potty’ is a common one, and it may also be known as “One Size.” The majority of these nappies will have snaps on the front that allow them to be adjusted in size. It adjusts from 4.5kg to 16kg or 10lbs to 35lbs in terms of diameter and length.
The majority of babies are smaller than this, in spite of the ‘Birth to Potty’ name given to these diapers. Therefore, you may need to invest in a newborn nappy system if you wish to use cloth diapers from birth.
Weight guidelines will vary but newborn nappies often fit babies weighing between 2kg and 5.5kgs( or 4.5lbs and 12 lbs ).
Newborn cloth diapers are an extra expense. Parent who wish to avoid buying an extra set of diapers can use disposables for the early weeks, can borrow from a cloth diaper library or can buy newborn cloth diapers preloved.
How many reusable nappies do newborns need?
Your baby will need changing regularly in the early weeks, increasing the number of nappies you need. Starting with around 10 nappy changes a day during the first several weeks, this will settle down to around 5-6 changes a day by the time they reach six weeks old. That’s a lot of diapers!
To cover your washing and drying times, you’ll need at least two days’ worth of nappy changes. A minimum of 25 newborn reusable nappies is suggested, though a tumble drier will facilitate quick drying meaning you may get away with having fewer.
A two-part system of around 8-10 outer waterproof wraps and 25-30 absorbent inserts, or 25 individual nappies, might be used.
Can I use reusable newborn nappies in hospital?
Yes, you can! Most midwives and hospitals today have some expertise with cloth nappies, should you need some help at nappy change time.
After all, reusable nappies do reduce the risk of nappy rash and general irritation to your baby’s skin.
You should be supported to use only diapers that you feel best for your baby. Just be sure to bring a bombproof nappy wet bag to the hospital and have a plan to have these sent home and laundered should you have to stay in hospital.
Extra tips for washing cloth nappies
All new nappies must still be prewashed although cotton and hemp will need several prewashes to remove natural oils and increase their absorbency.
If you have a modern eco washing machine, it will likely use less water- which isn’t ideal for cloth nappies. If you have an extra water button, use this when you wash nappies.
Always remove all solids from each nappy, pull inserts out of any pocket nappy and store soiled nappies dry in a pail or large wet bag after each nappy change. Use a heavy soil dose of your regular washing powder as per box instructions. Do not use fabric softener. You can wash your nappies inside a mesh bag for extra protection if desired.
First, start the wash routine with a cold rinse, followed by a long cycle (ideally around 1.5-2 hours) at 40-60 degrees Follow this with a second cold rinse.
In order to avoid nappy rash and irritation to baby’s skin, you want to ensure no perfume lingers on the nappies ort nappy liners- they should come out of the machine with no fragrance. Any residue can irritate, as well as making the absorbent part of your diapers less effective.
The more absorbent the nappy, the longer it will take to dry. A tumble drier can be used for some nappy brands, but check with the manufacturer first.
Prefolds or pocket nappies are a great way to cut drying time, however pocket nappies won’t always be absorbent enough if your child is a heavy wetter.
Typically all in one nappies take longer to dry, although some brands, such as Bumgenius, have been very clever in the design of their diapers to cut drying time, either using fast drying microfibre or by making their inserts incredibly thin.
Other nappies, especially the more absorbent ones, may take considerably longer to dry, including fitted nappies or hemp or cotton inserts.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the right nappy for you is the nappy that works for your family.
Many parents favour cloth nappies and reusable wipes for their newborn baby because they tend to be kinder to baby’s skin than disposable nappies are. It is thought that nappy rash is less likely in a baby that wears a cloth nappy too.
Cotton nappies are just as reliable, but can save money and are kinder to the planet. Plus, there is nothing cuter than a reusable nappy on your baby’s bum! A fleece liner can be used to keep baby feeling dry.
A nappy bucket can be used to store dirty nappies until they are washed- at which point your machine does most of the work!
Whether you choose to buy a newborn sized nappy system for your baby or hold off until they can use a birth to potty option is also a personal choice. A newborn nappy system will fit your new baby perfectly and will have all the same benefits as birth to potty nappies, but it’s true that it’s still an extra expense.
This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.
Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).