5 Things | Using Cloth Nappies From Birth

Spring 2020

Totsbots Easyfit Star*

Is it really sad that being able to use reusable nappies from birth was one of the things I was most excited about when I found out we were expecting Elsie? Even if it is, I don't care! Having a little fluffy bum so tiny is something I'm really proud of myself for - mainly as the average newborn can go through at least 10 nappies a day and I've managed to prevent more than half of that going to landfill but also because we're 3 months in and I haven't been struck by the sudden panic when I've run out of nappies!

Although possibly a little more daunting to a new user, using Cloth Nappies on a newborn baby isn't really all that different to using them on a baby of any age. The same variables apply to shape, size and weeing habits of your own unique little one when it comes to finding something that works for you but by finding a system so quickly, you'll be saving even more money in your actual pocket as well as saving a little pocket of planet earth from yet another mound of disposables.

Now we've reached the end of the fourth trimester (already!) and Elsie's finally in cloth full time, I thought this was the best time to share 5 Things I have learnt from Using Cloth Nappies From Birth:

1. Why Cloth From Birth?
We started using cloth in order to lessen the amount of waste we were sending to landfill but quickly realised we could be saving an awful lot of money whilst doing that too. Since we built up a good stash with Ted which he has had 2 years out of so far (and still wearing them over night), we have no reason to spend much money - if any at all! - on nappies for Elsie. Although the initial out-lay can be off putting, you can read my post on Switching To Cloth: On A Budget here and now we've used our nappies on multiple children, I can truly see the amount of money we are saving. As well as the environmental and financial benefits of using cloth nappies, the materials used in reusable nappies are much kinder to your teeny baby's delicate skin.

2. How Many Newborn Size Nappies Do You Need?
It was never my intention to use cloth nappies full-time from birth. Even using cloth part-time has such a huge environmental impact that I felt no guilt in putting disposables in my hospital bag and having a good few packs ready to go along side our cloth stash to bridge the gap between washes. I also didn't want to over-purchase newborn nappies when we had such a large stash of birth to potty nappies that she could begin using as soon as she was big enough. So for this reason, we got 6 Totsbots Teenyfits (All-In-Ones suitable from 5lbs) and 6 Baba + Boo Newborn Nappies which we'd heard lasted a bit longer thanks to the multiple rise options on the front. Elsie was 7lb 3oz when she was born and went into the Teenyfits at a week old when her cord fell off and we'd moved on from meconium but we couldn't get a good fit on the Baba + Boo until she was 5 weeks old - however - at 3 months old she's just grown out of the Teenyfits whereas the Baba and Boo are still comfortably on the smallest setting and will last considerably longer. This has worked out perfectly for us as she began to wear our Totsbots Easyfits (birth to potty sized nappies) at around 9 weeks.

If you do want to cloth full time, I have always found this infographic very accurate:

3. The Most Economical Ways To Use Reusables From Birth:

Buying and Selling Second Hand
Due to the fact that newborn nappies aren't used for anywhere near as long as Birth To Potty nappies, it is very easy to find excellent condition second-hand ones on selling sites. This also means they hold a very good re-sale value if you buy from new and decide to sell on once outgrown.

One of the cheapest ways to start using cloth is by using muslins folded up inside wraps (waterproof covers). Muslins are usually much cheaper than nappy inserts but are still very absorbent! If the nappy has only been wee'd in, you can take the wet muslin out of the wrap, give the wrap a wipe dry and pop in a new muslin and re-use the wrap.

Hire Your Nappies 
Of course, one of the best ways to start using Cloth Nappies from birth would be to hire a Newborn Nappy Kit from a Nappy Library. If you have a larger baby, newborn nappies may not last you very long before they fit into BTP nappies (if at all!) so this is a fab option. Sadly, we didn't have this as a service to us locally when I had Elsie which in part is why I've help set up a Nappy Library in our town so cloth can become more accessible to everyone.

4. Poo
Ted had weaned by the time we started using cloth nappies with him so this was my first experience of washing baby poo. Elsie is exclusively breastfed so as this poo is mainly water, the nappies can go straight nappy bucket then in the machine just the same as a wee'ed in nappy - super easy. Formula poos are more similar to weaned poos so as much poo needs to be removed as possible by rinsing under the toilet flush, over the toilet with a shower head if your bathroom layout allows or using a designated poo utensil to scrape it off the nappy or liner (hope it goes without saying you should never use this utensil for anything other than poo duties!)

You should always wash your newborn baby's nappies at 60oC until they're 3 months old (though we have always done our nappy washes for Ted at 60 too). You should also make sure you are washing at 60 and taking extra care with hygiene after your baby has had their Rotavirus vaccines as some of the live virus could be found in the poo. Make sure you're washing your hands extra carefully before and after nappy changes (though this is quite relevant for all nappy changes!) and minimzing contact with that nappy by washing it as soon as possible.

If you encounter any stains, get your nappies out on the washing line (it doesn't need to be sunny) or hang them up in the window. Sunlight it magic.

More amazing benefits of cloth means the elastic in the designs are much more reliable at containing poo explosions but also, weirdly enough, the smell of poo too.

5. Don't Sweat
Having a newborn baby is a huge life adjustment for every single mama and the most important thing is not pressuring yourself into finding your groove right away (with anything, not just nappies!) If you are keen to cloth from birth, just use them as and when you feel up to it until it becomes a new normal so gradually, you won't even notice when you're up to clothing full time and certainly don't feel any guilt for leaning on disposables when you need to too - they still very much have their place in our home. I love the quote 'we don't need a few people doing zero waste perfectly, we need everyone to be doing it imperfectly' and I think that is the best way to look at using reusable nappies in general x

You can read all our posts on Using Cloth Nappies here