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Getting Started with Cloth Nappies

(Guest post by Leigh)

Getting started with cloth 

Did you know that disposable nappies take up to 500 years to decompose and that so-called "bio-degradable" nappies don't actually break down in landfill? 

Using cloth nappies halves your weekly rubbish, reduces your carbon footprint by 40% and protects the planet your baby will inherit. Even one reusable nappy change a day makes a difference. Using cloth nappies is not hard, its just different to disposables - your cloth nappy routine will soon feel like second nature! 

But before getting started with cloth you first need to consider the age of the baby when you will be starting cloth, whether you want to cloth full or part time and what type of nappy system you want to use. 

Newborn nappies 

If you intend to cloth from birth you will probably need to invest in some newborn sized nappies. Whilst a lot of ‘one size’ nappies claim to be birth to potty, in reality these tend to be too bulky on a tiny baby and fit better from about 10lb.  

Options for clothing your newborn can be either ‘flats and wraps’ (a muslin folded into a wrap works great) or specific newborn sized ‘modern cloth’ nappies like close pop ins or little love bum newbies. 

When using flats and wraps you can reuse the wrap and just change the flat inside if the nappy is just wet and the wrap isn’t soiled. This is a really cost effective option and the added benefit is that muslins are really quick drying which is handy when a newborn can need to be changed up to 10 times a day!  

‘Modern Cloth’ newborn nappies would need to be completely changed each time, whether soiled or just wet. 

As newborns need to be changed very regularly and through the night you won't need to invest in specific night nappies for this stage. 

To cloth full time we would recommend you having around 30 newborn nappies or around 30 flats with 6-8 wraps. This allows you to have enough nappies to take into account washing every other day and drying time.  

One size nappies 

Once your baby is around 10lb they should comfortably fit into ‘birth to potty’ or ‘onesize fits most’ nappies. There are various nappy types you can use (more info on the different types of nappy here) you may wish to have a variety of different styles.  

During the day you will probably want to use a pocket nappy, ‘all in one’ nappy or an ‘all in two’ nappy.  

Once your baby is out of the newborn stage you are unlikely to be changing them overnight so they are potentially going to be wearing their nappy for up to 12 hours. You will therefore need to use a more absorbent 'two part' system – likely a fitted nappy and wrap. A bells bumz fitted and Z wrap make a really reliable night option.  

If you intend to cloth full time you will need around 20-25 ‘day’ nappies and around 5 ‘night’ systems. This allows you to wash every other day.  

Part time cloth 

Remember it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Why not try one or two disposable nappies a day before building up to a full time stash? In fact this is a really good way to try out different types and brands before building up your stash to full time use once you know what suits your baby best! 

What else do I need? 

You will need either washable or disposable liners. These sit in the nappy closest to babies bottom and catch any ‘solids’ before washing (find out more about washinghere) They also help to keep baby feeling drier.

Somewhere to store your dirty nappies before washing is also essential. We recommend a large hanging wet bag/pail. You will probably need two. One in use and one in the wash.  

Wet bags or pods are really handy to store your clean and dirty nappies in whilst out and about. Small wetbags can be used in place of a disposable nappy bag. Just place your dirty nappy in the bag whilst out and about until home when you can put them in your pai ready to wash. Pods are generally used to store a number of clean nappies at once – for instance to take them to childcare etc. 

And if you are using cloth nappies you might as well use cloth wipes right?! These can be washed alongside your nappies. We would recommend 20-30 for full time use.

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