Cloth nappies – where to start?!

starting cloth nappies

Photo credit: Heather Calver @areusablelife

You’ve decided to try cloth nappies, that’s brilliant! Now what?!

Whether it’s because you want to reduce your waste, your disposable options have let you down too many times, or you simply can’t resist a big, fluffy baby bum, it can feel a little daunting getting started, but don’t worry! Here’s our starter cloth nappy guide to get you up to speed.

Firstly, we recommend trying a few different cloth nappies, as each have their own benefits which suit your little one as well as your own laundry routine.

For a full day in cloth, you will need:

  • Approx 6-10 nappies (6 for a toddler, 10 for a newborn)
  • a wet bag or nappy bucket for wet and dirty nappies
  • liners are optional but they’re handy for catching poo
  • a cute baby (supplied by you)

To switch to cloth full time you will need 15-24 nappies (24 allows you to wash 2 days’ worth of nappies, and still have 2 days’ worth clean and dry), although this depends on how often your baby likes to wee and poo!

We recommend giving all nappies a prewash. Nappies with bamboo or hemp, such as the Tots Bots bamboozle, will need up to 5 washes to reach their maximum absorbency. You can wash and immediately rewash, or simply choose to change your baby more frequently while the nappy gets to maximum absorbency.

Simply place your chosen liner inside the cloth nappy, making sure all the liner is tucked in, then fasten the nappy onto your baby. Cloth nappies fit slightly differently to disposables: you need to start with the nappy much lower down at the back, just covering their wee bottoms, and higher up at the front.

How often do I change a cloth bum baby?

Cloth nappies generally need changing every 3 hours or so during the day.  This varies depending on your child’s wee capacity and the nappy you are using.  There are super absorbent nappies that will last all through the night.

What about poo?!

Oh yes, babies love to poo! Both breastfed and formula fed babies will still have very soft poo, which you can rinse off in the toilet, though usually it’s fine to go straight in the washing machine. Once babies start doing ‘proper’ poos, you can flick the poo off the paper or fleece liner into a toilet. Nappy buckets can be handy for a quick swill of those delightful teething nappies.

Where do the nappies go?

There is no need to soak your nappies, once you have removed any excess poo, simply put them in your wet bag or nappy bucket – just make sure you remove any paper liners and fold back any aplix laundry tabs. It’s best not to leave used nappies any longer than 3 days. Then you can wash them: rinse, hot wash, line or tumble dry, fold/stuff, and start again! Wet bags can be washed with the nappies, too.

Wet bags full of cloth nappies, ready to wash

Cloth nappies on the go

Using cloth nappies when you’re out and about is just as easy. All you need extra is a small/medium wet bag for the used nappies, and a cloth wipe bag if you’ve decided to use cloth wipes, too. Just make sure you have enough cloth nappies to last during the time you are out, then, when baby needs changing, just put the used nappies in the wet bag (minus poo if you can find a toilet), and add to your changing bag. So much easier than trying to find a bin for the used nappy! You can literally change baby anywhere (car boots, the beach, at the office when you’ve brought baby into work and, yup, they’ve filled their nappy!)

The important thing is just to give it a go, you’ll be surprised how quickly you fall into a routine. Even doing cloth part time, perhaps just at home while you get used to them, would save over 2700 nappies going to landfill (based on using 3 cloth nappies a day for 2.5 years). The cloth nappy community is ready and eager to help you find the right type and right routine, and we’re happy to have any excuse to chat about cloth nappies with you, so just ask us via our usual customer service contact options, or there are plenty of fellow cloth nappy fans on our wonderful Facebook hangout page.

Starting cloth nappies at birth to potty time

You can start at any time from birth… to potty!

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