Reusable Nappies From Birth, Everything You Need to Know

A complete guide to choosing newborn reusable nappies.

Close newborn nappy. Image credit Beth Malory.

Here at Babi Pur we are passionate about reusable nappies and believe that using reusable nappies from birth can be easy! We have a whole range of reusable nappies designed to fit newborn babies for the first few months of their lives. Choosing newborn reusable nappies can feel daunting for a parent to be, but our guide will help you make the best choices for your family.

Newborn reusable nappies

Using reusable nappies is a great choice for eco-minded parents, being better for the environment, your baby and your pocket. Making choices in your pregnancy about whether to use reusable or single use nappies can feel overwhelming, but there is no pressure to use reusables straight away.

Some parents choose to use cloth nappies once the meconium (first poo) has passed, some once they are home and into some sort of routine, others once their baby is ready for one size nappies. There is no right or wrong way to use reusable nappies, you just need to find out what works for you. If do you choose reusables from birth however, you really won’t look back! If you need help with the reusable nappy jargon and abbreviations we have a great guide >HERE< to get you started.

When you are making decisions on the best newborn reusable nappy to suit your family there are a few things to consider:

  • How often you want to be washing your nappies?
  • What drying facilities do you have?
  • What is your budget?

With these questions in mind you can start exploring the options! There are a whole array of brands and prints but try not to get too bogged down with the technicalities. Afterall, in essence a reusable nappy captures and holds wee and poo in a waterproof shell. Pick one or two you like the look of and go from there.

Can’t I just use One Size (birth to Potty) reusable nappies?

One sized nappies are also called Birth-to-Potty nappies, and are designed to fit from around 9lb (approx. 4kg). In reality though, most newborn babies fall under this weight category so one-size reusable nappies are usually too big for the first few months of life. Getting a good reliable fit with a newborn cloth nappy will give you confidence using cloth, and save a few clothing changes!

One thing that stands out for parents using reusable nappies for newborns is there is far fewer issues with explosive newborn poop! The great fit around the legs and waist saves those horrendous up-the-back poonamis that seem so common with single use nappies.

How many reusable nappies do newborns need?

This will depend on how often you want to be washing nappies, and your drying facilities. Newborn babies get through at least 10 nappy changes a day in the first few weeks. Thankfully this will settle down to around 5-6 changes a day by the time they get to 6 weeks old.  

Ideally you need 2-3 days worth of nappy changes to cover your washing and drying times. A minimum of around 25 newborn reusable nappies are recommended. This can be 25 individual nappies, or a two-part system of around 8-10 outer waterproof wraps and 25-30 absorbent inserts. (If you need help with the different types of nappy systems, find out more >HERE<).

Can I use reusable newborn nappies in hospital?

The simple answer is YES! These days most midwives and hospitals have at least some experience of cloth nappies and will probably be very pleased to see them being used. You don’t need to ask permission to use them – it is your baby and your choice.

 If you are just planning and overnight stay then 12 newborn nappies should be enough to pack in your hospital bag. Remember to take a long a wet bag to put the wet nappies in and it might be handy to have a spare set in the house or car ready, incase you need to stay in longer. It might also be worth getting your birth partner on board, practicing putting newborn nappies on and washing instructions. They will probably feel glad to be of help!

What nappies do I need overnight?

For the first couple of weeks at least, you will be changing your new baby’s nappy after every feed, as they tend to do a poo around the same time. This means you don’t need quite so much absorbency as the nappy isn’t on for very long. Once your baby has stopped pooing after every feed then you can look at using a nappy that can stay on for longer (and eventually overnight). A favourite of overnight use is a Tots Bots bamboozle size one and a Tots Bots size one Peenut cover is a fantastic night time option, or you can simply add an extra booster to your existing newborn nappy.

What else do I need to use cloth nappies from birth?

You don’t need any specific kit for using reusable nappies from birth but the following items are useful at whatever stage you are using cloth nappies. You will need:

Washing newborn reusable nappies

This couldn’t be simpler! Just remember cool prewash, long hot wash (40-60 degrees C), air dry! There is no need to soak modern reusable nappies. If you are using a disposable liner to catch the poo, pop that in the bin and store the dirty nappy in a lidded nappy bin or wet bag until you are ready to wash.

You should aim to wash every 2-3 days, and don’t worry about the poo, it is water soluble and will be thoroughly washed away. Even the sticky, black meconium or ‘first poo’ will easily wash out. Really, it is no different from dealing with those explosive accidents on baby’s clothes! The sun is your friend when it comes to any stains, so hang those nappies on the line to dry or even just a sunny windowsill will get them looking like new.

A few reusable nappy washing things to remember are:

  • Don’t use fabric softener as this will affect the nappies absorbency
  • Avoid oil based barrier creams. Choose a natural barrier cream that is cloth nappy friendly such as Weleda Nappy Cream
  • Air dry your nappies if you can. The waterproof PUL and elastics can degrade at high heat so keep away from direct heat sources and tumble dry boosters at a low heat.

With a newborn baby there will be plenty of washing to do, with muslins, towels and tiny baby clothes. I promise you really won’t notice the extra load of nappies that go on a couple of times a week. Seeing those cute tiny newborn nappies drying on the line makes the extra bit of work all worth it.

Tots Bots reusable nappies drying on the washing line

For our full reusable nappy washing guide check out our blog post >HERE<

How to change a newborn reusable nappy

If you are a first time parent that first nappy change can be a bit of a daunting prospect! It won’t be long before you are a nappy changing pro, and there will be plenty of opportunities to practice. Have a couple of changing stations ready, one upstairs and one downstairs, this makes life a bit easier. Try and get everything you need ready beforehand.

Tots Bots Bamboozle and a Peenut wrap – a two part nappy.

You’ll need a changing mat or towel to lie them on, a clean nappy and liner, nappy cream if you use it, a bowl of boiled cooled water and some cotton wool or cloth wipes, and possibly a clean change of clothes. Lay your baby down, remove their nappy, and carefully clean their genitals with the cooled water, paying special attention to all those newborn creases. It’s a great idea to let baby kick about for a few minutes and get some fresh air around their bottoms. Its also a wonderful opportunity for some bonding time, with lots of chatting and eye-contact.

A barrier cream isn’t usually needed on very new babies, but if you are using one make sure its suitable for use with cloth and then pop your nappy on. The front of a newborn cloth nappy should fit just below the cord stump, and tucked in around the knicker line for a snug fit around little baby legs.

How to look after your baby’s cord stump with reusable nappies

You will want to keep your newborns umbilical cord as clean and dry as possible until it has fallen off. Newborn cloth nappies generally fit below the cord stump allowing extra air circulation. Fasten the tabs a little lower, and some newborn nappies have a popper to fasten the front of the nappy below the cord. Plenty of nappy free time is great to aid healing and only gently clean the area with boiled cooled water.

How do I know when to change my newborns nappy?

This can sometimes be a bit tricky to know when to change your newborns nappy when you first start out, especially if you are used to single use nappies. Unlike disposables, reusable nappies don’t have that distinctive smell that gives them away! Have a little peek down the back of the nappy to see if its dirty or use two fingers to feel if the nappy is wet. A newborn nappy needs changing after every feed, and after a couple of weeks this can be increased to ever 2-3 hours (provided there is no poo). It soon becomes second nature.

Which is the best newborn nappy brand?

All the brands of reusable nappy we stock at Babipur have been rigorously tested and are recommended to new parents. We only stock the best quality reusable nappies that have an ethical and safe manufacturing process. Using cloth nappies from day one has never been easier with these fab newborn nappies. Here’s a brief rundown of our newborn reusable nappy brands at Babipur:

Close Pop-in Newborn
Newborn Close Pop-in Puffins. Image credit Beth Malory.

A super cute tiny version of our most popular one-size cloth nappy. With a double gusset and fabulous fit and containment. It’s no wonder this is often the nappy our customers choose to use from birth. Now with improved absorbency thanks to the new bamboo boosters. Also available is a newborn nappy pack, which is great value, perfect for starting your cloth nappy journey from day one. Fits from 5-12lbs (2-5.5Kg).

Tots Bots TeenyFit
Tots Bots TeenyFit. Fits from 5-12lbs (2-5.5Kg)

These are our top choice for the smallest babies, premature babies and twins. They offer a fabulous fit and are truly dinky! With an absorbent, sewn in bamboo core these all-in-one nappies are super easy to use (much like a single use nappy). They are not the quickest to dry however, which is worth keeping in mind if your drying facilities are limited. Fits from 5-12lbs (2-5.5Kg).

Tots Bots Size 1 Bamboozle and Peenut wrap
Tots Bots Size 1 Bamboozle. A two part newborn nappy that will need an outer wrap.

This is what is known as a two part nappy system (if you are struggling with the jargon, check out our easy guide >HERE<). This is a fantastic choice for overnight use when you have got to the stage of not needing to change a nappy after every feed. The whole of the Bamboozle nappy is absorbent so it is great for heavy wetters who are out weeing other nappies. You can reuse the outer wraps 2-3 times before washing. Not the quickest drying, and a slightly more bulky nappy, but super fluffy and cute on the bum! Perfect for lower weight babies right up to around 6 months, Size 1 Bamboozles have a good size coverage. Fits from 6-18lbs (2.7-8Kg).

Baba & Boo newborn nappy
Baba & Boo Newborn nappies fit a good range of sizes. Image credit Beth Malory.

These are gorgeously soft and squishy newborn nappies that are perfect if you are expecting a bigger newborn but still want that wonderful newborn nappy fit. These are pocket nappies that come with two bamboo boosters that are stuffed into the pocket. They cover a good size range and bridge the gap between birth and fitting one-size nappies. Being super absorbent they can cope with those cluster feeding, super soaking growth spurts! They will give you the reliable containment of a newborn nappy in those early days, and should last until around 6 months. Fits from 5-12lbs (2-5.5Kg).

Petit Lulu newborn fitted nappy and cover
Petit Lulu is a great choice of reusable nappy for newborns

This is another two-part nappy system (similar to the Tots Bots Bamboozle and cover above). This  teeny tiny absorbent fitted nappy requires a small waterproof nappy wrap. There are several Petit Lulu cover options, including pull-up covers, wool covers and standard wraps. We love Petit Lulu for the soft frill edges of the fitted nappy and fleecy trim of the wraps. So gentle on newborns delicate skin and won’t leave sock-marks sometimes associated with reusable nappies. Fits from 5-12lbs (2-5.5Kg).

GroVia Newborn
Newborn Grovia reusable nappy

With its trim fit and super soft materials, the GroVia all-in-one newborn nappies are a great choice of newborn nappy. The poppers are surprisingly adjustable and the stay dry lining makes a liner unnecessary. A super easy to use newborn nappy that is quick drying for an AIO and still has great absorbency. Fits from 5-12lbs (2-5.5Kg).

What happens when they grow out of their newborn reusable nappies?

The beauty of reusable nappies is that they can be used on subsequent children! If you are planning further babies you may wish to keep those teeny tiny newborn nappies for a sibling. Give them a thorough wash and ensure they are fully dried before storing. Store them in a fabric bag or box where air can circulate – vacuum pack bags are not recommended. The enemy to cloth nappies in storage is large fluctuations in temperature, and damp, so keep them out of sheds, garages or the loft.

Reusable newborn nappies hold their value well as they are used for a relatively short period of time. They don’t suffer the rigors of toddlers, weaning and teething poo that one size nappies have to cope with. There is always a strong demand for second hand reusable nappies and we have just the place to sell them on, the Babi Pur BST Facebook page.

You are now ready to delve into the wonderful world of one size, or birth to potty nappies. Having used newborn cloth you will have some ideas of what style of nappy suits your needs. You may want to stick with a tried and trusted brand, or now that your confidence has grown, explore new styles and brands.

Babipur exclusive Dewi Close Pop-in reusable nappy. Image credit Hannah Allen

Reusable nappies from birth

We hope this has convinced you to give newborn reusable nappies a go, and answered any questions you may have. Our friendly Customer Service team are always on hand to help you along the way with further advise. If we’ve missed anything out pop a comment below and we will do our best to answer!

Shop the full range of newborn reusable nappies at Babipur >HERE<

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