A Beginners Guide to Reusable Nappies

Babipur Clyd Pop-in reusable nappy. Image credit Capture the Rainbow Photography

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 starting with reusable nappies at first. But don’t worry it really is simple once you know how! Here’s our reusable nappies beginners guide to get you up to speed.

We recommend trying a few different cloth nappies, each have their own benefits which suit your little one and family.  How you are able to wash and dry your nappies may also play a part in your choice as drying time does vary. If you are unsure about different nappy styles, you can read about them in our Guide to Cloth Nappy Jargon.

For a full day in cloth, you will need:

  • Approx 5-10 nappies (5 for a toddler, 10 for a newborn)
  • 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 15-25 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! Please remember, if you just want to try a few nappies at first or your budget doesn’t allow for the initial outlay, just add to your stash as and when you feel able. Every reusable nappy used is one less in landfill.

Prewash your reusable nappies

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. Start with the nappy much lower down at the back, just covering their wee bottoms, and higher up at the front. Here are some handy tips for getting the correct fit:

Reusable nappy fit guide
Reusable nappies beginners guide – getting the right fit!

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 night, including Tots Bots Bamboozles and Petit Lulu Maxi night nappies.

What about poo?!

Probably the most daunting aspect of using reusable nappies when you’re a beginner. 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 eating solid food and 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. You can read our really easy Nappy Washing Guide here.

Little ones like helping with the nappy wash too! Image credit Liz Loh

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 (put in the bin) 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: cold rinse, long hot wash, line or tumble dry, fold/stuff, and start again! Wet bags can be washed with the nappies, too.

Image credit Kim Pascoe

Cloth nappies on the go

Using cloth nappies when you’re out and about is just as easy as disposables. All you need extra is an small/medium wet bag for the used nappies, and cloth wipes and bag if you’ve decide to use them as well. Just make sure you have enough cloth nappies to last during the time you are out. 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 boot, the beach, and even at the office!)

Tots Bots Easyfits are an easy reusable nappy for beginners to use. Image credit Rosie Burford

Reusable nappies beginners guide – top tip: Just give it a go!

The important thing is just to give it a go! You’ll be surprised how quickly you fall into a routine and everyone is slightly different. Even doing cloth part time, perhaps just at home while you get used to them, could 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 nappy and the right routine, and we’re happy to have any excuse to chat about cloth nappies with you!

We hope this reusable nappies beginners guide will give you the confidence to take the plunge with cloth nappies. But if you need more encouragement, just ask us via Customer Services, or there are plenty of fellow cloth nappy fans on our wonderful Facebook page the Babipur Hangout.

reusable nappies beginners guide top tip – just give them a go! Image credit Capture the Rainbow Photography

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3 Responses

  1. Nico says:

    Great, this has helped give me the confidence to give cloth a go! Thank you!

  1. December 30, 2017

    […] Make Laundry not Landfill – If you have a child in nappies, switching to reusable cloth can have a really positive impact on how much waste your household sends to landfill. Disposable nappies can take 500+ years to decompose in landfill, and each child will get through thousands of nappies in their first years of life. Cloth nappies are easy use, better for the environment, cost effective and super cute too! We stock a wide range of nappies to suit all families and babies, so give us a shout if you need some help or want to chat about cloth. If you want to know more about how to get started with cloth nappies you can find it here. […]

  2. May 2, 2019

    […] benefits of using cloth nappies are numerous – if you are thinking of giving cloth a go then don’t be put off by the work involved. It really isn’t that arduous, and soon becomes […]

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