The Crunchy Mum
Guest Post: Newborn cloth nappies (Part 1)
Lately there’s been a wave of new baby and pregnancy announcements among the people I know. With that I’ve been receiving a surge of questions and curious comments about why I decided to use cloth and what’s so great about cloth. The best thing it all leads to is when I’m asked “so how do I get started?”
So for my next series of posts, I plan to focus on some pointers on where to begin with when choosing to go cloth, what to consider when building your stash, how to decide what cloth nappy system suits your situation best.
What better place to start than right at the beginning: newborn cloth nappying. For this topic I decided to get in a real expert – Rebecca is an avid cloth nappy user who started using cloth right from the newborn stage with her first bub and still going strong with her third, even venturing into her own business making and selling her own brand of MCNs.
She’s kindly agreed to write up a guest post with a detailed guide on newborn cloth nappies which I hope you guys, especially the newbies, will find really helpful…
It's October, the busiest time of the year for maternity wards and independent midwives throughout Australia. I myself have 2 October babies whose birthdays are coming up very soon!
Cloth nappying a newborn is slightly different to regular cloth nappying, but it is easy if you know what to do and how to troubleshoot common issues in newborn nappies.
Typical newborn characteristics
Key considerations for newborn cloth nappies
- Typically, a newborn has a little bottom, a tiny rise and skinny legs that fill out after a month or so. Some newborns are born well-endowed with full thighs and munchable cheeks but they are exceptions to the norm
- A typical newborn feeds every 1.5-3 hours, and is generally changed during or after each feed.
- Newborns tend not to sleep through the night.
- There are generally two patterns in newborn pooing – ones that poo 5 times or more per day on one end of the scale, to ones that poo every 10 days on the other extreme.
- Serial pooers just need more frequent nappy changes, while once-in-10-days pooers need some serious poo containment in the form of well-fitting covers, or risk a poonami, or poosplosion!
- Need to use a nappy that is small enough to fit around legs and waist:
- Newborn size is usually best for smaller babies and for just-newborns under 3.5kg.
- Small sizes may be too big around the thighs and may be too long for most newborns until about 2-3 months old.
- Big newborns from about 4kg onwards may fit small size earlier or from birth.
- Absorbent enough for the small newborn output every 2-3 hours:
- At least 2-3 layers of microfiber or bamboo is good for the absolute newborn stage, up to 7-8 layers of absorbency for bigger and older newborns.
- Thinner layers also mean shorter drying time, so crucial when changing nappies almost constantly.
- Containing soft liquidy poo leakage is priority:
- Nappies need to fit nice and snug around the legs and especially around the waist to prevent poo escaping up the back.
- Additional gussets around the legs are great to prevent poo leaks.
- Newborn sized nappy covers are fantastic over fitted nappies (two lines of elastic defence against any poo leak) or prefold nappies.
- Use newborn sized nappy covers with gussets over prefold nappies.
- If using old school terry flats, use small nappy covers instead of newborn size to go over the bulk of the flats.
- Quick to dry, economical and easy to use, as newborns go through so many changes a day:
- Cotton is by far the quickest drying of all the nappy materials, followed closely by microfiber.
- If you use bamboo prefolds (a bit pricier than cotton), you can reuse newborn prefolds as absorbent inserts in pocket nappies, or add them as boosters to your baby’s future nappy stash.Examples of various MCNs fit on newborns
Top row left: Baby Beehinds Small Petite All-In-II on 3-week-old
Top row right: Bitti Tutto on 7-week-old
Middle row left: Bummis Small Superbrite Cover over a Baby Beehinds fitted nappy
Middle row right: EcoBumba one-size pocket nappy on 2-week-old
Bottom row left: Bubblebubs XS AIO on 2-week-old
Bottom row right: Bubba J Small pocket nappy on 2-week-old
(Images kindly provided by Bean Sprout Bubba)
How many nappies do I need
How do I wash newborn nappies
- In summer I would recommend a minimum of 20-24 nappies, more if nappies contain bamboo to allow for longer drying time. For a comfortable newborn stash, aim to have between 26-36 nappies.
- Factor in 10-12 changes per day, due to frequency of poos, and checking wet nappies for hydration. For me I changed nappies after every feed, or in between sides if breast feeding.
- If this sounds like a lot of nappies upfront for a very short time, consider using prefolds and covers. A newborn only needs 2 newborn or small nappy covers minimum per day, so 4-6 nappy covers minimum in total to use with 24-36 prefolds is more economical.
- Once your newborn outgrows the prefolds, they can be reused to stuff pocket nappies or boost absorbency of your child's nappies.
In exactly the same way as regular modern cloth nappies:
In Part 2, we'll get into the different newborn nappy options and the pros and cons of each one. If you want to get in touch with Rebecca, you can drop by her website and blog at www.beansproutbubba.com
- Drypail, no need to rinse off newborn poo unless you want to
- Cold machine rinse followed by a warm 40-60 C wash.
- Line dry in the sunshine to remove stains
To read more on my cloth nappy journey, you can also check out my other cloth nappy posts or stop by my personal blog livingserenely.blogspot.com