Getting Started with Newborn Nappies


‘Should I start with newborn cloth or wait till bubs is a bit older?”  This is often the starting point for many people on their journey into cloth nappies.  There is no single right answer, just like there is no single right cloth nappy for every bum! 

Should I buy newborn sized nappies?

With my first I invested in some newborn size nappies to help me decide if I would be able to use cloth nappies in the long term.  I was glad I did as the newborn size fit her up till 10 weeks when I finally invested in some OSFA.  By this stage I had worked out cloth nappies were totally for us and felt comfortable spending the money toward building a full time stash.

Typically newborn cloth fits from 2.5-5.5 kg, for many babies they may only last a matter of weeks and for others you may get a good few months out of newborn sized nappies.  At the time of writing this my 8 week old is still fitting into his newborn nappies (just) and there are still a few OSFA that don’t quite fit properly.

If you are planning on more than one child the investment is definitely something you might want to consider.  Because they are only used for a short amount of time and provided they are stored correctly newborn nappies should easily see you through 2-3 children making the initial outlay very worthwhile.

The only issue I have come up against with the newborn sized nappies is that their absorbency needs boosting from around 3-4 weeks.  I thought (hoped) I had managed to get away with a light wetter in the early days but once we hit 3-4 weeks I needed to start boosting.

If you don’t like the idea of sized nappies

If you don’t want to invest in newborn sized nappies there are still plenty of options available to use cloth from the word go.  Flats and covers work from any age.  Prefolds are another idea as you can realistically skip the newborn size all together and move straight into infant sizes.  This should put you in cloth from the start up until about 16 weeks when you will have to move up into the crawler size. 

Trim fitting OSFA are also another option as they will fit a newborn faster than larger OSFA.  Grovia, Best Bottom and Itty Bitty are the trim fitting OSFA in my stash and I had the Best Bottom and Itty Bitty shells on Riley from 2 weeks and I tried the Hybrid shell at 4 weeks but suspect it could have gone on sooner. 

If you have lots of OSFA and don’t want to invest in sized nappies then you can try using the newborn hack on a OSFA.  This basically involved using the first rise snap as the waist snaps to get a smaller fit on the waist while still having a good fit around the leg.

If you have used cloth on a previous child or have already invested in some OSFA you can pretty much cobble a nappy together from anything that will fit.  I raided my pop in, candies, itty bitty and grovia inserts and boosters for anything that would fit in a newborn or infant sized shell and made a nappy out of them more than once.  Plus lots of these have a stay dry topper as a bonus.  Pop In boosters work particularly well as they are small and thin.

So far I’ve found that the Baby Beehinds Magic All AIO and Bubblebubs Bam Bams have been the best sized nappies absorbency wise.  The Tots Bots Teenyfit deserves a mention as it has a pocket in the back where you can add an additional booster. 

As mentioned before trim fitting OSFA will fit from an earlier age, I have Best Bottom, Itty Bitty Tuttos and Grovia Hybrids all which fitted from 2-4 weeks.  The Baby Beehinds fitted and Bubblebubs Bamboo Delight were also able to be used successfully.

I have noticed that OSFA nappies with three rise snaps seem to fit better from an earlier age so that is something to watch out for if you have a few already or are thinking about starting cloth with OSFA.

Cloth nappying a newborn doesn’t have to be hard, I know a lot of people want to wait till things settle down a bit before starting but from my experience the quicker you get started the faster you will learn and the more successful you will be. 

Cloth nappies are not that much extra work, pretty much just taking the nappies to the dry pail instead of the bin and then doing the laundry a few times a week, probably about an extra 10 mins a day.  For the long term environmental benefits and cost savings they are a complete winner.  You just need to start somewhere with a few and see how you get on, if it’s too much come back to it in a few weeks and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.