Getting started with newborn cloth nappies

Let’s start at the very beginning. Bringing a new baby into the world is a whole new experience for parents. Being prepared with information about which cloth nappy to use can only help to make your cloth nappy journey a successful one. Less waste in your bin and more money in your wallet is a great reason for anyone to get started with cloth.  

Using cloth nappies from the beginning is a great way to get acquainted with all things modern cloth nappies. By establishing a good wash routine for washing your nappies, you will realise that it is not much extra work, about 2-4 extra loads a week. Make sure all members of the house and willing washing helpers know about the correct way to wash nappies. 

Where to start

When deciding which cloth nappies to invest in, there are two main types of nappies to select from – smaller newborn nappies or One-size-fits-most nappies.  Newborn nappies will fit babies from birth up to around 5.5/6kg (Up to approx 3 months) where a one-size-fits-most nappy will fit from 3.5kg to 16kg depending on the brand and fit of nappy.  (Every brand will have a different recommended weight range fit). 

As a new parent, you don’t know what you don’t know, right?! When researching cloth nappies, you may see the terms ‘boosting’, ‘insert’ and ‘flat’.  These generally refer to extra pieces of material that are used to increase absorbency for a nappy. So if a nappy requires extra ‘boosting’, this means that you are adding more layers to make it more absorbent and last that bit longer on your baby.   

For this post, we will focus on the types of newborn nappies currently on the market.  When considering newborn modern cloth nappies, here are some options:

Prefold nappy

A prefold is a flat piece of cloth, normally sewn in thirds.  The middle third has a greater absorbency. When fitted on baby, these will need a nappy cover for waterproofing and a snappi to secure (in lieu of nappy pins!) There are a range of ways to fold and use a prefold. The most common and straight forward fold is the butterfly fold shown below.  This can also be achieved with a Diversifold.

Fitted nappy

This style of nappies require no folding and will fit to baby’s shape.  They will require a snappi to secure and a nappy cover. Fitted nappies are great for quick fitting and will adapt to the shape of the baby.  You can even get creative added extra boosting (when baby’s wetting habits increase) before you put on the cover.  



An all-in-one nappy does not require any folding or covers, everything is built into one piece and the whole nappy goes to be washed after every change.  Generally secured with velcro, this allows you to get the best fit for even the smallest sized baby.  



Similar to a traditional pocket nappy, the smaller version mini pocket better suits for the smaller newborn.  This is where the insert (the absorbency) is located within the pocket of the nappy.  By having the ability to increase the absorbency, you can customise this for boys and girls if you find you have a heavy wetter on you hands.  


Ultimate hack

Perhaps your newborn is a big baby and you only want to buy the one style of nappy.  The first few weeks, you will be getting to know your baby, and that includes the sizing and fit of nappies.  By choosing a pocket nappy, you can use prefolds or flats folded directly onto the baby, then use the nappy outer as the cover.  When baby grows big enough, you can then use these same prefolds within the pocket of the nappy.  Also, if using a snap cover, you can experiment by fastening the wing snaps onto the rise snaps for a smaller, snug fit.  


Why invest in newborn nappies?

Newborn nappies may only last for the first few months of your baby’s life before they will outgrow them. They are still a worth while investment as:

  • A set of prefolds can be used later down the track for extra boosting and for general baby cloths – burp cloths, use on the change table, wiping up anything
  • If you are looking to have more than one child, newborn nappies can be used on subsequent children
  • You will get your household into the swing of using cloth and washing from the start. It is important to establish your new routine so it becomes an easy behaviour for everyone.  


Your kerbside bin will thank you for not loading it with single-use disposables and your wallet will thank you for not having to add the cost of a box of disposable nappies to your weekly shopping bill.  

Remember, every baby is different. (I didn’t realise the truthfulness in this message until I had a second child!) and what might work for one baby may not work for another. If you do need further help, do not hesitate to ask and reach out to join our online community.