My Green Nappy Discovering Modern Cloth Nappies and Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

June 15, 2010

My Newborn and Cloth Nappies: What Should I Do?

The Sponsors of the first Green Promise Nappies are your Nappy Doulas for this series of ‘Congo Questions’.

The Winter Sponsors of the 100 Green Promise Nappies Initiative were invited to contribute to this series of Congo Questions. Each donated a special cloth nappy to go out as a giveaway prize to become an ambassador for ‘Nappy Change’ as it stopped a disposable heading to landfill each time it is worn. This seasonal giveaway strives to reach 100 donated nappies in a future round, and you can register at any time to either play in the current giveaway (they go for 6 weeks at the start of each season) or register to be notified when the next round is set to begin! You can enter into the draw for one nappy, or all of them!

Winter Green Promise Nappy Sponsors – Congo Advice #2

“I’m having a baby in a few months. I want to cloth nappy my newborn, but I am worried that I might ‘burn out’ with the effort! What is your advice for me?”

Ease into mumming. Ease into using cloth. Absorb the insights of the mums below! (and remember that cloth nappies may take a few washes to get to their optimum absorbency)

You’ll see a wonderful range of responses, and no doubt will gain a perspective on the question that relates well to your situation and needs. No-one sees what anyone else contributes until it is published here! This is what your Nappy Doula’s have to say about considering cloth nappying your newborn baby:

Amanda from Sweet Bubba Eco Store:

Have some disposables. You are better off using several cloth nappies and then supplementing with disposables than using only disposables.

Janine from Ninky Bear:

There is no more effort really, than using disposables. You put them in a bucket and wash them at the end of the day. So, depending on how many nappies you own, it’s one wash every day, or every second day!

Emma from Brindabella Baby:

Even just one cloth nappy used regularly will reduce costs, landfill waste, and the carbon footprint of producing single-use nappies.

For example, using a cloth nappy once a day saves over $500 by the time your child is toilet trained.

I also found it easier to push “start” on the washing machine than run out to the supermarket when I ran out of clean nappies, and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine while hanging them out (baby enjoyed playing with the pegs and passing the nappies to me).

My favourite nappies for ease-of-use would be Cushie Tushies Couture all-in-ones – no folding, no pins, and the stay-dry liner helps prevent stains, and six layers of bamboo means they’re absorbent enough for night use with my own children (heavy wetters may want to add a booster).

Cassandra from New Age Nappies:

If you can fight through the 2 weeks it will just become second nature – try not to use any disposables even in hospital as it will affect your chances of using cloth nappies full time.

Kyra from E-Weez:

If you have support around, ask them to help with the washing! Also, making sure you have stash of 20 or so nappies is a good idea, this way you hopefully won’t be washing everyday. If you are having your baby in winter, it may be worth investing in a dryer (one that’s energy efficient would be better) or an electric drying rack to ensure that you can get your nappies dry.

Eva from Oz Baby Trends:

Don’t stress! Cloth nappying a newborn is far easier than most people image. Number 1: You don’t need to rinse or soak those newborn poos. Just pop them in a dry-pail, ensuring you wash everyday. Number 2: Pop the nappies through a rinse cycle in your machine, then through a wash. Let the machine do the work! Line dry for the best results as the sun will bleach any stains. If you’re worried about staining, use a liner (flushable or reusable).

Cindy from Ticklefish Tots:

Don’t feel like you have to do everything! If you have a good supply of cloth nappies, don’t feel like you have to wash every day. Don’t be afraid to have a small supply of disposables on hand, especially while you are adjusting to being a new mum AND using cloth!! Lots of “clothie mums” find it easier to use disposables rather than cloth while they are out and about.

In all honesty, modern cloth nappies are just as easy to use as disposables, and they are alot easier to use than “old fashioned” cloth nappies. They don’t require any soaking and are as simple to wash as a regular load of washing!

Marnie from Noonee Wilga:

My advice:
#1 – get breastfeeding well established
#2 – recover from birthing your baby
#3 – get as much rest as you can
#4 – accept help from all who offer and write a list of jobs on the fridge or near the phone to refer to. Remember to include washing and hanging out the wash in your list!

Kyra from Bubbalooba:

Modern cloth nappies aren’t really that much extra effort, especially if you have enough so you can wash every 2nd-3rd day. Have a pack of environmentally friendly disposables handy in case of emergencies, but you will soon see how easy it is to use modern cloth nappies!

Nicole from Krap Katchers:

What effort? My advice is to wipe any pre-conceived notions of what cloth napping involves and stop listening to those negative comments from people who have no experience in the modern cloth world. You won’t notice the extra washing loads when you already have to wash baby clothes and blankets all the time as well, you especially won’t notice if you use cloth from birth.
Using cloth isn’t going to be the thing that burns you out; if anything all those night time feeds will be the real test of your sanity. Plus receiving fluffy mail from the postman is a real mood booster at the best of time.
Jacquie from Cheeky Cherubs:

I found it was great using a mix of Eco Disposables and Cloth Nappies within the first month. It was a life saver on those days when you’re just too tired to get the washing done (and no one really wants to help you by cleaning the nappies for you!). Once my second packet of Eco Disposables ran out in week 4 I was determined to go cloth full time since I had invested so much money into my cloth collection!

Don’t let yourself burn out or you might decide not to cloth at all – and it’s definitely worth going the cloth way if you can.

Michelle from Sustainable Hemp Products:

Modern Cloth Nappies don’t need all the soaking etc of days gone by. Statistics show that cloth nappies take 7 minutes out of your day which is a short time to save alot of money. Also a trip to the clothesline to hang them out will be a chance to get side for a wonderful dose of Vitamin D from the sun. Just pop bub in your baby carrier and they’ll get the fresh air too.

Fiona and Catherine from Darlings Downunder:

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – no one expects you to have anything together at the beginning. Allow yourself some leeway. Use disposables if they give you the time to establish bonding and breastfeeding. If it’s important to you to use cloth exclusively, make sure that your partner/mum/any helper you have supports this and will help you in the early weeks. Newborn prefolds and covers are perfect to start with – easy to assemble, economical, and fast drying. If you like the convenience and ease of a newborn sized All-in-one and think that might make life easier then add some of those.

Then after you start to emerge from the fog of those first few weeks and have a washing system established, start introducing nappies that appeal to you.

Think you might like pockets? Try out two or three brands and see if they work for you. Like the idea of All-in-ones? Add some of those to your stash.

Baby has explosive, runny poos? Get come fitteds and use the covers you have and see if that helps. You don’t have to work out your entire nappying system beforehand. Start simply and as you adapt to your baby’s routine and the new household routine, adapt your cloth nappying.

Before long you will have established a system that works for you and your baby, one step at a time.

Rebecca from Bean Sprout Bubba:

Firstly, if you are given newborn disposable nappies, keep them, especially if this is the first time using cloth nappies. They may be a sanity saver in blur of the early days getting the hang of the needs of a newborn. In these crucial early days, please take care of yourself, the guilt over using disposable nappies is not worth it. But do get into cloth when you are ready.

Secondly, unless you have cloth nappied an older child before, don’t be too hard on yourself doing cloth with a newborn. It takes trial and error to get a nappy routine going, moreso with a newborn. If it feels like a blur of constant nappy changes day and night, it’s ok to take a break from cloth and go back to cloth when the poos/wees have ‘subsided’ a little!

Thirdly, there’s no need to worry about trying to get all the newborn stains out of the nappies. If a stain persists, a few washes and sunning will get them out eventually. As long as the nappies are washed in a working washing machine it is clean: stains are just superficial and not worth worrying over.

Thank you to all our nappy doula’s for their contributions,

– Your Nappy Doulas –

This is part of a regular series of articles that offer you an insight into the beliefs, concerns, knowledge and wisdom of Mums making and selling modern cloth nappies in Australia and New Zealand.

Discover More from Your Nappy Doulas…

P.S There is a question at the bottom of each of these features. Join in the conversation and share your own experiences and stories with us…

Thank you to My Green Nappy’s Partners:

If you are just visiting for the first time today, and have found something useful in this article, be sure to register & receive My Green Nappy Guide, you’ll be both relieved and excited at the things you will discover!

A few questions to you about your search for the best Newborn Cloth Nappy Solutions:

  • How would you recommend a new mum eases into using cloth nappies with a freshie little newborn baby?
  • How did you begin, if you started at the newborn stage?


  1. My little boy is almost five weeks old and we’ve been using cloth exclusively since he was ten days old. My advice is to just jump in and go for it – it’s a lot less work than you think it will be and once you’ve washed your first bucket of nappies and see that it only adds a couple of extra minutes to your day there will be no looking back.

    Getting my husband involved also proved to be a great help, he changes the nappies when he is home so has become very familiar with our various nappy types so he is confident using them, washing them and putting them away.

    We use a variety of nappy types, AIO are a great starting point as they are easy to use and an easy transition from disposables. Experimenting with different combinations, especially for night, will ensure that you have no leaks and find the best solution for your baby, so don’t be afraid to try different nappy types and brands.

    Washing them is so easy, just chuck them in the machine with a prewash. We do so much washing an extra load doesn’t make a difference and it soon becomes routine.

    We dry them on an airer that can be moved outside when it’s sunny and back inside when it rains, it means no dashes outside to pull everything off the washing line if the weather turns and you can put everything on the airer and then take it off again inside so you can keep an eye on your baby at the same time.

    Comment by Elizabeth — June 15, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  2. Some hospitals use cloth in the maternity ward – the old terry squares, but they walk you through how to use them. It’s just one more skill you absorb. When you get home your MCN seem really fast and simple.

    I’d suggest having a few different types – like pockets or all in twos, so you can try out the different brands, and see what you like. You might find your husband hates snaps, or you love a certain brand’s fit. Then you can always get a few more of your favourites.

    It’ll be fun, I promise!

    Comment by Lara from ExtremelyNappies — June 16, 2010 @ 9:02 am

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