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Newborn Nappies - A Guide to changing your first Reusable Nappy

newborn nappies

Changing your newborn baby’s reusable nappy for the first time may seem a bit daunting. But it will soon become second nature to you and your partner. After all, you're going to get plenty of practice! Our tips will help you along the way.

1. Choosing your first reusable nappy for your newborn

The first thing to do is decide what type of reusable nappy you want to use. Most first time parents go for the all-in-one reusable nappy design like the Easyfit, simply because it is a one-piece and is really easy to use, and at is a one-size it will fit most babies from birth. 

2. Twins and early babies

The best reusable nappies for low birth-weight babies, are our TeenyFits. Use them for the first few months and move onto EasyFits later. It is the same design as the EasyFit but smaller, way cuter and will give better fit and containment. Another thing to consider is that TeenyFits hold their resale value really well. You can get as much as 75% of what you paid for them on the second hand baby buy and sell boards, so they end up costing you very little saving you even more money!

3. Get some in before baby arrives

Your newborn will need to feed often and all that milk has to go somewhere. Your baby is likely to wee every one hour to three hours and poo several times a day and this can mean up to 10 nappy changes daily to begin with! A lot of parents will mix and match with reusable nappies and disposables nappies until this settles down to 5-6 changes which is usually by the time your baby is 6 weeks old

4. What about the umbilical cord?

Some parents opt to wait until the umbilical cord has dropped off before switching to reusable nappies. If you decide to use them from day one, fasten the reusable nappy tabs slightly lower around your baby's waist to allow air to circulate around the umbilical cord stump until it falls off. 

5. Changing your baby’s reusable nappy

You may want to consider a nappy table or changing station as changing your newborn baby’s reusable nappy on your knee might not be something you’ll feel confident doing at first. You’ll need a nappy mat but as they tend to be made from cold waterproof PVC, top it with one of our fluffy waterproof nappy mats, to keep baby warm and dry whilst you change that reusable nappy. 

6. Getting ready to change

You will need something to clean your baby’s bottom. Cotton wool with cooled boiled water is often the first choice as baby’s skin is really sensitive. Disposable wipes are handy when out and about but these aren't ideal for your baby's skin, or the environment. Reusable cloth wipes are worth considering - you can just use them with cooled boiled water and wash them with your reusable nappies. The best thing about them is just like reusable nappies, they never run out and they will reduce your waste even further! You might want to consider a top-and-tail bowl to help you keep the water and cotton wool/reusable wipes for your baby's face and bottom separate.  Keeping everything to hand is a good idea so you're not fumbling around to find the wipes just as you open up a pooey nappy!

7. Cleaning baby’s bottom

Wipe around your baby's genitals and bottom to clean away the poo. Always wipe the area from front to back and make sure you clean the groin creases. Dry completely, patting (not rubbing) with a clean towel/wipe or paper tissues, remembering to dry the groin to avoid any chaffing. If possible, leave your baby’s bottom open to the air for a few minutes before putting on a clean reusable nappy.

8. Nappy rash and barrier cream 

You don't need to use a barrier cream with every reusable nappy change. In fact, some parents only use it at night-time as baby will have the reusable nappy on for longer compared to during the day. It’s unlikely that your newborn will develop true nappy rash, which is most likely to happen between nine months and 12 months. However, your newborn’s skin is sensitive and you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t become irritated in any way. Should you choose to use a barrier cream, just make sure you use a nappy liner as if it coats your reusable nappies it can reduce their absorbency. 

9. Liners

The main cause of nappy rash is wetness from contact with wee and poo. So the best defence is a dry bottom! Using a liner will help protect against irritation. Nappy liners are made from a non-absorbent material to catch poo and keep wetness away from baby’s skin. We recommend you use disposable biodegradable liners or reusable washable fleece liners. The washable ones are best for newborn skin as they are absolutely the best at keeping it dry.

10. Change your baby's reusable nappy often

Your baby will need a nappy change before or after every feed, and whenever they have pooed. Chances are that your baby won't be bothered by wetness at ths stage, but getting into a habit at changing regularly will help keep baby's skin soft and free of nappy rash. Soiled reusable nappies don't smell the way that disposable nappies do so check (carefully!) by peeking inside the back waist, be warned though you, don't want any surprises!

11. The Poo

In your baby's first nappy, you can expect to find a greenish-black, sticky stool that looks like motor oil. Don’t be alarmed! This is called meconium and it is perfectly normal. It's just your baby's bowel clearing out everything that has accumulated during their nine months in your womb. When your baby is two days to four days old, the poo will become lighter in colour and less sticky. 

If your baby is exclusively breastfed, the poo will usually be yellow or slightly green and will have a mushy or creamy consistency.  If baby is formula-fed, it will be pasty and peanut butter-like and either tan-brown, yellow-brown, or green-brown in colour. Don’t worry, you’ll soon get used to it, and if not you will have 2.5 years to! 

12. Night Time Nappies

For night-time and to help baby sleep through, we’d recommend a two-piece reusable nappy like the Bamboozle Stretch & Waterproof Wrap or the PeeNut pad & Waterproof Wrap. Two-piece nappies will give you double containment and protection against leaks, especially when the reusable nappy is worn for longer periods of time. Most TotsBots customers opt for the size 2 Bamboozle with a size 1 wrap for their newborn baby’s nappies. For small and low birth weight babies we’d recommend the size 1 bamboozle and size 1 wrap.

Using reusable nappies from birth is no different to using disposables really, execpt you know that you are not putting any harmful chemicals next to your newborn's delicate skin. Check out our full range of nappies buy clicking on the link below.

newborn nappies