Friendly, independent advice with 20 years of real nappy experience

Reusable nappies for newborns

Let’s talk newborn nappies!

OK, let’s be honest, for many, the first few weeks of parenthood can be hard work while you adjust to having a new little person in your life. Many, therefore, stick with disposable nappies for those early weeks. Also, as ‘birth to potty’ nappies often don’t fit too well until baby gets to around 10-12lbs, disposables can fill this gap.

If, however, you’re keen to use real nappies from birth, there are a few alternatives:

  1. Muslins

Examples: Muslinz, Brightbots

Muslins are making a real come-back in terms of popularity. They are basically a slimmer version of a terry square and can be folded in a range of different ways to provide the absorbency needed. They are used with a Nappi Nippa (or nappy pin) and a good quality waterproof wrap (such as a Motherease Airflow), to provide an economical way of nappying baby in the early weeks.


  • Great value option
  • Muslins have a whole host of uses beyond those newborn weeks: they are great as burp cloths, baby comforters, light-weight blankets, can be folded into a pad to be used as a booster in larger nappies, and can be used for years after as household cleaning cloths.


  • The folding can be a bit tricky at first, especially for first-time nappy users.
  • Care needs to be taken to ensure that the muslin is fully contained within the waterproof cover to avoid leakage.


  1. All-in-one newborn nappies

Examples: Baba & Boo Newborn, Little Lovebum Newbies, Tots Bots Teenyfit, Wizard Uno Newborn

Here, the absorbent part and the waterproof part of the nappy are all sewn in together. They’re shaped like a disposable nappy and elasticated at the waist and legs - so it’s practically as easy as putting on a disposable.


  • Super easy to use (so ideal for bleary-eyed first-time parents)
  • Slim fitting


  • More expensive
  • Outgrown quickly. There is some variation is weight ranges across the different brands but some only fit up to around 12lbs. This puts their value for money into question but do bear in mind that they could be used again for subsequent babies and tend to have a good second-hand value.
  • Poo containment will not be as good as a two-part nappy.
  1. Two-part newborn nappies

Examples: Little Lamb Newborn, Easy Peasy Newborn nappies, Tots Bots Bamboozle size 1, Motherease Sandy xs and small (all used with a waterproof cover such as a Motherease Airflow)

Here you get a shaped nappy which is cut to shape and elasticated at the waist and legs - this does the absorbing. You then use this with a separate waterproof cover (such as the Motherease Airflow or Little Lamb wrap). It’s easier to use than the muslin squares, as there’s no folding, but not as easy as the All-in-one options. As the nappy itself is elasticated and the wrap is elasticated you have a double layer of defence between baby’s bottom and the outside world so containment of poo is really good, resulting in far less leaks than you’d get from an all-in-one or, indeed, a disposable nappy.


  • The best option for absorbency and poo containment
  • More economical options by Easy Peasy and Little Lamb have made the cost of nappying with reusables in the early weeks much more economical


  • Geneally more bulky than other options



So, you've decided that you want to use cloth early on, and you've decided which brands to go for (contact us if you need some help making your mind up).The next things to think about is how they work on a tiny baby. Firstly we'd suggest you try to avoid getting marconium on your nappies. This thick, sticky poo in the first few days after birth is really best kept away from your lovely new nappies! Beyond the first few days the poo will loosen up and is much easier to wash out of your nappies. Because the poo is often so watery you can use the nappies as they are - just rinse out any poo from the nappies and put them through the wash (following wash guidance on the nappies). If you prefer, you can use disposable or washable liners.




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