Guide to getting started: what you need to start your cloth nappy love

This week’s guest blog comes from ANA Founding Member, Cassandra Liplyn of Mitch ‘n’ Moo.


Getting started with cloth can seem like a very daunting process. There are so many options and opinions to filter through that the whole thing can seem difficult.

Here are a few tips that we at Mitch’n’Moo advise our new-to-cloth parents and what I’ve used myself and found worked well.

Firstly, cloth isn’t hard: like many things in life, it just takes some practice and you need to allow yourself at least a month to get into a routine and get your head around not only having this beautiful bundle of joy in your life, but also finding what works best in your household. Don’t be too tough on yourself if you find you can’t commit to cloth full time or have a day in disposables when you can’t stand to look at your washing machine.

In the first few years of your child’s life, you’re going to change around 6000 nappies. Your choice of nappy will depend on what’s most important to you and your family. You might choose one type of nappy, or a combination of cloth nappies and disposable nappies.’ Raising Children Network


There are many varying figures on the recommended nappy change numbers and how many nappies you will need. Every baby is different and therefore we can only give a guide; however I have found the following works best for a newborn.


24-30 nappies for a 2 day wash cycle

This can be a mix of styles and sizes or all 1 type e.g. 6 newborns, 6 smalls, 6 prefolds and 3 covers and 6 one size fits most. If your baby is due in summer and you live in a warmer climate you could get by with less as the drying time is shorter on average. However if you have a winter baby and live in a cooler area you may find more than 30 might help as some fabrics and styles will take a few days to dry. (based on not using a dryer)

It is also a personal choice on the style of nappy, as we all have different tastes.


2-3 wet bags

I always found having a small and 1-2 mediums (the type that hold between 4-6 nappies) worked well in the nappy bag as you could put the pooed nappy in the small one and the wet nappies and any additional clothing (I had spewy babies so a lot of extra clothing) in the medium bags.


24-30 cloth wipes

With my first son I shuddered at the thought of using cloth wipes, however with my second it was a necessity as he had a bad reaction to disposable wipes. Since using them I’ve never looked back and find when we are out and about they become a very handy item in my bag. They have served as a hanky, a face washer, an additional booster in a nappy for an unexpected night away, even as a breast pad. There are also many options for how wipes are used such as plain warm water, foamy wipes wash, homemade wipes solutions etc.


A bag to carry it all

There’s no rule on this and I have seen everything from designer nappy bags to simply using a reusable green shopping bag. I use a basic nappy bag with no major compartments inside. This way everything fits. I also have a separate back pack (left in the car) I use if I’m going overnight, or in the early days if I was going all day, that would have some back up nappies and clothes just in case today was the day he’d do 4 poonamis in the space of an hour and use all my supplies.


Bucket or large wet bag

Finally, you’ll need somewhere to store the dirty nappies till you’re ready to wash. A large wet bag or bucket will serve this purpose. I found keeping a large wet bag attached to the change table was handy for overnight and busy days, then I would transfer to buckets (usually after a poo or once night nappies were established after the first morning nappy) until washing (normally 1-2 days max).



  • Wet bags are used to hold nappies when you are out and about. Usually made from PUL with zip closure or drawstring for easy handling, wet bags also make great storage for the dry paling method at home.

  • Cloth nappy wipes are used to clean baby’s bottom at change time. You simply wash and reuse, just like your nappies. They are inexpensive compared to disposables wipes.

  • A bucket may be used to put your dirty nappies in at change time. Store dirty nappies in a bucket using the dry pailing method. Buy a proper nappy bucket for sturdiness and safety. It should have a lid that only adults can open if you have toddlers around. A 20 litre bucket is ideal as it keeps smells in and holds a full day’s nappies easily.
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