Managing the newborn phase with cloth nappies

A new baby and another lockdown didn’t stop Bear & Moo’s Hannah Porter from launching her littlest cloth nappies yet. Pamela McIntosh asks about raising a newborn while launching a new product and using cloth nappies through the newborn phase. 

Congratulations on the birth of beautiful Maddie! How are you all doing?

Thank you! Maddie is nearly four months old and she is a total delight. She’s baby number three for my husband and I – and definitely our last – so she has to go with the flow a little bit, because we have two other kids to work around. It’s a busy life, but we’re very grateful to have her.

Has the first few months with her been different from the newborn stage with the boys?

Yes, it’s quite different this time. Regan (6) was a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) baby, and I think because of this, routine became our norm in those first few months. After I had Hadley (5), I experienced postnatal anxiety, trying to juggle a 17-month-old and a newborn. This time I am in the privileged position of having more independent older kids, a stay-at-home husband, and my mum living just around the corner. I think Richard and I parent differently too; I have always been quite routine driven, whereas with Maddie we’re being led by her a bit more and I manage to still be able to get a few things done, thanks to a lot of babywearing!

Did you manage to step away from work in those early weeks?

I can be a bit of a control freak [laughs], but I did take a full week away from work, and then slowly eased into it. The wonderful Jenn keeps everything on track at Bear & Moo headquarters, so it was really just the big-picture management stuff and a bit of marketing that had to take a back seat for a while. We love being at work and do spend a lot of time there, but I am trying to ensure I make time to do things with Maddie, such as taking her swimming, which she loves, because these early months go so fast. I’m also trying to stay in tune with what I need for my own recovery and my physical and mental health.

Tell us about Bear & Moo’s newest addition to the cloth nappy family.

Our adjustable one-size-fits-most (3.5-18kg) cloth nappies are our hero product, and they’re a great intro-level place to start. But there are some people who want to use cloth nappies from the newborn stage, which is why we created them. We went for a simple style with built-in microfibre and bamboo absorbency (rather than inserts like our standard cloth nappies have) because this is the most similar to the way a disposable nappy would be used. Much like the standard cloth nappies, the newborn style is still adjustable by the dome system, but also features a top dome to allow space for the umbilical cord (which can take up to two weeks to fall off after the baby is born).

No doubt Maddie has been trialling these newborn cloth nappies?

Yes! We use a mix of cloth and disposable nappies for her. I took some of our new newborn-sized cloth nappies to the hospital when I went in for my Caesarean section, but in hindsight, that was very optimistic of me. When Maddie was about two weeks old, I started introducing one newborn size cloth nappy a day, and we’ve built up from there. At about three months old she moved up to the “one size fits most” nappy. Right now we’re using cloth during the day and a disposable at night. I’ll probably give the cloth-overnight a go when she’s a bit older (and I get a bit more sleep).

What’s your advice for parents-to-be considering cloth nappies?

Sometimes, the more information you seek out, the more overwhelmed you become. It doesn’t matter what brand you choose; just buy a few and give them a go. There are some great Facebook communities where you’ll find others trying to get the hang of cloth nappies too. Remember, you don’t have to be exclusive with cloth nappies – just do whatever works for your baby and your lifestyle. Even using just one cloth nappy will save you money and save another nappy going to landfill. You’ve got this!