1. Newborns
  2. Health & daily care
  3. Poos, wees & nappies

Changing a cloth nappy: in pictures

0-3 years

Changing cloth nappies: getting ready

Before changing cloth nappies, make sure you have everything you need within reach. This includes a fresh nappy, nappy liners, baby cream, baby wipes or washcloths, and some water.

Lay baby down on a changing mat. If she grizzles, sing a song or offer her a favourite toy. If you’re using a change table, always keep one hand on baby so she doesn’t fall. Never leave baby unattended.

Undress baby’s bottom half, then undo the nappy. Have a spare cloth handy in case baby wees. Use the front of the nappy to wipe off any poo, then fold the nappy tightly to stop spills.

Cleaning bottoms and putting on clean cloth nappies

Lift baby’s bottom and gently clean the area with baby wipes, a damp washcloth or wet cotton wool. Always wipe front to back. Put on some nappy cream. Talcum powder isn’t recommended. 

Take a new cloth nappy with a liner. Slip it under your baby, then fasten it using clips, velcro or press studs. Don’t cover the belly button in newborns.

If you use nappy covers, make sure to cover the whole nappy to avoid leaks. Check the nappy and cover aren’t too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers into the waist band.

Changing cloth nappies: handy tips

Once you’ve dressed your baby, put her in a bouncer or cot or let her play on a clean blanket on the floor. Then get rid of the dirty nappy and wash your hands.

When travelling, carry spare cloth nappies, clips, liners, covers, baby cream and waterproof bags.

You might need to change cloth nappies more often than disposables – it could be 6-7 times a day.

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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