Cloth Nappy Hospital Bag

Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash

Cloth nappies in hospital…

If you are planning a hospital birth and are wanting to cloth nappy, here is some information you may find useful.

Firstly, don’t panic, they’re just nappies! So in the exact same way as you would ask ‘how many packs of disposable nappies do I need to take’, it is no different when you are wondering about cloth. Wondering how many, doesn’t need to be a barrier to cloth, it’s just the start of guesswork in parenting itself that were all winging ?

Everyone does things slightly different, and there are many variables involved but here is how cloth would work for most parents.

For first time parents, the average amount of time spent in hospital after birth is less than two days (HEP NHS, 2013), with a more recent implementation of discharging parents after 6 hours where appropriate.

On days 1-2, a baby is expected to have meconium poop at least once a day, and pee twice. Days three to four this doubles and then continues to become more regular. So for the first couple of days, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest around 5 nappies on average to be enough per day. If we assume two nights were spent in hospital, 10 nappies would be appropriate.

You could then have a second bag of nappies ready, either left in the car or with your birth partner to bring to you should you need it. In the time passed over two days, your nappies will be fine to wait for the wash. Meconium poop does come out! Read more on this blog about clothing a newborn.

Some people have reported phrases that indicate a hospital not supporting the use of cloth nappies. To be blunt about it, this is YOUR baby and no hospital is lawfully allowed to tell you what you can and can’t do. You do not need permission to cloth nappy your baby. Occasionally words to the effect of their hygiene and how to store them have been known to have been used. Again, a wetbag is not unhygienic. You might have pants covered in your blood, in your bag! Colostrum soaked breastpads too if you decide on reusable for your nips also. So it would be worth asking the hospital to SEE their policy on how they would handle ALL soiled items.

If it is pushed any further, you can ask for a suitable bag that they would have you put your soiled clothes in, and pop your wetbag of soiled nappies in with them too! It’s just logic really.

So, back to the hospital bag. Let’s pop a quick ‘standard’ list together:

That would be considered a very basic bag, right? Now we haven’t made any assumptions on the items above, but it might be perceived to mean disposable for all items. Why not just assume they’re all reusable – does anything need to change? Not really.

So we’ve established around 10 nappies, with a back up bag. Now let’s try wipes. The same applies. One pack of disposables, or one bag of cotton wool pads is the same as one ‘lot’ of cloth wipes. And actually the cloth wipes work 10000% better than cotton wool and disposable wipes! I can manage a toddler poop with one Grovia wipe, but five kids in, I’m well rehearsed in this now. So let’s say two wipes per nappy whilst you find your feet. That’s 20 wipes. Often they’re sold in packs of 10, such as Grovia, and close parent ones. So that’s one or two packs again.

How about wetting them? Well, you might find yourself asking the same about what would you do with cotton wool? The answer is again the same… you can just ask for water. There are sinks everywhere, and you can ask a midwife to bring you a small bowl of water. Babies skin is so delicate, we would never recommend anything other than water anyway. You can compare wipes in this blog also.

I’m hoping by now it feels a little less overwhelming and you see that it’s really not that different. But if you’re the kind of person who likes a physical list to go by, here’s mine:

10 newborn nappies (for types and sizes, see this blog)

20 wipes

Medium Wetbag

Second bag in birth partners care:

10 newborn nappies

20 wipes

Medium Wetbag

I personally recommend the medium wet/dry bags either by tots bots, littlelamb or baba and boo. They will fit 10 newborn nappies easily. A small wetbag is a good idea to store your wipes in.

That’s it! Yep, I’m serious! No need to overthink it.

The next blog to come is fitting nappies around umbilical cords. I’m due next week though so bare with me, stay tuned ?


Health and Social Care Information Centre. Hospital Episode Statistics NHS Maternity Statistics – 2012–13. 2013. Accessed 22nd Jan 2015.

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