Using Flats and Prefolds on a Newborn


Traditional flats and prefolds are cost effective, versatile, easy to wash and fast to dry, which is why they can be a great option to have as part of your newborn stash.

The brilliance of prefolds and flats lies in their simplicity as they unfold flat and contain no delicate parts such as elastics or PUL. This makes them incredibly customisable, budget friendly and hard wearing. Because they fold out flat they dry much quicker than a modern cloth nappy giving you a way faster turn around time when it comes to washing and drying. 


Traditional Flats

Flat nappies are large squares of absorbent material designed to be folded in many different nappy shapes.

The two most common flat nappies are Bamboo Terry and Cotton Muslin or Cotton Birdseye.
Bamboo Terry is more fluffy and absorbent than Cotton Muslin however can seem little bit more bulky in the first few weeks.
Cotton muslin is a little less absorbent but trimmer and often larger so they fit for longer. 

Flat nappies are cost effective and versatile because they can often be used from birth right through to toddler and are easily boosted with extra absorbency when your babies output increases.

Tip - Use the 'Origami Fold' for a newborn

Bubblebubs Bamboo Terry Flats
Bubblebubs Cotton Muslin Flats
Bubblebubs Bamboo Muslin Flats
Bubblebubs Cotton Birdseye Flats


Prefolds are essentially flat nappies that have already been folded and stitched. They contain extra layers of absorbency in the middle panel where you need it. Prefolds are typically made from Cotton or Cotton Bamboo and need less folding so can be easier to use than flats!
You can also now get Bamboo Stretch Terry prefolds which are beautifully soft and great for getting a good leg seal to protect against newborn poo explosions.

Tip - Use the 'Pad Fold' or 'Angel Wing' fold for a newborn.

Grovia Bamboo Cotton Prefolds
Bubblebubs Cotton Prefolds
Bubblebubs Luxe Stretch Bamboo Terry Prefolds

How many do I need?

This really just depends on how often you are planning to wash!

Flats and prefolds dry really fast so the turn around time is much faster than modern cloth nappies. Remember that newborns poo A LOT so plan for a change at least every two hours and then multiply by every day and night between washes. A few extra for back up when you have an extra change or haven't yet done the washing is always a good idea.

A good place to start is around 18 - 24 for part time/mixed stash use or 30 -36 for full time use.

Nappy Covers

Because prefolds and flats are fully absorbent you need a nappy cover. Nappy covers are relatively inexpensive and can be used throughout multiple changes. This means that when it comes time for changing you can swap out the flat/prefold and pop the same cover back on.

This ultimately means that you don’t need anywhere near the same amount of covers as prefolds. A good place to start is around 4-6 for full time use.

Baby Beehinds Nappy Cover
Bubblebubs Nappy Cover
Grovia Nappy one-size Cover
Baby Beehinds Wool Nappy Cover


Prefolds and flats can be an excellent addition to your newborn stash because they are budget-friendly, heard-wearing and extremely versatile. 
As with all nappy styles there are pros and cons which is why we are big advocates of having a mixed stash.
Flats and prefolds are great for at home, as a stash filler or back up when you haven't got around to the washing and modern all in one or all in two styles for when you need something trimmer, quick, and easy to pop on. 



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