The Fourth Trimester: Cloth Diapering from Day One

The Fourth Trimester: Cloth Diapering from Day One

10 lb, 4-day-old baby boy in Lil Joey Newborn All-in-One Cloth Diapers in pumpkin

I’ve had my eye on Lil Joey Newborn All-in-One Cloth Diapers for a long time now. So when I got pregnant with my fourth child, I was super excited to order a two-pack for my own little wee one. We didn’t know baby’s gender so I went with gender-neutral colors crimson and pumpkin.  Now for those of you who have ordered cloth diapers before know the excitement of getting fluffy mail! The day my diapers arrived was a happy day. They looked so itty bitty to me; super soft and fluffy! They were completely perfect for a newborn. I was really looking forward to cloth diapering my new baby from his very first diaper.

Sometimes even pro cloth diaper people will be discouraging about cloth diapering a newborn from day one. Some of the reasons range from the issue of meconium, to how quickly babies outgrow their newborn stash, to how much work newborns are. I would like to offer some simple and inexpensive solutions to these obstacles.

Meconium – Meconium is a baby’s first stool. It is dark green, almost black in color and is very thick and sticky. Some people prefer to use disposables until all the meconium is passed, typically within the first days. The thought is that meconium might be hard to clean or will possibly stain cloth diapers. Personally I have had no issues with washing meconium from cloth diapers, nor has it ever stained my diapers. However if you were really concerned about diapers being difficult to clean or staining, there are some easy fixes. One option would be to use disposable diaper liners.  These also come in super handy when baby starts eating solid foods.  Another option would be to make your own inexpensive cloth liners. I bought some clearance fleece and cut it into strips to place inside our cloth diapers– Inexpensive diaper liners that you can wash! Although you won’t feel bad about tossing one if for some reason you cannot salvage it.

Investing in a newborn stash – We all know how quickly newborns grow. How often do we hear a new mom say, “He/She never even got to wear most of his/her newborn clothes more than once!” For this reason some people are hesitant to invest in a newborn cloth diaper stash. However there are several ways to build an affordable newborn stash. My very favorite cloth diapers for newborns are prefolds.  Prefolds are generally the most economic cloth diaper choice and are truly multi-functional as they can also be used as an insert for pocket diapers.  Prefolds with one-size covers are a wonderfully affordable cloth diaper option for newborns. I will be honest: It is nice to throw in a few newborn all-in-ones (such as Lil Joey Newborn All-in-One Cloth Diapers) into your stash for outings or special events but it is not at all necessary. You can easily get away with a newborn stash consisting of all prefolds.   Another option is to use one-size cloth diapers that grow with baby or pre-loved diapers.

Keeping up with washing diapers – Are cloth diapers more work than disposables? Yes. Are they a ton of more work than disposables? Not really. For me it amounts to a couple extra loads of laundry a week. An ample cloth diaper stash should allow you to go at least 2 days between washings. You will likely burn out quickly if you have to wash your diapers daily. I generally go about 3 days between washes. I find the economic and ecological benefits of cloth to be well worth 2 to 3 extra loads of laundry per week.

Overnight OptionsOften it takes a little experimenting to find a good overnight cloth diaper solution, especially for newborns due to the frequency of dirty diapers.  This is where I think woolies are awesome! Wool is hands down the best night time diaper cover I have used. Finding a night time cloth diaper for your newborn doesn’t mean you will get through the whole night without a diaper change, but might help you get through longer stretches of time if you find something extra absorbent.

Keep in mind that cloth diapering doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing commitment. Some families find a balance of cloth and disposables for them. For example some might use disposables overnight and/or for outings and then cloth diaper the rest of the time. Some families might opt to use disposables when someone else is caring for their baby and then cloth diaper the rest of the time. Like most things in life, finding a rhythm that works for your family is the most important factor. Our cloth diapering habits have evolved and changed over time as our family grows and we adapt to the season of life we are experiencing.

Sarah Johnson is a crunchy mama to four boys. Her family feels blessed to currently live abroad in the Netherlands and enjoy exploring all it has to offer. 


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