A Newborn Diapers Primer

newborn diapersIn addition to adding a new baby to the routine, many parents consider adding cloth diapers to the mix from the very first days after birth. Here are a few things to think about as you begin to cloth diaper your newborn:

Baby’s size.
If you absolutely know you’ll have a smaller child (planning a delivery earlier rather than later, for example) you might want to invest more in newborn cloth. Many more established brands have newborn-specific diapers. Some go down to four pounds. If you are like my extended family where no baby was ever born smaller than 8 pounds then investing in extra small cloth may look a little different. Consider 2-size systems like Apple Cheeks, Blueberry, Bummis, and Thirsties that offer a 7ish to 18ish pound size range. You’ll get the more trim fit of a newborn diaper but with the longevity up to 18 pounds.

Comfort.
If the cloth diaper lingo is overwhelming, join a cloth diaper group that can aid and support you in your many questions along the way. They may even become online friends in those early morning hours while you are up, yet again, bleary-eyed and feeling alone. If you are really nervous about all the possibilities consider something simple like an all-in-one diaper or prefolds with covers. Pocket diapers are fairly simple as well with only stuffing required. If you’re very comfortable and open then the possibilities are endless. I began with mostly pockets but now have a variety and love flats just as much now.

Caregiver.
Consider parents, grandparents, daycare, and anyone else who will change your babe’s diaper. If already ambivalent then Velcro/aplix diaper closures might work best. Snaps have a minor learning curve for the willing but may be intimidating for those less excited about cloth. Also, while trying a wide variety of diapers can help you find what you like best, sticking with one or two specific diapers (same brand, same style) can help. Within each style (all-in-one, pocket, covers, etc.) every brand tweaks the diaper in small ways. Snaps may be placed slightly differently, the cut of each brands diaper may vary from one to the next, and so on. This can be confusing to someone unfamiliar or less interested in cloth diapering.

Timing.
If you begin from day one with cloth you may need to address meconium, the umbilical cord, or circumcision.  Meconium, your baby’s first stool passings, is dark and sticky and tarlike. If you’re concerned with staining you can use a liner. I have not found it to be an issue. For the umbilical cord some brands offer a snap down or cut the diaper to give space for the umbilical cord. I’ve found that some diapers can simply be tucked under in order to give way for the umbilical cord.

Washing expectations.
If you can only wash every 3 days you’ll need to have more diapers than if you’re willing to wash every 1-2 days. If you want the diapers to last through multiple children you may need a larger stash (though newborn diapers are used for a shorter period of time so they may last several children even if used daily). A newborn goes through 8-12 diapers per day, so 16-24 diapers for two days, and 24-36 diapers for three days’ worth of washing.

Budget.
Flats or prefolds and covers are generally the biggest bang for your buck. They also wash very easily and can grow with baby. A newborn prefold can become a toddler doubler down the road. You can also use them as burp cloths or wash/cleaning rags one day down the road. A YouTube search can offer you many demonstrations on a variety of fancy folds (origami is our favorite) but almost anyone can master a simple pad fold. Consider used cloth diapers if you really want diapers you can’t afford. Often people sell nearly new diapers for deeply discounted prices on B/S/T (buy/sell/trade) Facebook groups. You can also vary the size of your stash to accommodate your preferences and budget. If you really want the more expensive diaper brand then buy fewer of them and wash more often.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 3 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tags: cloth diapering, Cloth Diapers, new baby, newborn

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