Along with the sheer joy and excitement of having a newborn comes a million questions. Where should baby sleep? Is that a "hungry cry" or an "I'm hurt" cry? Breastfeed or bottle feed? Did I put the car seat in correctly? And one question we in the cloth diapering community hear lots: Should I cloth diaper my newborn or wait until he/she is bigger?
While it's totally up to personal preference, there really isn't any reason not to cloth diaper from the start. With our second child, we started shortly after returning home from the hospital, but many people are able to begin even when still in the hospital! But, admittedly, it can be a bit scary. Cloth diapering a newborn can be trickier than cloth diapering an older baby. Between runnier stools and more frequent urination, skinny little thighs, and an umbilical cord stump, it can be confusing and a little daunting. Well, today, we're sharing some tips to hopefully help things go smoothly and answer any questions you may have.
- What kind of diapers do I choose?
This and the next question are by far the most-asked questions for those starting out with cloth diapering. With so many styles on the market, it's tough to know what's best for baby, let alone a newborn. To avoid leaking, you'll need diapers that fit around those tiny legs. Many swear by the use of prefolds and covers to get the perfect fit. There are also adorable all-in-ones specifically designed for newborns that make the transition from disposables a breeze. You can even test out a few styles thanks to programs like these that offer a trial kit. - How many do I need?!
As you probably know, newborns go…a lot. That said, you'll want a minimum of 12 cloth diapers per day. Many people start with 24-30 diapers if they plan on washing every other day (which is recommended). If you choose to go with prefolds/covers or fitteds/covers, you'll want at least 8 covers...to cover yourself. Ha. How many times can I say “covers” in one sentence? ;-) - How should it fit?
With how runny things are for newborns, it's best if you have a snug fit around the legs and waste. A little leaking from time to time is normal, but shouldn't happen every time; this usually means you need to adjust the fit. Also, try to keep the top of the diaper from rubbing against the umbilical cord; some newborn diapers (like Thirsties’ newborn snap closure AIO's) have an umbilical cord snap down or for this purpose. - What about nighttime?
You'll want to get as much sleep as possible when baby's sleeping (believe us!), so you may want to opt for a diaper that is absorbent enough for 3+ hours to last between feedings. Because of this, you may not want to use the same style that you use during the daytime (that usually last for 1-2+ hours). Fitted diapers and prefolds with a cover are great for just this reason. The gussets on Thirsties' Duo Wraps are a perfect nighttime solution. - What about the poop?
For some, the “ick factor” of dealing with poop is a deal breaker for using cloth. But, guess what! In my experience, I've faced far more gross poopy-related, um, incidents with disposables than with cloth. If Harper comes home from Grandma’s in a sposie and has a blow-out, my husband is now the first to say, “This wouldn’t have happened if she’d been wearing her fluff!” But, yes, you’ll be dealing with poop. If your baby is breastfed, it’s actually water soluble and won’t need to be sprayed or dunked. Otherwise, you’ll need to get as much of it off the dipe as possible before giving it a wash. There are products like diaper sprayers and shields that make this far simpler and easier than it once was, but the “dunk and swish” works after some practice, too. These are just a handful of tips to get you through the first few months with a newborn baby in cloth. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also shout out the latest, greatest product coming VERY soon from Thirsties for anyone who will be diapering a little bundle of joy anytime soon - the all-new, Natural Newborn All-in-One cloth diaper! They’ve got the same 8 thirsty layers of natural absorbency as Thirsties’ popular inserts (along with the snap closure's umbilical cord snap-down feature), and is super trim-fitting. This new AIO seriously offers all the comfort that a new baby needs. So, who here has some newborn CD success stories? We’d love to hear them in the comments! Show our expectant mamas it can be done! Megan McCoy Dellecese
is a wife, mother to two young children, freelance writer, and educator. She shares her attempts at simplifying, among other things, at her blog, Meg Acts Out
. When not busy meeting deadlines and chasing cats and kids, she enjoys acting in community theatre (where she met her husband), watching old movies, and sharpening her history buff skills.