When you’re expecting your first little one, the thought of cloth diapering a newborn can be a bit overwhelming. Not only do you have to figure out what to do with a newborn (would be so nice if they came with an instruction manual), but also how to cloth diaper.
I often receive questions from new parents about cloth diapers for newborns. Many parents go out and buy one size diapers such as FuzziBunz or bumGenius 4.0s, but find that they tend to look really bulky on a newborn, specially when they are under 10 pounds. And it’s true, the one size tend to look too big until they reach around 12 pounds, give or take. They aren’t too big, it just seems that way when your baby is still so small 🙂
For those that know that they will probably have smaller babies, or they plan on having more children down the road, I always recommend going for a “sized” option. With sized diapers, you don’t need to purchase nearly as many, and they don’t get used for a super long period of time, unlike the one size diapers. So, your cloth diapers will last longer and you will be able to use them for multiple children. If you are expecting multiples, purchasing extra small or small will be work really well for the beginning. Multiples tend to be closer to 5 pounds, and you have a long way to go to reach the 8-10 pound range for the one size diapers. One really popular brand of sized pocket diapers here at the Little Monkey Store is the FuzziBunz Perfect Size. Extra small fits 4-12 pounds (perfect for multiples or preemies) and the small (perfect for newborns) fits 7-18 pounds.
Another option for newborns is prefolds and covers. With our little guy, we started out with prefolds in the beginning, but were able to switch to his one size diapers pretty quick as he was not a small baby. Prefolds are great because they are inexpensive in comparison to pocket diapers and they wash up very easily. Newborns go through a lot of diapers, around 15 or so a day, so have a bunch of prefolds makes it easy. The downside of prefolds is that you often have to change them more frequently as they do not provide the stay-dry feeling that pocket diapers or all-in-ones have with a microfleece or suede cloth inner. A popular brand and one we’ve personally used is the Bummis Organic Cotton Prefolds. They wash up really well and when you’re done with them, you can use them as burp cloths, rags, extra diaper inserts, the possibilities are endless.
With prefolds, you need to use a cover to make them waterproof. There are a number of covers out there: wool, fleece, and PUL are a few. Typically you can get about 4 prefold changes with one cover before the cover needs to be washed or air dried (for wool). A great Canadian made brand of PUL cover is the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap. They come in a few different sizes, including newborn with a notch cut out for the healing umbilical cord. Plus, they come in some really cute patterns too. When you’re picking your covers, don’t forget to pick up a couple of Snappis. Snappis are what hold the prefold together as there are no pins or snaps on them.
And what is the most important accessory you’ll need for cloth diapering newborns? Bio-liners. You will want to place a bio-liner in the diaper every time you change a newborn. A newborn’s poop is very different, it is often described as a black tar-like substance. With a bio-liner, you just empty it into the toilet and there is no spraying or swishing needed.
If you need any help planning your newborn cloth diaper stash or have questions about cloth diaper newborns, please feel free to ask! We’d also love to hear your experiences cloth diapering your newborn.