I had several people ask questions regarding newborn cloth diapers. Here is what they said:
Angela asked: "Which cloth diapers are best for newborn babies and preemie's?”
Sarah asked: “I am new to cloth and would love to use cloth diapers on our baby that is due in November. My main concern is What Size & Type of Cloth Diaper works the best on a breastfeed newborn?”
Hannah asked: “I'm expecting our first in April and really want to cloth diaper. I've purchased a few newborn cloth diapers to use before one size diapers (which I've yet to decide on). Any advice for setting up a newborn cloth diaper stash? How many diapers do I need? I was thinking of doing mainly prefolds and covers along with a few AIOs. I don't want to spend to much because I know it won't be used for long. Any advice?”
Lulu asked, "We are new to cloth diapering and just starting out our stash, what would experienced CD mamas suggest for the newborn stage?”
Great questions! I had many of the same questions, and learned by trial and error. I have now cloth diapered two newborns, but I started using cloth earlier with my second than I did with my first baby. With Elaine I waited until her cord stump fell off, and we started using cloth full time around 2 weeks old. Nolan went straight into cloth as soon as he came home from the hospital.
I have a few suggestions regarding newborn cloth diapers.
1. Consider the size of your baby. My babies have both been around 7 pounds, and skinny. Just a bit too small for those one size diapers from day one. If you tend toward larger babies, you can likely skip the newborn diaper stage.
2. Consider your budget. Most newborns will wear their newborn diapers for as long as two weeks, and up to a month or a little longer. Elaine wore her small sized FuzziBunz diapers for nearly a year! Nolan was done with newborn diapers in under 2 weeks. Every baby is different. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a big stash of newborn diapers that would barely be worn.
For this reason, prefolds and covers are a great choice for newborn cloth diapering. They are economical to purchase, and easy to care for (which is especially helpful during those early days of adjustment when you have so much more on your mind than washing diapers). I preferred a Snappi fastener to help contain the EBF poo a little better. Keep in mind that newborns will get their diapers changed around 12 times a day, so be sure to have enough in your stash to allow for wash/dry time. I also found a newborn cover to be better than a one size cover. I really liked the Rumparooz Newborn/Preemie cover because of the double leg gussets, and the gentle tummy elastic.
I purchased a few x-small FuzziBunz Perfect Size diapers for Nolan. I enjoyed the ease of putting them on quickly, but he went through them so fast! I used them for his newborn pictures and when we went out and about. They did fit a little better than one size diapers, but we primarily used prefolds or one size pocket diapers.
3. Buy used, or share with friends. If you can get some gently used newborn diapers, it would be a great idea. They have been used for such a short time that you will likely get diapers in excellent condition. Or, if you have a friend who is also expecting you could share the cost of a newborn stash and pass them on when you are done. I was able to pass my newborn diapers to a friend for her preemie baby. When she is done she will pass them back for me to use on our next little one.
4. Consider style, closure, and fabric choices. I prefer a stay-dry type diaper or pocket diaper. They dry faster and keep the baby’s skin dry. I found that many newborn diapers were AIO (all-in-one) and they took a very long time to dry. I couldn’t customize the absorbency, so they were not used very often.
You may prefer an aplix closure to get a very exact fit on a little newborn. I prefer snaps in general, but the aplix was helpful in the beginning.
If you are starting cloth in the hospital, you may want a diaper with a snap-down option for the baby’s cord stump. I found that with a cover and prefolds I could easily tuck the cover low enough to not bother Nolan’s cord stump.
5. Everything will be bulky. I really wanted to test my one size diapers on Nolan and see if they were truly one size, fitting from birth to potty training. My FuzziBunz and Rumparooz fit Nolan just fine in the beginning, but it took a few weeks before I could get the bumGenius to fit properly. He was average size at birth, not too skinny, and has grown quickly. I initially hesitated to use my “big” one size diapers on a brand new baby, but I quickly realized that everything is bulky on a little baby. The one size diapers may seem huge, but it won’t take long before baby is filling them out well.
6. Buy a few, then wait for baby. While I completely understand that everyone wants to be prepared for baby’s arrival and have your stash complete, it may be wise to have a few items on hand and then purchase more after your baby arrives. You can see if he is big or small, rolly-polly, or kinda skinny. This will help you determine if newborn diapers are needed, and for how long they may be in use. Then you can spend more or less on your newborn stash as your baby needs, rather than being over or under prepared.
Kim Rosas from Dirty Diaper Laundry kept extensive records on many, many brands of newborn diapers and how they fit and performed on her newborn. You may find her final report on newborn diapers helpful as you build a newborn stash. She also wrote a report comparing various one size diapers on a newborn.