Cloth diapering a newborn can seem intimidating, especially if it’s your first child that you’ll be diapering. But then again, everything about newborns can seem a little intimidating, right? It’s because it’s new, not because it’s hard. Now that I have the diapering of three kids (and the potty training of two of them, more or less) under my belt, I’m going to go ahead and say it: diapering newborns is the easiest part.
Newborns don’t move around that much. Not that they can’t wriggle and squirm but at least they can’t get up and run away laughing in the middle of it. So there’s that. Plus, there is no extra step to laundry- just toss the diaper (even dirty ones) right into the washing machine. Really.
This isn’t too say that planning for diapering when you’re pregnant isn’t daunting. And those first few days (or, um, weeks) after the baby is born- when you keep asking yourself how they could just let you keep this baby without giving you so much as an instruction manual, let alone the 24/7 assistant you really need- can be a little overwhelming.
But not to fear! Parenting itself eventually becomes more comfortable and in the meantime we can help make the diapering part easy for you. Here’s my whole newborn diaper philosophy: When in doubt, change it out. That mantra is pretty much it. Their diapers can go right in the wash, so you don’t have to think about it that much. Seriously. No scraping or rinsing required. Diapers into pail (or wetbag), then into washing machine, then dry and you’re ready to roll again. My first two sons were born in the hospital, where we used the disposable diapers they provided while we were there and moved to cloth when we got home. But my third was a planned homebirth and his first diaper was a lovely soft cloth one. So it can be done from day one!
Living by my mantra (such as it is) means that new babies get changed. A lot. This is why I love prefolds for infants. They’re cheap, effective and it’s easy to have a big stash of them so you don’t have to do laundry every single day- no matter how many times you change a diaper. I also love that prefolds make it easy to adjust fit for you particular baby’s shape. (If you need a starting point for different ways to put a prefold on, check out this post about the prefold folds)
Prefolds do need a couple of accessories to make it a complete diaper: a fastener and a cover. Although some people just lay a folded prefold inside of the cover (without any type of fastener), I like to close that bad boy up. Especially since newborn poo tends to be a little loose. Snappis are a great option, and I like them, but I actually love using diaper pins too. It takes a few seconds longer but they are so sweetly old fashioned. Plus, that diaper isn’t going anywhere! With my oldest I used almost pins almost exclusively, with my second it was mostly snappis that I reached for, and for my youngest I didn’t reach for one more than the other. There is no wrong choice here.
For covers you have lots of options. You can go bright and colorful with Flip or Thirsties covers or more classicly simple with something like Econobum (I know a lot of people buy them because they’re inexpensive, but I have to admit that it was one of my favorite covers on my youngest because I loved the option with a hint of color at the edge!). These are also covers that fit multiple sizes, making them an even more economical choice, as they’ll be worn beyond the newborn stage!
If using prefolds seems a little too far removed from the convenience factor of disposable diapers, you can try fitted diapers. As with prefolds these diapers require a cover, but they come with snaps or aplix to fasten the diaper- no pins or snappis required.
For even more convenience, there are pocket diapers and all-in-one diapers. Pocket diapers are like a waterproof cover with a pocket to put an absorbent insert into. Often the fabric on the inside of the pocket diaper is designed to wick moisture away from that precious newborn skin (like with the bumGenius diapers). I remove inserts from the pocket before laundering but some people find that the inserts come out in the wash. Once clean and dry it’s easy to stuff the diapers all at once and have them ready to go, without any extra steps at changing time!
All-in-one diapers are just as they sound- a waterproof cover and absorbent inner diaper, all in one piece. There are no pieces to add, remove, or remember. I personally think that everyone should have at least one AIO diaper for their newborn. It’s great to be able to have in the diaper bag for outings and requires the least instruction for babysitters (or helpful friends and family). Personally, I love the bumGenius newborn AIO (though I have to admit that it’s the only AIO I’ve had for my kids, I never saw a reason to try a different brand). It’s great size, has a dip in the front so that it can comfortably be used before the umbilical cord falls off, comes in a variety of great colors and it is so. very. easy.
When I called a pregnant friend to ask what she would want to read about in a post about cloth diapering a newborn, one of the things she mentioned was getting her husband on board. It seems he was a little worried about the poo/washing machine combination (among other questions of logistics). I find that this is probably the number one question that people ask me about cloth diapering. And to them all I say this: No matter what type of diaper you end up choosing, poo is going to end up in your washing machine.
Parenting is a dirty job. Cloth diapering is no dirtier than using disposables. And many argue that they actually feel better about it because they have better luck keeping diaper messes in the actual diaper when they use cloth, so at least it isn’t get all over clothing. Plus, cloth diapers are pretty darn cute. Not that all life decisions should be made based on cuteness alone… but c’mon, how adorable are the cloth diapers?!?
My point is that you shouldn’t be intimidated by cloth diapering a brand new baby! Believe me, I wouldn’t have stuck with it if it were difficult or required extra effort. After all, I don’t leave all the dishes for my husband to do because I’m a fan of extra work. You can do it and Cotton Babies is here to help. You can call customer service with questions if you need help figuring out what to order or if you need help with your cloth diapers once they’re in use. Cover your sweet new baby in love (and it’s bottom in a cloth diaper).