Cloth Diapering a Newborn

The Littlest should be here in the coming weeks. He’ll be the third little we’ve cloth diapered in the newborn stage. The Little Lady we started when we got home and The Mister was in cloth from birth. Along the way I’ve learned a fair bit about cloth diapering a newborn so I thought I’d share our favorite stash combination and a few of my top tips getting started!

It’s a long post with a lot of info so let’s start with everyone’s favorite part…

*amazon smile links support Restoration House Ministries*

The diapers

Getting started can feel SO overwhelming with all the different types of diapers available today. Here’s a quick list overview of them and our experience with them.

1. Prefolds & Flats

Prefold Diapers

These are what most “think of” when they hear about cloth diapers. It’s what generations before us used. They’re also the most economical choice. Basically a prefold/flat is a piece of cloth that you fold around baby, adhere with various methods of “pinning” (eg. snappi’s are something available today), and then cover with a water resistant cover.

Our experience:

We used prefolds in our newborn stash with The Little Lady. They were very economical in price and not “hard” to use but I did find them cumbersome. I never got great at the various folds. I just found them to be a bit more work than I wanted in our newborn stage for The Mister or this time with The Littlest so we haven’t gotten them again.

2. Fitteds

Fitted Diapers

Similar to prefolds & flats, fitteds are absorbent cloth that is sewn in the “shape of baby”. They range from being as simple as a prefold cut and sewn in the shape of a baby with elastic in the leg opening to some that are multi layer including a waterproof/resistant layer IN the diaper itself such as hidden pul or windpro fleece. The simpler fitteds will require a cover for regular wear whereas fitteds with hidden pul or windpro fleece can often be used without a cover for regular daily use (changing every 2 hours or so).

Our experience:

I LOVE fitteds. Mostly wahm fitteds because they are so stinking cute BUT I fell in love with workhorse fitteds in the newborn stage with The Mister too. We bought a dozen from a bst group and I loved how they were so easy to use. (Already having the legs elastic meant no having to “fold” them around baby but were still a natural fiber). This time we opted to buy new for a larger stash.

3. Pockets

Pocket Diaper

Pockets are just like they sound. They are essentially a shell of pul (water resistant material) with a moisture wicking inside sewn so that there is a “pocket” for you to add absorbency. You can use various types of “inserts” (microfiber, charcoal bamboo, cotton, hemp, even folded prefolds/flats/or flour sack towels). Pockets are available in newborn size and OS (one-size). OS usually starts fitting around 2-3 months old through toddlerhood.

Our experience:

Alva pockets make up our stash for our kiddos once they’re out of the newborn stage. OS for The Mister and Big Alva’s for The Little Lady. They are the easiest to use and because of the pocket they allow us to adjust absorbency when & where needed. After years of using various inserts we now use FST (flour sack towels) folded and “stuffed” into the pocket. Even with The Little Lady this allows us to wrap the FST around another insert to give her the absorbency needed. Alva’s are a GREAT price and FST at Target are only 4/$4.

In the newborn stage…. Well, trying to stuff an insert into a teeny tiny pocket is NOT easy. We had 3 last time. The husband couldn’t stuff them at all and I could barely get them stuffed. Adding any extra absorbency was totally out. We only reached for them when we ab-so-lutely had to.

4. AIO/AI2

All-in-One Diaper

Brand names like Bumgenius and Blueberry Simplex are most known for their AIO style diaper. It’s the closet to a disposable diaper in function with multiple layers sewn right into the diaper with a pul layer on the outside. These are pricier but great for those wanting something easy, especially for other caregivers (reluctant dads, daycare, etc). Flip and Gdiapers are commonly known AI2 diapers. AI2 are very similar to the AIO but have an insert that snaps into the shell.

Our experience:

I like AIO in the newborn stage. I like them mostly for night changes. Since newborns tend to poop most feedings you’ll have atleast a couple of diaper changes through the night.Given there are less steps with changing an aio than something like a pre-fold/fitted with a cover it helps save any minute of sleep I can. Haha. A couple of downsides to AIO though are that they take a long time to dry compared to other options with separate parts and the absorbency is often outgrown before the diaper itself is outgrown.

As for what we’re using this time….

Our cute stash for cloth diapering a newborn!

This is our cloth diaper stash for The Littlest.

Cloth Diapering a Newborn - Newborn Stash

Cloth diapering a newborn twice now we’ve tried a lot of different diaper types. Each time making a few changes here and there. This time we’ve decided to go with new vs used because buying used, while we’ve always had fairly good luck with, does require more prep work. (I’ll get to that in a bit).

We have:

  • 26 organic unbleached no closure workhorse fitteds

Workhorse fitteds ended up being some of my favorite newborn diapers with The Mister. I like that they’re simple like prefolds BUT without the work of folding prefolds. Last time we had the snap style and I noticed the fibers around the snaps got pretty loose pretty fast. (They were used so that could have been a factor). Because of that though I decided this time to try the no closure to see if that helped their longevity.

  • 3 Snappi’s

These are what we will use for our “closure” of the workhorse fitteds. I was first introduced to them when we used prefolds with The Little Lady. They’re super easy to use.

  • 2 Thirsties size one covers
  • 3 Rumparooz newborn covers 

Both of these cover brands are really great. I prefer the rumparooz for the super new squish stage because they do snap smaller but the Thirsties fit well too right at birth. The Thirsties will last us a bit longer size wise & both brands have double gussets in the leg which help contain poop well.

Cloth Diapering a Newborn All-in-One Newborn Diapers
  • 3 Blueberry newborn aio

This brand is new to us but I’ve heard a lot of really great things about them. I like that they come almost with a “pocket” so it will be easy to add absorbency if/when needed.

  • 2 Lil’ Joey newborn aio

These admittedly aren’t my favorite aio BUT I couldn’t pass up the print. They do give a fantastic fit for newborns but they tend to be outgrown in the absorbency dept rather fast. Also, because of their design and size it’s really difficult to add anything for added absorbency. (Actually I’ve yet to successfully do so).

  • 1 Imagine Stay Dry aio
  • 1 Imagine Bamboo aio

These are a new aio we’re trying. I do like that the inside utilizes a snap in and it looks like it would be fairly easy to add absorbency if/when needed.

We have 33 total diapers which should be enough to be able to wash every other day. Our workhorse fitteds will be our day time diapers and I plan on utilizing the aio for nighttime. (Anything to help save a bit of sleep).

To give an example of a smaller stash, our previous stash for The Mister. (We washed daily).

Minimal Newborn Cloth Diaper Stash
This stash included (top to bottom, left to right):
  • 6 Lil’ Joey aio
  • 3 Alva newborn pockets (these were pretty much impossible to stuff)
  • 2 “big newborn” Little Boppers hybrid fitteds
  • 1 newborn hidden pul Little Boppers fitted
  • 12 Workhorse fitteds with snap closure (we lost 2 due to the snaps falling out)
  • 4 wahm prefold fitted (we lost 3 due to snaps falling out)
  • 1 wahm marvel fitted (still sad I sold this one)
  • 2 rumparooz covers
  • 3 thirsties covers (not pictured)
  • 1 Rainbow baby wahm fitted from Teensy Wings Boutique (feature picture)

This stash I bought mostly used with the two plaid Little Bopper fitteds bought new. I loved all of our fitteds, greatly disliked our newborn sized Alva pockets, and while the Lil’ Joey were convenient the absorbency was outgrown pretty quick. This stash still worked for us until The Mister fit in our OS Alvas around 7-8 weeks. (I’m still sad I sold our LB fitteds.. I may have to buy a couple just to add last minute for our stash for the Littlest…).

For The Mister we washed daily and this time, for The Littlest, we should be able to wash every other day. If you wanted to wash less (which is totally fine with a proper wash routine) you would need even more diapers. Here’s a little chart to break down how many diapers you need by age for wash frequency.

How many cloth diapers do you need by wash frequency

Now that I’ve covered diaper types and shown off our stash let’s move on to some of the basics I’ve learned for cloth diapering a newborn and really just cloth diapering in general.

1. Try different styles

We’ve had alot of trial and error learning what works best for us. That doesn’t mean that’s what will work best for you though! If you can TRY DIFFERENT OPTIONS. Get a few prefolds/flats, some fitteds, etc. See what you like best and then you can get more of those!

A great thing about cloth diapers is if something doesn’t work for you you can usually (fairly easily) sell on a bst to recoup some funds! (Can’t do that with disposables!).

2. Don’t forget your accessories

Cloth Diapering a Newborn

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven

Just like with disposables, diapers are the only part of diapering your baby. There are a few “accessories” you’ll want to get for your cloth diapering journey.

  • Decide if you want to use cloth wipes or regulars disposable wipes.

For us, after using cloth wipes with The Little Lady, we decided to just stick with disposable wipes. We will stay with that now with The Littlest joining the bunch. I don’t know that we even have enough space for cloth wipes for 3 kiddos in diapers. *covers eyes*

  • Get a wet bag

This is for when you need to change while out and about. Truth is, wet bags are just good to have in your diaper bag regardless. Never know when you’re going to need to change dirty clothes and put them somewhere to contain the mess!

  • Get a diaper pail and a liner!

We use a regular office trash can (no lid) and planet wise pail liner. We only have one but having two can be beneficial so you have a back up when washing the other.

sidenote: If you’re breastfeeding you don’t need to worry about doing anything extra with your poopy diapers before washing. Just toss in the pail then toss in wash. IF you are formula feeding (at all) then you’ll want to consider getting liners or a diaper sprayer system. We use liners for The Mister and The Little Lady and just clean off anything that gets on the diaper before washing.

3. Get a proper wash routine!!!! ASAP.

This is SO important. Cloth diapering can be easy peasy but if you have a poor wash routine you will run into fairly constant issues. When we first started cloth diapering the whole scene was still very “crunchy”. Adding things like vinegar to the wash, extra rinses, and “stripping” with dawn soap were all common recommendations.

I’ve used DIY laundry soap/”detergent”, soap nuts, and various other “natural” soap options. All resulted in the same thing… stink and/or rash issues that would come up regularly and then I would “strip” again. It was a mess. When The Little Lady was 2 I finally gave up and we started using disposables. 2.5 years and about $1500 later I found a great group, Fluff Love & CD Science, and FINALLY got a proper wash routine! I’m happy to report that the only time we’ve had an issue since is when our water hardness changed and I didn’t realize for a bit. Retested our water and was able to get back on track… that’s one issue in almost 3 years!

Your wash routine will depend on your washer, chosen detergent, and water hardness. And used diapers will require extra prep.

Join the group! And check out their website for GREAT information regarding prepping (new &/or used diapers), washing, and troubleshooting wash routine issues that can come up. The even have a detergent index and washing machine index you can look up.

That’s it… cloth diapering a newborn 101

Along the way you’ll get your own groove and learn what works best for your family. Hopefully this helps you feel a little less overwhelmed with the initial set up though and answers some of your questions regarding cloth diapering a newborn!

If you have questions feel free to comment and I’d be glad to share any insight I’ve learned over our time cloth diapering!

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