Cloth diapering a newborn – my experiences

I thought it would be helpful to share my experiences with cloth diapering a newborn. Maybe reading through my experiences will save you some experimentation with your own baby 🙂

First off, it must be something hormonal, but pregnancy can really bring out a cloth diapering obsession in a woman. I know, because I’ve been through it. I was supposed to be doing research and writing my thesis, and instead, I was spending literally hours (like all day except a break for lunch, and maybe a few minutes here and there to start a computer simulation) reading through the cloth diapering message boards. I would even click through the archives at the Parentsplace boards. I’ve read almost every archived board there.

But I digress. This is supposed to be about my experiences with cloth diapering a newborn. I guess I just wanted to let you know that your burning desire to find and acquire the absolute perfect newborn diapering system is normal and shared by lots of other women. I think it must be an extension of the nesting instinct (just another sidenote — diapering sucked up all my nesting instincts. I barely got the rest of Isaac’s layette together. Luckily, I had a lot of gender neutral newborn clothes from when Julia was born).

My newborn stash

When Isaac was born, this was my stash:

  • 2 dozen infant sized Chinese prefolds
  • 18 prefolds converted to fitted (with elastic added at the waist and legs)
  • 8 size 0 Kissaluvs
  • 6 newborn and 6 small Proraps seconds
  • 1 dozen All-in-Ones’s (All Together Deluxe brand, which are no longer available)
  • 4 newborn Dappi pull-ons

I guess you could say I tried a variety.

Turns out that I really didn’t like the Kissaluvs that much. A lot of people go nuts for Kissaluvs on newborns, but it gave Isaac such a bubble butt, I kept fumbling around trying to find the right snaps to fit him, the rise was pretty short, and they weren’t that absorbent.

Age 5 days, Kissaluv 0 and newborn Prorap

What I really loved were the prefolds. They were just so soft and fluffy, and it was easier to fold and snappi them than it was to snap up the Kissaluvs. I didn’t find that the infant sized prefolds were overly bulky on Isaac and he was just average sized (about 7.5 pounds), so I’m glad I didn’t bother with the preemies. Plus, he just peed so much at a time, even the infants were soaked, so I don’t think newborn or preemie prefolds would have worked for us.

Age 2 weeks, snappi’ed infant unbleached Chinese Prefold

The fitteds from prefolds were nice, but Isaac grew fast and they only fit for a week or so.

Age 7 weeks, tri- folded unbleached Chinese Prefold with small Bumkins cover

The All-in-Ones’s were really good too. I used these at night with a washcloth for a doubler. It made middle-of-the-night diaper changes a little easier.

Cloth diapering in the hospital

I didn’t cloth diaper Isaac in the hospital. I don’t think it would be that hard to do, but I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. This also meant that I didn’t have to worry about meconium staining since that was finished before we got home. The umbilical notch in the newborn Proraps worked perfectly. They got a little stained from the cord-dye, but that washed out quickly. Also, we didn’t do anything with the cord — no alcohol, etc. and Isaac’s cord fell off before the end of the first week (it took at least 2 weeks with Julia and we followed the doctor’s instructions about swabbing the cord with alcohol a few times a day).

Number of diapers and wash frequency

With two in diapers, the 2 dozen prefolds were plenty. I washed every other day, and had no problems with washing the kids’ diapers together. If this is your first baby, getting 3 dozen diapers would allow you to wash every three days instead.

Worrying about runny poop

One of my biggest concerns with diapering a newborn was containing all that runny poop, but as it turned out, Isaac pooped frequently and in small amounts, so it wasn’t a big deal. Even when I tri-folded my prefolds in the wraps, he hardly ever got any poop on the cover. That has changed now that he’s older, but the easist thing for me is just to make sure I have a lot of covers.

My recommendation for cloth diapering a newborn

My recommendation for a beginning newborn stash is:

  • 2-3 dozen infant prefolds
  • 2 or 3 snappis
  • 6-8 newborn sized PUL wrap covers (like Bummis or Proraps)

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