Thoughts on Cloth Diapering a Newborn
I went into parenting with few expectations... Maybe most ventures of the heart are safer that way? That considered, I’ll say I actually enjoy the process of cloth diapering. It feels wholesome and liberating. It’s also a little more work and requires some forethought. Like most good things, no?
While pregnant, I was slightly idealistic about cloth. When someone would gift me a box of disposables I would smile and thank them but tell myself they’d end up in the donate pile, maybe I’d use them for the first few meconium days. Well.. I was WRONG. I used nothing but those gifted disposables for the first two weeks. They were so easy and I had to admit I was a little intimidated by the process of cloth diapering. Even after all that research. Being a new parent is hard enough.
It wasn’t until his two week pediatrician appointment that I set myself straight. I was a little embarrassed by his diaper rash and even though the doctor said it's more common than not for the littles to have it, I knew I could have avoided it. She said it would clear up with a zinc oxide cream (which I was also gifted) but by then I was determined to get that breathable cotton on him! I googled “newborn prefold folds” and decided that the jelly roll fold looked the easiest. It took me maybe two minutes more to get on him than the disposables. Easier than I thought! I had zero leaks that day and changed him just about as often as I did with the disposables, too. While I haven’t looked back from cloth diapering, I haven’t given up disposables either. Turns out there’s room for both under my changing table.
(6 weeks old in a Cloth-eez newborn prefold (jellyroll) fastened with a snappi)
The big reason I wanted to share on this topic was to help others avoid that idealism that can sometimes turn into downright avoidance. You really don’t have to go all in or nothing. You can have both. I’m proud to have my guy in cloth part time. It saves a lot of money and garbage. Jeremiah hasn’t had a rash since he was two weeks old and turns out there’s some really clean ingredient zinc creams on the market for those disposable times. And yes! I want to make one for us!
(Cloth-eez size 0 cover- LOVE THESE. So soft and simple)
So why do I choose disposables at all and how part time are we? Well, I like using them at night when we go longer stretches without changing. They are engineered to have more absorbent space than cloth and it's just convenient. Same reason I use them for traveling and longer times away from home. If we’re home, I’ll probably use 3 disposables that night and 5-7 cloth prefolds during the day. Sometimes more, sometimes less- it follows the rhythm of baby’s poop! In reality, it’s 100% feasible to go 100% cloth, it’s just something we’re working towards. Here’s a little list of what it took me to be successful at cloth diapering-
- This newborn kit from Green Mountain Diapers. While you can go super minimalist and use nothing but one size flats for the entire time baby’s in diapers, the newborn prefolds are really easy to put on, don’t require fancy folding skills, have been the perfect absorbency by themselves for the last two months and don’t give baby that poofy cloth diaper butt that won’t fit into most clothes. Order a couple extra size 0 covers.
- Youtube videos are your friend when things don’t make sense.
- Prepare your changing station with a hamper or hang a waterproof laundry bag dedicated to dirty cloth diapers and wash them every other or every two days. You will find a rhythm. I haven’t sprayed a single poop off since Jeremiah is 100% breastfed. It’s liquidy and comes off the cloth easily in the wash. Do an initial rinse cycle in warm or hot water. I’m sure this will change when he starts on solid foods.
- Use disposable wipes or make your own. I use the cloth wipes that came in the kit to dry him off after using the wet wipes to clean the poop. Dry butts are rash free butts!
- Get a pack of Snappis to secure the cloth.
- If you order from Green Mountain Diapers, request their washing guide. It’s free with the purchase of the kit (and maybe all purchases?) and very helpful!
- Jeremiah is still wearing the newborn prefolds, but I just placed an order for next size up (small). You can probably expect your baby to fit into that size for the first two months or more depending on how wide your baby is. Mine is a little chunky!
- Cost out disposables VS cloth considering you'll be changing your newborn 10-15 times a day or more. You'll be surprised by how much you'll spending on disposables. I know I was!
- Practice part time elimination communication. If you haven't heard of that, look it up! It seems like a wild concept but is a potty method that actually works and is more intuitive than you'll think.
- Knowing that you’ll never NEED to make an emergency run to the store for diapers and can be completely self empowered in something during a time of many doubts!