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A week or so ago, I attempted to organize my daughter’s room. Lately, the clutter had grown out of control, with piles and bins of outgrown clothes behind the chair, in the closet and in the bookcase. Baby toys and other gear was stacked precariously in her tiny closet and our cloth diapers looked like they were exploding out of the changing table at all times. Clutter seems to grow exponentially in their rooms, doesn’t it?
As I was sorting and folding and carrying endless bins to the basement, I ran across some of my daughter’s newborn cloth diapers. Eeps – was she really that tiny?! I vividly remember stressing over which ones to buy for those first precious weeks – what about the cord stump, will these hurt it? What if they are too big and fall off? Will the one-size options adjust to someone so tiny? I think a lot of expectant moms have the same stress.
…And new or expectant mamas, don’t want any stress, do we?! It can be all too easy to say: “I don’t think I can do cloth diapers, I’ll just use disposables.” That’s why I decided to dedicate this post to cloth diapering a newborn (and I know you experienced cloth mamas will comment and add even more great ideas!). Here’s a few do’s and don’ts:
DO survey any friends who have used cloth to see if they have newborn/tiny diapers to lend to you. Or even do a search on CraigsList to find some used ones. The truth is, babies are in the super-duper small size for such a short time (about 4-6 weeks) so the diapers get very little wear and tear. I lent all of mine to a friend and was so happy to get some more use out of them.
DO buy two Perfect Size cloth diapers in extra-small. They are just too cute for words, they fit those teeny tiny bodies best and many of them have indents so they won’t bother the cord stump.
DON’T go overboard with the newborn-only diapers. Think about how many you’ll realistically need for those first weeks (hint: I would go with just 4-5). Round out your stash with some One-Size Elite cloth diapers that will last. These are fully adjustable and will last you until you potty-train your little bundle (hard to imagine right now, isn’t it!?). Depending on the size of your baby, they may not fit right away even on the smallest setting, but will fit before you know it! And they are the most cost-effective, longest lasting option.
DON’T be afraid of pre-folds! I would invest in a up to a dozen (or more!) of high-quality cotton pre-folds. They are the workhorse of any cloth diaper stash. They are fully adjustable for even the tiniest newborn and they get deliciously soft after a couple of washes. Diaper covers work well over the top of the pre-fold to keep her precious clothes – and yours! – dry. Check out YouTube for some how-to videos and practice on some dolls if you’re nervous about it. (Even if you absolutely can’t do it, you will use them as burp cloths, wash cloths or doublers).
DO wait until the meconium has passed before cloth diapering. This is my own personal opinion, but I would wait that day or two so you don’t have to worry about that sticky black mess staining your diapers.
DON’T wait too long! Start using your cloth as soon as possible after you get home from the hospital (and the meconium has passed). The longer you wait to start, the easier it is to NEVER START. And the more disposables you put out in the trash.
DO plan on doing diaper laundry almost every day in the beginning. Newborns go through approximately 10 diapers a day in the beginning and I would not recommend having enough diapers to get you through three days – they are just not in them long enough to make the investment worth it.
DON’T worry about the poop. Newborn poop, especially breastmilk poop, is liquid so you don’t need to rinse it in the toilet or spray it out before putting it in the wash. Just throw them in. Believe me, they come out clean. One day, your little sweetie’s poops won’t be quite so pleasant and you will need to rinse them, but you’ll be a cloth diapering pro by then! Baby steps…
DON’T wait until baby arrives to prep your diapers. Practice washing and stuffing or folding your diapers a few times while you’re still in pre-baby nesting mode. It will make the process less scary and give you one less worry once he’s born.
DO give yourself credit for doing this! Cloth diapering is a wonderful thing you’re doing for your child, our environment (and your wallet!), so you can feel really good about your decision!
What other tips for newborn cloth diapering would you offer expectant mamas? Anything you would or wouldn’t do again? Join our discussion on Facebook to tell us your thoughts!
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.