We started cloth diapering our son when his umbilical stump fell off (around 2 weeks). Because this was my first baby and I didn't know if cloth diapering would be difficult, I only had a very small newborn stash built up before he arrived. As a result, he was in sposies part-time. With our next baby, I hope to have him/her in cloth as soon as possible (or at least as soon as the meconium is gone). Some people choose to skip the newborn sizes altogether (especially if they have a history of having larger babies), but I decided to build a small newborn stash and then focus more on the small sizes that he would grow into.
How many diapers will I need?
The amount of diapers you need will be determined by how often you want to do laundry. The average newborn usually needs to be changed at least 8-15 times a day regardless of the type of diaper system (even sposies need to be changed that often). The most common recommendation seems to be around 3 dozen diapers. This can be a mix of prefolds, fitteds, aio's, pockets, etc.
What type of diapers work best for a newborn?
Most build stashes of prefolds, fitteds, and covers, with a few aio's and pockets to try out. Prefolds and covers are the the most economical recommendation for the newborn stage because they are inexpensive (they can often be found for less than $20/dozen), which comes in handy since you need a larger quantity of diapers for this stage. You will also need around 4-6 covers, such as XS Thristies. Fitted diapers are easy to put on (especially at night!) and they are very absorbent. The elastic around the legs and back help to contain the runny, sometimes explosive breastfed poo. Fitteds also require the use of a cover.
I also found AIO's to be nice, especially for when my son would sometimes sleep for longer stretches. They were easy to put on and kept his bottom dry. The bumGenius XS's worked so well for us, that I would love to have an entire stash of these for our next baby.
Some Tips for the Newborn Stage:
- Don't feel guilty if you need to resort to sposies for a few days. Consider having a few on hand just in case you're too tired to use cloth. I didn't realize how exhausted I would be those first few days. I was also recovering from an emergency c-section, so it was difficult to get around, much less do laundry.
- Some mamas have found that prefolds and covers are the best option. I, however, did not like the huge infant-sized prefolds that I had. Next time around I will consider buying sized prefolds, such as the ones from Green Mountain Diapers. Better fit with less bulk. The baby will grow out of them quickly, but they can always be used as doublers or inserts.
- Consider using fleece or wool sleep sacks as covers.
- You can use doublers for increased absorbency and fleece liners to keep baby's bottom dry.
- Side snapping t-shirts are more convenient than onsies and make diaper changing easier.
- Don't be afraid of building a large newborn stash (unless you think your baby will be larger). My son was small, 7lbs 14 oz at birth, but it took him a long time to get back up to his birth weight. He used his newborn diapers for several months before outgrowing them. For us, they were a good investment.
My Favorites for the Newborn Stage:
bumGenius XS AIO's
Kissaluv size 0's (KL0)
Please add your own suggestions and recommendations!