Ahem. What was I saying? Oh yeah, cloth diapering a newborn.
Well, we exclusively used cloth diapers since our arrival home from the hospital when the little guy was 1 1/2 days old.
While pregnant, I did a bunch of research on cloth diapers (shocking, I know), which started out here. I love this blog, and Amalah has done several posts on cloth diapering, which gave me a good place to spring board into the turbulent waters of cloth diapering. Later on, I went here to read reviews on different brands of diapers. And, of course, I read blog after blog about which type of diaper is best and when and why*.
*I cringe a little when admitting that I relied on blogs and opinions, but there just isn't a lot of hard and fast facts about butt-wear.
OK. So, this was the plan:
We bought 16 newborn fitteds. Fitteds are similar to disposables, in that they are made for babies within a certain size range. Most newborn fitteds are made for babies between 5 and 10 pounds; though that differs a bit depending on brand.
Speaking of brand, 13 of our fitteds came from this site on Etsy. I can't say enough good things about these diapers. We had zero blow outs. They were adjustable, the gussets kept everything in (and believe you me, that's amazing!), and they have a snap down for the umbilical cord. They weren't overly bulky. Each diaper comes with a doubler (that means an extra pad to soak everything up), which we used all the time. We also used these fleece inserts, which help wick the moisture away from the skin and into the diaper faster (also, they keep the diapers from getting stained during the gross meconium stage in the beginning). These diapers are made from synthetic material, so they were starting to develop a smell, which will happen with any diaper eventually. Our little guy wore these for 2 months before growing out of them. (I still need to strip them...that's where you wash them more rigorously to remove any build up, which mostly comes from laundry detergent.)
Our other 3 fitteds were these ecoposh. I'm not going to lie, they are expensive. BUT, totally worth it! We are still using these, and our little one is in the 80th percentile for length and is approx. 12 pounds. They are mega absorbent and have become our go-to night diaper.
The other type of diaper we used were prefolds. Prefolds are like the old school cloth diapers that are drawn on every cartoon baby you've ever seen. They require that you learn how to fold them (there are lots of ways and lots of sites and videos that will show you how, just type in "prefold" into a search engine and pick a site). You also have to pin them, though now everyone uses a snappi (seriously, just buy a packet of snappis). I was a little hesitant, but all the positive feedback convinced me that this was something we should try. I'm glad we did.
We bought organic cotton Cloth-eez prefolds. When I purchased them, I bought a whole package deal from Green Mountain Diapers. It looks like they aren't offering those now, but maybe they will come back. And, if not, they at least provide you a list of what to buy, which some of you might find helpful. The package came with 12 newborn prefolds, 12 small prefolds, snappis, and a couple covers. He wore the newborn prefolds for roughly 2 months. During that time we used the small prefolds as burp cloths. Then we sunned the newborns (it gets the stains out) and are using them as burp cloths now that he's wearing the smalls.*
*Note: Prefolds are not the most glamorous burp clothes, but they are the best. Seriously, the best. Even if you decided you hate them as diapers (you won't but let's talk hypothetically), they are worth buying as burp cloths for their size and absorbency. You'll need at least a dozen burp cloths anyway, because you are constantly washing half of them and the other half are lying around the house in strategic locations.
The important thing to know about fitteds and prefolds is that you have to use a waterproof cover over them. Waterproof covers can be used several times between washes as long as they don't get poop on them - thus, the importance of appropriately fitting diapers and why we chose to use fitteds so often. Covers will get damp on the inside, but that side goes back on against the absorbent fitted or prefold, so it's fine. Also, you can wipe the inside of the cover between diapers, or swap out covers to let the used one dry.
We have 3 rumparoo covers. Again, they are expensive, but they work really well, fit over all our different diapers, and keep everything contained. We have two other waterproof covers we got from our Green Mountain package deal: one of the covers works great for us, the other not so much - but I think that depends on the size and shape of your baby.
Also, I purchased several wool covers of different sizes from Etsy. Mostly, those purchased were based on price and overall cuteness.
Here's the run down on wool covers: you lanolize the wool cover so it is waterproof; wool is anti-microbial, so you only have to wash them if they get poop on them; wool is way more breathable than waterproof covers so it helps air out the naughty bits, which is especially nice in the summer; they are so freaking cute! The downside is that you only use a given wool cover for approximately 3 consecutive diapers before you need to swap it out so it can thoroughly dry. Also, though washing and lanolizing is pretty easy, it requires soaking for several hours and then drying for several more hours...so it takes a while. Also, my dogs were initially really interested in the smell of the lanolized wool, so they kept trying to sniff the baby's bum. Which was just weird.
So, our initial newborn stash consisted of:
- 16 fitteds
- 12 newborn prefolds and 3 snappis
- 5 waterproof covers
- 2 wool covers
- Fleece inserts (a ton because my husband loves them)
- Approximately 1 bajillion flannel wipes
- Homemade wipe solution (see this website for possibilities, but remember that many essential oils affect hormones or are a synthetic hormone, usually estrogen, and you'll be putting this on your baby's genitals; we chose to go with the apricot oil for this reason as it doesn't mimic any hormone)
- Wet bags (we use these instead of a diaper pail and then toss them in the wash)
We also had 6 one-size pockets. One-size means that the diaper is adjustable and supposedly can fit a baby from birth to potty training. This is a lie (which is why I don't count them into my newborn stash). Everyone I know who has tried to put a newborn in a one-size has dealt with icky leaks of frustrating grossness. There are supposedly brands that can adjust down small enough, but then the diaper is comically huge and none of the newborn clothes fit over it, requiring you to dress your baby in clothes that are so big they resemble sacks. I recommend just buying newborn fitteds and using the one-size when they are older. Your call.
A pocket is a diaper that has a place to stuff soakers in, so you can make the diaper more absorbent. Soakers are like doublers, except a doubler sits on top of the interior and a soaker actually goes on the inside of the diaper. Both are extra material to make the diaper more absorbent.
Our little guy started wearing these one-size pockets at 1 1/2 months (roughly 10 pounds). They fit great, but he pees so much that we do occasionally have leaks. We can put in more soakers, but then the diaper is hard to tighten down appropriately. So right now these diapers require changing him more often. When he gets a bit bigger, and we can adjust the rise (that's the height from groin to belly button), that should fix the problem. The nice thing about these diapers are once they are ready (soakers inserted and the rise adjusted to fit him), they go on like a disposable, so people unfamiliar with cloth diapers can use them. They don't require a cover. Also, these use APLIX instead of velcro; it's just like velcro, but it's magic and only sticks to itself so it doesn't ruin clothes. Also, it super sticks to itself, so a baby/toddler would have a hard time taking off a diaper independently and smearing poo on the wall.
So, how do we like cloth diapering? We LOVE it. Me and my husband (and my husband changes more diapers than I do, because he's good like that). It means one extra load of laundry a day. It means more folding of laundry, and the need to plan ahead, especially if you are cloth diapering while traveling. But here are the benefits:
NO diaper rash.
Not a single blow out (we have had the occasional leak or wicking, but poop has NEVER gotten out of a diaper...and as a breastfed baby, he only goes every 5-6 days, so when he does it's poopaggedden!).
We can customize based on where we are going, how hot/humid it is, what he's wearing, etc.
Then, of course, there are the 'traditional' benefits of cloth. There are no chemicals up against my baby's scrotum. This is more environmentally sound. We plan on using these same diapers for our next baby, so this is going to save us SO much money!
SO *takes deep breath* that's how and why we cloth diapered our newborn. Got questions? Leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to address them.