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Monday, February 24, 2014

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Cloth Diapering a Newborn

I thought I knew how to do the whole cloth diapering thing. After all, my third child had been in cloth for almost two years. I had it down. I saw no reason cloth diaper his new sister. Why on earth would I make more work for myself (two diaper pails, two different systems) and double our expenses by buying disposables?

Then she got here and I discovered that cloth diapering a newborn is a bit different from cloth diapering a bigger kid.

Tiny little thighs make for big leak problems. Itty bitty little bottoms do not fit well in one-size diapers. And if you happen to have a heavy wetting newborn, then one-size absorbency is almost a necessity. By the time she was two weeks old, my six-pound baby girl could out-pee her two-year-old brother.

What’s a cloth diapering mom to do?

Prefolds and Covers. “Everyone” says that prefolds and covers are the easiest way to cloth diaper a newborn. I, rather naively, thought that they meant “cheapest,” since they won’t be in newborn diapers for long. Maybe even easy in the sense that all-in-ones take forever to dry. But easy? No.

Then she got here…and started leaking out of everything else I put on her with amazing regularity…and I decided that prefolds and covers were worth giving a try after all.

You can’t trifold a prefold and stick it in a cover for a tiny newborn unless you’ve bought tiny, tiny newborn prefolds—but a quick Google search will turn up a few easy folds that don’t require a massive amount of effort to learn. Prefolds and covers (especially Thirsties covers) were the only solution that worked consistently well for us overnight.

Grovia AIO. These were among my favorites for the itty bitty baby stage. We used these in the hospital (where we ended up staying for four days after she was born due to high bilirubin levels), and the nurses had no trouble with them—they were somewhat intuitive to them even with snaps. They also had pretty good absorbency for newborn diapers and lasted longer than many of the others we tried.

Lil Joeys. These were my very, very favorites at the hospital, though the nurses had more trouble with them. They have the umbilical cord snap down, which is especially useful in the first few days, and fold down to fit very, very small. They don’t hold quite as much as the Grovias, but if you don’t have a child who pees her body weight every day, they might last longer.

bumGenius Newborns. These would work better for a larger baby. My six-lber could function in them short term, but didn’t do nearly as well in them. She was out-peeing them well before she actually fit into them—but I do have a very, very heavy-wetting newborn.

Thirsties Size 1 AIOs. These actually impressed me with how well they worked. When they say they fit down to six pounds, they mean it! I passed them over at first when we were in the hospital, because she was so very little and they looked so very big compared to the other diapers; but with a four-day stay in the hospital, I was starting to run out of options, so I decided to give them a try. Thirsties AIOs ended up being our first overnight solution simply because they held more than the straight newborn diapers. I think they’re going to end up needing doublers when she gets a little bit bigger, but they are still excellent diapers.

If I had it to do over again…. I’d still probably buy essentially what I bought. Since newborn diapers are used for such a short period of time, their resell value is a higher percentage of their original price, so in many cases, you can make back almost as much as you spent on them to begin with. I would probably pass on the bumGenius newborns simply because they’re so much bigger, but I would still invest in the Lil Joeys and Grovias, and I would definitely invest in Thirsties! I would, however, make the Thirsties aplix instead of snap. With my older son, I decidedly prefer snap diapers because of their longevity and the lack of diaper chains, but I’ve discovered that for my itty bitty, I get a better fit with a hook and loop closure. I would also invest in more covers—I had a few on hand, but mostly intended to use them as “emergency backup.” This isn’t usually a problem—with a well-executed angel wing fold, it’s not necessary to change the cover even with a messy diaper—but if someone else changes her, they automatically change cover and all.

By Emily

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