Cloth Diapering a Newborn — Where to Begin

Pregnant or have a newborn and interested in #clothdiapers? Cloth Diapering a Newborn: Where to Begin from

When I found out I was expecting baby #3, one of the things I was most excited about was getting to cloth diaper from the very beginning. I entertained these wonderful daydreams of my sweet little babe with a cute fluffy bum, spent time looking at different newborn cloth diaper options, and reading other people’s experience and opinions on cloth diapering a newborn.

Before Blair arrived, I had my little stash ready, along with a package of Seventh Generation disposables for the very first days.

Here are my tips and suggestions for using cloth diapers for a newborn baby, over the next few weeks I’ll talk about specific types of cloth diapers, and discuss some specific issues like using cloth after a yeast infection and washing and lanolizing wool covers.

Cloth Diapering a Newborn

Start with disposables

I really suggest that you start out with a package of newborn disposables for when baby first arrives, for a few reasons. First of all, using cloth really isn’t practical if you’re having a hospital birth. Bring along a brand of disposables that you feel comfortable with, and give them to the nurses to use on your baby.

Secondly, a newborn’s first few meconium poops are dark, and sticky, and kinda gross. Meconium is hard to clean out of cloth diapers, so go ahead and use disposables until the meconium poops have passed.

And finally, I personally think that you don’t want to have to worry about cloth for the first few days/weeks of your baby’s life. You want to focus on your new little bundle, and not having to wash diapers. Give yourself a week or two to ease into using cloth after your baby is born.

Get newborn sized diapers

I talked about this in my essential gear for the newborn stage, but if you’re planning to cloth diaper a newborn, I highly recommend that you get newborn sized diapers. It may seem like an unnecessary expense because they grow out of them quickly, but one-sized diapers, and even the small sizes, just really don’t fit a newborn baby well, they would be really bulky and you would most likely end up with leaks and blowouts.

I suggest trying to find gently used newborn diapers, (I usually find mine on Because babies wear the newborn size for such a short time, you can generally find used diapers in excellent condition and save a good amount of money over brand new diapers.

Another good option might be to share newborn diapers with a friend who is having a baby either a few months before, or a few months after, you. You can buy a newborn stash together, and by the time the older baby grows out of them, the younger baby will be ready for them.

how to beging cloth diapering a newborn

Use different styles of diapers

Especially if you are new to cloth diapering, you may not know what type of diaper you will like the best, and will work the best, for you and your babe. If you have a few different kinds to try on your newborn, then you will know what you like the best and will be able to stock up on that type for when your baby gets bigger. I’ll be sharing the styles and types of diapers that I used on my baby next week.

Join a cloth diapering forum

If this is your first baby, or you are new to using cloth diapers, consider joining a cloth diaper forum. When I was starting out with cloth diapering my oldest daughter I joined a couple forums and read everything I could from other mamas who were using cloth diapers on their babes. I learned pretty much everything I know about cloth diapers from reading those message boards. (If you’re curious, I was most active on and also occasionally

The one thing to be careful of when you’re part of a cloth diapering community like that, is not to get caught up in the excitement and craziness of all the different types of cloth diapers out there. Some people get REALLY excited about certain types of diapers, and you can feel like you have to try all the different kinds that everyone else loves, and get caught up in all the hype of the latest and greatest diapers (it seems crazy and silly, I know. But it’s true.)

It’s okay to try a couple different types/brands (buying them used of course) to find what works best for you and your baby, but then stick to those. Having too many different styles and brands of diapers in your stash can actually be overwhelming, and may make you frustrated or give up on cloth diapering, and we definitely wouldn’t want that to happen!

Work out a laundry routine

Adding a couple more loads of laundry to your already long to-do list can seem overwhelming when you also are caring for a new baby, but cloth diaper laundry doesn’t have to be rocket science. It is important that you choose a detergent that is safe to use on cloth diapers. I have used, and liked, Purex Free & Clear, Nellie’s, and Country Save. Here is an awesome resource to help you find a good detergent.

Your wash routine should consist of a short wash on cold with a tiny amount of detergent. This helps to rinse the diapers and remove stains (although you will probably will still end up with some stains). Then do a heavy duty, hot wash with an extra rinse, again with a small amount of detergent.

You really only need to use about 1/2 of the regular amount of detergent. Detergent build up on cloth diapers is one of the main issues that can cause them to stink, repel, and lose their effectiveness, so you want to be sure that you don’t use too much detergent.

How often you wash your diapers will depend on how big your stash is and how many days you can go between washing. But, even if you have enough diapers to last you a week, (that would be a lot of diapers!) you wouldn’t want to wait that long in between washing them! I like to have diaper laundry days, so I try to wash diapers on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

So go ahead and get excited about putting your little one in super cute, super fluffy and soft cloth diapers! We’ll talk more specifically about types of diapers and how to put them on your babe next week! Please let me know what questions you have about using cloth diapers on your little one’s bum and I’ll try to address them as best as I can.

If you’ve cloth diapered your newborn, what advice do you have? And if you have questions, please leave them in the comments!

 More about cloth diapers on Live Renewed:


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  1. says

    We did cloth diaper pretty much as soon as we got home from the hospital. We had a lot of disposable diapers that had been given to us, but they all gave my baby a rash that I could not get rid of. Switching to the cloth diapers remedied that.

    We didn’t have newborn size diapers though. Instead we used prefolds, which worked out wonderfully well. And we never had any crazy blowouts with those because they were so big :-) I love all the different styles of cloth diapers, but for affordability and ease, I wouldn’t trade the prefolds for anything!

  2. says

    My daughter used prefolds with her newborn, also. My granddaughter is a big baby and outgrew the newborn size pretty quickly, but they were great to have on hand for that first week or so. When I keep the grands I love all-in-ones, but the prefolds are much easier for my daughter to get clean. (She’s a stickler for no stains in her diapers.) Plus those neat snappi diaper fasteners are way easier to use than pins.

  3. Ana says

    I CD with my second. I did use 7nth gen at the hospital and for the first 2 weeks. Once the disposables were gone, we used prefolds (infant size) and covers (small). I added a fleece liner (store bought and home made) to keep moisture away from the skin. I liked to use the angel wing fold with a snappi. We never had blown outs or leaks. I tried other folds, but the angel wing fold worked best for us.
    At 12 weeks we moved to OS pocket diapers.

  4. eva says

    i LOVED these diapers from rumparooz, called lil joey. they are teensy tiny AIOs. also, loved just a small prefold with a cover. got my prefolds from comfy bummies online and green mountain diapers. used bummis super snap or whisper snap or something, SO easy!!!

  5. says

    This is really great advice! We used a diaper service for our son for the first few weeks, before we switched to our Bum Genius AIOs. However, if I were to do it all over again, I would follow your advice and pick up some cloth newborn diapers for the early period.

    I will pass this post on to anyone who asks me about using cloth diapers!


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