Cloth diapering A newborn is rewarding and challenging all in one. If you have never cloth diapered a newborn - or even diapered a newborn period, you will be in for a few surprises. I did not actually get to use cloth on a newborn until my 4th son was born, but the experience gave me a lot of insight.
The Scoop On Newborn Poop
Newborn poop goes through stages as they grow. In the first week your new baby will have poop that is black, tar-like, and sticky. Meconium is made of materials ingested by the baby while in utero and is stored in the intestines until after birth. It usually lasts for the first few days of life. I often hear parents voicing concerns that meconium poop will stain or ruin their babies cloth diapers. It couldn't be farther from the truth! Meconium poop is the easiest of all baby poop to get out of cloth diapers. No rinsing, spraying or dunking required. Just throw it into the wash! I wish all poop was so easy to deal with!
After meconium comes yellow seedy looking poop. (I have to say, I never thought I would be writing about baby poop so in depth! What a topic, huh?) This poop can be foamy and very liquidy. The good news is that this also does not need to be rinsed off of cloth diapers before washing. It is funny with this stage though - babies will have what parents like to fondly call "explosive poops". It literally sounds like World War 3 going off in your baby's diaper and is pretty hilarious to hear. I'm not really sure why poop comes out with such force in these early months, but it makes for quite a mess. Luckily most cloth diapers will hold these "explosions" in keeping your baby's clothes clean and dry. This phase of poop lasts until solid foods are started.
Diapering A Newborn: The Basics
When I hear new parents ask about diapering a newborn, there are two questions that always come up. What type of diapers are best and how many do I need? These are great questions and important when getting ready for your new baby to come.
I tried a few different type of diapers on my newborn and what I came to find was that the best diaper for the first few months are prefolds. I read it over and over again while I was pregnant, but I just didn't believe it. That is until I finally got experience diapering a newborn in cloth. When my new son came I was surprised at just how much he needed to be changed. Jace would poop every single time I fed him and pee even more often. That meant changing him once every hour or less. Sometimes I would change a wet diaper and then he would immediately poop and have to be changed again.
Because of the frequency of changes needed during the newborn stage, prefolds really are perfect. They are economical, easy to use, easy to wash and newborn size diapers have a great resell value. That means when you are done using them you can sell them and make most of your money back. In the first few weeks when you are exhausted, it's nice to have something easy to wash and dry. You can also use prefolds right out of the dryer - no stuffing pockets or folding required. Prefolds do have a bit of a learning curve, but any parent can get the hang of them in no time.
For $200 or less you can have 2-3 dozen newborn prefolds and 10 covers making a great stash for 2-3 days. By the time your newborn outgrows the newborn sizes he or she will fit into smalls and one size diapers perfectly. Then you can get an idea of what you want in a cloth diaper so you can decide what to invest in long term.
Of course you don't have to use prefolds, and many mamas choose not to use them, which is fine. Prefolds aren't for everyone. So if you don't go with prefolds I highly recommend starting off with either newborn or XS sizes. These often come with a umbilical cord snap down and will work perfectly for the first couple of months for your tiny babe. Happy Heiny's Mini One Size
pocket diaper is amazing and will fit great for at least 2 or 3 months! And if you prefer fitteds Kissaluvs 0 is the first choice for many parents for a newborn fitted. Pair that with a Thirsties Duo Size 1 for the perfect combo!
What About The Cord?
The umbilical cord stump needs to be taken care of for the first week. It is still attached to your baby and if irritated can start to come off and will bleed. It is important to have well fitting diapers and covers for this reason. If you can get a diaper or cover that goes over the cord stump, it will probably be less irritating to it. I have found that diapers or covers that have the little dip in them for the cord, actually rub against the cord and cause problems. This is another reason I love prefolds for the newborn stage. They can be folded down so they will be out of the way of the cord.
Wool or fleece covers are great for protecting the cord. They are soft and gentle and won't cause any irritation to your baby's cord. They are also breathable and very comfortable too. Wool or fleece soakers or wraps will fit wonderfully under sleep and play outfits or even onesies too.
Diapering A Newborn At Night
In the first couple of months you will be up several times a night to feed your new baby. This means he or she will probably poop at least 2-3 during the night, so diaper changes are inevitable. I wouldn't bother with any night time diapering solutions for the first couple of months, it's just not necessary. You can actually just use prefolds with doublers and be just fine. I found some newborn size fleece topped doublers which I liked for night time use. It helped the prefold go just long enough for the small stretches Jace would sleep at night.
You can also use fitteds or pockets at night if you choose. I personally would save that money and invest it into a night time system once your baby stops needing to be changed so often during the night, which will be around 2 months or so.
A Few Tips For Diapering A Newborn
My midwives gave my husband one very helpful piece of advice when our third baby was born. Use olive oil on your baby's bum after each diaper change for the first few weeks. It sounds kinda funny, but the olive oil helps so the meconium poop does not stick to your baby's booty. Otherwise you will have a hard time getting a sticky mess off. Yuk!
Another great tip is learning that newborns will often pee when their diapers are off and you are off guard. It is wise to have everything ready for the diaper change. I can't tell you how many times I have been peed on, or had my baby pee all over himself because I was slow to get a new diaper on him. I think the cold air must stimulate them too pee - and poop. I'm pretty sure my husband has been pooped on a few times.
Make sure you have enough diapers and covers. There is nothing worse than running out of diapers or covers and having to rush to wash them. You will need at least a 12-15 diapers a day and 5-8 covers a day. When it comes to diapering a newborn, you almost can't be over prepared!
The Joys of Diapering A Newborn
I truly believe that cloth diapering should be easy and fun. In the first month you will not want to have stress or worry about diapering a newborn. Keeping it simple will be key so you can have more time to relax and bond with your beautiful new baby. Being prepared by having enough diapers and having a system set up will help enormously. It is not important to have cute diapers or expensive diapers in these first months. Functionality needs to win out over something tiny and cute. Have fun with diapering your newborn and enjoy the special moments because they pass quickly.