So you just had or are expecting a new baby and are seriously considering doing the
cloth diaper thing ?
Good for you :-) !! Cloth diapering is better for our babies , good for our earth and much more economical than disposable diapers. Babies on cloth hardly ever get nappy rashes. Using cloth diapers on newborns is a little different from cloth diapering an older baby and if you are going to encounter difficulties with cloth diapers, it'll be most likely in these first few weeks.
A good place to start will be what to expect from your newborn babies.
Newborns poo and pee very often (bet you already know that ;-)
Newborns' bowel movements are very runny and cannot be absorbed fully by diapers (both disposable and cloth). Sometimes, "blow-out" happens. This is when the poop comes so fast and so much that it goes all the way up the back.
That's the bad news. The good news is that breastfed newborn poop has no nasty smell. It may look startlingly bright yellow but it washes off easily.
At the newborn stage, containment of this runny poo is a lot important than absorbency of the diaper. They poo so often that you will have to change them before their diapers get really wet anyway.
Expect to change your newborn 8 - 12 times a day
Newborns have skinny legs until the effect of the milk shows
Newborns grow fast - DO enjoy them at that stage !
The cheapest way to cloth diaper a newborn is really the good old fashioned flat mueslin or birds-eye cloth napkin that our parents and grandparents used to use. They're a huge rectangular piece of one-layer cotton that you learn to fold many, many times to create a diaper with most of the bulk in the middle. Ermmm..too much trouble for me and I still have a phobia of using a diaper pin on a squirmy baby after I poked my firstborn with one many, many years ago.
The next cheapest alternative is the prefolds. In the U.S. these are the basic nappy used by generations of mums. Prefolds are rectangular in shape and designed with three areas of varying thickness. Prefolds listed as 4x8x4 have four layers of cotton twill on the side panels with eight layers in the middle where the maximum absorbancies is needed. As they have already been "pre-folded" for you, you don't have to do any origami gymnastics to start using them effectively.
It's true that prefolds don't score too highly as far as its hip quotient is concerned - but they are so easy to use (and cheap !) that they are definitely worth a second look. They're an economical way to diaper your newborn while waiting for them to grow big enough to fit our best selling one-size diaper.
Prefolds are not waterproof and they can be used with or without cover. At home, I do let my newborn wear them without a cover to keep his little bottom cooler. Going without cover will also help you see how many times your newborn wet his/her diaper. Measuring a newborn's output this way is a good way of gauging whether he's taking enough milk. Click here to find out more about Bumwear prefolds
Folding Prefolds This is a way of folding that I found to be good in containing the liquidy newborn poo.
1. Fold up the bottom portion to the proper ris (Rise - the height of the prefold at the back of the baby should be lined up to his belly button
2. Fold in the left side about a third of the way
3. Fold the right side in 1/3 of the way and tuck into the pocket made in picture 3. The top of the prefolds should be fanned a bit to form "wings"
3. This is the "pocket" made from the fold in picture 2
5. You can tuck in a microfiber insert for extra absorbancies (optional)
6. Put a layer of nappy liner on top to catch the poo. Trust me -- it'll make your cleaning job a whole LOT easier
I found the above to be the easiest way to fold prefolds. For more prefolds origami, you can click here.
This is the way I put on prefolds on my baby:
1. Put the prefold on the baby, making sure that the top of the prefold (on the baby's back) is the same height as his belly button
2. Pull the left wing from the back to the front
3. Pull the right wing from the back to the front
4. Secure the left wing by fastening the left claw of the Snappi fastener on it. Str-e-t-c-t-h the Snappi to the right wing
6. Fasten the centre part and TA-DA, you're done !!
5. Fasten the right wing with the SNAPPY
Venturing Outside with the very young baby
I put my little nursling in his petite size Bumwear pocket diaper when venturing outside the house. At night I alternate between the petite diapers and the prefolds with cover.
Once you settle into the cloth diapering routine with your new little darling, you'd be amazed at how easy it can be. And remember, for every disposable not used, it means one less soiled disposable in our landfill and a few more cents in your pocket :-)
In summary, here are your options for cloth diapering your newborn:
Used over prefold diapers and fitted diapers to waterproof them. Diaper covers wrap around baby and secures with Velcro Each diaper cover can be used several times without washing if allowed to air dry between uses. Diaper covers usually can be washed along with diapers.