Cloth Diapering Your Newborn

So you just had or are expecting a new baby and are seriously considering doing the
cloth diaper thing ?

Newborn Baby

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.

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.

Prefold layers

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.

Folding prefold Folding prefold
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
Folding prefold Folding prefold
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
Folding prefold
Folding prefold
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.

Wearing Prefolds

This is the way I put on prefolds on my baby:

Wearing prefold Wearing prefold
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
Wearing prefold Wearing prefold
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
Wearing prefold
Wearing prefold
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.

Kenan in his petite diaper

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:



• Most economical cloth diapering option

• Quick drying

• Versatile -- can be used for other functions such as burp cloths, rags, inserts/doublers, etc


• Low hip quotient :-)

• Not waterproof, will need covers

• May require some practice before you get the hang of using them

Fitted diapers
Fitted Diaper


• More convenient than prefolds

• Already shaped like a diaper so it is very easy to put on the baby


• Not waterproof so will need a cover

• Will take longer to dry than the prefolds


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.

Petite Diaper
Petite Diapers


• Fast drying

• Waterproof

• Very easy to use and as convenient as disposable diapers

• High hip quotient

• Does not need any other cover


• Not as economical as prefolds

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