Monday, September 12, 2011

Cloth Diapers and the Newborn

My little Clare is four weeks old, and just four short weeks ago I took a deep breath and snappied the first of many prefold cloth diapers on her little bum. I had already cloth diapered her big sister for eight months, but how different would newborn diapering be from toddler diapering? Would those little covers contain the exclusively breastfed (EBF) poo that I remembered shooting out of the disposable diaper and up the back of my sweet Helen when she was a newborn? Would she be comfortable or cry constantly to have her wet diapers changed immediately? What about outings? What about nighttime? What about rashes? What about???

I am happy to report that all is well in the cloth diapering world.
(Warning: This is a LONG post)

My newborn stash was a very lucky Craigslist find.  Early in my pregnancy I decided I would be exclusively cloth diapering both of my children and that I would begin as soon as possible with Helen to learn the ropes. One of the ways I saved money on the huge initial investment of cloth diapers was to seek out gently used diapers.  My first find was the entire newborn stash of a mom whose baby had outgrown them.

The newborn collection included:

After four weeks, I am now ready to "destash" what we didn't really need and didn't really like because we won't miss them when and if there is a kiddo number three. The list above is honestly way more diapers than you really need for a newborn. During these four weeks Clare's weight has ranged from just under 8 to just over 10 lbs.

Here are my findings:
  1. I love prefolds. The GMD are wonderful and thick. They are much shorter in length than the infant sized Cottonbabies, and they fit beautifully into the XS Thirsties Covers. The Cottonbabies are super soft and are similar in size to the GMD yellow edge.
  2. I like the sized Thirsties covers better than the multi-sized Duos. The Duos work fine, and it is SO nice that you can use them for a longer amount of time, but the sized Thirsties are roomier in the bum and fit the snappied prefolds better than the Duos.
  3. Thirsties covers in general are my favorite... they catch EVERYTHING. Not a single drop of that EBF poo has escaped. The Bummies cover is really nice, thick, and soft but I didn't have a XS to try so the size small was still just a bit large on my little girl. The Fishnoodles cover was cute, but didn't fit tight enough around the legs, though it also is a small, so it might fit better later on. And, I don't really have an opinion on the prowrap because it has pretty much just lived in the diaper bag as a backup. I pretty much considered the Swaddlebees a cover because it didn't come with an insert, and I think it was a bit too used because the PUL didn't seem to be in good condition - we only used this once while waiting for diaper laundry to finish.
  4. The BumGenius diapers were nice in theory.  We used them mainly at night and when we went out because one piece to take off and put on is really easier than two pieces, but these diapers did not seem to fit as well as the prefolds and Clare outgrew them sooner which meant wet sheets when daddy would put her in one in the middle of the night. We really didn't use the Bamboo fitteds either because we honestly just had too many diapers. Though, they are really nice little diapers.
Overall, we are very happy. Clare has had no sign of diaper rash, she always seems happy and comfortable (unless of course she has made something truly terrible in her diaper), and nights and outings work the same as always (change newborn's diaper at feedings, and don't forget the diaper bag when going out!).

If I were to go back and purchase exactly what I wanted based on the knowledge I have now, for this newborn stage I would want:

  • 3 Dozen GMD orange edge prefolds
  • 8 Thirsties XS Covers
  • 3 Snappis
  • 6 BumGenius AIO's
That adds up to $169.55 for the GMD's, Thirsties, and Snappis, and $74.70 for the 6 BumGenius. This is less than $50 a week for the first five weeks (we will be getting at least one more week out of the GMD). 

On a slimmer budget, I would recommend:
  • 2-3 Dozen GMD orange edge prefolds
  • 6 Thirsties Duo Size One covers (or you could do XS if you planned to switch to all One-Size diapers after the newborn stage)
  • 3 Snappis
$153.05 with 3 Dozen, and $129.05 with 2 (Though you would have to do laundry every 1.5 days).

When it comes to choosing your diapers, everyone has different tastes.  Try a few and buy what you like. I am not endorsed by any of these brands... these recommendations are just my humble opinion. I found for me that buying used was the best way to try a large variety without feeling like I was over-spending. 

In an attempt to not lengthen this post, I will share our plan for the next stage of diapering (the "Size Small to Large or One-Size" Diaper Phase) later this week. Please feel free to comment or email me if you have questions or are interested in cloth diapering - I love talking diapers! lonestar(dot)knits(at)yahoo(dot)com.

If you are interested in reading more about my cloth diapering research and experience, check out the Family Room page for more links.

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