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Cloth Diapers for Newbies & Newborns

Cloth Diapers for Newbies & Newborns

By Amalah


I’m 12 weeks pregnant and planning ahead. (Also, too sick to do any real work.) I definitely want to cloth diaper, and based on your recommendations and others, I’m going to register for some FuzziBunz and BumGenius one-sizes. However, I’ve heard that the one sizes just aren’t small enough for newborns. I’m thinking about getting some prefolds and covers for those first couple months.

I really want cloth diapering to go well right from the start, because my husband is a pediatric ICU nurse and therefore already an expert on baby care, and he’s wary about the whole cloth diapering thing. I’m afraid that if we have a lot of leaks and/or blow-outs at first, he’ll want to give up and go straight to disposables. He’ll change a lot of diapers, so his opinion matters.

What do you think? What do you plan on doing with baby #3?


YAY. My favorite topic. And probably the only topic I have any business debating these days, as my brain has been on full-on diaper overload for weeks now. Diapersdiapersdiapersdiapers.

(Sorry, but by the third baby, there’s so much accumulated hand-me-down crap lying around that you don’t have many new decisions to obsess over. SO DIAPERS IT IS.)

We are planning to use prefolds and covers for the first weeks/months this time around. Now, I’ve never cloth-diapered a newborn. I didn’t make the switch last time until Ezra was big enough to go directly to the one-sized/sized pocket diapers. Both of the boys wore disposables as newborns, and let me tell you, disposables are BLOW-OUT CENTRAL. Just putting that out there. They are superior for leaks, because they hold more (and aren’t affected by stuff like your water and detergent type), but poop. Oh, poop. I dealt with so many blow-outs up the back and up to the armpits early on, and I am not exaggerating at all. When I complained, people told me to switch to cloth, and I (of course) thought they were crazy-crazed-craze-pants, but dammit, the day I slapped a FuzziBunz on Ezra’s butt was The Day The Blow-Outs Ended Forever.

Leaks were another story, since it took me awhile to adjust to the absorbency level of cloth vs. what I was used to with a disposable. But once I saw the benefits of changing wet clothes vs. poop-stained monstrosities oh God how did it get in your HAIR, along with the fact that Ezra no longer struggled with diaper rash, I was more than sold on cloth diapers. Basically: both cloth and disposables have their benefits and shortcomings. Everybody probably ranks the pros and cons differently. Just make sure your husband understands that even the mighty Pampers Swaddler is not perfect, and neither are cloth diapers. No matter what you choose, you WILL get up close and personal with your baby’s waste sooner or later, be it in on their clothes, their bodies, your hands, your clothes, in the diaper pail or the washing machine, the end.

So! Now! Back to the newborn discussion. We originally planned to skip cloth at first and wait for our existing stash of various pocket diapers (bumGenius, Charlie Banana, FuzziBunz) to fit. I bought a few of the spiffy new one-sized FuzziBunz (only the sized option was available back when I first switched, so I have Mediums) and set those aside, and contacted someone on Etsy about converting the worn-out velcro on my bumGenius to rows of snaps). Done!

Or…not. The aforementioned restless third-baby syndrome started, and to my surprise, my husband actually voiced an OBJECTION to the plan, saying that he preferred to skip disposables altogether this time, if possible. (Yes, he changes diapers, he washes diapers, and he is a die-hard cloth diaper convert and fan. It happens!)

I looked into a diaper service but ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth it for us, since we will probably still be washing diapers for Ezra (don’t ask, and don’t believe everybody who swears that allllll cloth-diapered babies train “early” and “easy” and OH MY GOD THAT CHILD IS KILLING ME HERE WITH THE STUBBORNNESS). And we’d still be washing the new baby’s diaper covers, and…really, I’m no longer intimidated by the “laundry” part of cloth diapering, at all. Even my husband was like, “No, we can wash them ourselves, whatever.” Plus, from experience, I know that any newborn prefolds we buy will remain incredibly useful long after the baby switches to the pocket diapers. Burp cloths, nighttime doublers, emergency inserts, general household cleaning rags, etc. Prefold diapers are the multi-purposing BOMB.

So after consulting friends, the Internet, Twitter, more Internet, we settled on building a stash of two to three dozen prefolds and five to six waterproof covers. Not really interested in trying out pins or those snappy things, honestly, though I know some people love them. The covers are just more similar to the system I’m familiar with. I bought 12 of the super-small preemie size (4-9 pounds) and 24 of the newborn size (7-20 pounds). (Thanks to my Amazon Prime addiction, they’re a weird hodgepodge of Bummis Organic and diaper-service quality Chinese and Indian varieties, though I also really like Green Mountain Diapers’ offerings but am trying to rein myself in.) I have about five covers (Thirsties, Bummis, and a couple from Etsy). If that’s not enough and I have to buy more and/or different sizes, I will not be sad. Because OMG SO CUTE I WANT A MILLION OF THEM. Now I have to start washing and fluffing the prefolds and find something new to obsess over.

If Noah had been my only experience with babies, I probably would have skipped the smaller-size prefold entirely — he was 9 pounds, 15 ounces at birth, and was too big for anything “newborn” sized. I deliberately refused to get anything tiny the second time around, buying nothing but 0-3 months for Ezra…who was 7 pounds, 7 ounces. And in the six-pound range by the time we brought him home. Where he had NO CLOTHES OR DIAPERS THAT FIT HIM. Brilliant move, Amy.

So this time I’m trying to prepare for either possibility, though the beauty of prefolds is that you can always fold sides down and in until a bigger rectangle fits your baby. It’ll be bulky, but it’ll work. And like I said, even if we end up using those preemie diapers for all of two weeks, they will still be plenty useful for other purposes.

Yes, I will probably sneak a small package of Pampers into the house at some point, just to have as a back-up should a washing-machine disaster strike or I realize I’ve made some other massive diaper-related miscalculation. And I certainly plan to hoard every teensy-tiny disposable diaper I come across during my hospital stay. Be flexible, dude. If you do end up using half and half at first, or ditching the prefolds entirely, it really doesn’t mean that you’ve failed at cloth diapering and should give up on the idea entirely. You might love cloth right from the start, and convert your husband immediately with the cost-savings and his surprise that it isn’t at all as hard as he imagined, because diapers are all still just diapers. Or you might find that it’s just too much for the early months but still fall in love with the ease and convenience of the pocket diapers or all-in-ones or something completely different than what worked for us or for other cloth diaper fanatics.

If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected]

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Olivia

    February 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Now you’ve got me thinking about pre-folds for the next baby. We use disposables until our daughter fit in the size small fuzzibunz. It was about a month I think.

  • Laura B.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Yay! Cloth diapers! One of my favourite topics too.

    I found prefolds too bulky on my 8lb7oz newborn, and the Velcro irritated her belly.

    But THEN I got larger, second-hand covers for 50 cents each and discovered a whole new love of prefolds, mostly because we didn’t have to spend any more money on diapers. (Second-hand covers were so much softer). I still prefer the pockets, but am forever thankful for my stash of prefolds when I get behind in laundry.

    As for blowouts, I’ve NEVER had a blowout in a cloth diaper. Disposable? You bet. All-in-one, one-size, prefold or pocket? Never.

  • Olivia

    February 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Another thought: you might want to use disposable for the first couple of days until the baby poops out all the meconium. I hear it’s really hard to get out of cloth and stains.

  • Andrea

    February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm
  • Kate

    February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I recommend the Kissaluvs newborn size for well, newborns. They were great with my first baby (born 8lbs., wore the NB size til about 3 months) and fit perfectly in the Imse Vimse small covers.

    That said, how do you find someone to convert your BumGenius to snaps? I’ve searched Etsy and come up with “no results”. Help!? Baby #2 due in September! Yay! I get to use the cute cloth diapers again.

  • Anne

    February 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    No joke, prefolds are useful around the house FOREVER. My mom cloth diapered me in 1980 and still uses the remaining prefolds for dusting cloths…THIRTY YEARS LATER. Woah.

  • Karlei

    February 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    We used prefolds and fitteds (kissaluv size zeros are almost unbearably wee and cute) with covers for the first three months or so and they worked wonderfully.We only ever had a poop blowout with Ben when he was in a disposable diaper, but did have slightly more wet leakage in cloth diapers. I’d hands down rather deal with wet than exploding poop. Starting at six months or so, we moved to using pocket diapers almost exclusively.

  • heather

    February 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Yay! I love this topic too! OK, for newborns the BEST things are FuzziBunz diapers and covers. These diapers are pretty much soft fleece with snug but soft elastic around everywhere the poop might escape. If yo put a cover over the top of it then nothing gets out. We didn’t have a single blow-out with these diapers. The downside – it’s expensive to buy a whole new set of dipes for just a few weeks. I got mine used on craigslist. Some people might turn up their nose at used diapers but it was a cost-effective solution for us. I agree about using disposables until the meconium passes.

  • Kailee

    February 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    I *just* submitted a similar question about diapering newborns, so I am really excited about this article. I swear, I treat all of your cloth diapering answers (and the comments) as gospel! Thanks!

  • Whozat

    February 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I’ve actually read that while meconium is hell to get off the kid, it’s actually not a big deal on the diapers. We didn’t start with cloth until way past that point, so I’m just reporting what I’ve heard.

  • Kira

    February 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    My daughter is 14 months, and we have been cloth-diapering from the moment she was born.  We started out with prefolds and covers and then, when she was about two days old, the elastic waistband that keeps all the poop in irritated the umbilical stump and she actually BLED.  (I’m a first-time mom, which means I was seeing my BRAND NEW BABY bleed.  I freaked.. a little.)  Anyway, we ended up switching to some newborn sized disposables for about a week until the stump fell off.  And then we went whole-hog on the cloth diapering, continuing with the prefolds and covers until she was big enough to fit into the BumGenius.  

    I’m now 14 weeks pregnant with #2, and we’re planning on just using disposables for the first week or so.  That way, we can avoid the “stump” irritation (EWWW!) and kind of adjust to the having TWO BABIES before we start doing extra laundry.

    So my recommendation would be to at least have a package of newborn sized disposables handy in case you need to switch for some reason.

  • Alisha

    February 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    We used prefolds + the Thirsties XS covers for my guy as soon as the mecomium was over (that stuff is NASTY). We <3 them! We have some fuzzibunz and similar, but the prefold + cover (now we use the Thirsties Duo) is still our favorite. My husband calls them "the easy diapers."

  • Kari

    February 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I am one of the crazy planning ahead ladies who asked a cloth diaper question back in the fall when I was pregnant. I noticed that the question said something about using prefolds and covers for the first couple of months. I just wanted to say that I totally went against Amy’s advice and bought a bunch of one-size diapers before my guy was born (sorry, Amy). He was on the small side (6 lbs 15 oz when he was born), but we were using those one-size diapers before he was three weeks old. As soon as his thighs weren’t teeny tiny newborn thighs, I tried it. So you will probably be in them before you think you will, and you might want to figure that in to your calculations. (And the only ones that consistently leak are those dang one-size FuzziBunz. I do not know how to get those button settings to work for me. But the BumGenius and the Bummis are great for us.)

  • Susan

    February 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Prefolds and covers are awesome for newborns. I actually didn’t stick with cloth diapers once I returned to work because I couldn’t handle the laundry. I commend all cloth diaper mamas that can hack it.  The prefolds continued to be super useful and still are even now that my boy is 14 months. I love them.  

  • Brooke

    February 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    We cloth diapered both kids from day one. The kissaluv size 0 really are great for early on with a wee one. However, the second time around we were so good at getting a prefold on and Snappied, that it was just as easy. Plus the boy was bigger and a heavier wetter.
    I personally love the Snappi. It’s easy, it holds the diaper on, and we can let the toddler run around without a cover. Prefolds are also really great because you can fold them to fit your kid. Our kids are wildly different shapes, but that doesn’t matter so much with the prefold.

    We didn’t have any meconium stains.

  • Kira

    February 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I tried submitting a comment earlier, but I think cyberspace ate it. 

    My daughter is now 14 months, and we’ve been cloth diapering since day one – we used prefolds and covers.  (Oh, and in the early days, the Snappi was KEY, because those babies have such skinny legs at first.)  But on day two we switched to disposables for about a week, because the waistband of the covers (we use Thirsties) irritated the umbilical stump.  And my two-day-old BAYBEEE was BLEEDING!  (She was fine.  I was not.)  But, the disposables were slightly less…rubby.  

    I’m now 14 weeks pregnant, and I think we’ll probably just plan on using disposables for the first week or so, just until the stump falls off, and then it’s absolutely cloth all the way.  I am in LOVE with cloth diapers.  Just saying.

    Wow.  Pregnant brain.  Oiy.  I’m going to… stop… now.

  • Melanie

    February 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I am due in two weeks with my first, and I convinced my husband that cloth diapering was the way to go – but he is too intimidated to try prefolds, so I bought a variety of one size pockets and we are going to do disposable until she fits into the OS. My question is, how long will that really be? I’ve heard answers ranging from a few weeks to a few months – and of course the OS diapers mostly say they fit starting at 8 lbs. But do they? If it is really a few months before the OS fit, then I think I might just have to get some prefolds and covers and tell hubby Too bad!

  • Leigh

    February 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I too am a cloth diaper addict. About the only thing I am buying for #2 (due in may) is Kissaluvs Organics fitteds. We did prefolds from the first diaper home last time and they are great, but I love fitteds and wool. Since I work at a diaper store and get an employee discount I figure why not splurge.
    There are several diaper stores that rent Kissaluvs 0s (including this one, no affiliation, if you are not planning on having several kids in them.

    Prowrap newborn covers are great, but after that I love Bummies (S fits a Kissa 0) and Thirsties (XS fits a Kissa 0)

    Meconium is apparently hard to get out of fleece lined diapers, but washes out of cotton easily. I am going to try cloth in the hospital and sacrificed an ugly receiving blanket to make liners I don’t care about.

  • Alanna

    February 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    We’re doing a mix of stuff for the NB phase – we have a few fitteds (Kissaluvs size 0) because they’re supposed to be really good for exploding poo, we have some prefolds, covers for both of those, and then we have about 10 xs BumGenius AIO diapers – they have a low rise so that it doesn’t irritate the umbilical cord stump (so do the Kissaluvs actually – they have a snap down rise). The great thing about NB diapers is that you can totally resell them for almost the whole cost (I bought mine for about $8-10 each on a cloth diaper swap board) if you’re not going to use them once this baby out grows them. Or you can do one of those rental services for 3 months (I’ve heard good things about the itsybitsybums that someone else mentioned). You get a lot of your money back either way.

  • Sarah

    February 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    we used up the tiny disposables we got from the hospital and the baby showers, and then switched to prefolds / covers. My son is 15 months old, and we mainly use pockets now, but i have 12 prefolds that i will use on occasion. I don’t use snappis now, but I loved them when he was small. With the infant sized prefolds – the snappis add that elastic stretch so you can use a cover multiple times, because nothing gets out. and when they are little they poop every time they pee. not sure what is up with that. my sister in law has all my infant prefolds right now, and i’ll be taking them back when my next one is born. they do last forever.

  • JCF

    February 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    We’ve cloth diapered all three of our kids from birth, using prefolds, a Snappi, and covers. One thing to keep in mind is that if you use a Snappi, you only need probably 5-6 covers. If you just trifold, you’re probably going to need 12-18 covers, at least. The Snappi is also good at securing the prefold as a first defense against escaping poop–the cover being the second. Also, if you make sure to get the prefold tucked into the cover completely and double check around the legs, you won’t have pee leaking. I had maybe a couple of diapers where poo escaped onto clothes with each kid ever. Never a single blowout where poop shot all over the place, like people describe.

    For whomever mentioned the umbilical stump bleeding from the covers rubbing, make sure to fold the prefold down pretty low and Snappi it. Then use a cover that has a slight dip in front to accomodate the stump. Thirsties XS are my favorites!

  • Brita

    February 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    We used 12 kissaluv newborns with some thirsties covers.  I LOVED them.  They looked like little caveman undies.  Totally adorable.  My Vi never got any kind of a rash and I felt like they had great absorbency.  They were expensive, but an investment because I plan to use them for future kids.  She used them right up until she was ready for the smallest setting of AIO Bum Genius.  Thanks for the tip on replacing the worn out velcro with snaps on Etsy.  I hadn’t really thought about it, but thats a great idea.  

  • lindswing

    February 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I can pinpoint the precise moment when second baby fever hit: when I first saw Rumparooz Lil Joeys.  The cutest thing I’ve ever seen in all my life.  So. Precious.

    Melanie, the length of time it takes to fit into a OS diaper really depends on your baby.  My son was 8 lb. 6 oz at birth, but gained over two pounds (OVER TWO POUNDS) in his first two weeks of life, then barely slowed down.  He easily fit into the smallest BumGenius setting at a month old.  At 8 lb 6 oz, he was still the smallest baby born in the prior two generations of my and my husband’s families (!!)… so I personally won’t be stocking up on Lil Joeys, because we apparently birth giants around here (though, duh, I’ll definitely get a few to burble delightedly over).  We personally went with disposables that first month, but we’re hoping to try cloth after the umbilical stump falls off with the next baby (whenever that may be).  I hate that so many of my son’s adorable outfits are stained from blowouts during that time.  Oh man, the disposable blowouts.  It is unreal how far they can spray poo and how ineffective disposables are at containing them.  We had precisely two poop leaks with cloth; once there was a spot the size of a dime on the leg of his onesie, and another time an area smaller than a baby’s hand up his back.  Incredible, when one considers that he blew out of a disposable over 99% of the time.  

    Amalah, I can’t wait for a report of how things go for you with cloth diapering from the start!

  • lindswing

    February 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I can pinpoint the precise moment when second baby fever hit: when I first saw Rumparooz Lil Joeys.  The cutest thing I’ve ever seen in all my life.  So. Precious.

    Melanie, the length of time it takes to fit into a OS diaper really depends on your baby.  My son was 8 lb. 6 oz at birth, but gained over two pounds (OVER TWO POUNDS) in his first two weeks of life, then barely slowed down.  He easily fit into the smallest BumGenius setting at a month old.  At 8 lb 6 oz, he was still the smallest baby born in the prior two generations of my and my husband’s families (!!)… so I personally won’t be stocking up on Lil Joeys, because we apparently birth giants around here (though, duh, I’ll definitely get a few to burble delightedly over).  We personally went with disposables that first month, but we’re hoping to try cloth after the umbilical stump falls off with the next baby (whenever that may be).  I hate that so many of my son’s adorable outfits are stained from blowouts during that time.  Oh man, the disposable blowouts.  It is unreal how far they can spray poo and how ineffective disposables are at containing them.  We had precisely two poop leaks with cloth; once there was a spot the size of a dime on the leg of his onesie, and another time an area smaller than a baby’s hand up his back.  Incredible, when one considers that he blew out of a disposable over 99% of the time.  

    Amy, I can’t wait for a report of how things go for you with cloth diapering from the start!

  • Samantha

    February 23, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I totally second the ‘sposies = blowouts thing. The minute we started using cloth diapers, she had no more blowouts. Not. One. TMI: she could fill the thing up with poop and not a bit of it would leak. Cloth diapers are awesome. We also used pretty much zero diaper cream because she had maybe two diaper rashes lasting less than a day. We also had good luck with the cloth diapers = early potty training. She was all underwear all the time at 25 months. In short, we loooove cloth diapers around here. My husband was the stay at home parent for the most part and he is just as crazy about them. If/when we have a second we’ll be using them again without question.

    We did use disposables for the first 2 months. I’d bought Bummi’s whisper wraps and prefolds, but our little peanut came home weighing 5 lbs 10 oz. So, I ordered the preemie size whisper wraps and prefolds, but they didn’t work as well as the later ones. They did leak quite a bit and the covers didn’t get dry. The larger sizes were completely different in material and construction. Weird. Anyway, like previous posters have said they grow wicked fast so you’ll be into regular size cloth diapers before you know it. 

    By the way, we used prefolds and covers pretty much the whole time. Only at the very end did we try the pocket diapers like BumGenius. Those are definitely less bulky, but you can’t beat the prefolds on cost and they work great.

  • Kathleen

    February 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    For @Melanie- lindswing is right about the timing depending on your kid’s build. My kiddo has never had chubby thighs and it took a couple of months for him to fit into the OS bumgeniuses, a little longer for the happy heineys.

    Although now that Amy mentions it, I remember the horrid blowouts of those first two months and wish I’d tried anything else instead of waiting. Damn pampers.

  • Karen

    February 24, 2011 at 12:38 am

    We used prefolds, snappis, and Thirsties (4) for a 3-4 day wash rotation for the first 3-4 months. I had some Kissaluvs but I sold them. We had zero blowouts, no leaks that I can recall, and only 1 or two instances of poo getting outside the cover (not really a blowout). Next time we’ll just use the prefolds, waaaaaay cheaper. My daughter is 18 months and has been in the old style FB mediums since 4.5 months. Isn’t that bizarre?

  • eva

    February 24, 2011 at 12:52 am

    We used disposables until the stump fell off for both kids after eagerly trying cloth and getting bloody stumps.  Yuck.  My second daughter’s stump took over three weeks to fall off! She could smile and still had that damn stump!

    Anyway I bought some tinyfit pocket diapers and loved loved loved them.  I had 5, plus a variety of prefolds and fitteds with bummis covers for the newborn stage and loves them all.  The only thing we’ve found is that my second daughter (5 months old now) is very susceptible to diaper rash when we use any natural fibres, so we use a micro fleece liner between her skin and the prefolds. 

    Oh! We also bought size one bamboozle stretch fitteds and they are ah-mazing.  Totally worth getting a couple for the stash!  

    Oh! And I snappi the prefolds.  My husband refuses to use them, hence the fitteds.  Now that my daughter is 5 months she’s wearing bumgenius one size (handed down from my first daughter and converted to snaps) and the prefolds/covers.  We get no leaks ever with the two part system, and have to say we get some leaks with the bumgenius, but I think that is because they are a bit stretched out from my older daughter and I should have had the elastic replaced when I got them snap converted.  Oh well, live and learn.

  • Kari

    February 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Melanie: I said this in my comment above, but we were in the one-size BumGenius 4.0s without any leaks at 20 days. I waited until his thighs seemed a little bit more filled out. My boy was 6 lbs 15 oz at birth and it took not quite a week to get back to his birth weight.

    The first one I tried that day was a one-size FuzziBunz, but it leaked. However, I have consistently had problems with those diapers leaking, so it was probably more of an issue with me wrangling the button settings than the diaper itself. 

  • Rhia

    February 24, 2011 at 8:36 am

    This is the best fold for newborns. They show it with a snappi, but if you throw a cover over it stays well enough for the wee ones who don’t move much.

  • Fakey

    February 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

    We cloth diapered our DD from day 5 and plan to do it from day one with the new on that’s on the way! We used prefolds, snappis, and Thisties XS covers and had not a single up-the-back blowout. There were a few of those with the ‘sposies at daycare, but never with the cloth at home. Also, prefolds are SO EASY to wash.
    We did get leaks out the leg holes, despite her big chunky thighs, but the combo of snappi + jellyroll fold stopped that instantly. You can search youtube or google for fold tutorials. Tri-fold (no snappi or pins) will require more covers. I highly suggest securing the prefolds with a snappi inside the cover. We were not able to use the tri-fold technique until arounf 10-11 months when her poo started to firm up a bit.
    I heart cloth diapers.

  • Bear

    February 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

    We used disposables for the first couple days, until the meconium had passed. From there on, cloth. We used diaper-service pre-folds with Bummis covers, and we are still using them (small boy now 13 months). We never had poop blowouts, rarely had leaks (because we were always on a cloth timetable, we got used to changing early and often) and once we got rid of wipes and switched to washcloths with plain water even Little Mister Sensitive Skin hardly ever had diaper rash (especially once we instituted daily Naked Babies and Showtunes time). Also, and nobody /tells/ you this – disposables make poop stick to baby skin, cloth makes the poop stick to the diaper. 

    We keep paper diapers around for emergencies, and we use them when we travel. I draw the line at flying home with a suitcase full of dirty diapers. But otherwise, we have loved cloth and totally recommend them.

  • Kate

    February 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I use exclusively pockets and AIOs on my toddler and for the new baby, although I know that prefolds and covers are the cheapest way to go, I just can’t get on board with the idea of a two part diapering system (I’m lazy). So, for the new baby, I have a mish mash of xs AIOs and pockets (a lot of xs fuzzi bunz) that I bought used on I got good deals on good condition used dipes and they will have great resale value when I’m done. Also, another option is the “mini” one-sized dipes out there — Happy Heinys, Thirsties and Blueberry all make a variation. They are designed like a one-size but fit from 5-15 lbs approx.

  • GJ

    February 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I completely second what Bear said about the fact that disposables make poop stick to skin. It’s a secret the disposable diaper manufacturers don’t want you to know! 😉 Really, it was one of the things that disturbed me most when we used disposables–the weird chemicals in disposables that allow for more absorbency also make poop cling to your little one’s behind, resulting in more wiping and greater possibility of irritation. Not cool.

    Also, because I am apparently Bear’s #1 fan, I laughed out loud at “especially once we instituted daily Naked Babies and Showtunes time”–awesome.

  • Cynthia

    February 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I totally over-prepared on the newborn cloth diaper-front–prefolds, covers, and some of those great workhorse diapers at Green Mountain.  However, I barely needed to use any of them, since my son fit into his Bum Genius one size diapers once he hit 8 lbs.  I don’t this extends to all brands one size diapers though.  He is 9.5 lbs now and still doesn’t fit into his one-size Kawaii diapers.

  • Bonnie

    February 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    We have been using prefolds with Thirsties Duo covers from day 4 (but I had a 9-pounder) and love them. We decided on prefolds because 1. SO CHEAP and 2. Easier to wash (for me). They are prettymuch indestructible and it seemed like the AIO systems were a bit pickier about how you take care of them. But, I am pretty lazy and stupid. We’ve never had poop leak from a cloth, but have had two amazing blowouts in the past 24 hrs in disposables (we’re traveling now).

  • AB

    February 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    We have used Thirsties and prefolds since we came home from the hospital. In seven months we have had one leak. You can’t beat the price.

  • Monica

    February 24, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I am in the same boat…want to start earlier w/the cloth diapering, but my bumGenius pocket diapers will be way to big for awhile. My babies start small/stay small! I’m wondering about using those infant size inserts (or doublers) from the bumGenius as a ‘prefold,’ using a snappi, and a diaper cover. Maybe some fleece to separate baby’s skin from the grabby doubler. Has anyone done this? Any thoughts?

  • Jessie

    February 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Here’s a question for y’all, has anyone here heard/tried Best Bottom Dipaers?
    We are pregnant with our second and our 2 year old is still in diapers, so I want to switch to cloth but my husband……… not so much. He’s all for the savings, but it has to be super easy for him to be willing to try it/do it with me. These diapers seem like a dream come true, but I only ever hear people talk about ones like Thirsties or Fuzzibunz or bummies, stuff like that.

  • Bear

    February 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    @GJ, Naked Babies and Showtunes time is the best thing ever. Highly recommended. It’s great to have music during Naked Baby Time so that small persons wave their limbs about or bounce around, and by the fourth time through any major musical cast recording you can sing along with half the songs (which of course delights most babies no end). 

    Wave of the future, I tellya. 

  • Amy J

    February 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I would recommend the Cloth Diapering Board on BabyCenter

    We cloth diapered from day one, but we did not go the cheap route and we bought a supply of BumGenius in XS. They are easy to use and work wonderfully, even for the diaper doubters. We are now in the BG 3.0 S (on clearance for $9.95 each at Cottonbabies). Their Econobums line is currently buy one get one free, and they are covers with pre-folds. Oh my am I currently obsessed. Oh! Also, there is a cloth diaper swap board on BabyCenter as well. And for pockets try Alva Baby ($5.59 each! Free shipping! Good reviews!)

    Signed, crazy diaper lady.

  • Courtney

    February 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I did actually find that we needed the snappis. We didn’t use them at first, but with those runny newborn poops you do get some leaks if it’s not all cinched up. We did use a diaper service, and would just throw the covers in with his regular clothes (I think? it’s all kind of a blur at this point). They would provide us with 60/week, so it sounds like you’ve got the right idea with a few dozen. We ended up keeping 10 of them once we finished using the service, and they do come in super handy as burp rags/changing pad covers/washcloths/whatever.

    We moved on to Smartipants and BumGenius 3.0s, but we do actually break out prefolds and covers on the weekends. That way daycare can do the “easy” cloth diapers and we do the “harder” ones (which, really, aren’t hard at all).

  • Sara

    February 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    We cloth diapered from day one. We used the Nell’s Natural Baby kissaluv diaper rental for $100– they let you keep them for 3 months. We had to buy 5 diaper covers, but found some super cheap on ebay, and I imagine I will be able to resell them as well. I had a huge baby, so ended up going into BumGenuis OS by 2 months, but still found the rental fee reasonable. Nells Naturals were great to work with– a couple diapers came without snaps, and she quickly shipped us two more.

  • Katie

    February 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Bear–we did naked babies and showtunes time too! Except when I switched it up with Christmas carols for some variety. (In May, of course).

    I’m not pregnant with number two, yet, but I have spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking about our first few weeks. This time around, we used disposables until the cord stump fell off, and then switched to BG 3.0s and fuzzibunz onesize at about two weeks. (I also had a few kissaluv Os that I hated…but I think thats just me). The fuzzibunz OS I highly, highly, recommend for that age…you really can get them small enought to use for a newborn. I found they even fit better than the one fuzzibunz size small that I had during the teeny days. At 10 months, though, I find myself reaching for the sized fuzzibunz mediums before the onesize. I just like the little bit bigger insert. The BG, though? Leaked for us until four months, when I just stopped using the snap adjustment and threw them on him old many style up past his waist 🙂 Now, for hypothetical number 2, I’m torn between using cloth and maybe bulking up with some fuzzibunz smalls, and sized BGs, but I’m intrigued by prefolds. Do you plan to use a snappi, Amy? If so, can we please, please, please have a review and tutorial? Because I think I’ll commit to newborn cloth if I can fold into a cover–but the snappi has me running scared!

  • Heather (Laptops to Lullabies)

    February 26, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Ooh, my fave topic! I’ve been using bumGenius Elementals (the one-size organic cotton snap diapers) since my eight-month-old was about two weeks old, and I love them.

    We used disposables for the first two weeks, because we have been given a bunch as gifts (from people who DIDN’T BELIEVE that I’d stick to my cloth-diapering guns), and I hated those Pampers. They leaked and they were just … gross-looking.

    Whenever #2 comes around, I think using prefolds at the beginning is a great idea. Then I get to buy covers in fun prints, yayyyyy!

  • Wallydraigle

    February 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Huh. We actually have had more blowouts with cloth diapers. I think a lot depends on the baby’s build. For disposables, we have only had success with Luvs, and no one else I know likes them, so maybe I just have freak babies.
    I actually don’t care for BumGenius, which I know makes me the freak. I hate stuffing them, I hate having to take them apart, I hate that I have to be more careful with them when sanitizing (and I have to sanitize a lot, since my girls are little yeast breeding grounds, and no, I have no idea why).
    So we finally settled on Econobums, and I LOVE them. I bought their second covers to save a few bucks (I have examined them over and over and cannot detect what made them seconds in the first place, so they’re really no lower in quality) and a couple dozen of their Indian prefolds. Enough diapers for both of my girls for two days: $63. Yes. $63.
    I don’t even need pins or Snappis at all. In fact, those are both more of a pain to use with the Econobums covers than not. Both my girls are very active, and the baby is constantly climbing, falling, walking, tumbling, and still no problems.
    So, even if you have your heart set on a fancier system for longterm, I highly recommend Econobums for money savings. They’re great diapers, and they’re inexpensive.
    Disclaimer: never used them on a newborn, but my friend who recommended them in the first place has, and she had no problems with them.

  • Myriam

    February 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I started using my bumgenius 4,0 with snaps when my daughter was 13 days old (as soon as she lost the bellybutton stump).  She was rounder around the middle and short, so the fitted quite well.

  • Amy J

    February 28, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Now that I read my comment it sounds as if I am calling people cheap, when I was actually trying to say that we did not save any money whatsoever using cloth because I bought the BG XS. And we had a little peanut so we used them more than most people would. They were incredibly easy though!

  • […] Cloth Diapering For Newbies and Newborns […]

  • Jennifer

    February 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    When my daughter was 7lbs. we were able to use our Rump-A-Rooz one size. They are a little more pricey but worth it to start the one size diapers right away.

  • allison

    February 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I’m glad this is here! I’m due in less than 2 months and trying to figure out exactly what we’re going to do, diaper-wise. We live in an apartment, so we were thinking about going with a service, but it’s pricey ($20/week) and would restrict us to only prefolds….so we’re thinking about buying a portable washing machine (we don’t pay utilities and are allowed to have washing machines in our unit).

    Right now, the plan is:
    2 dozen prefolds
    5-6 covers (probably mostly bummis, since that’s what’s easily available here in Canada)
    Slowly build up a stash of one size pockets, trying a couple of different brands until we figure out which ones we like best. Fuzzibuns, applecheeks and Rumparooz maybe?

    Has anyone tried Grovia?

  • Emily

    February 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I had to make the compromise with hubby to use disposables at first. It was a good plan. I was very tired, I didn’t want to do more laundry. We didn’t have any blowouts that I can remember until she was about 6 weeks old and the size 1s were probably too small. Blowouts in cloth happens… it all happens. Probably because I’m still not sure that the cloth diapers are not too tight. So, I keep them tight, but tight also causes leaks. It’s a learning system on your baby, your diapers, your patience. I know when to use my FB, when to use my BG and even though I hate cleaning poop out of those Rumparooz inner gussets, I know they will contain the mess when a mess most definitely must be contained. Be prepared to get obsessed. I do not need more diapers.. but golly if I WANT more diapers. They’re cute and they’re more addictive than tattoos.