Cloth Diapering a Newborn (for a minute)

Hey, you know what would be fun? Let’s talk about baby poop. Here we go.

After two months of being a parent, I’ve stumbled on one universal truth.

If you cloth diaper your baby and someone asks you about it, you will talk at them until they fake a sudden illness or family emergency just to get away from you. And then you will follow them down the street, pelting them with advice about hemp vs bamboo inserts and overnight solutions.

I have become one of those people.

I was initially very confused by all the different types, brands, inserts, washing routines, and accessories, but after spending some time wading through various cloth diaper forums (yes, they do exist!) and articles, I was sold on cloth diapering for Natalie.

The one thing no one agrees on is how long your babies will fit in newborn diapers. The wee ones (ha! A pee pun! I kill me.) don’t usually fit in diapers marketed as “one size,” so you either need a separate diapering solution for your newborn, or just use disposables until she fits in the larger diapers.

I hit up some big sales for the most basic type of diapers for newborns: prefolds and covers. Prefolds are  squishy, absorbent squares of cotton that you place inside a waterproof cover, of which I had four or five (unless poop gets on the cover, it doesn’t need to be changed every time – just switch out the prefold). Ta da! Consider yourself diapered, baby.

And along came Natalie. After a learning curve of a few days where we figured out how to fold the prefolds and just how tightly to fasten the covers (answer: much tighter than you think. A loose diaper is NOT a good thing.), it stopped requiring two of us per diaper change. Success!


Exhibit A: Too-loose diaper, aka an accident waiting to happen all over your shirt when you’re holding her.

But despite all recommendations saying that we should be fine with five covers, we were most definitely not fine. The covers were getting dirty with every change and we were having to wash them in the sink just to make sure we could make it through the day. On day four we hit up our semi-local cloth diaper store, the Diaper Lab.

Sidebar: If you’re in the Boston area, definitely check them out. They carry a great selection and have fabulous cloth diapering workshops. Yes that is a thing and yes we did take one. Will was adorable putting a diaper on a baby doll. Any store that has this in their restroom has me as a customer for life:

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We bought four more covers, despite the store owner warning us that Natalie probably wouldn’t fit in them for very long.

Pish posh! You only own a cloth diaper store. I have been a parent for four whole days. Don’t question me, woman.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. ONE WEEK LATER, after unsnapping everything that could possibly be unsnapped and velcro-ing the tabs on the loosest possible setting, we cried uncle. Natalie’s chubby thighs could no longer be contained by the newborn covers.

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Goodbye, lovely diaper covers. Hello, photobombing toes.

I whipped out a one-size diaper, put it on her, and….nope. Cloth diapers are bulky by nature, but these pushed her legs so far apart, it looked like she’d arrived at the birth center by horse. That was clearly not going to work.

My last chance was a set of five in-between size diapers that claim to fit babies from 6-22 pounds (Kawaii Pure and Natural, if any of you are wondering). Miracle of miracles, they fit!

Help me work out this math. If we have, let’s say, seven diapers that fit (the five Kawaiis plus two others that sorta, kinda, worked), and a baby that poops eleventy billion times per day, how many times per day will we have to do laundry?

If you said at least twice, you are right!

Bonus problem: How much money is Alexis willing to pay for faster shipping for 15 more Kawaiis, since they are the only diapers that fit Natalie?

Answer: Not enough. Alexis is an idiot and prefers to do laundry two or three times a day for nearly a week to save $10 in shipping costs.

Eventually the diapers arrived and our washing machine got a bit of a break. Cloth diapering has gone off more or less without a hitch since then, and I know I speak for both myself and Will when I say that we’re really glad we gave it a shot. I can think of lots of reasons why you wouldn’t or couldn’t use cloth diapers, but it’s definitely working for us.

I have many many many more words to say on the subject of cloth diapers but I have already written many words here, so let’s give it a break for now. And just in case you came here looking for actual information instead of me blabbing about me me me, here are some of my favorite cloth diaper resources:

Do you have any experience with cloth? Got a favorite newborn diaper that I could have used for a couple days on Natalie?

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