Are Newborn Cloth Diapers Worth It?
If you’re looking into cloth diapers, chances are you’re attracted to the convenience and affordability of a one size diaper. The concept is great! One diaper to fit your little wildling forever! Well . . . except if they potty train a little later. Or, if they’re born 8 lbs+. (And, honestly, even at 8 lbs those babies are drowning in their one size diapers.)
So, one size diapers aren’t “one size fits all,” but “one size fits most.” This begs the question, what do you do before they fit in the one size diaper? Many moms debate if it’s worth it to buy newborn diapers. Does the usefulness really outweigh the cost? Do they even work for newborns?
Lots of moms choose to use disposables for the first month or two until their child grows into their one size diapers. Other moms swear by newborn cloth diapers! To help you make the decision for yourself, we’ve dedicated this post to answering your questions about newborn diapers!
Are Newborn Cloth Diapers Worth It
We think newborn diapers are totally worth it, though we’re a little biased! Newborn babies go through SO many diapers, so a reusable option saves a ton of cash. And, because they’ newborn will be cycling through their diapers a lot, you don’t have to feel guilty about the expense.
They won’t use the diapers for a long time, but they will get their use! Plus, the “newborn hack” can be clumsy and frustrating for a new cloth diapering momma. So, we think newborn diapers are a great choice. But, there are a few factors to consider before deciding that newborn cloth diapering is right for you!
Things to Consider Before Cloth Diapering a Newborn
First up, review your why. Why are you cloth diapering? There are lots of reasons modern moms cloth diaper! If your only goal is saving money, you might decide that the initial sticker shock of newborn diapers isn’t worth it. But, you might also decide to cloth diaper your newborn for the same reasons. Buying disposable diapers instead isn’t really cheaper!
Conversely, if you are cloth diapering to live more sustainably, you’ll probably opt for newborn diapers. When you’re changing your little wildling every couple hours and throwing those diapers in the trash, you can almost visualize those balls of plastic stacking up in a landfill. No thank you!
The point is, consider why you want to cloth diaper. There is no shame in doing what’s easier for you if convenience is key. There’s also no shame in getting a large newborn reusable diaper stash and paying a premium price if saving the planet is your game!
A newborn baby’s size is hard to predict. If you have a little wildling pushing 9 lbs, they might fit right into one size diapers. But, they’ll fit in newborn diapers as well! This just means you could have probably gone without newborn diapers if your baby was on the heavier side.
That being said, babies can always be born early! And, several health and genetic factors could cause a lower weight. In this case, if you didn’t buy newborn cloth, your preemie or lightweight kiddo might not have reusable diapers they fit into!
So, consider the fact that a baby’s size is unpredictable. To be the most prepared for all sizes, you’d want to get newborn diapers. But, understand they might outgrow them within days or weeks of arrival if they’re bigger than average.
Before you decide to cloth from day one, consider that you’ll be in the hospital at least a couple days. A hospital will not have the best space for you to scrub poop and hang a wet bag. Plus, there’s no washer and dryer. So, you’ll either be holding onto those diapers until you leave, or someone will need to take them back and forth.
This might not be a big deal for everyone, but for some mommas recovering from intense births, whether vaginal or cesarean, the added hassle just isn’t worth it for those few days. You can always start up diapering when you get home!
Not to start any debates here, but if you’re planning to circumcise your son, cloth diapers might not be the best choice while he’s healing. Doctors will ask that you coat the front of their diaper in petroleum jelly to prevent irritation from friction. With a cloth diaper, you can’t use petroleum jelly, because it’ll make them repel water.
Many moms have hacks, including using coconut oil or putting a disposable liner with petroleum jelly inside the diaper. And, these are great options! But, some moms use disposable for the first week to be on the safe side. And, when that week is over, sometimes your little wildling is already ready for one size! (Other babies will stay in newborn for a couple months.)
Meconium is the thick, tar-like poo that your little wildling expels just after they’re born. If you're diapering in the hospital, you might have issues rinsing it off in the connected bathrooms. And, even if you are doing a home birth, you still may find the gunk a little difficult to remove. It’s definitely possible, and the meconium doesn’t hurt your diapers. But, some moms decide to wait until the meconium is all out before cloth diapering.
You might not be dealing with circumcision, but you will definitely be dealing with the umbilical cord stump! Many newborn specific cloth diapers have a special umbilical cord stump snap or fold-down to prevent painful friction while it heals. A one size diaper won’t have this, so it’s a total plus for the newborn diaper!
Number of Diaper Changes
As we’ve said, newborns need to be changed A LOT. With newborn cloth, your little wildling will need to be changed every 1-2 hours. Yep. That means you’re changing or feeding your baby most of the day. If you use disposables, you can stretch this time out a bit more!
But, that also means you're paying for every one of those diapers that’s getting tossed out each hour. So, if you’re frugal and love the earth, cloth diapering in this stage might be best. But, we know, it’s a lot of work!
Newborns get up in the night and need changed. So, when considering whether you should cloth diaper your newborn, think about how to make diaper changes in the middle of the night as easy as possible. Choosing a pocket diaper or all-in-one will be quick and easy, but they come at a higher price.
Prefolds or flats with a cover will be more tedious when you’re fumbling around in the dark half asleep. And, of course, disposables are an option too for speedy, hassle-free changes. The point is, since you’ll be getting up so frequently, you’ll want to make sure you’re committed to using cloth at night before you purchase.
Do you plan to have more kids? If so, newborn cloth diapers are a great choice. If you’re feeling like the expense isn’t worth it for the short time you need them, think about all the future little wildlings that will get to use them too! Several kiddos using the same diapers for a short time means you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!
Momma, the newborn stage is tough. You don’t need the pressure of doing anything you don’t want to do. Before selecting a type of cloth diaper or a disposable diaper, think about potential recovery hiccups. Give yourself grace to do what you know will be best for your physical and mental health. Whether it’s disposables, flats, prefolds, preflats, pockets, or all-in-ones!
Best Cloth Diapers for Newborns
If you’ve decided to cloth diaper your newborn, which diaper should you choose? We’ve listed the top three types of newborn diapers (in our humble opinion, of course). And, we’ve noted why they’re a great selection for this stage!
Covers and Prefolds/Flats
Prefolds and flats are like towels. They fold around your baby to suit their needs. You can roll the edges to hold in loose stools. You can put more absorbency in the center for a girl, more at the front for a boy. And, you can always get the perfect fit!
A waterproof cover goes around that to keep the soaked fabric from transferring to your furniture and clothes. Many people love this option, because it’s really affordable and totally customizable. Plus, once your little wildling outgrows the prefolds (the flats they’ll fit in for a long time!), you can use them as inserts, doublers, or burp clothes. Nothing wasted!
The downside, though, is that these diapers can be complicated. Diaper changes take a little longer, and you have multiple pieces to deal with. Sometimes during the newborn stage, this can be too much for mommas who are recovering and adjusting to the new baby!
All-in-ones are exactly what they sound like. A diaper that’s all one piece! This makes diaper changes fast and easy. If you can use a disposable diaper, you can use an all-in-one. This takes lots of stress out of the cloth diapering process.
A downside of all-in-ones is that they’re not customizable. No special fold, fit, or added absorbency! Also, since they’re all one piece, the elastics can wear down more quickly with the heavy washing and drying process. And, of course, these are the most expensive diaper pick!
Last, but not least, are pockets! Pockets are a good in-between. They’re easy, like an all-in-one, but they do allow for customization of absorbency. Plus, washing is super easy, because you can separate the inserts and cover to care for both accordingly!
Pockets are midrange in price, so you’re not breaking the bank for your added convenience. These diapers are also the most popular cloth diapering option. So, finding cute prints and the right fabrics will be a breeze!
Whether you decide to newborn cloth or use disposables, you can have confidence you made the right choice after considering each of these factors!
We hope this list helped you decide if newborn cloth diapers were the right fit for your new little wildling! No matter what you choose, have confidence! And, if you choose, and change your mind, that’s okay too. Parenting in those early months is all about adapting and surviving.
If you’re looking for more information about cloth diapering, travel to our blog! We’ve got lots of tips and educational content to help make you a cloth diapering expert. We’ve also got our own selection of premium pocket diapers and accessories that come at a great price. Check it out!