For the Mamas | Cloth Diapering 101: How to Cloth Diaper a Newborn

February 11, 2014·

We are rounding out and finishing up this cloth diapering series!

I have gotten A LOT of emails from y’all (and reading your comments) saying how helpful this has been and that makes my heart happy. I know I am one of those over-researchers and one of those people who needs more information than I know what to do with… so hopefully my neuroses have paid off. Haha!

I’ve decided to add a few more posts to the series in a few weeks based on feedback I’ve gotten… probably WON’T be next week (got something a little more important to share next week), but they will be coming soon. 🙂

Here’s your catch up for where we are and where we’ve been:

So today we’re talking:

How to Cloth Diaper a Newborn

Now, we waited about five or six days before we put Lilly in her first cloth diaper. We want to wait for the meconium to pass through before putting cloth on her. Meconium (or the first poop that infants pass those first few days after being born) can stain cloth REALLY badly… so we were just too wary to use the cloth until it was done. Plus, we also wanted to use up the disposable diapers that the hospital gave us.

So, before you put cloth on a teeny newborn, there are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Baby’s weight: Most cloth diapers (if not all, really), fit based on weight and size. Lilly was a larger baby (8lbs 12oz) so most diapers fit her pretty quickly. An 8lb baby or larger is going to have more options to start. If you have a preemie or very tiny baby (less than 6lbs), it may really limit your cloth options at first.
  • Cloth full time vs. part time: Do you want to go ahead and commit to doing cloth full time right at the beginning? Many moms opt to cloth part-time for the first few weeks or few months. Either because they want to get a feel for it, they don’t want to buy a full newborn “stash” of diapers, or just to get practice. Just something else to consider! Newborns can have up to 20 dirty diapers a day!

When it comes to actually putting cloth on a newborn, there are different options (I’ll tell you what we did at the end):

One-size cloth diapers


For the Mamas | Cloth Diapering 101: Types of Cloth Diapers & What We Use (6)Many cloth diapers come in “one-size” options. Typically “one-size” cloth diapers are meant to fit from birth to potty training or approximately 8lbs – 35lbs.

The reality is, many of these “one-size” cloth diapers AREN’T actually as one-size as they say they are… and many of them SAY they fit starting at 8lbs, but don’t really.

From MY PERSONAL experience (this may differ for you, but this is MY personal experience) the only “one-size” diapers that DID fit Lilly from birth (and remember, she was 8lbs 12oz) are:

The brands that advertise their diapers as one-size and DID NOT fit Lilly right away were:

  • Kawaii Baby (Started fitting at about 2 months old)
  • Alva Baby (Started fitting at about 3 months old)
  • Grovia (granted, they advertise their one-size as fitting at 10lbs)
  • Rumparooz

So, this is just something to keep in mind. While the one-size diapers are ALL that we use now and I LOVE them, they ARE an option early on depending on the size of your baby. I just wouldn’t count on using one-size diapers right away until you know for sure how they’ll fit once your little one is born.

Newborn Size Cloth Diapers


Many cloth diaper brands have a “newborn” size cloth diapering option. Some moms go so far as to stock up on a full stash of newborn cloth diapers, but that can be costly considering they’ll only fit in the newborn size diapers for a few months. Newborn diapers DO have a high-resale value, and if you plan on putting more than one child in cloth, they can save you money over the long term, but are a costly option up front.

The other benefit of newborn size cloth diapers other than great fit is most, if not all, have a snap down to protect the umbilical cord. Yay!

Lilly in a Little Bee Co. Bitty Bee changed newborn diaper:

Here are the brands of newborn size cloth diapers that I am familiar with, used, and what I thought of them:

  • The Little Bee Co. Bitty Bee Changed Diapers: these were, by far, my FAVORITE of the newborn diapers I had. I had two of them and they fit Lilly PERFECT from birth until about 3 months old, so I got A LOT of use out of them. They had extra inner leg gussets to help prevent leaks. They fit from birth till about 12 pounds. I love the company because they are the TOMS of diapers (they donate a diaper to a baby in need for every diaper purchased).
  • Rumparooz Lil Joey Newborn Diapers: I bought one of these used from a local consignment store to try it and I LOVED it. It was definitely the TINIEST of all the newborn diapers I had and only fit Lilly for about a month and a half. I really liked it, it was super absorbent, fit great, and ADORABLE.
  • Blueberry Diapers Newborn Simplex Diaper: I had one of these and REALLY liked it. It fit the LONGEST of all the newborn diapers I had. It fit from birth until she was about four months old or about 14 pounds. I got A LOT of use out of this one! With my next baby, I will probably get a few more of these because they did last so long.

Lilly in a Little Bee Co. Bitty Bee changed newborn diaper:

“Sized” Cloth Diapers


Many brands of cloth diapers also come in a “sized” variety – meaning they have “steps” between sizes and are meant to fit certain stages or weights of the baby.

I really did like the sized diapers I had and they worked great for us in the beginning! They were great starter diapers. Would I buy a WHOLE stash of sized diapers? No. But they were great to have in rotation.

Here are the brands of sized cloth diapers that I am familiar with, used, and what I thought of them:

  • FuzziBunz Perfect Size Pocket Diapers (in size XS and Small): These were the most common diapers that I used those early weeks with Lilly. A dear friend found 14 small FuzziBunz Perfect Size diapers at the thrift store (in GREAT condition) and got them for me for $0.69 cents EACH!!!! AHH!! Amazing deal. I used these on HEAVY rotation in the early days. I learned, through this, to check the thrift store for stuff like this! These diapers fit 5lbs – 18lbs. They actually STILL fit her today. I don’t use them anymore, but they do still fit.
  • Charlie Banana Perfect Size Pocket Diapers (in size Small): This was MY FAVORITE sized diaper. I had one that I got on sale to try and LOVED it. It actually STILL fits her. Charlie Banana is made by the same person who used to work for FuzziBunz so they are very similar. I just thought the quality of the Charlie Banana diaper was amazing. The insert was VERY absorbent and the fit IS great… this diaper still fits her and I actually still put her in it often. It’s supposed to fit from 7lbs – 18lbs but she’s got a ways to go in it.
  • Thirsties Duo AIO Size One: Thirsties diapers ONLY come sized in size ONE or size TWO. They are a two step / two size system. I had two of the size one AIOs (fit 6lbs – 18lbs) and REALLY liked them. They still fit her! Great quality, very absorbent. LOVED these diapers. Would definitely buy more the second go ’round.

Lilly pictured in a Thirsties Duo AIO size one:

Cloth Diapering a Newborn
Photo by Kelly Martin Photography

Flats / Prefolds & Covers


For the Mamas | Cloth Diapering 101: Types of Cloth Diapers & What We Use (2)

This is probably the cheapest option and most common option for putting cloth on a newborn in those early days. I talk more about what flats / prefolds and covers are in my “types of cloth diapers” post, so I won’t go into detail about that here.

I did this option for about two weeks and didn’t love it. Okay, I hated it. I know some moms LOVE this option, I just didn’t.

The reason this is a great option for a newborn is because you can really add / take away absorbency as needed and you can really fit the prefold or flat on your baby in the most “custom” way.

Here are some more pictures of Lilly in the early weeks in cloth (these are all taken in the first two weeks of her life).

(Left: Lilly in a ‘Lil Joey Rumparooz |Center: Lilly in a FuzziBunz Size Small | Right: Lilly in a one-size cover with a prefold)

There are definitely other options out there as far as putting cloth on a newborn – these are just some of the most common and the ones I had experience with.

Overall, what I really liked about doing cloth in the first few weeks and months was trying out A LOT of different kinds of diapers. I got so many different sizes and brands – I bought a few off Craigslist, got some from a co-op, consignment store, from friends, etc. I only paid full price for the Little Bee Co. bitty bee diapers – everything else was either gifted or I got used.

What I loved so much about trying out different kinds is that I got a really accurate picture of what I liked, what I did not like, what worked for us, what didn’t work for us, etc. That’s how I was able to come to the conclusion that we wanted to use the one-size BumGenius AIOs / Freetimes for our “full stash.” By trying DOZENS of different diapers, I was able to see what I really liked.

I was able to sell almost all of the ones I didn’t want anymore on Craigslist and at a consignment store and made all my money back!

So what do you think? Did you do cloth on your newborn? Are you considering doing cloth on your newborn? Leave your questions in the comments below!

It is TOTALLY okay to wait a few months before you start! This is just meant to give those who want to do cloth from the beginning as much information as possible. 🙂