Cloth diapering a newborn – yes, it can be done!

It’s no secret newborns poop and pee a lot. In fact, I’ve heard they pee every 20 minutes!

My husband figured we’d be using disposable diapers for the first while, but I jumped right in with my cloth diaper collection as soon as we had our son home from the hospital. I wanted to see if we could really go through with it.

Surprise! It’s been easier than I thought it would be.

What do you do with the poop?

My biggest fear was that the diapers would become stained from the poop. In anticipation, I bought disposable diaper liners, thinking they would catch the poo. Nope, the liners only caught the little chunks. The liquid yellow poop seeped right through onto the diaper.

So for the first two days, I rinsed off the newborn poop in the bathroom sink with each diaper change and applied Bac Out to the diapers where the poop was. I then put them wet into the bag for dirty diapers and washed the whole load each morning. No stains!

By the 3rd day, I was up for trying what many cloth diapering mamas recommend – just throw the cloth diapers, poop and all, into the bag and run a rinse cycle before washing.

Once again, no stains! I was elated.

But later that week stains started to show…

So I hung the cloth diapers outside on a little makeshift clothesline.

WOW! The sun took care of the stains!

So now that’s my routine: Wash diapers with newborn breastfed poop included (running rinse cycle first), and then dry the diapers outside every now and then.

Some things I’ve learned about cloth diapering a newborn

Besides the washing routine, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Yes, cloth diapering is more work than using disposables. But somehow it’s enjoyable. I tend to my diaper stash like they’re a garden, checking on them on the clothesline and reveling in the fact that they are all completely reusable.
  • I am so glad I got plenty of newborn sized diapers. My baby was premature (6 weeks early!) and the newborn fitted diapers are wonderful. I had been tempted to skip on this size, since my first baby outgrew all his newborn clothes very quickly. Even if he’d been full term, I expect I would have gotten lots of use out of the newborn sized diapers since they are the easiest to use and the favorites of the husband and grandparents, also.
  • The organic cotton prefolds are useful way beyond diapering. I bought 12 smalls and 12 mediums, and I go through most in a day. I lay a couple on the changing pad to catch any stray messes, I hold one under my baby’s butt when I’m feeding him so he has a little diaper free time, I use them rolled up next to him when he’s swaddled so he won’t roll around, and they are also great burp cloths. I also snappi them onto him for short term cuddling when I’m not yet ready to put a cover on and put him to sleep (they’re too big for the newborn covers).
  • I was shocked at the amount of pee that comes out of my tiny 5 lb baby! He completely soaks his diapers in the 2-3 hours between feedings. Yet his skin hasn’t turned red or irritated. I suppose it’s the breathability of the cloth?
  • I wish I had saved more room in the budget to buy some diapers after knowing what works best for me. I’ve snapped up a few more cotton all-in-one type of diapers since, to make nighttime diapering easier.
  • I went out and got a wipes warmer after two days, as filling a basin with warm water for each change just wasn’t practical. I keep plain water in the wipes warmer and dip a fresh cloth wipe each time.
  • The disposable diaper liners have been helpful to protect the diaper when I’ve applied diaper rash cream to my baby’s bottom, though they haven’t helped with the runny breastfed poop.
  • It takes most of the day for the cloth diapers to dry on the line, so you’ve got to have plenty to get through the next day even if you’re washing every morning like I am. I counted 24 on my line today, including the prefolds that were used for spit up, etc.

That’s what I’ve learned so far in my cloth diapering journey. Anyone else out there using cloth diapers?

Toddler meets newborn – how it all went down
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Comments (2)

  1. Jessica B.

    Congrats on the first few weeks of using cloth diapers. It sounds like you have figured out all the tricks! I didn’t attempt cloth diapering with my first, but now that I have read your post, it doesn’t sound too terribly messy. I might get it a try the next time around.

  2. Lisa

    Jessica, same here! I didn’t even know about all the cool options for cloth diapering with my first baby. But after reading more about it and seeing some of the cute designs for diapers, I was up for giving it a try. Totally pleased that it’s working so well… It just feels so much better than disposables now that I know what I’m doing a bit. Good luck if you give it a go with your next!

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