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New to Cloth Info

Overwhelmed? Confused? It's ok! That's normal.

For first-time parents: The quick course on choosing cloth diapers.

What do I need? How much will it cost?

First, determine your dedication to cloth. This will help you decide if you want to invest in a full time system, or just give cloth a try. If you just want to give cloth a try, get 2 covers, a half dozen or a dozen diapers and a pack of wipes. Here is a sample order for someone who just wants to give cloth a try.

6 or 12 Cloth-eez prefold diapers

2 covers (perhaps 2 Thirsties Duo size 1 snap)

optional: 1 pack of cloth wipes

optional: 1 Snappi fastener

But if you "just know" that you want to use cloth, then you should purchase a full system up front, before the baby is born. So if that is you, then determine your budget. Here are some ideas of what to buy:


Modest budget:

6 size small covers of your choice such as Thirsties Duo size 1 snap and 3 dozen yellow edge size small prefold diapers. Cost about $164.00. If you add 4 packs of Two-Sided Wipes and an large Pail Liner, the total is about $220.00. Those items are used for a very long time, so it makes sense to buy them right away so you can use them to make it easier right away. The diapers fit from about 9 or 10 pounds to about 5 months or 15 pounds. The wipes and pail liner are used the whole time until potty learning. But this will not fit well for the first 6 weeks on a typical newborn. You can make it work if it's important to save money by skipping size newborn, but really to get a good fit on an average newborn, you need newborn prefolds. Add 2 dozen newborn prefolds and it makes the newborn period much easier because the diaper fit better. On a large newborn, birthweight of about 9 lbs 3 ounces or larger, do start with size smalls and skip newborn. Thirsties Duo size 1 snap is a great choice because it adjusts down to very small and up to around 15 pounds.


Cloth diapering a newborn:

For the newborn time (the first 5-6 weeks) 2 to 3 dozen Orange Edge Newborn prefolds and 4 or 6 newborn covers. 3 dozen and 6 covers is really better than 2 dozen and 4 covers because some days a newborn baby will go through 20 diapers in just one day! This frequency decreases as baby gets older, but newborns really eat and pee pretty much constantly (well, they sleep too, but I also sleep when baby sleeps so the sleeping part is actually hard for me to remember). A new baby's bladder doesn't have much capacity to hold pee so baby pees very, very often, thus baby needs a lot of diaper changes. Newborn diapers that fit are really nice for the first 6 weeks even for bigger than average babies, who may outgrow them sooner, but even a big newborn is still shaped like a newborn baby. If your baby is average or small, newborn diapers make the difference. Instead of "these diapers are HUGE on my newborn" or "I can't cram these huge infant prefolds into these teeny tiny newborn covers." You'll enjoy diapering during your "babymoon". With the Orange Edge Newborn prefolds, you'll have diapers that truly fit in the Newborn Bummis Super Brite newborn covers or other covers that fit under the cord stump. Orange Edge Newborn Diapers are less expensive than double diapering the Preemie size prefolds, but preemie prefolds are an option instead of newborn and preemie prefolds do make great doublers later on. Newborn orange edge prefolds are shorter in length than green edge Infant prefolds you'll find elsewhere, so they really fit. But be aware they will get outgrown quickly. See the prefolds for pictures. At just over $2.00 each, orange edge newborn prefolds are far less expensive than newborn fitted diapers, for comparison, and one-size fits all diapers just don't work right on a newborn.


Medium budget:

If you spend more, you are mostly buying convenience. All of the items we sell work, so spending more doesn't give you a more effective system, but might give you a system that is a little easier to use. (Well, sort of. The fitted diapers do hold runny newborn breastfed poop in better, so in that sense they work better, but don't get me wrong, prefolds work great, too. If you pin or Snappi fasten the prefolds, they work almost like a fitted does for containing poop.) The easier-to-use fitted diapers might be important if one spouse is reluctant to use cloth. If your budget allows fitteds, they can be worth it. Put together your own fitted diaper setup and save money by choosing Workhorse fitteds. Sometimes 2 dozen prefolds plus 1 dozen fitteds is a nice setup.  Fitted diapers, just like prefolds, do require a cover so you'll need about 6 covers too.


Large budget:

If price is not of importance, consider 12-18 All in one diapers and 12-18 fitted diapers and 5 or more covers of your choice.

Economy budget/handwashers:

4 dozen Cloth-eez Unbleached Birdseye Flat Diapers These wash and dry the easiest and fit birth to potty learning. Add about 5 covers per size as budget allows. Or consider 4 Bummis The Pull-on per size newborn to large and 2 Mommys Touch one-size covers. Make your own wipes from cotton flannel, or get 4 packs of Cloth-eez flannel wipes,  1 triple pack of snappis and 5 pairs or more packs of high quality Diaper Pins. That is birth to potty for around $250 or so. Or you can choose one-size covers. Be realistic and remember things wear out eventually, including covers, so you can end up re-buying covers before potty learning if you don't have enough covers in rotation. If you have 10 covers they last twice as long as if you have 5 covers. Starting with 5 can be ok though because of the timing of the purchases in your budget. Also be careful if you purchase second-hand. Newborn items can be in good shape because they get outgrown quickly, but size medium and one-size items are typically quite worn out because babies stay in that size a long time. Even on a tight budget it can be better to purchase new at times if you need things to last well. If you do purchase second-hand, be safe and kill bacteria by using chlorine bleach to kill lingering bacteria in used diapers. We recommend purchasing new because they are diapers after all, not quite regular clothing.


Summary

This is just a quick idea of some popular new parents choices for budget comparison. What products interest you? Popular covers are the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and Bummis Super Brite and Thirsties covers or Thirsties Duo Wraps. Nearly everyone loves those covers! But some moms know right away they only want the highly breathable wool covers. Some find the idea of the Stay-Dry effect really important to them. Choose what is best for you. Typical amounts are:

3 dozen diapers

6-8 covers

4 packs of wipes

1 or 2 pail liners



 

Outline of stash - a helpful shopping list

This is a sample stash for birth to about 5 or 6 months, or about 15 pounds, including accessories, which endure longer.

1 Bummis Super Brite size newborn or 1 Mommys Touch Adjustable Newborn cover because either of these are nice for the cord time.

3 Thirsties Duo Wrap size one (very adjustable)

1 Bummi Super Whisper Wrap size newborn (true sized cover with covered PUL)

1 Bummis The Pull-On size newborn or small (so comfy for baby and worth trying)

1 Flip Cover one-size cover (too much cover for a newborn but soon fits for a long time)

2 Bummis Super Brite size small - true sized cover

24 Cloth-eez Prefold diapers size newborn orange edge - white diapers

36 Cloth-eez Prefold diapers size small yellow edge - white

1 Cloth-eez Prefold diaper size large brown edge - white (use as changing pad at first)

3 Workhorse Diapers (to try the fitted style)

1 Disana Wool size medium (your nighttime wool cover - optional)

1 Eucalan Woolwash - if using wool

3 packs Two-sided white wipes (12 white wipes per pack)

1 Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion large concentrate, plus empty spray bottle.

1 Snappi Fastener

1 Large Pail Liner

Cost of above items is around $420.00. Items can be added to the cart individually.

Consider adding 1 each of the medium red edge and medium wide prefolds so that you have each on hand to try. This way you will know what is best for your baby when the time come to move to the next size up. In the newborn time you can still use them as changing pads or as burp cloths.


Other info and our opinions

What about the stay-dry all-in-one type diapers and pocket diapers I see everywhere online?

Polyester (suedecloth, microfiber, microterry, fleece) is made from petroleum. Some babies are sensitive or allergic to polyester, polyester fleece or suedecloth, and stink issues are often reported because synthetics are hard to wash, often requiring stripping. Synthetic diapers hold odors and detergent residue, unlike cotton. We recommend cotton diapers, especially for newborns, as the tried and true best material for diapers, proven over many generations. You'll need to make your own decision about synthetic diapering. We have been selling cloth diapers since 1998 and we choose to sell 100% cotton diapers. We do not sell synthetic pockets or synthetic fitted diapers. You will not find any microfiber stuffing or inserts here. Successful washing is very important to successful cloth diapering. Clean diapers help keep baby rash-free and cotton is easy to get clean. I cannot emphasize how important it is to have diapers that don't hold stink. Even a 90% cotton/10% polyester diaper will hold the stink more than a 100% cotton diaper. Get all-cotton. All of the diapers we sell are 100% cotton. Plus, cotton is not sweaty like synthetics. I love cotton! (sorry about the cotton sermon, but I'm quite passionate about it.)

Bamboo?  It's really rayon, and if you research the chemical process that it must go through from plant to fabric, you might also wonder how this can be referred to as "natural". Besides, as a diapering fabric I found it very heavy, harder to wash and very hard to dry, although not as difficult as polyester or polyamide microfiber. I still love cotton the best. Bamboo rayon is soft though. We do offer Bamboo Rayon/Organic Cotton prefolds for those who like that fabric. It is silky soft.

What about "stay dry"? Personally, I am unconvinced about this, but we do offer 2 stay-dry doublers and a stay-dry fleece liner for those customers who desire that. I know the TV commercials say "keeps baby dry". We are "overmarketed" into believing that damp cotton next to baby's bottom is a problem. It's really not! Just change baby before it's totally sopping and baby is fine. Every 1.5 hours or so for a newborn in daytime, 2-3 hours for an older baby for daytime. This varies of course. Frequent changing is healthy. When you have cloth diapers, you have freedom to change often if you want to. A few "extra" diapers to wash is no big deal. It's not like throwing a quarter away each time you change baby. It's a wonderful freedom to change baby as often as you want to without the guilt of throwing away money and adding to the garbage pile. I love the freedom of cotton diapering, with real cotton. 100% cotton next to baby's bottom, in our experience, is the best for a rash-free bottom.

More fabric information on our Diaper Definitions page.

Karen's opinion on breathability: The only covers that you can really tell are very breathable are wool. All of the synthetics (non-wools, or "regular covers") are fine inside, but in real life I notice no difference in breathability from one brand of cover to the next. So don't get hung up on trying to figure out which regular cover is the most breathable. Pick which one suits your baby for fit, price and other reasons instead.

Yes, there are a lot of choices. But remember, picking out your diapering supplies is the hardest part about cloth! Take a deep breath. Spend some time reading the site and studying the pictures. There is a lot of information here, so expect to spend time studying and learning. Then just go for it and choose what seems interesting to you. We do have an easy return policy, to help relax the difficult decision process. Cloth is so soft, fun and cute! You will be very glad you have chosen cloth (and perhaps happy to finally have this product selection process over with, too!) Please stay awhile and browse with us. We are happy to share our love for safe cloth diapers with you. Sincerely, Karen.

Don't miss the pictures of a newborn babies in cloth!

newborn cloth diapers

Visit our newborn diapering mystery-solving page which explains what diaper fits best with what covers.

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