Thursday, March 26, 2015

Really Need Newborn Cloth?

If you've spent any time in cloth diapering forums or chat groups, you've likely seen this question posted hundreds of times, “Do I really need newborn cloth diapers?” My answer is yes and no. Confused? Read on.

Guestimating your newborn size in-utero is like a game of chance, as doctors and midwives almost always overestimate your baby’s weight. Take my son, for example, who was estimated to emerge at around nine pounds, but made his entrance into the world at a measly seven pounds, and then left the hospital at six pounds. We had to scramble to purchase newborn clothing (we had skipped that size and purchased all 0-3 months), and he ended-up wearing that newborn size for the first two months. At six feet tall, and topping eight pounds as a baby myself, I never imagined I would have a baby so small! Thank goodness for the two packs of preemie-sized prefolds I had purchased on a whim.

Most one-size cloth diapers are rated for babies eight pounds and up, featuring snaps on both the rise and the waist to allow the diaper to grow along with your baby. If you have a small baby you’ll find yourself scrambling for a good diaper fit with a one-size cloth diaper. In this case, I definitely advocate for newborn diapers. If you’re a first time parent reading this, you need to be aware of the explosive poos your baby will be having for the first couple of months, so having properly fitted diapers are important (unless you want to spend a lot of time changing diapers, clothes, and messes).

If this isn’t your first time at the rodeo, and you know that you tend to have larger babies (8+ pounds), then it’s a safe bet that you can launch right into one-size diapers from the beginning. If you’re using prefolds, you can skip the preemie size, but I would suggest adding a sized cover or two to your stash, just to be on the safe side (you never know when that diaper cover might come in handy with a cloth diapering emergency).

If buying an entire newborn cloth diaper stash isn’t in your budget, there are many ways to get creative in your shopping. Since newborn diapers are used for such a short amount of time, you can often find great deals on used newborn diapers, or even deals from people who decided that cloth just wasn’t for them. I was washing diapers daily when we started with eighteen prefolds, so I recommend having at least twenty-four diapers to start (thirty-six to be in a really comfortable position). If you opt for buying new, you’ll be happy to hear that newborn diapers typically hold their value because they’re used for such a short period of time.

If you’re newly pregnant, or anticipating pregnancy, I would advise you to set aside money each month during your pregnancy to purchase cloth diapers and accessories. I knew that I was going to cloth diaper before I got pregnant, and already had the research done when my pregnancy test was positive, so I was able to purchase diapers in monthly increments (we were on a VERY tight budget back then) and I utilized used cloth diapers to fill out the remainder of our stash.

Lauren B. Stevens is a freelance writer whose work can be found on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and When she’s not doing cloth diaper laundry, or chasing her rambunctious toddler, Lauren writes about parenting and women’s issues on her blog,

Monday, March 9, 2015

Say Good Night with Cloth

So, you've made the decision to cloth diaper. You have all your supplies ready and choose a day to start. During the day, all seems to be going well. Then comes sleep time. You put on a fresh diaper, lay down your little one and leave them to sleep, just like you always do. But when nap time is over, you quickly discover that they have soaked straight through their diaper!

Does this sound like a familiar story?

Don't worry, you are not alone! In fact, finding the perfect sleep solution can be perhaps one of the greatest adjustments we have to make with cloth diapering! In act many opt not to use cloth for sleep- and that's perfectly fine...but if you choose to use cloth full time, here are a few overnight tips to get you started:

Make Sure You Have a Good Fit. Fit is always important with cloth diapers, but even more so at night. Keep in mind that nighttime diapers can at times be a little thicker, so what fits well during the day may not be the best solution for nighttime. Be sure to find a well fitting diaper with no gaps. You may find that you need a completely different style for nighttime. For instance, we use a combination of pockets and covers throughout the day, but have found for overnight, covers are the only thing that work for my daughter. Every baby is different.

Layering is Key. Aside from a good fit, the next big thing is of course making sure the inserts are absorbent enough. As a newborn, we found that we really didn't need too much added absorbency at all, but as my daughter has gotten older that has certainly changed. Now, we must add layers to our daytime diapers to handle the longer time between changes. There are a few different options to consider. Here is a look at our two most common choices:

  • Hemp Inserts. Hemp is the work horse of the cloth diapering world and a fantastic nighttime option. Hemp is ultra absorbent without being overly bulky. Of all the various insert types we've used, they tend to hold the most. They are also not prone to compression leaks like microfiber. However, they absorb slower than microfiber or cotton, for this reason, I personally prefer not to use them alone.
  • Microfiber Inserts. Microfiber is a great option for a few reasons. First of all, it's inexpensive- these are the inserts that typically are included with most cloth diapers and additional inserts are pretty cost effective as well. They also absorb quickly and can hold quite a bit. The downfall is that they can be prone to compression leaks, and when used in a cover cannot be placed against baby's skin.
As you can see, both of these options on their own have great qualities, but also have their downfalls. But when used together they work perfectly! On those occasions that we do go with pockets overnight, I place the faster absorbing microfiber on top with the more absorbent below. This solution works wonderfully.

When using covers, we find that using either type of insert wrapped inside of a flour sack towel (cotton) has worked very well. This tends to be our go to for nighttime.

Regardless of which type of materials you find that work best with your little one, as you can see, layering more than one insert is a must for overnight diapers!

Wool Works. When all else fails (or just for added protection), adding wool can be the perfect sheet saver! Wool wicks moisture away while keeping the outside completely dry. Honestly, I couldn't give you the technical reason as to why it works this way, but I can tell you this- it does work! Use over a fitted diaper, or whatever your preferred diaper is as well. For even the heaviest of wetters, wool is ideal!

Like all things cloth, finding the perfect solution for your baby for overnight can have a little bit of trial and error. But use these tips to get you started, try a variety of layers or diaper options, and it'll soon be second nature! Cloth diapering overnight IS possible!

What tips or tricks have you found for overnight diapering?