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Choosing reusable cloth diapers is a big decision that can lead to a rewarding journey for you and your baby. But where do you start? Here are the most commonly asked questions on how to start your cloth diaper journey.

Nicki's Diapers is a family business founded by Nicki and later joined by her husband Jesse. As a husband and wife team, they worked together to ensure the highest quality products while following responsible environmental and social business practices. The company is now located in Akron, Ohio.

Cloth Diapers for Newborns: The Lowdown on Newborn Cloth Diapering

Newborn cloth diapers have come a long way from the cotton reusable pads and safety pins of our grandparent's generation. As an expecting parent, you may have heard a lot about the cloth diaper vs. disposable diaper debate – trust us, we know it can seem all too overwhelming to make a decision. But the simple fact is that there are now plenty of options for parents to take the eco-friendly route, as the best newborn cloth diapers are just as accessible and manageable as their disposable counterparts. 

While newborn cloth diapering may still be considered pretty niche, the world is steadily changing every day. Today's expecting parents are actively striving to make more environmentally and socially responsible choices when raising their children – using newborn cloth diapers seems like the natural choice compared to daily disposables. The fact of the matter is that while newborn cloth diapers certainly may not be the right fit for every family, they're not as difficult or daunting as they might seem. This article will go over some newborn cloth diaper essentials and what to expect when you make the switch.Parenting may sometimes be complicated, but cloth diapers don't have to be. Keep reading to find out more. 


Newborn Baby in cloth diaper

Why Choose Newborn Cloth Diapers?

Before discussing what to expect when you begin using cloth diapers for newborns, let's briefly touch on some of their benefits. After all, many new parents have to stand their ground to friends and family who may be confused about why they're not going with the convenient option, and we want you to be able to stand by your decision with pride.

  • The Eco-Friendly OptionNewborn cloth diapers are undeniably better for the environment and can reduce your carbon footprint because they don't produce as much trash. It's estimated that over 20 billion disposable diapers end up in landfills every year. 
  • Protect Against Diaper Rash: Because newborn cloth diapering is often changed more frequently and contains far fewer chemicals that can irritate the skin, diaper rash appears far less than with disposable diapers. 
  • Help Save Money: This is a big one. Disposable diapers can cost new parents approximately $800-$900 during the first year. If you choose higher-quality, more natural options, that number only increases.Cloth diapers for newborns only cost a few hundred dollars and can be used for multiple children for greater savings. 

More Natural: Regular disposables, even the high-quality brands, contain a slew of chemicals, fragrances and other additives that can negatively impact a baby's skin.


two newborn babys in cloth diapers

Starting Your Newborn Cloth Diapering Journey

An essential part of using cloth diapers for newborns is deciding when you want to start. This is entirely up to you and should be based on your personal preferences. Some new parents like to start from day one in the hospital, while others like to wait until the meconium (your baby's first poop) has passed before beginning. It's important to note that most newborn cloth diapers will fit when your baby is around six pounds, but some brands will fit perfectly even around four pounds.

You might also be wondering about the logistics of cloth diapering while you're out and about with your newborn. The good news is that there are plenty of diaper bags designed specifically for cloth diapers. These bags are typically equipped with a wet bag compartment for storing soiled diapers until you can wash them at home. They also have ample space for all the diapering essentials like wipes, rash cream, and extra in the thread.

How Many Newborn Cloth Diapers Will I Need?

On average, newborns can go through 12 to 15newborn cloth diapers daily. We suggest washing your diapers every two to three days, so depending on how often you plan to wash them, 24 to 25 newborn cloth diapers should be an adequate amount. If you're using a newborn cloth diaper that requires a separate cover, you will need fewer covers as you can reuse them multiple times.  

If you're planning to start using cloth diapers from day one in the hospital, the same numbers apply. If you're doing an extended stay, it's good to have someone who can bring your dirty diapers home after your second day, wash them and bring them back to you. You should also plan to have 10 to 12 reusable baby wipes at the ready per day if you don't want to use plain water

Can I Use Cloth Diapers for Newborns With An Umbilical Cord Stump?

When your baby is born, they will have an umbilical cord stump for the first 5 to 15 days after birth. But don't worry; most brands that carry a specific newborn cloth diaper size are designed with the newborn stump in mind. They have a gathering of elastic or a dip in the fabric in the front to fit snugly under your little one's healing belly button. If the diaper still has too high of a rise, you can simply fold it down to fit.

Will One-Size Cloth Diapers Fit Newborns?

Most brands of one-size diapers begin fitting babies close to 10 pounds, but that number varies on your baby's build. Any one-size diaper will be bulkier on a newborn than a sized diaper since these types grow with the baby to fit throughout the toddler years. If you want an ultra-trim cloth diaper for your newborn, we suggest using a sized option. If you're looking for the convenience of one-size cloth diapers, look for one that has a sized newborn insert option.

How Long Can Babies Wear Newborn Cloth Diapers?

Depending on the size of your little one at birth, most cloth diapers for newborns are worn for three months on average. That may seem like quite the investment to make, but keep in mind that the average disposable newborn diapers cost $0.25 to $0.34 each. For a baby going through 12 to 15 diapers a day, those first three months can cost new parents between $250 and $450. You can quickly build up a newborn cloth diaper collection for far less than that. Also, newborn cloth diapers have an excellent resale value, so you'll likely be able to make a decent amount of that money back.

In the long-term, you should be able to get the most use out of your newborn cloth diaper collection until your baby is around 12 to 15 pounds.

 Covering a newborn in a cloth diaper

Prepping Newborn Cloth Diapers

Unlike their disposable counterparts, cloth diapers for newborns require some preparation work before use. The prep can vary depending on the type and is another factor that can seem a little daunting for new parents. Once again, there's no need to worry – it's easier than you think, even if it does require a bit of extra work.

Why Do I Need to Prep My Newborn Cloth Diapering?

You may be asking yourself if you really need to do the prep work for your newborn cloth diapers. The answer is a resounding yes. Unlike disposables, cloth diapers for newborns aren't ready to use right out of the package. Most brand new cloth diapers for newborns are not at their full absorbency, especially when made from natural fibers.

Newborn cloth diaper prepping will take away any dirt or grime accumulated during the manufacturing or shipping process and help open the fibers to become more absorbent.

How to Prep Your Cloth Diapers for Newborns

Each cloth diaper for newborns will come with instructions on how to prep, but generally, any natural fiber like hemp, bamboo or cotton needs to be washed and dried four to five times before use. You will need to use detergent on your washes to help remove the natural oils in the fibers, so it's good to do some research on the best detergents for cloth diapers to help make it easier. You'll then need to dry the diapers between every wash cycle to break up the natural fibers and increase their absorbency. Even better, cloth diapers will get more absorbent in the washes following your initial prep. Synthetic fiber newborn cloth diaper types like microfiber only require one wash and dry before use.

 Newborn laying in a cloth diaper

How to Wash a Newborn Cloth Diaper

The biggest pro of newborn cloth diapers can also be their biggest con to some new parents – you'll need to wash them. While you can take solace that you won't be contributing to landfills, it's no one's favorite part of the job. But don't worry, just like handling full disposable diapers, you get used to it. 

To wash a cloth diaper for newborns, you just need to start with a cold rinse or short cold wash without detergent. Then, follow it up with a warm or hot wash with detergent and end it with an extra rinse. All covers or diapers that contain Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) fabric should be hung to dry or tumbled on low to prolong their life. Everything else can be tumble-dried in a dryer.

Newborn using a cloth diaper 

Newborn Cloth Diaper Washing Tips

As with most things concerning newborn babies, washing your cloth diapers might not always seem so straightforward. Here are some things you may have to keep in mind when washing your newborn cloth diapers.

Black, Tarry Meconium Poop

In our experience, meconium poop can wash out of newborn cloth diapers quite easily. While it often appears thick and sticky, you won't even need to rinse it off before washing it. There's no special treatment for the removal, but you may want to use a liner to prevent it from leaving any light stains.

Do I Have to Spray My Newborn's Poop?

If you're exclusively breastfeeding your newborn, you don't need to do anything to remove the poop from your newborn cloth diaper before washing it. Breastfed poop is water-soluble and washes out of cloth diapers very easily. It's even almost void of foul smells as well, so it's highly unlikely that you'll have any issues with your pail liner or bag stinking.

Bright Yellow Stains

As you may have guessed, poop does tend to stain cloth diapers for newborns. The good news is that even diapers with stains are still clean. But if they bother you, the quickest and easiest way to get stains out is to lay them in the sun while they are still wet from the wash. Yes, it's really that easy. Never use laundry additives like bleach, baking soda, vinegar, OxyClean or laundry stain treatment on your newborn cloth diapering.

 Newborn cloth diapers stored

Types of Cloth Diapers for Newborns

Like with regular reusable cloth diapers, there are various newborn cloth diaper types to choose from which you can keep in this reusable quart bags. No matter your baby's body type or activity level, there's a cloth diaper perfect for your newborn. The following are some of the most popular options out there today:

    • Prefold Diapers:Prefold diapers are rectangular-shaped flat cloth diapers with an absorbent pad already sewn in. This type is excellent for any parent on a newborn cloth diapering budget.  
    • Fitted Diapers:Fitted diapers are very absorbent and easy to put on, as they don't require any folding. This type has snaps or hook and loop closures and elastic around the legs to contain leaks. 
    • AIO DiapersAll-in-one cloth diapers (AIO) are a one-piece diapering system with an inner absorbent layer attached to a waterproof outer shell. This type has an adjustable closure system at the waist, meaning they can fit most babies. 
  • Flat Diapers: Flat cloth diapers are often just called flats and are just large squares of absorbent, single-layer fabric. This type can be customized to meet your baby's needs, making them an ideal choice for nearly all parents.

Note: Many of these newborn cloth diaper types need to be used with a waterproof cloth diaper cover to keep your baby's clothing dry.

 newborn siblings in cloth diapers

Shop Nicki's Diapers for the Best Reusable Newborn Cloth Diapers on the Market

If you're looking for the best newborn cloth diapers, look no further than Nicki's Diapers. Here at Nicki's, it's our mission to provide new parents with the broadest selection of high-quality cloth diapers for newborns and related accessories on the market. Forget the plastics and chemicals associated with disposable diapers. Treat your little one, the Earth and your wallet better with newborn cloth diapers. Nicki's has you covered, from budget-friendly options on cloth diapers and wet/dry bags to the latest and greatest innovations. If you still want more information about newborn cloth diapers, check out our guide to cloth diapers for beginners for even more great tips for making the switch. Or, feel free to contact us at any time – our team of experts are always standing by.