Everything You Need To Know About Cloth Diapering a Newborn

As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan and advocate of cloth diapering, and am immensely looking forward to doing it all over again with the little man. We didn’t start with them until Marley was around 6 months old, so I missed the itty bitty stage completely. But I have since become quite well versed inĀ  most things cloth diapers. During my work with Snugglebugz and through this little blog, I am proud to say that I have helped a number of people make the decision to forgo disposables and go the cloth diaper route. Yes, that’s a humble brag, but I am really happy to help people make sense of the cloth diaper world, make a difference in our environment and the materials they use on their precious babies.

One of the things I knew when I got pregnant this time around, without a shadow of a doubt, was that I wanted to cloth diaper right from the hospital stay. Because we started late last time, most of my (huge) clot diaper stash is either pink or larger sizes, so this presented a bit of a project for me: Because we are expecting a boy this time around, I am currently selling off my more girly diapers. Thanks to the discovery of some local buy/sell/swap cloth diaper groups. Yes, I am super sad about some of it, especially my adorable Goodmama’s. Heart wrenching, I tell you. The other project being that I still have quite a few one-size pocket diapers (mostly BumGenius 4.0 snaps, which I adore), and AppleCheeks size 2’s (which I love even more, and am considering switching all of my diapers to them!) in neutral colors. Great, right? The only issue I have, is that I personally find that the one-size diapers don’t fit baby the best until they are around 10lbs, and even then, they tend to be on the bulky side.

So I had some thing to consider, options to weigh, budgets to look over. How would we chose to cloth diaper this little man, in the best way that fit our family, schedule and lifestyle? It was like starting all over again, just on a smaller scale. I figured that since I was embarking on this adventure myself, I would share the info and process with anyone else who is potentially doing the same thing. So here we go!


When making the decision to cloth diaper a newborn there are quite a few options out there, and when you go to trusty Google, you might become a tad overwhelmed. The cloth diaper community is huge, super helpful and so varied, that it’s easy to drown in piles of info and recommendations. In the end making the decision on how to diaper your newborn comes down to a two key factors:

  • Cost: How much are you willing/able to commit to building a diaper ‘stash’? There are some more affordable options (prefolds and covers), and some easier but more expensive options (All-in-one’s). Figuring out a solid budget is the first thing you need to do before you start looking. Trust me, it’s easy to spend a ton of money, if you want. I have become a big fan of buying diapers second-hand, as gross as that may sound to some people. If diapers have been taken care of properly, they hold their value quite well but you can still get quite the deal buying this way. Check your local Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook groups and ask lots of questions before purchasing.
  • Time: Are you wanting to cloth diaper all day, every day? Are you wanting to only cloth diaper at home, or part time? Figuring out what your realistic commitment to this is key to figuring out exactly how many diapers you should have. Many people choose to go the disposable route for a few weeks, then switch to cloth once they are settled into a routine and feel like they can handle it better. There are some brands of disposable diapers that are quite environmentally conscious out there: Seventh Generation and Naty Diapers to name two.

Once you figure out these key things, you are ready to figure out what kind of diapers to buy, and how many of them you will need!

My recommendations for newborn cloth diaper styles and building your stash: (for a more comprehensive look at diaper types, check out my Cloth Diapers For Dummies post, here.)

  • Research Brands: While there is a huge array of brands to chose from, a simple google search of the brand name and style will usually weild a handful (if not more) reviews. Make sure to check them out and go with ones that sound like they will work for your family/budget. Some of my personal favorites are: AppleCheeks, BumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Thirsties, Goodmama and Kwaii (a super affordable brand).
  • Start buying early and pace yourself: If you space out purchases, it’s much easier on your wallet and gives you time to buy rationally. I had friends who decided early on in the pregnancy that they wanted to cloth diaper, they did all their research and knew exactly what they wanted to buy. They then put out a budget and bought a diaper a week, spacing out the expense and making it more manageable. This way, you may also come across a sale or great deal on second hand ones. Don’t feel like you have to buy everything at once.
  • How many diapers will you need? Well, how often are you planning on washing them? I recommend doing your diaper laundry every other day, cutting back on any smell and to keep your diapers in tip-top shape. The average newborn will be changed every 2 hours or so, meaning you will need 12 diapers per day, or 24 diapers (or inserts/prefolds etc) for a two day rotation. If you require covers, I would suggest 5-6 covers. I do recommend having a few extra on hand, because you never know and it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
  • Style of diapers: Here is where you are going to run into the varied opinions, and where you really have to let your lifestyle/budget do the talking. When we first made the switch to cloth diapers, I did a breakdown of the types of diapers, you can find it here for reference.
  • Prefolds and waterproof covers – The most budget friendly way to cloth diaper, period. That being said, in my opinion they are not the most convenient or easy to use and can be a bit bulky. I would have a VERY hard time convincing my husband to do it this way, as it takes some practice and knowledge. I have heard great things about EconoBum, from the makers of BumGenius, and they have more info here. I also hear raves about the Bummis system, more info on them here
  • Fitted diapers and waterproof covers: This is probably the second cheapest way to cloth diaper, and how we started out with Marley. The nice part with this option, is that you can potentially reuse a cover for an entire day, provided it doesn’t get dirty. Less laundry and less to buy. I was and still am a huge huge fan of the Thirsties Duo Wrap (the best diaper cover on the market, in my opinion) and the Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted
  • All-in-one diapers: Hands down the easiest, most convenient form of cloth diapering out there, but also the most costly. These diapers are the most like disposables, as in they don’t have pockets or anything to fuss with, you put them on and remove them like a regular diaper. This is the route I am planning on going for the very newborn stage, using the BumGenius Newborn (formerly the sized all-in-one, now only available brand new in the newborn size XS). I am only going this route for ease and because I have found some great deals on second hand ones.
  • All-in-two/Hybrid diapers: Another easy and affordable option, with these you can use the diaper as a pocket or lay the insert on top and reuse the cover as long as it is clean. These are very versatile, and often offer a great fit for even the smallest newborns. I am a huge huge fan of AppleCheeks and am planning on using these once the baby grows out of the all-in-ones we have.
  • One-size pocket diapers: This would be my least favorite option for the newborn stage. Why? Personal preference. I find that even on the smallest setting, these don’t fit a baby properly until they are around 10lbs or more, and once they do, they can be a bit bulky. I love them for a bit later on, and have quite a few BumGenius 4.0 and Fuzzibunz and a few of the very affordable Kawaii pocket diapers. I have some friends who swear and have loved their one-size pockets from very early on, and it’s great on your wallet because you are not buying multiple diapers in various sizes.

So there you have it, my best advice on cloth diapering a newborn, and what you need to get you on your way of planning. I am embarrassingly excited to be building a newborn/small stash up and I’ll make sure to keep you updated on how that is going. AppleCheeks generously sent me a size 1 starter kit, which I gleefully unpacked and squeed over the cuteness of and am so excited to use once the baby comes. What does Jason think about my geeking out over diapers of all things? He laughs and shakes his head and thanks everything that it’s not a purse/shoe addiction I have, becuase that would be much more expensive. But I mean, seriously, just LOOK at the complete cuteness of these:


So now I have to ask: Do you cloth diaper? Have you tried it? Are you thinking of trying it out? Leave me your thoughts or questions in the comments section, I would love to hear them.

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  1. 1


    I recently began following your blog, I love it! I had initially been planning on disposable diapers but I’ve recently begun looking into cloth diapering. I was so happy to see this post, it’s been helpful in my research thus far, so thank you!

    • 4

      Krystal says

      Hey Kate, I’ve found some local ones on Facebook and have had some success on craigslist or Kijij. I have heard that diaperswappers.com is really great as well. Good luck! (ps what are you selling? I’m looking for a few things!)

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