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Should I Buy Newborn Cloth Diapers?

by | Jun 24, 2018 | Diapers & Potty Training

The short answer: yes. It is worth it to buy newborn sized cloth diapers. In this article I will dive into the details, and break down the reasons I think it is worth it to buy newborn cloth diapers.

Concern #1: Is it worth the cost?

The real question you are probably asking, is: Are newborn cloth diapers worth the cost? Babies only wear them for 6-8 weeks. Should you really spend the money on tiny diapers that get so little use?

Cost Baseline – Disposables

Newborns go through an average of 10 diapers a day.

Newborn cloth diapers typically fit up to 12 lbs which means that most newborn cloth diapers will fit until the baby is 8 weeks old. So, for the purposes of this argument, we will be comparing the cost of disposables and cloth diapers over 8 weeks.

8 weeks x 7 days x 10 diapers a day = 560 diapers (yup.)

The above is the cost we are going to use to compare newborn disposable and cloth diapers.

Cost of Newborn Diapers

If you are the kind of person who is going to buy cheap diapers and shop sales and coupon. You might save $50 by going with disposables during the newborn phase. But, in my experience (and the experience of my friends), cheap disposable diapers are not worth the money. They break and leak and have to be changed more often because they are less absorbent.

More than likely, you would buy the middle of the road disposable diapers. In which case, you are breaking even, depending on the newborn cloth diaper you buy. My recommendation is to buy a “cover” or “all in two” style of newborn diaper, which is much more economical than an all in one diaper.

Remember that you can always sell your newborn diapers. The resell on them tends to be pretty good, because they haven’t gotten that much use. By the same token, you can purchase used newborn diapers, which would lower the cost.

Why I bought newborn covers: investment. I plan on having more children. And I plan on cloth diapering those children. Now that I have the newborn diaper covers, I don’t have to buy them again.

Concern #2: Will they fit? And for how long?

This is a hard one to address, and will depend greatly on the diaper you choose to purchase. Some newborn diapers are so small that they will only fit for 4 weeks. I’ve even heard accounts of babies who were too big for newborn diapers when they were born. The honest answer is you just don’t know. If you have a history of having small babies, or large babies, let that be a guide as to the size you will need.

It will all depend on the size of your diaper and the size of your baby.

Solution #1: Buy Adjustable

Some newborn diapers are sized, meaning they come in a single size, and there is no way to adjust them. There are brands out there that make newborn diapers with adjustable rise (snaps in the front). Having an adjustable rise will give you some insurance that you can make the diaper fit on your newborn from day one.

Solution #2: Save Your Receipts

You should be able to return them if they are too small. If you are really worried about wasting your money, but still want to purchase your diapers a head of time, set yourself up to return them. That means: you should only pre-wash one diaper. When you get home, or even in the hospital, put that one diaper on them and see how it fits. If you love it, go ahead and rip all the tags off, prewash them, and use them until you can’t any more.

If it is too small, or if that one diaper just doesn’t work for you, return the rest. This way you are only out $10 or $20 dollars, instead of a whole stash of useless diapers.

What You Need to Know

Tiny Newborn Diapers are Cute, but ineffective

When I was looking at newborn diapers, I originally wanted ones that would be trim. I didn’t want a big, bulky diaper on my tiny baby. In reality, if it is effective, it will be a little bit bulky. A newborn’s entire diet is liquid. So they put out a lot of pee. You need a diaper that is going to be absorbent enough to keep up. Almost any diaper that is absorbent enough for a newborn will be bulky.

Some newborn diapers are smaller than others. When you are looking at photos and reviews, don’t let the “trimness” be your guide as to what to buy.

Exception: if you are expecting multiples. Twins and triplets tend to be small. If you anticipate a premie size baby I would buy the tiny tiny newborn diapers and revvel in the cuteness.

One size diapers are just too big most of the time

Now you might be thinking: “My one-size diapers say they are rated for 6 lbs. I’ll just use those, and skip the newborn diapers.” The problem with using the one size diapers from the start is they are way too big. It’s ok that the newborn diaper looks bulky, but they do actually fit. Most newborns are swallowed up by the one size diapers. And it can be hard to get the fit right because there is so much extra fabric.

The last thing you want is to have poop leaking out the legs of the diaper. You’ve got enough to deal with mama.

Wait until they are born

If you are still unsure, do your research, pick out one set of newborn cloth diapers that are larger, and one set that are smaller and wait. Wait until the baby is born and place an order from your hospital bed.

There is no rule that says that you have to use cloth diapers from the moment they are born to be a cloth diapering mama. You also don’t have to have every baby product in your house before you bring them home.

What I Bought

My favorite newborn cover is the Buttons Diaper newborn cover. They are adjustable, so you get a lot of wear out of them. I was able to use my newborn covers until Jackson was 6 months old!

What to Look For

Resizability. Look for diapers that have snaps in the front so you can adjust the rise of the diaper. Being able to adjust the rise means that you will get more use out of the diaper.

Snaps on the waist, not velcro. Velcro catches on everything and is a big pain to wash. Especially when you are changing 10+ diapers a day.

Reusable covers are a must, even if you love pocket diapers, and plan on using them in the future. Newborns just go through so many diapers. So. Many. Diapers. All-in-one diapers tend to be more expensive and you have to buy one for every change you plan on doing between washes. If you really really want all-in-one style, I would recommend shopping used to make the economics make sense.

Buy gender neutral colors. If you actually want to save money over multiple children, buy gender neutral colors that can be used with your future children. Even if you don’t plan on having more kids, neutral patterns are easier to sell. Or not, you do you mama.

Read the reviews, look at pictures, and shop used if you can stand it.

Bottom Line

Newborn diapers are worth the cost. Most likely you will end up spending the same amount of money on disposable diapers. You will be saving 560 disposable diapers from going into the landfill. You will have diapers ready to go for the next child. And will save money if you resell the diapers when you are done.

Take a Hands On Cloth Diapering Class

Cloth diapering is not as hard as it sounds. With a little bit of knowledge and patience, you can be a cloth diapering mama too. I teach a one-hour, in person, hands on class on Cloth Diapering. You will get to ask questions, see real diapers and learn from someone who’s making it work full time.