Mommy Advice, Parenting

How to Cloth Diaper Your Newborn

How to Cloth Diaper Your Newborn Tales of a Peanut

So I’m about six weeks in to cloth diapering for the first time and Hadley is approaching 9 pounds.  I feel like that this point we’re moving out of the newborn stage (especially in diapers) and so now would be a good time to let you know how it’s gone for us so far.

Our Motivation

To give you a little background, other than my cloth diaper review back in the winter, we have never attempted them.  When I think of how much money we’ve spent over the last five years on diapers…well, I don’t want to do that math for fear of hyperventilating.  Since I’m always looking for ways to cut back on our grocery budget, I decided to cloth diaper with Hadley to save money.  Plus, I’ve heard lots of other great things about it including the ease, that it reduces or eliminates diaper rashes, and how cute a baby’s bottom looks all swaddled in cloth.

Research Beforehand

Being the OCD, type A engineer that I am I spent a good amount of time researching cloth diapering.  I created a Pinterest board on cloth diapering and started polling friends who were cloth diapering.  I put out calls on Facebook and Twitter for advice and got lots of it.  Some of my favorite posts that I found were on the Cotton Babies blog, Kitchen Stewardship’s review of 25 diapers, and Kitchen Stewardship’s Cloth Diapering Rookie post.

What We Have

After all my research I decided two purchase just a few newborn diapers and more one-size diapers.  I decided to start out with a small “stash” of all-in-one’s (just like a disposable diaper in style) and see how it went before purchasing more.  So I purchased:

2 Lil Joey’s 

6 BumGenius Freetime Newborn

14 BumGenius Freetime One-size (4 with snaps, 10 with velcro)

Grovia Magic Stick All Natural Diaper Ointment

Diapering Method

Over the last 6 weeks we’ve tried to use cloth diapers during the day and disposables at night.  The last thing that we want to have to worry with in the middle of the night is rinsing poop out of a cloth diaper.  Hadley also had thrush which caused a bad diaper rash so we used disposables until we got that cleared up because you can’t use traditional diaper rash creams with cloth diapers because they will stain and hamper absorbency.

Because of Hadley’s ongoing diaper rash and sensitive bottom, we go through a lot of diapers — typically 10-16 a day (changing during/after feeding and right before putting her down for a nap).  This meant that I definitely didn’t have enough newborn cloth diapers to even exclusively diaper in cloth during the day much less the night too.  Because I didn’t want to purchase more newborn sized diapers and the one size BumGenius were still way too large, we just supplemented with disposable.  In my opinion, it’s important to be flexible, especially in this stage and not worry too much about having to go exclusively cloth all at once.

To do everything we could to mitigate the diaper rash we ordered the Grovia Magic Stick and started using it during all diaper changes.  Because it is all natural and without ingredients like petroleum which most other diaper rash creams have you can use it with cloth diapers with no harm.  We found that it worked great and helped clear everything up even if it did take a few days of using it for it to clear.

Washing Our Cloth Diapers

Everything online says that you can throw exclusively breastfed babies diapers straight in the wash without rinsing.  However, that seems to me like it’s a lot of poop going into your washer which makes me a little uncomfortable.  I’m sure it’s fine but, since we have a big sink in our laundry room that’s right next to our room where we’re doing all of our diaper changes, we’re rinsing our diapers out and then sitting them next to the sink before we wash them.  This is just our personal preference and I don’t think is required.

I wash a load of diapers about every other day and then hang them to dry.  I have a front load, high efficiency washer and wash them on a normal cycle in hot water with a cold rinse and an extra rinse.  I use Charlie’s Soap on advice from a friend and really like it (as a bonus is has a really cool dispensing mechanism that is very easy and makes no mess).

During Hadley’s battle with thrush, Cotton Babies posted a post on their blog about How to Sanitize Your Cloth Diapers.  This post mentioned that if your child has had a rash or infection that you need to sanitize your diapers before putting them on your child again.  I was glad that they posted this at this convenient time for us because Hadley was just getting better and I didn’t want to prolong our experience because the diapers were giving the thrush back to her.  So I washed them with 1/4 cup of liquid bleach dispensed from the liquid bleach dispenser in my washer.  I felt good about putting the diapers back on her and also was amazed at how the bleach didn’t harm the outer colors of the diapers but eliminated any lingering stains on the interior of them.  The post also says to not use bleach more than once a month so make sure not to overuse if you’re going to sanitize your diapers.


In an effort to save more money and eliminate any chemicals that might make a sensitive baby’s bottom get a rash, I made my own wipes a few weeks into our experience.  I cut up a bunch of old t-shirts for wipes. And I purchased a glass canister similar to the middle size of this set.

I used the cloth diaper recipe from The New Lighter Life.  I typically stuff the jar about a third of the way full and then pour some solution over the wipes and continue with the other two thirds of the wipes.  Sometimes I even mix the wipes up with my hands when pouring in the solution to make sure they all get damp.  For our big jar I use more like 1 1/2 cup of water with  1 tablespoon of baby wash and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  This tends to get them all wet enough but doesn’t leave the ones at the bottom of the jar sopping wet.

Our jar is pretty large and, depending on how many really dirty diapers we have during a day, I need to remake wipes every two to three days.  It only takes about 5 minutes to make a jar of wipes so it’s not time consuming.  I have enough cut wipes to be able to wash an entire jarful with diapers and have them ready to go into the jar when the jar is empty.

Because we rinse our diapers we use a wet bag like this to hold our wipes between washes.  And then when I wash diapers (or sometimes other laundry) I just dump them into the wash and throw the bag in also.

We have found that you want to make sure not to cut the wipes too small as the t-shirt pieces curl up in the wash and are a little hard to unfurl if the pieces are too small.  Something around a 5×5″ wipe is a good size.  Any bigger wipes you feel like you’re wasting space in the jar and any smaller they are hard to work with.

Where We Are Now

At this point, growing towards 9 pounds and 6 weeks old we’ve quit using the Lil Joey diapers.  Even though they say online that they’re good for 4-12 pounds, we started getting leaks out the sides much smaller than that.  I love the look of them but I wouldn’t purchase them again unless you have a preemie or super small baby.

The BumGenius newborns still fit well and we are using the BumGenius one-size diapers as well even if they look huge when Hadley has them on (that’s what she’s wearing in the picture).  They both seem to fit well and, for the most part, contain all the messes.  We’ve had a few instances where the diapers have leaked but we’ve had them with disposables too, that’s just part of it.  The one-size diapers are all snapped down into the smaller size on the front to make them a little smaller.

I’ve found that the snap diapers are much harder to put on than the velcro ones.  I probably won’t purchase any more snaps but I wanted to try them because, as she gets older, they will be harder for little fingers to open themselves if we end up with that problem.

I bought all of my BumGenius diapers from Cotton Babies and am looking in to trading in my newborn diapers there when the time comes.  It won’t recoup all of the expense but will help offset the cost of additional one-size cloth diapers.  The Lil Joey diapers I purchased from Amazon since Cotton Babies doesn’t sell them.  I also purchased my wet bags, Magic Stick, and Charlie’s Soap from Amazon due to price and non-availability at Cotton Babies.

Overall, I’m really happy with the way that the cloth diapering process is going for us so far.  I don’t ever see us being exclusive cloth diaper-ers — think the church nursery or grandparents houses — but I like the savings that we’re reaping by not having to buy as many disposables.  The initial cost output to start cloth diapering is scary but, in the long run, we should be much better off this way.  I also feel better knowing that I’m putting natural fibers with no chemicals or additives on her bottom the majority of the time.

Note: There are no affiliate links in this post and I didn’t receive any of these products for review.  All opinions and advice are my own.  Please see my link/review disclosures for more information.

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    Lile Blythe
    June 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

    When I used cloth diapers many years ago, I washed them once then a second time with vinegar. My Amelia had VERY sensitive skin and that did the trick.

    1. Reply
      June 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for the advice Lile! I’ll have to try that!


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