Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cloth Diapers for Newborns: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Over the nine months before Ivy was born I did a lot of research and accumulated quite a little collection of diapers.  I had never cloth diapered a newborn before, only older babies, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I got a little bit of several different things that had been recommended to me as well as some extra stuff I picked up for super cheap.  Alot of it wasn't great, but some of it was really amazing.  Here are my top 5 best and worst cloth diapering items for newborns... 


1. Green Mountain Diapers prefolds - I found that I really like prefolds for the newborn stage.  They are cheap, soft, and it is very easy to tell if they are wet or not.  I especially enjoyed the prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers because they are made to be shorter in the rise and wider in the hips so they are easier to Snappi and fit for a long time.  The orange edged prefolds would be excellent for regular sized newborn.  The fit fine on my 10lb 2oz newborn, but only for about three or four weeks.  Once she hit 11lb or so, they were getting too Snappi.  Green Mountain Diapers has prefolds in five sizes that are are approximately NB, S, M, L, and XL but they color code them instead of naming a size.  You don't have to buy every size either.  Since prefolds are so versatile, you could easily get by only buying the yellow (S) and brown (L) edged prefolds and just folding down any extra material.

2. Snappi - Many people just trifold the prefold diaper and lay it in a cover successfully, but I am guessing alot of those people either had a million covers or were formula feeding their children because when I tried this I got poop on my cover every time so I wasn't able to wipe and reuse it.  So I prefer to use a Snappi diaper closure to keep the prefold actually on Ivy.  It keeps poo off the cover very well so that I can get by with less covers and any time you can keep poo off of the inside of the cover, you know you aren't going to have any poo explosions either.

3. Thirsties sized covers - There are tons of good cover options out there.  One problem that many of them have though, is that they are cut a little too trim either through the crotch or at the hips, so they only work with fitted diapers or lay in inserts/trifolded prefolds.  I think a really great cover should be able to cover ANY diaper you choose to put on your baby.  Thirsties sized covers (not the 2-size Duo) were up to the challenge.  The generous cut and cross over velcro tabs also have made them very versatile size-wise.  My other newborn covers stopped fitting a couple of weeks ago, but I was able to use Thirsties XS covers the day she was born and still today at six weeks.

4. Thirsties Fab Fitted diapers - As I said before, some covers won't be up to the challenge of easily covering a Snappied prefold.  So if you have some covers you love that can't handle prefolds, I would definitely recommend trying a Thirsties Fab Fitted.  They are very soft and supple, hold plenty of liquid, and the leg elastic provides a great barrier to poo explosions.  The stay-dry inner layer also helps babies feel dry so that you can get a little extra sleep at night.

5. GroBaby (or GroVia) hybrid system - There are alot of one-size diaper items out there, and they are a great idea and make diapering much more affordable.  That being said, many don't work well for newborns.  I was pretty happy with the fit of the GroBaby diaper though.  The soft, supple, infinite crossover tabs make getting a good fit around the waist very easy no matter what your baby's size.  The system is meant to be used by removing inserts and snapping a new one into the shell (cover), but with a newborn that is pooping ten times a day, that just doesn't happen.  I found I could usually only use the shells once.  Now that we are at the six week mark though, and pooping has slowed a bit, I am starting to be able to reuse the shells and I am thrilled that I will be able to continue using this system as she grows, unlike most of her other newborn items.


 1. Pocket diapers - I have liked and successfully used pocket diapers in the past, but only on older babies.  With an exclusively breastfed baby, the poo is very slippery and tricky and it will find its way out of ANYTHING.  So a pocket diaper, with only a single layer of elastic between you and the poo, is not the best bet for a newborn.  The leaks that I did get occasionally were all from pocket diapers, both sized and one-size.  I have yet to get a leak from the double elastic protection of a fitted and cover.  One pocket that did work pretty well though was the Rump-a-rooz one-size.  It was able to get small enough to fit my newborn and the internal elastic channel kept all that poo right where it belonged.  But in general, your basic pocket diaper is not going to be your best bet for newborn diapering.

2. One-size fitteds - These types of diapers just have SO much fabric that they are extremely bulk and unwieldy on a newborn.  They still work of course, but you will need a much larger cover to put all of that fabric into.  When prefolds are so cheap it just makes sense to save the bigger stuff for later on.

3. Motherease Airflow covers - Functionally, there is nothing wrong with these covers.  They keep the wetness in.  But they are not a cover I would recommend at all.  The waistband and leg bands are not very comfortable at all and the cut is extremely poofy.  It reminds me of a pair of Gerber plastic pull-on pants that someone has added snaps to the sides of (though made of a slightly better material than Gerber pants).  For a similar fit (if you like the roominess) but much more comfortable leg and waistbands, try the Stacinator So-Simple cover.  This one has soft fleece leg and waistbands but the same cut as a Motherease cover - poofy.

4. Bumkins covers -  I like the idea of the air vent in the back of these, so I bought one, but unfortunately it just didn't cut the mustard for my newborn.  They are not very stretchy at all around the waist and legs so it is tough to get a good fit that is tight enough to keep that pesky EBF poo in yet still loose enough to be comfortable.

5. Bumkins All-In-Ones - These diapers not only had the same trouble as the Bumkins covers, but it was compounded by the fact that, like the pocket diapers, there was only one layer of elastic between you and death-by-poopy.  For a better All-In-One try the Thirsties AIO.  It is cut so that there is more room in the crotch area, almost like a poo reservoir, so the EBF poo doesn't immediately go shooting out the sides.


One diaper cover that I was very disappointed in was the Thirsties Duo cover.  It seemed like a great idea, the prints were super cute, it works great, but I just can't see my way clear to buying any more of these.  The problem is the cut.  They are cut to fit perfectly over the Fab Fitteds, which is fine - I like Fab Fitteds - but they are a little too trim for a Snappied prefold.  I can make them work, but it takes some tucking and arranging.  I don't want to have to do that at diapering time.  I just want to put something on and go.  Something that can cover ANY diaper I have in my stash.  The Blueberry One-Size Coverall is a much more versatile product in my opinion.  It got small enough to fit Ivy right from the start and unlike a one-size fitted, one-size covers don't have the issue with too much extra material getting bulky.  And the cut is generous enough to fit over whatever I might want to put on her, even bulky one-size fitteds.

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