When to Start Using Cloth Diapers

When to Start Using Cloth Diapers

Welcome to the newest member of the Prefolds Love family! Oliver Daniel was born on July 16 at 2:41 p.m. He was 9 lbs 3 oz and 21" long. You're welcome to read his birth story >> here, or see how I designed my own birth announcements for him >> here.

We started him in cloth diapers when he was a couple weeks old. Below are some thoughts on how we chose when to start our newborn in cloth diapers. Hopefully it helps you as you decide for yourself.

When to Start Using Cloth Diapers

1 | in the hospital / immediately after birth

We have never used cloth diapers in the hospital, but it is certainly possible. You'd need enough diapers to last the time you're there (two days for each of our babies)--that would include about 24+ prefolds, 6-8 newborn or small covers, a snappi, 24+ cloth wipes, and a large pail liner or wet bag to put the dirty diapers in. (See full hospital checklist >> here.) You'd also need some sort of liner (there are flushable ones) or even simple, cheap cloth wipes to protect your diapers from the sticky first poop. That is one of the main reasons we never used cloth in the hospital. Also, I really didn't want to have to do diaper laundry once we got home from the hospital.

2 | after meconium passes

Another option is to wait until that first sticky poop (meconium) passes, then start using cloth. Then there's no need for liners or risk of ruining your new diapers.

3 | after umbilical chord falls off

Some newborn-sized cloth diapers come with a scoop or a snapdown to keep the diaper off baby's umbilical chord as it heals. If you don't have those, or don't want to mess with it, then you could wait the first week or so until baby's umbilical chord falls off.

4 | after circumcision heals

If you have a boy and he is/will be circumcised, you might prefer to wait until that is healed. Vaseline helps keep anything from sticking until it heals, but vaseline is also not good for cloth diapers. You would need to use a liner or cheap baby wash cloth to protect the vaseline from getting on the diapers.

5 | when they fit

If you don't have diapers that go small enough to fit your newborn, then you might need to wait until your baby fits into the cloth diapers you have. Depending on your reasons for cloth diapering, using disposables for a couple weeks might be better than buying newborn-sized cloth diapers that will only fit a short time. We had rather larger newborns (8-11 lbs), so fitting in small cloth diapers was not a problem. Even a size 1 Thirsties Duo Wrap can snap down to fit a smaller newborn. But if you have other brands/sizes and nothing that fits a newborn, then you might need to wait for baby to grow a bit.

6 | once supplies come in and diapers are prepped (for older babies)

Of course, some of us first learn about cloth diapers after we are already using disposables on our baby/toddler. When I first learned about cloth diapers and decided to go for it, my oldest was potty-training and I was pregnant with my second. We went ahead and jumped in with the potty-training 2-year-old for naps and nights as soon as products came in.

7 | when you're ready

Whatever your reasons, just jump in when you're ready. I personally wasn't ready until baby's umbilical chord and circumcision healed, so we started 2-3 weeks after baby was born. If you had a particularly difficult delivery that you're recovering from and not ready to jump into diaper laundry, then give yourself a little healing time. The point is to choose what timing works best for you.

As much as you can use the cloth diapers will help you get the most out of them in money savings and keeping diapers out of the landfill. But if a few days or a couple weeks delay in getting started is what you need to feel sane, then do it.

You've still got a couple years of diapers ahead of you ;)


also read:

time + place for disposable
hospital bag checklist
cost of cloth vs. disposables
newborn cloth diaper stash

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