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Cloth Diapers for Newborn Babies

written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/6/2010

How do you cloth diaper a newborn baby? Most newborns are small enough that one-size cloth diapers just don't fit at birth. Here are recommendations for a newborn cloth diaper stash that will really work!

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    Itty Bitty Diapers

    Although your baby might outgrow their newborn size cloth diapers quickly, chances are you will need those tiny diapers to effectively cloth diaper your baby from birth. Most one-size cloth diapers are designed to fit a baby that is at least 8 or 9 pounds, leaving tiny newborns swimming in diapers that will surely leak.

    Newborn cloth diapers will usually fit a baby until they reach around 12 pounds. Cloth diapers and diaper covers specifically designed for the newborn stage often have a scooped front to accommodate the baby's healing umbilical cord area.

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    Keep it Basic

    Any style of cloth diaper you prefer can be found in a newborn size (if you need help with definitions of prefolds, fitted, pockets, all-in-one, and all-in-two diapers, see here). Since your baby will be using the newborn size for only a month or so, you can cut your cost and simplify your diaper stash by using prefolds, the most basic cloth diapering system. Newborn size prefolds will come in handy later on as burp rags or as doublers to increase absorbency in other diapers.

    Prefold diapers work well for newborns when paired with good fitting modern covers. Newborn size prefolds, such as the orange edge prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers, fit perfectly in a newborn cover. The diaper just needs to be folded in thirds and tucked into the cover. Recommended newborn diaper covers include Bummis or Thristies brands.

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    Newborn Fitted Diapers

    newborn fitted Some parents prefer using fitted diapers over prefolds because fitted are more effective at containing messes inside the diaper. Fitted diapers require a separate waterproof cover, such as the Bummis or Thristies mentioned above. Many parents decide to use a combination of prefold and fitted diapers for the newborn stage.

    Highly recommended newborn fitted diapers include those made by Kissaluvs (size 0), Swaddlebees, and Muttaqin Baby. These diapers have a special snap-down front to keep your baby's umbilical cord area free from irritation.

    Fancier, more expensive diapers, including pocket diapers and all-in-ones, also come in newborn sizes. These diapers may be used for extra absorbency through the night - if your baby sleeps that long! Because newborns need to be changed every hour or two round the clock, you will likely have your needs met by using prefolds and/or fitted. However, check out Softbums Perfect Fit all-in-two diapers for a cloth diapering system that reportedly is adjustable enough to truly fit a baby from birth to potty training.

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    How Many Diapers Do You Need?

    Because newborns have frequent bowel movements they go through many more diaper changes per day than an older baby - around 12 changes per day. If you plan on washing diapers every three days you will need three dozen diapers and at least 6 diaper covers. You can get away with fewer diapers and covers if you wash more frequently. Many parents decide to use 2 dozen prefold diapers and 1 dozen fitted diapers for the newborn stage.

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