From the get-go, disposable diaper manufacturers will do their best to woo you with free samples, whether it's at your pediatrician's office, or sandwiched in a parenting magazine, these companies have deep pockets, and your loyalty is worth thousands of dollars to them. It's big business to convince parents that they must purchase a product for the first three years of each child's life. Do you think disposable diapers keep your baby's bottom dry for your baby's comfort? No, they do that to ensure your baby will be wearing disposable diapers as long as possible -- when a baby doesn't feel wetness against her skin, she is likely to potty train at a later age. The longer your child is in diapers, the bigger their bottom line.
If you consider the cost of certain brands of newborn disposable diapers, you can see that one company is trying to gain customers initially by luring them in with a cheaper price:
Why the disparity in price? Proctor & Gamble (the manufacturer of Pampers) is gambling that if they can get your baby into their diapers from day one, you will become a loyal Pampers user. If you compare the cost of both brands in larger sizes, you can see the initial savings of buying Pampers diapers for your newborn are eventually lost:
So, what are your newborn diapering choices?
I've said it before, and I've said it again, everyone should give prefolds a chance. They're cheap, and they work. You can use infant prefolds with a baby who weighs 8+ lbs, they'll be bulky to start, but newborn babies tend to put weight on quickly in those first few weeks, so the bulk is a short-term issue. We also sell preemie prefolds which can be used with babies who weigh 4-9 lbs. At $17.00/dozen, preemie prefolds are a justifiable purchase even if you only use them as diapers for a couple of weeks, after which you can use them as wipes, or doublers.
If prefolds absolutely, positively do not appeal to you, size 0 Kissaluvs are our most popular newborn fitted diapers, fitting babies who weigh 5-15 lbs. At $14.95 each, they are significantly more expensive than prefolds, however, they are well worth the money. The elastic around the legs in combination with the texture of the cotton sherpa do a great job of keeping newborn poop where it belongs, in the diaper; the umbilical cutout prevents the diaper from rubbing against your newborn's cord stump. In terms of how long your baby can wear these diapers, you can comfortably get at least 2-3 months of use out size 0 Kissaluvs, depending on the build of your baby. My son was born weighing a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz, and he was able to wear his size 0 Kissaluvs for a good 5-6 months, until he weighed 17 lbs (he was a long and skinny baby).
If quick-and-easy is your thing, we sell Fuzzibunz XS pocket diapers, at $15.00 each, they are cheaper than Kissaluvs (Kissaluvs require a cover), however, they are not as absorbent as Kissaluvs (though with a newborn, absorbency generally isn't an issue since they are pooping every five minutes for the first 4-6 weeks). Fuzzibunz XS pocket diapers fit from 4-12 lbs, they are similar to disposable diapers in that they go on in one piece, they are trim, and they will keep your baby's skin dry.
Some people have the attitude that since newborn babies grow so fast, it's pointless to invest in newborn diapers, however, regardless of what type of diaper you put on your child, you will be spending money. Infant pottying is an option that can drastically reduce how many diapers you might use, however, I realize it's not for everyone. If you want want to use cloth diapers with your baby from day one, but you don't want to make a large investment in your newborn's diaper stash, we offer a newborn diaper rental that allows you to rent 20 size 0 Kissaluvs and 10 XS Fuzzibunz for $15/week, the equivalent to what you would spend on disposable diapers. If you were to purchase these diapers, you would spend $450.00, though if you factor in future children and/or resale value, purchasing newborn diapers is generally a worthwhile investment.
So, how many diapers will I need?
A typical newborn will require 10-12 changes a day, due to the pooping-every-five-minutes thing I tend to mention a lot (hey, I want you to know what you're getting into!). You could buy a dozen diapers and make do with washing diapers daily, however, this will make cloth diapering feel like more work than it really is. Purchasing 24-36 diapers will see you washing diapers every 2-3 days, it not only lessens your workload, it will also reduce wear & tear on your diapers (good for resale value, or if you want to use your diapers with future children).
So, is there anything else I need to know?
Meconium (your baby's first poop) is really not the big deal people make it out to be. There's a belief that meconium will stain cloth diapers, parents-to-be often ask us about it. Some parents will actually use this as an excuse not to use cloth diapers from birth, however, I can assure you, meconium, like breastfed poop, washes out fine. It's thick, it's tarry, but it washes away just fine. You don't need liners to protect your diapers, don't sweat it!
If you're using a diaper that requires a cover (like a size 0 Kissaluvs, or a snappi-ed prefold), you can get away without using a cover for the first couple of days because your newborn will be peeing such a small amount. Letting your baby go coverless for those first few days is a great way to air-out your baby's cord stump.
Your baby will likely experience some type of a diaper rash around two weeks of age. All of our babies did, and a lot of our customers' babies do. Your newborn's skin is very sensitive, and no matter how quickly you change her after a poop, it's hard to avoid poop sitting against her skin. Airing her bum out is the best way to heal her skin, leaving her diaperless on an old blanket is the quickest (and cheapest!) way to get rid of a diaper rash.
Using cloth diapers from birth is completely feasible. If it's all you know, there will be no adjustment. If you need help, ask for it, friends and family will gladly put a load of diapers into the washing machine if it means a little more face-time with junior.