Newborn Cloth Diapers

Are you planning to start cloth diapering right from day 1? We've got information on using newborn cloth diapers, including some of our favorite brands for brand new babies.

If you plan to start cloth diapering on day 1, you may want to consider buying newborn cloth diapers. Most parents find that fitted size small diapers and one-size diapers don't fit a brand-new newborn that well.

You might be thinking, "I thought they were called one-size - as in, these diapers are supposed to fit from birth until potty-training..."

Please note:  We've split our Newborn Cloth Diapers section into two articles.  This article discusses all-in-ones, while a second article discusses newborn diaper covers, prefolds, and fitteds.

Do I Really Need Special Diapers for a Newborn?

newborn with mom

If you ask any experienced parent (ask one that recently had a newborn because they'll remember better!), they'll tell you that it's important that your diaper offers a snug fit for newborns! You want to have a diaper that is snug around the back and across the back to contain runny newborn poop.

Since most newborns have skinny legs, it can definitely be hard to get a good fit, especially with diapers that have been designed to fit toddlers too! Lots of parents struggle to get a good fit with one-size, or even sized diapers during the first month (or more!)

It's not that you can't use one-size or small sized diapers with newborns, but they may not be as reliable because they may not contain every mess! If you can't get a snug fit, you will have to be prepared for a few leaks. The occasional mess doesn't bother some parents.

Don't totally rule out one-size diapers though. If you don't want to buy special newborn diapers, there are some one-size options that seem to size down to work better for newborns than others. If you don't plan to use newborn cloth diapers initially, click on this link to skip down to our recommendations of one-size cloth diapers for newborns.

Diapering a Newborn

Newborns need to be changed at least every 2 hours, so you will need more cloth diapers at this stage in your baby's life than any other stage! By one month of age, many parents can get away with a stash of approximately 20 cloth diapers if you plan to do laundry every day. With newborns, you will need 24 (or even more) diapers - unless you want to do laundry every day!

newborn diapers

How Many Diapers Do I Need?

Of course, the answer to this question depends a lot on how often you plan to wash your cloth diapers!  That said, if you plan to cloth diaper a newborn, you'll probably use more cloth diapers than you expect.

I washed every 2 days, and I found I needed close to 3 dozen diapers.  We used 12+ each day, and it took a long time for some of the all-in-ones (especially our Lil Joeys) to dry.  I usually ran everything through the dryer once, and then hung anything that was still damp out to dry.  You can get away with less diapers, but you may need to wash more frequently, or put the occasional disposable on if you fall behind in cloth diaper laundry.

Two Sets of Diapers?

The cost of two full sets of diapers can be daunting for parents who consider buying a set of newborn cloth diapers and then a second set of sized or one-size diapers later on. Since newborn diapers typically last from 6 to 12 pounds, they aren't usually used for more than a couple of months, and some babies may outgrow them even sooner. A set of 24 fitted, pocket, or all-in-one cloth diapers in a newborn size can add up fast!

For many parents, a set of infant size prefolds and 6 to 8 wraps (I prefer newborn Bummis Super Brites) or wool covers can be a cost-effective option. If you decide to upgrade to pocket diapers when your baby outgrows the infant size, the prefolds can be used as inserts, or even burp cloths.

The Alternatives

Lots of new parents don't switch to cloth diapers immediately. I know, because I was one of them. The first few weeks as a new parent can seem overwhelming at times. With my first son, I found it much easier to transition to cloth diapers when my little man was about a month old. By then, I wasn't breastfeeding every hour, and I felt I had a bit of time to get familiar with washing and folding diapers. By then, he had also gained a few pounds, and filled out his cloth diapers much better!

That said, there are some great reasons to consider cloth diapers right from the beginning. With my second, I started with cloth the day we left the hospital.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

If you do want to use cloth diapers on your newborn but don't want to invest in a complete set, you may want to look into:

  • Using a diaper service for the first month if one is available in your area - these companies drop off clean diapers and pick up the dirty diapers each week to be professionally laundered.  While diaper service is generally priced similarly to the cost of disposables in the later stages, in the early stages when baby is going through a diaper every couple of hours, diaper service can definitely save you money
  • Infant diaper rentals - some cloth stores, offer rental packages for infant cloth diapers, where you do the laundry
  • Buying second hand cloth diapers (or reselling them)

Common Questions About Cloth Diapering a Newborn

Below are some of the most common questions about cloth diapering a newborn:

  • Can I Use Cloth Diapers in the Hospital?  Many parents want their baby's first diaper to be a cloth diaper.  Whether that's possible or not depends on your hospital.  There are lots of hospitals that encourage cloth diapers, and some even provide cloth for use while at the hospital.  It's best to check with your hospital to find out whether using cloth will be allowed, and whether you should bring your own or if they will provide them.
  • Which Cloth Diapers are Best for Preemies?
  • They look so big... how can they be comfortable?  Even bitty little newborn diapers can look huge on a tiny newborn!  And if you choose to go straight to one-size diapers, your little one will look lost in them! 
  • Can I Use Cloth Diapers if I Choose Circumcision?  This topic is a sensitive one, which can make iit hard for parents to find the information they need.  Padded Tush Stats has a good article on this, and I urge you to read it.
  • Is it Safe for the Cord Stump to Be Covered?
  • Do I Need to Wait Until After the Meconium Passes?
  • How Many Cloth Wipes Do I Need?
  • I have heard that newborn poop stains.  Will it ruin my cloth diapers?

Brands of Infant Cloth Diapers

Read our article on Where to Buy Cloth Diapers here.

Newborn All-in-One and Pocket Diapers

newborn cloth diapers - all-in-ones

Featured Newborn All-in-Ones

  1. Bitty Bee Changed Newborn All-in-One
  2. Simplex by Blueberry
  3. Gro-Via Newborn
  4. Sweet Pea Newborn All-in-One
  5. Born Smart from Smart Bottoms
  6. Tots Bots Tini Fit
  7. Lil Joey Preemie and Newborn Diaper
  8. RagaBabe Newborn Easy All-in-One

grovia newborn aio

GroVia All-in-One Newborn Cloth Diapers

  • Designed specifically for newborns 5-12lbs
  • Newer ones have 3 layers of 55% Hemp/45% cotton as a sewn-in soaker pad, topped with 100% polyester microfleece, while original are 100% organic cotton inner
  • All-in-one (no cover reiqured, no stuffing)
  • Waterproof TPU outer
  • Super easy to use

If you're not sure which newborn brand to buy, try out a few. Kissed by the Moon, a California-based retailer that offers newborn cloth diaper rental programs, sells a mixed pack of the gently used rental newborn diapers for much less than the original prices. Since newborn diapers aren't used for long, these diapers are in great shape, and it's a great way to experiment!

rumparooz lil joey aio newborn cloth diaper

Rumperooz Lil Joey All-in-One

  • 4-12 lbs (fits preemies)
  • Snap down for umbilical cord
  • Specially designed with inner gussets - these are great at containing runny poop and stopping up-the-back blow-outs!
  • 4 layers of microfiber sewn in
  • $15 (sold in a 2 pack for $30)
  • Click on the image to find Lil Joeys at Nurtured Family

One-Size Diapers for Newborns

WAHMies One-Size Pocket Diapers

  • This is one of the one-size diapers that will truly fit a full-term newborn, and still fit when your child is a toddler
  • With a pocket opening at the back
  • Soft polyester velour inner to wick away moisture, does not pill
  • Available with hook closures or snaps
  • Comes with a bamboo and cotton insert
  • $20

softbums echo one-size all-in-two cloth diaper

Softbums Echo One-Size (All-in-Two)

  • This is another one-size diaper that will fit a full-term newborn or a toddler
  • AI2 system - purchase shells separately from inserts. Inserts are replaced at every diaper change, while shells are washed when soiled, so you need 5-6
  • covers, and up to 24 inserts for a newborn
  • Slide2Size system - Small adjustable toggles hidden inside the diaper shell are used to adjusts leg openings from 2 to 14", so you can get that perfect fit, no matter how big or small your baby is!
  • Velcro closure (snaps also now available)
  • Inserts (called "pods") are purchased separately and snap into shell (no stuffing required). You can choose from Dry Touch (2 layers of microfibre covered with a layer of stay-dry fleece next to baby's skin), Super Dry Touch (3 layers of microfibre with a fleece top), and Organic Bamboo
  • Can also buy doublers (mini pods) to increase absorbency
  • Shells $22, inserts range from $6 to $11, doublers from $4 to $5

This is a 2-part series on newborn cloth diapering.  Continue reading about Newborn diaper covers, prefolds, and fitteds.

More in Our Cloth Diapers: Ages and Stages Series

Go to top of Newborn Cloth Diapers

Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own, and your experience with the product may differ from mine. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, see our Disclaimer and Copyright.

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