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Successfully Cloth-Diapering a Newborn

2010 February 11
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

A Mummy is facing 10 problems cloth-diapering her newborn (read about it here), so I thought of helping address her obstacles:

1) None of my bought cloth diapers seem to fit my small newborn!

Apparently I was too cautious, not wanting to buy Extra Small sizes because I thought “they wouldn’t last too long.”

MieVee says: During the last trimester of pregnancy, I knew Vee was going to be a big baby, so I bought Small diaper covers and skipped the Extra-Smalls. At 3.5kg at birth, he fitted into Small Bummis covers (reviewed here) nicely. For an average-sized or preemie baby, Extra-Small covers would be needed.

2) My prefolds and diaper cover plan to cloth diaper my newborn was a failure.

How silly of me, I have a stash of prefold diapers that were Regulars (again, I thought buying Infant size would be a waste) which did not fit my newborn at all, NOR did they even fit in ANY of the XS or S sized diaper covers that I had.

MieVee says: I used traditional cloth diapers (lampin) instead of prefolds in the first month. They could be easily folded to fit a newborn.

3) Leaking problems!

Again, this was a sizing issue, even with a small sized Fitted Diaper. I was breastfeeding and my boy leaked all over my lap, grr!!

MieVee says: Similar to Problem #1, Extra-Small covers over traditional cloth diapers or Infant-prefolds may be a better fit.

4) My little boy LOVES pooping on freshly changed diapers.

Happened so many times after I put on a clean diaper, to find out that minutes later he “felt” like the diapers were just too nice not to poop on immediately!

MieVee says: Breastfed newborn poo-poos very regularly, as breastmilk has a laxative effect. Vee poo-ed up to 11 times a day! Therefore, traditional cloth diapers with covers is a very cost-effective way of cloth-diapering a newborn.

5) My social support system wasn’t really so “supportive”.

My husband was joking with me that I put so much effort in wanting to Cloth Diaper, but apparently so many things tend to go wrong! And I don’t think my mother in law was into the idea of Cloth Diapers too much either!

MieVee says: Support is very important in the first month because Mummy is supposed to be resting during confinement. Let your family understand the benefits of cloth-diapering. (Read “Why I Love Cloth Diapers” here.)

My confinement lady was responsible for changing Vee’s cloth diapers, and washing (using washing machine) / sunning / folding them throughout the month.

After the first month, Vee was on a mixture of Small Drybees Pocket Diapers (reviewed here) and traditional cloth diapers during the day. At night, he used Drybees Fleece Pocket Diapers (reviewed here). Daddy has been supportive since the beginning (saves him $$$) and helps with diaper changes.

6) The cloth diapers were so bulky!

On a tiny newborn, almost everything I put on makes my baby an awkward sumo wrestler on his crotch (which didn’t look too comfortable). I was critcized again about this by my social support system, heh.

MieVee says: Similar to Problem #1, Extra-Small covers over traditional cloth diapers or Infant-prefolds may be a better fit.

7) Could I even be bothered with laundry right now??

Cloth Diapering requires ULTIMATE care, but seriously, with a million other things to do with the baby the first month, should I really put so much effort in it?

MieVee says: Similar to Problem #5, Mummy should be resting while someone helps with the laundry matters. Baby clothes, handkerchiefs and other accessories need to be washed too. Cloth diapers can be washed with the other baby items. Just need someone to spend 5-10 minutes a day spraying poo-poo into the toilet bowl.

8 ) I couldn’t figure out how to Snappi lampins (or prefold for that matter) properly.

In the end I gave up. Needs more practice. Sigh.

MieVee says: Vee was on lampin and a diaper cover, without the need to use Snappi or pins. The diaper cover was the correct fit, so the lampin could stay in place. Try it out.

9) My “one sized” pocket diapers were not really “one sized fits all”.

It certainly did not fit on too well on my newborn. Even at the smallest setting, it was still huge and left gaps at the legs. :(

MieVee says: “One-size” diapers usually fit babies from about 5kg. For this reason, I prefer sized-diapers in the early months.

10) My apartment laundry area had no direct contact with the sun.

So the stains on the diapers couldn’t benefit from the sunlight. Also, they take ages to dry. Sigh….

MieVee says: Sunning is important to get rid of the stains naturally. During a sunny day, Vee’s diapers are dry and stain-free after about 4 hours. Try looking out for another spot in the house that gets the sunshine?

It takes a bit of trial and error in the early stage to get baby cloth-diapered full-time. Rest well and experiment during your free time until you get your system right. The benefits are well worth the initial efforts. Happy cloth-diapering!

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14 Responses leave one →
  1. February 12, 2010

    Dear MieVie,

    Thank you so much for responding to my frustrations :) I love how you can go ahead using lampins so well… The problem for me now is laundering. I don’t really have anyone to help out with that (or to keep up with my standard of laundering CDs :-P)

    I appreciate the blog post very much! 😀

    • February 14, 2010

      Keep the laundry simple:
      dry pail
      spray poop into toilet
      separate into laundry nets
      1/2 normal amt of detergent
      wash with baby items on Prewash (optional) + Cold/Warm + 2 Rinses

      Traditional lampin are cheap and easy to care for. Even if any damage arises (can’t imagine how it can happen), you won’t get heartache. That’s also why I let my confinement helper use lampin on Vee in the first month. I only started using the modern CDs after she left and when I was energetic again. :)

  2. February 27, 2010

    Another alternative is not to go cloth all the way. I used disposables until my baby was big enough to use the one size fits all – didn’t have to wait long since both my boys are big babies. One lady wanted me to buy newborn size diapers which is intended for babies up to 5kgs. I told her my first boy was born 4kgs. Thankfully, I didn’t bother with newborn since my second boy was born 4.5kgs. I still use disposables when we go out.

    • February 27, 2010

      We used disposables at night in the first 1-2 months too, when we were figuring out a good night-time diapering solution. By the way, 4.5kg-baby is GIGANTIC, not big! :p

      Vee is cloth-diapered on outings too, since it is very convenient, just need to bring along a wetbag for the soiled diapers. May also lay a disposable liner on the cloth diaper if expecting a big poo during outing. Think we only used a few packs of disposables over the past year; haven’t bought 1 for almost half a year.

  3. Lyn permalink
    June 20, 2010

    Hi,

    i just started cloth diaper for my baby few weeks ago. I’m still using disposable at night as she is a heavy wetter, with disposable it will still leak sometime. Wonder which cloth diaper is better for night time and have better absorbency?

    • June 20, 2010

      Hi Lyn, thank you for visiting Mummy’s Reviews™. My boy is also a heavy-wetter and pees through disposables 2 times a night even when he was very young. From 2 to 9 months old, he wore Drybees Fleece Pocket Diapers reviewed here, with a combination of absorbent inserts. We chose fleece pocket diapers because of its high breathability, which keeps his sensitive skin healthy even after 12-hour nights.

      When he outgrew the Medium pocket diapers, we upsized to Large fitted pocket diapers (allowing absorbency all over, including waist and sides) with fleece shorts. The main reason is that he rolls about a lot when asleep, so fitted diapers provide better absorbency.

      Some keys for successful night-time cloth diapering:
      – increase number of inserts/soakers, using pocket diapers, night-time fitted diapers or fitted pocket diapers
      – if child moves about a lot when asleep, fitted diapers would work better than pocket diapers

      I am planning a review for our new night-time diapering combination, so stay tuned for the article.

  4. celine permalink
    August 31, 2010

    Hi MieVee! I’m a first time mum and expecting my 2 babies in Dec. I’m wondering how different is using cloth diapers versus the traditional cloth nappies? I didn’t know much about cloth diapering and wasn’t thinking much about it. Thought of using traditional cloth nappies but unsure how it compares with the cloth diapers. Can I hear your thoughts?

    • September 4, 2010

      Hihi Celine, congrats on expecting twins! :)

      Traditional cloth nappies:
      Upsides:
      – very economical, especially on 2 babies

      – versatile: different folding patterns, can use without cover for full breathability

      – dry very quickly: since they open up into 1 layer

      Downsides:
      – need folding that takes up much time: multiply by 2 and you need a lot of time. (Newborns go through 12-18 nappies a day.)

      – not very absorbent: need to change very frequently. Newborns (breastfed) poo a lot and need to be changed frequently anyway, so it is fine for the first 1-2 months to use these. After that, many mums prefer something more absorbent.

      – not stay-dry at the waist: Even after adding a stay-dry liner, the waist area gets wet, so some babies fuss for diaper change.

      – can’t last for long naps (3hours) or overnight for heavywetters: try with double layer and it may work. But without all-round stay-dry, some fussy babies can’t sleep long and want to be changed. Modern cloth diapers made of hemp / bamboo absorb a lot more and can hold overnight, with less bulk. Also, the stay-dry liner means more peaceful sleep for everyone.

      – shed lint: the cotton tends to shed lint in laundry, so wash them in laundry nets. Clothes that catch lint easily may need separate washing.

      For our first 1 month, we used only traditional square nappies since confinement lady did the laundry.
      Once she left, I found it hard to cope with the folding while taking care of a fussy baby alone. Modern cloth diapers are a time-saver and we use them for outdoor trips and overnight as well.

      Alternatively, you may consider using prefolds with a diaper cover.
      Prefolds are prefolded and sewn cotton cloths, which are very easy to use. They are simpler to use than traditional square nappies, with less folding needed.
      Newborns need newborn-size, older babies can use the regular ones.
      An example of this system is by Bummis (available at Tiny Pants).
      I love Bummis diaper covers, which are especially great at holding in explosive breastfed-baby poo.

      Got to go for dinner now… Feel free to email me with more questions. :)

  5. Shanice permalink
    February 5, 2012

    Hi,

    I’m a first time mum-to-be and would like to seek some advice from you. Can I use diaper covers (e.g. Thirsties Diaper Covers etc) with the traditional nappy cloths (white squarish cloths)? What do you think of Kodomo baby detergent? I like the fragrance :p

    My understanding of reusable diapers (Moomookow etc) is that once the diapers are soiled, I would have to change a new one totally, and not just the liners, am I right to say that?

    Thank you for your advice.

    • February 6, 2012

      Hi Shanice, congratulations on your pregnancy! :)

      Yes, you may use diaper cover with traditional square nappy. In fact, I recommend using this for the first month (during the day) when baby poos very frequently anyway. I prefer to use a diaper liner (either washable fleece or disposable ones) for a stay-dry feeling. You may also consider prefolds with diaper cover, as reviewed here.

      I’m not sure of Kodomo baby detergent. Personally, I stay away with detergent with fragrance because baby may be sensitive to it (we’re a family with super sensitive skin), and it’s an extra chemical, which isn’t necessary.

      Also, clean diapers should smell of nothing, so I know that they’re clean. If fragrance covers them, I can’t tell if the diapers are indeed clean.

      Pocket diapers such as Moo Moo Kow need to be changed completely once soiled or wet, because the layer that touches baby’s skin is part of the pocket diaper.

      For All-in-Two, such as Grovia (reviewed here), the diaper shell can be reused if not soiled.

      After using soooo many different types of diapers, I still prefer pocket diapers:
      1. It’s convenient to “throw” the entire diaper into the diaper pail. And use an entirely new diaper.
      2. I like the stay-dry layer that’s part of the pocket cover. No need to add another stay-dry diaper liner.
      3. When I use diaper cover or AI2 diaper shell, they often get soiled with breastfed baby’s explosive poo, or the edges get damp, so I end up not reusing them most of the time.

      Of course, every cloth diapering mum has her own preferences. :)

  6. Sheri permalink
    August 30, 2012

    Hi,

    Thanks for your many articles. They’ve been a great help on our quest to cloth diaper our first born full time. My baby is just 8 days old, but we’ve been cloth diapering him since we got back from the hospital. I have a few questions though if you could help us:

    1: I’ve read that with cloth diapers you should change the baby often, at least every 2-4 hours. But what if the baby is still sleeping, do you wake him up? Our baby feeds a lot during the day and on some nights he seems to sleep a lot. My mother says not to wake him up, but I’m not quite comfortable at the thought of leaving him in wet diapers for so long. What do you think? Oh, we are using Bumwear prefolds with diaper covers by the way.

    2. We have several pocket diapers from both Bumwear and Moo Moo Kow. As per instructions I’ve pre-washed them 3 times before use. But now after 8 washes they are still not absorbent! I’ve tried hot washes (60 C) and cold washes (30/40C) both. I’ve tried line drying and also tumble dry, but they are still not absorbing well. I machine wash them with Country Save detergent that we purchased from Bumwear. Do you know what we are doing wrong and what more we can do? We were at Bumwear yesterday and they said that some diapers are just stubborn and the wax takes time to be washed off, is this true? I mean 8 washes is a bit ridiculous – so much for saving the environment! For now we are using prefolds. But it’s not very hubby friendly, he can’t figure out how to put them on so the pocket diapers will be easier for him.

    Would appreciate any help you can give us. Thanks!

    • August 31, 2012

      Hi Sheri, congratulations on your baby’s arrival!

      1. You may use a stay-dry liner with prefold. For longer hours, may consider disposable liner and put on diaper cream, just in case baby poops, which can cause rash easily if undetected. We use GroVia liners with Bepanthen diaper cream.

      If not using diaper cream, you may use washable liner. Most stay-dry is suedecloth, similar to Moo Moo Kow’s inner layer. Slightly less stay-dry is micro fleece, similar to Bumwear’s inner layer. We use Bummis fleece liners.

      When you fold the prefold, try to ensure most of it is covered by the liner, so wetness doesn’t touch baby’s skin.

      For newborn night-time, we actually used disposable diaper inserts. Reasons: my breastfed baby poos a lot at night, so we put on a thick layer of diaper cream, and this is more appropriate with disposables. And to ease confinement lady from figuring out my cloth diapering system at night. We used GroVia Biosoakers BUT they disintegrate easily (bits stuck to baby’s skin). I don’t highly recommend. Good thing is they’re more “natural” than regular disposables.

      2. Prewashing: Country Save should be a CD-friendly detergent. My Moo Moo Kow diaper and inserts started working after 3 washes. We haven’t tried Bumwear before but have read review that they do take many prewashes, like 8 as you mentioned. This isn’t common for diapers with microfleece and microfibre inserts because I’ve tried many brands that need only 1-3 prewashes.

      I have 2 GAD micro fleece diapers and some Drybees small microfibre inserts that took “forever” before absorbing. I gave up counting, simply tossed them into the regular laundry for many times. And one day, they started working well. Now passed down to second baby.

      Pocket diapers are certainly more hubby-friendly. Velcro is the easiest. Newborns usually don’t fit well into one-size diapers yet, until about 5kg. If the thigh area isn’t snug-fitting yet, leaks occur.

      Hope this helps and have a good rest. :)

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