Cloth Diaper Q&A What to Buy for a Newborn

Jordynn is years ahead of where I was when I was expecting my first child. Way to go!

Here is her question for today’s Cloth Diaper Q&A:

Hi, I am a first time mom and am considering cloth diapering my son. He will be here in about three months, so I am trying to get everything together now. I see the benefits of CDing both financially and for my little guys buns, but I honestly have no idea where to start! I want to register for cloth diapers to eliminate some of the cost… I have done some research and read most of the information of this site… I am convinced for the most part that CDing is the way to go, but I don’t know if maybe doing disposables when we go out might be more convenient. Could someone help convince me otherwise or give me suggestions about what cloth diapers to use when we are out and about? Also, I don’t know what I should register for in terms of sizes, inserts, brands, detergents, etc… Could someone please help me with a starting list for how many to buy/register for and what sizes and all of that good CD stuff? I feel so lost!

Thank you!

I think it is important for people to inform themselves and come to conclusions on their own. That is why I provide anecdotal, personal and factual information for you to make the best decisions for your family.

Having said that, I would first direct you to a post I wrote called the 5 W’s of Cloth Diapering.

Once you have your “why” then you can better answer your first question.

Practically speaking, changing a cloth diaper outside the home is not that different than changing a disposable diaper. The big difference being you take it home to wash it instead of tossing it in the trash.

If you are choosing to cloth diaper for financial and health reasons, I challenge you to consider that those reasons are valid all the time…whether on vacation, at the park or at daycare.

With experience and through trial and error you may discover that you have “nighttime” diapers, “daddy” diapers, “long car trip” diapers. Then again, you might not!

Registering for cloth diapers and supplies is a great idea! People want to give you what you need not something you’ll just regift.

Amazon is my go to place for registries. Every one can access it, it won’t turn off people who are for some reason scared of all things natural and returns are easy.

Amazon doesn’t have a huge cloth diaper selection, however. Although I’ve personally purchased my (links are to reviews) Charlie Banana diapers, Thirsties, Fuzzi Bunz, and Bummis Easy Fit Tot Bot from Amazon.

Don’t forget about those non-intimidating items like wet bags, cloth diaper friendly rash creams, wipes warmer, bac-out and detergent.

If you haven’t already chosen a cloth diaper boutique to place your registry at, I encourage you to send your love to one of my fabulous supporters (upper right).

I know your probably thinking, “Just give me a list of items will ya!”

Here’s a checklist to get you started: (read My Recommendations for brands)

  • At least 24 cloth diapers
  • 2 XL wet bags
  • 1 medium wet bag for out of the house
  • 36 cloth wipes
  • 10 doublers (I recommend Hemp Babies because they are so thin)
  • Diaper bag or bag used for diapers (I hate diaper bags!)
  • Bac-out
  • Babylegs- great for cooler temps and easy diaper changes
  • Baby gowns- must have for nighttime changes!
  • Nursing cover

I used to recommend diaper pails but I’ve found wet bags to be much easier.

As far as sizes go, babies don’t usually fit into most one sized diapers until they reach 12 lbs. One exception would be Rumparooz which start fitting between 9-10lbs.

One of the easiest ways to begin cloth diapering from the beginning and not feel the financial weight of buying newborn sized diapers is to rent the newborn diapers.

There are several rental programs available. Two of my supporters, Sweetbottoms Baby and Pooters, offer this service.

Feeling lost is completely normal! But, I don’t want you to stay there long. My goal is to get you started cloth diapering right away and prevent/fix any problems that arise.

You are going to LOVE being a mommy!

I just found this checklist from Pooters after publishing this post!

, ,

About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

42 Responses to “Cloth Diaper Q&A What to Buy for a Newborn”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    I just purchased wool covers for night time use. I purchased several….some for my now 14 mth old dd and some for the baby due in August. My question is can I go ahead and lanolize the newborn’s woolies while I’m doing dd’s or will they de-lanolize by July/August? I just wasn’t sure how long the lanolization would last with them not being used.


  2. Anita Says:

    for traveling out and about I always have 2 or 3 diapers with me and a wet bag. I change her diaper, wherever, roll it up in the diaper much like you would a disposable. Put it all in a medium sized wet bag and deal with it when I get home. It’s not that much different then CD at home exept you want a good wet bag for the occasional stinker (I’ve only had 2 really yucky ones in 22 months, maybe thats luck or maybe she’s a shy pooper LOL).
    When we take an overnight trip I have a large wet/dry bag that holds a lot. It’s also the bag we used to transport her diapers to and from daycare because it could hang on a hook or door. We even CD’d on vacation but on flight we used disposable inserts.
    Let me also add, if the Best Bottom diaper was out when I purchased our daughters diapers that would’ve been my choice. No doubt that diaper is so much easier than even our OS pockets which have always been really simple too. :) Hope that helps.


  3. Sara Says:

    Hi Autumn,
    I have a 17 month old that has been in cloth diapers since she was 12 weeks. I am expecting my second baby in 4 weeks. I have some disposable newborn diapers left over, but I am hoping to start cloth a little sooner this time. I have around 8 thirsty wraps and 18 prefolds and 2 little joeys. My daughter is in pockets all the time. I think I have about 35 plus 2 AI2s, and a few Grovia (which I don’t use with her because she is a heavy wetter). I am wondering if I have enough to have 2 in cloth and what I should supplement with if I need to get more. Thanks!


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      You will probably be lacking in the newborn stage if you start cloth diapering before the baby can fit into the AI2s. Are the AI2s a one-size? If so you will probably be okay if baby is born 8+lbs and quickly hits 10-12lbs. Most one-size diapers begin fitting around 12 lbs (Softbums and RaR are earlier). If you want to get some more prefolds then I think you’d be good to go.


  4. Amy Says:

    Comfy Cozy Diapers offers multiple newborn rental packages to help families get started with cloth diapers for the wee ones. You can choose from AIO’s from BumGenius or Lil Joey’s, pocket diapers with the Happy Heinys minis or SoftBums AI2’s. All the rentals also come with a hanging diaper pail from Knickernappies.


  5. Amy Says:

    We offer newborn rentals to help parents get started. You can choose from BumGenius AIO’s, Happy Heinys Mini pocket diapers, Lil Joey AIO’s from Rumparooz or SoftBums AI2’s. Rentals include a detergent sample and the use of a hanging wet pail from Knickernappies.


  6. Carrie@ Bakeaholic Mama Says:

    I love love love love this blog. I just had my 3rd child and made my mind up when I was pregnant that we were going cloth. So I purchased 12 Bumgenius diapers from Amazon… now that she is born (2 weeks old today) i have no idea what to do next!! You have an amazing amount of info on here and I’m getting all my questions answered. THANK YOU!


  7. Barbara Says:

    So I am a mother of 2 with another on the way. I used disposable daipers with my first 2, but I would really like to do cloth diapers for this one. There seems to be so much info out there and I am really overwhelmed, should I try the CD on my youngest now, or wait until my newborn is here? Which types have worked best for your children? Any suggestions would be really great!


  8. Emily M Says:

    Wish I saw this a couple of weeks ago. Baby was born in late August and I got sposies for her and the toddler for the first couple of weeks.I thought it would be easier to just have my husband take out trash than wash diapers. Boy was I wrong :) Love the trimness of flats on a newborn btw; they’re so much better than prefolds imo.


  9. Lauren Says:

    This is a great article that I found very helpful! Another cloth diaper that fits early on is Sprout Change ( from The Willow Store ) it’s supposed to fit from 5 lbs. up. I have also read that Softbums fit babies early on too!


  10. Rachael Says:

    Because of the gobs of petroleum jelly on our baby’s circumcision, and meconium, I used disposables for the first few weeks. This was my first baby and I’d had an emergency c-section after 30 hrs of labor, so I had a fair bit of recovery to get through. Plus, we use cloth for primarily financial reasons, and we received a good sized package of newborn/small sized disposables at a shower. Add in the diapers we got at the hospital, and a diaper tree from one shower, and I’ve never yet purchased diapers (and still have some left over!)

    Next child, I will likely do cloth from the time we get home from the hospital, unless we’ve been gifted disposables. It helps that with a second and following child, you’ve got some child care routines down already, so its not everything new at once.


  11. Cyndel J Says:

    I bought and made a lot of newborn prefolds that I now use as inserts in pockets. I don’t like microfiber inserts…though I am using some now but they are brand new and working ok.
    I also used homemade no closure fitteds with a snappy, I could fold them to the needed rise and the worked great for my 8 1/2 pounder, and still work great now that he is 18 lbs. though I’m starting to have to add a doubler now.


  12. Alicia L. Says:

    Hi Autumn! I have a question. I am a first time mom with my baby coming in December. I have decided to use a newborn rental for the first 3 months. I have it narrowed down to two different systems. One uses Nifty Nappy Bitty Bums with their wool covers. The other is Clover Organic Fitteds with Thirsties Duo Wraps. Do you (or anyone) have any experience with either of these brands? Any thoughts or suggestions would help!!


    • melissa Says:

      here’s my two cents: I have used thirsties and really liked them, BUT for my kids I had to use a mix of pul and wool or they got rashes (with just pul all the time). So if it were me renting I would try the wool to see if I liked it so I wouldn’t have all pul and since wool can be more pricey than pul to buy to try it. After your baby grows out of newborn, you could even get one of the bigger size try it out packages with pul diapers to find which of those you like. I should also note that I made most of my own diapers, and use a mix of pocket fitteds or prefolds with pul covers or fleece or wool covers/longies or pul pockets for day, and prefolds or stuffed pocket fitteds with wool or fleece for night. My favorite nighttime cover is the dancing bears fleece nighttime soaker. good luck!


  13. Nicole G Says:

    I cloth diaper my now 16 mo son, but didnt start until he was a couple months old. A friend sold me her new, unused Motherease one size diapers & covers. They are nice & fit him well (though bulky on a tiny one). I only used them at home becasuse of the bulk.
    Eventually we transitioned to pocket dipes because they are much easier for Grandma. They are the easiest for going out too, not any diff than disposables, except that you have to throw it in your diaper bag after changing. Def try the trial programs out there so you can sample all the diff dipes & send em back if you dont like them.
    I can’t rave enough about wool…its easy to sew & find patterns online. Go to the consignment shop for good quality wool sweaters cheap. For my now heavy wetter, it is perfect overnight & my fav nightime dipe is a stuffable pocket fitted by Happy Hempys ( It is the only dipe I’ve tried that he does not soak through (I stuff it with 1 bamboo & 1 cotton doubler).
    For my new lo due in Nov, I intend to use prefolds. It is way too much $ for pocket dipes/fitteds, etc to use for such a short time. Then he will be big enough for the pocket diapers & ME fitteds.


    • Shelby Says:

      I also agree about the trial programs. I also went to several of Autumn’s sponsors websites and went to their clearance sections and tried some different types of cd’s this way. We now use one size AIO’s or one size pockets. We also like the grovia’s with disposable insert for traveling. I just put one or two covers in the bag and a handful of inserts. Good if I may be out all day or might forget a “present” in a hot car :)


  14. tarin Says:

    I simply don’t see the sense in spending a fortune on nb dipes because they grow out of them so quickly. If u are going to buy for a newborn I would go with prefolds or flats, because they’re cheap, adjustable and can be reused for other things. I’m expecting my 2nd in feb and since I’m quite handy with my sewing machine, I’ve made some newborn flannel and cotton terry fitteds from the tighty whitey hipsters pattern. I spent about R300 on supplies, which is about 25 dollars. I just cut the rise a bit shorter for the cord. I also bought some knitting needles and wool and knitted up some wool soakers from an adapted version of the ottobre pattern. I think wool is best for newborns because its so breathable. I would have loved to buy wool soakers but I live in south africa and they’re not available here, and shipping is costly, so I improvised. I still have my prefolds and very worn one sized diapers that I bought off ebay for my first born and plan to use those two. For me, teaching myself to sew and knit has been a blessing, as I’ve been able to make all the things I wanted. But, if u can’t sew, I would definitely opt for prefolds or flats for the first few months because of their versatility and value for money.


  15. Sarah Says:

    Great article!

    Don’t forget! SoftBums fit a 5 lb Newborn! The only one size diaper that not only fits, but contains blowouts on a tiny newborn!


  16. Tricia Says:

    I totally second the prefolds and covers for nbs with a few sized BG’s as a change. I liked the Thirsties covers. My second one pooped everytime he BFd (and he was a typical male and LOVED the boob!:) Very economical! I love Cding, but I have to admit both my kiddos have very strong ammonia, and even after many trials of different options, after about 6 months, they started getting very bad ammonia burns after cding at night, so I had to switch to disposibles–which they leak(ed) out of, but never did with my CD’s…sigh…once they start staying in a diaper at night for awhile longer, you may want to consider Hemp or bamboo liners/inserts as they absorb so much more!! Enjoy your CDing days!!! (it’s quite a fun obsession really!!!:)


  17. Susan Says:

    I was exactly in your place about a year ago; researching cloth diapers in anticipation of the arrival of my son. He is now 8 months old and I could not be happier that we are using cloth diapers. I would definitely say that prefolds & covers are a great option for the newborn phase. I bought the prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers and found them to be super absorbent. I used proraps covers (recommended by Autumn on this site) and also found them to be simple to use and nice and secure. I continue to use the newborn prefold diapers even now as a little extra protection on my changing table. It keeps me from having to wash the cover quite as often. You might want a few AIO (all-in-one) diapers for the newborn phase. I had some Little Joeys that were sooo cute, but I did have some leaking issues (probably user error, though). If I was having another baby I would get some Ragababe AIOs in newborn size, but they are hard to get right now. Prefolds & covers are definitely the most economical way to cloth diaper a newborn, in my opinion. But, it is fun to have a few “cute” diapers too. And, as Autumn wrote, the other things you’ll want to have on hand when the baby arrives are a few small or medium sized wetbags (so you can carry home the wet/dirty diapers when you are out), a couple of large wet bags to hold all of your dirty diapers at home (or a pail with a liner), and detergent. I eased my way into cloth wipes, I must admit. I am betting you will love cloth diapering!


  18. Stephanie G. Says:

    If you want easy-peasy-as-pie go with Kanga Care’s Rumparooz Lil Joey Newborn AIOs. They are sold in 2 packs for $30 new or for about $10-12 each, used on resale sites such as

    They are TRULY a newborn diaper & fit my son from 5 1/2 lbs up to about 9 lbs. (Though some babies wear them to about 12/15 lbs. My son is just shaped funny!)

    Then you’ll need some size small AIOs to get you through until a OS diaper fits. My personal favorites are: XS Thirsties AIOs (awesome gussets), S Nana’s Bottoms (not a bad price–especially at resale), and S Bum Genius 3.0 AIOs (not the one-size pocket).

    When baby outgrows those, Bum Genius 4.0 One-Size Pocket diapers should last through potty training (assuming your child is of average size and potty learns between 2-3 years old.)

    We use disposables overnight with both of our boys because they are SUPER heavy-wetters (even soaking out of disposable diapers in about 4 hours!). BUT, there are plenty of babies who do just fine in cloth overnight.

    Newborns will need at LEAST 12 diapers a day for the first week or so when you change with every feeding, then about 8-10 diapers a day for the next few weeks.

    Around a month old is when your size small diapers will start fitting, and I’d plan at least 6-9 a day.

    After they outgrow size small diapers and are into the OS diapers you should be good with about 6 diapers a day.

    I wash every other day to every 3rd day–depending on how many diapers, wipes, nursing pads, and cloth wipes we have used.

    I don’t do anything special for a wash routine & have no issues.

    All of my laundry goes through the same routine to help our sensitive skin stay healthy:

    Cold rinse
    Hot wash/cold rinse w/ extra rinse w/ 7th Gen F&C Detergent to the 0 line (in our front loader) and a heaping scoop of OxyClean F&C
    Cold rinse w/ 1 cup apple cider vinegar (we are prone to yeast–this helps keep it away)
    Cold rinse

    Switch to dryer & dry on hot (BUT I have an eclectic stash & not all AIOs/Pockets)

    Pockets do best when line dried, but all diapers will benefit from skipping the dryer.

    Added perk: the sun is AWESOME for removing stains. Clean, wet diapers laid in the sun will magically have stains removed!

    Don’t be afraid to try different things, if you buy used diapers BLEACH them and wash with a tiny bit of dish soap to make sure they are truly clean.

    Most of all, congratulations & good luck!!


  19. Ginger Says:

    I’m about to have my first baby, so I’m no expert, but I’ll share my strategy… For the newborn phase, I went for the inexpensive option of prefolds and covers from Green Mountain Diapers. I got enough nb and smalls to get through the first few months until one sized diapers fit. Then, I’ve been slowly buying one of each of the different types of diapers I’d like to try… Some All In Ones, fitteds, flats, woolies, and one sized covers. As baby gets bigger I will experiment and see what I like and want to buy more of. It seems like everyone likes different things so I didn’t want to invest in an expensive stash without sampling! Lots of people recommend fitteds for newborns for convenience and poo containment but these are expensive for the short time they will be wearing them unless you rent or plan to resell or use on another baby. Flats are the simplest and cheapest option if you don’t mind folding- they are one sized and quick and easy to wash and dry.


    • Ginger Says:

      Oh, and as far as registering… My crowd isn’t too tech saavy so I’ve found that online registries don’t work so well for me. If it’s not local, forget it! Instead, I’ll ask the hostess of my shower to write a note that says “So and so are cloth diapering! If you’d like to contribute to their cloth bum fund, please contact… ” Or have a cute receptacle for money at the shower.


      • Autumn Beck Says:

        Really good idea! The host of my last baby shower put something similar on the invites. Having cloth diapers there at the shower is a great way to educate as well.


    • melissa Says:

      prefolds are great for newborns, especially if you have the size green mountain diapers sells (i think diaper junction has this size too?) that is small enough AND if you have covers with elastic they contain poo just fine. Just make sure you have enough covers since they do get poo on them. But you can hand wash covers in between loads too. sounds like you’re ready!


  20. Jessie S. Says:

    So I have a question – when my son was born we used sposies first because they were provided free. So I never experienced cleaning the meconium. Does it stain cloth diapers? Thanks.


  21. Jill Says:

    Everyone *always* wants to help when you have a newborn. I wrote up laundry instructions ahead of time and posted them by the washer, my mom and my husband took care of diaper laundry for the first couple of weeks. We’re literally in our third week and the most I’ve done is turn the washer back on, add a little detergent, or put the diapers away. No bending or heavy lifting for me! So easy! Take the help where you can get it.. and get those precious newborn pictures in cloth!


  22. Jennifer Says:

    I welcomed twin sons (our first kids)about 1.5 weeks ago and knew ahead of time that I wanted to cloth diaper. We were in the hospital for 4 days and just used all the free pampers and wipes they gave us for the meconium stage, luckily no diaper rashes. I also wasn’t sure what the best option for newborn sizes would be especially because we knew the kids would be about 4 weeks early and be pretty small. We registered for l’il joeys by rumparooz and got several for our baby shower. We also registered for wet bags (we got three and actually i could use 4 because i use one for diapers and one for dirty clothes and then have a set of wet bags to rotate in when the others are in the laundry) . We also did a newborn cloth rental from Nell’s Natural Baby of the Kissaluvs size 0. You pay a fee and get 24 diapers and 3 diaper covers for 3 months, then when you return them you get a tad less than half of your rental fee back to use in their online store. There is the option to add more diapers to the rental as well, which we did because we were having twins. So my 5 pounder fits great into the joeys but they are a tad tight on my 7pounder. The kissas fit both guys and we really like the belly button fold-down snap. Also highly recommend a wipe warmer and cloth diaper cream such as california baby. I have a traveling zippered wet bag but when we’re out i have just been using a gallon size ziplock to transport dirty cloth diapers. Maybe when we go out for an extended period of time i will find the wet bag useful but not at this point. Good luck!!


  23. Brandy Says:

    Do make sure you have newborn diapers inside of the newborn/small covers….I had a bunch of one size diapers when my third baby was born, and it did not occur to me before he arrived that one size diapers do not fit inside newborn covers!


  24. Mya Says:

    My husband set up a page with a paypal link and diaper options that people could pick out. So they would go onto our page and pick a color and an iron on patch then send us 20$ into a special paypal account. Then we went and ordered the diapers and the patches, I ironed them on and everyone got a picture of our daughter wearing the diaper they designed. It was a great way for people to feel involved. We got BumGenius 3.0’s in solid colors. They hadn’t come out with Flips yet but if they had I would have gotten them! We now have switched to mostly using Flips with a prefold insert simply folded up and laid in the cover. Love it and it is so cheap and simple. I also recommend Rockin’ Green for washing with!

    I would also say that is is so much easier than you think to cloth diaper on the road, all you need is a wet bag and its no different and easier in that you won’t have to worry about switching them into a new diaper every time you leave the house and also finding clothes that fit over cloth and paper. Every time I have my ds in paper diapers half his clothes don’t fit!


  25. Linda Hawes Says:

    I just had my first baby about three months ago and decided to cloth diaper as well. I had a diaper stash but decided to do a newborn rental and I’m so glad I did. It was a huge help having a ton of diapers on hand (24 from the rental). I rented from Earthy Crunchy Mama. And FYI, you definitely need “newborn” sizes for newborns. I created a few registries at different online stores (with free shipping) just to give people options. I also tried not to include items that were too expensive or out of people’s budgets. And another thing I did was emphasize a money well especially if people weren’t too sure what to get. That way, I was able to buy used cloth diapers. And I did use disposables the first three days of my son’s life, but then he got a nasty diaper rash just from the disposable, so it’s cloth for me ALL the time. Good luck and it’s overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. :)


    • Alicia L. Says:

      Hi Linda! I was just wondering what package you got from Earthy Crunchy Mama. Did you end up liking the system you used? I’m trying to decide who to rent from and which system I would like best for my newborn! Thanks so much!


  26. Jenene Says:

    I liked my mom’s suggestion of using disposables for a week or two. She pointed out that there is going to be a huge adjustment with just having a baby, plus the recovery time for me, so I might stress myself out or feel overwhelmed if I try to also start cloth from day one. Plus, I like the idea of not having to wash the meconium poop out of the cloth diapers. And, like a couple of people already pointed out, it gives the baby a chance to grow into some of those diapers.

    All that being said, I used Kissaluvs size 0 for my newborn diapers, and a couple of x-small bummis super whisper wrap covers. I wish I had also invested in some Lil Joey’s. Neither are cheap, and it might especially seem like a waste because the baby grows out of them so quickly, but they’ll still be in good condition, so you can keep them for the next baby.


  27. rebecca Says:

    i used gdiapers tiny g’s for our newborn. 6 of the “shells” were enough (doing laundry every day or every other day) because you change the insert not the entire diaper every time. 12 would have been the perfect amount though. the newborn cloth and disposable inserts fit in their small diapers too, so when our little guy sized up from tinys to smalls all we bought were the outer shells. it is cost effective solution, and we always use gdiapers when we travel.


  28. Jenn Says:

    You can also consider doing a trial program from one of many retailers that offer them. Some even do trials on brand new diapers, so if you have an ‘ick’ factor about using someone else’s diapers, you can still try before you buy. That way, you get a feel for exactly what work for you, your routine, and your baby as far as fit. Good luck!


  29. judi Says:

    I cloth diaper for primarily financial reasons so I use up all the newborn disposables I get for free and then switch to cloth. By the time I run out (usually about 2-3 weeks after baby arrives) my babies are big enough that fitting a cloth diaper isn’t such a challenge. That might not be the option all moms will want to go with and not all moms end up with as many newborn disposables as I always do but it is a possible option for those who are dealing with super tight budgets.


  30. Adrian Post Says:

    Hi Autumn,

    Cutiepoops also has a NB rental program. You get several cute prints along with some solid colors.


  31. Gabby Says:

    Thank you for asking these questions! I am in the exact spot, I’m expecting my very first baby in 9 weeks and my mind is swirling with all the cloth diaper options.

    good luck Jordynn!

    I’ll check out your links and reviews autumn =D


Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Sharing is caring!