Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Newborns in Cloth series, pt. 1: So, you want to cloth diaper your newborn!

You've got your stash of cloth diapers and you're ready to go! You can't wait for your little bundle to arrive for many reasons, but one of those is definitely about wanting to put fluff on her bum. But, wait! Some of these look a little big for a newborn? Won't they leak? Will all her cute clothes fit over all that fabric? Hmmm...

You may have heard that many cloth diaper manufacturers are now producing newborn-sized diapers. These diapers are probably the cutest things I've ever seen. Nothing makes my heart go all pitter-patter on me when I'm pregnant like the sight of a newborn diaper next to a pair of teensy newborn socks.
Newborn diaper, newborn feet. Does it get any better?
Photo copyright Stephanie LeBlanc Photography, 2010.
Cloth diapering a newborn is an obviously smart choice. You've spent your pregnancy avoiding things that will harm your baby, with your wine glasses collecting dust on a high shelf and your midwife's or doctor's phone number on speed dial in case you have a question regarding the safety of a medication or supplement. You probably completely eliminated BPA from your home, and you were careful to register for or purchase phthalate-free feeding gear. Why start your baby's first hours off with exposure to chemicals and plastics in what is perhaps the most vulnerable time in her little body's life?

Of course, there's the cost savings factor and the 'less waste' factor--all those reasons to cloth diaper, period, apply to cloth diapering a newborn. But cost is something that does need to be looked at carefully:


It costs nearly $400 to use disposable diapers in the first 12 weeks of a baby's life. Most of us don't know that when we have our first babies: we're usually gifted enough diapers to get us through that stage and maybe even well past it, and we don't find out how expensive disposable diapers are until much later.

But the second baby? You might find yourself in the grocery checkout aisle with your spouse, your older child, and your grunting-up-something-fun 8-week old, and you find yourself hearing (or saying!), "Honey, do you remember diapers costing this much when Little So-and-So the First Baby was born?"

However, one could easily spend $400 on a separate stash of newborn-sized cloth diapers, and they might even be outgrown before the "newborn" stage officially ends at 12 weeks old.


So how do you keep it cost-effective? you're thinking, a little disappointed. Maybe we'll just stick with the disposables until he fits into the stash we already have. This just seems like a lot to think about.

Never fear! Part One of this Newborns in Cloth series will lay out a few ways to keep the cost down for you so that you save money over what you'd have spent on disposables. Part Two will discuss all the tips you'll need to know--how to fold a prefold, handle circumcision sites, and change diapers quickly while out and away from your changing table. Part Three will list each item in my ideal newborn stash, price points included, using the ideas and shopping principles outlined in the previous installments. You may find that, with this guide, cloth diapering your newborn can be cost-effective and fun!

Option One: Mix it up a little to stretch the budget


One of my favorite newborn cloth diapers, the Tots Bots Tini Fit (right), is a brilliant little diaper made of really fine materials. I mean, top-notch. This is the Grey Goose of newborn diapers. Suffice it to say that my blogger's salary isn't going to cover a whole newborn stash of these gorgeous poop-catchers, however much I swoon over them every time I walk into the Home Office.
 

(Speaking of poop: some newborns make an awful lot of it, and, boy, can they wet a diaper quickly, too. It's not uncommon for a newborn baby to require around 22 diaper changes in a day. I'm not exaggerating--believe me, I've been there. "Why's the baby fussing?" "I don't know! She just nursed for an hour-and-a-half, and then I changed her diaper five minutes ago because it was wet... (checking)... Oh. It's wet again.")

So since a newborn needs so many more changes than an older baby, the wisest way to spend your money is to mix it up--the styles in your stash, that is. The ratio will depend on your budget, but a mostly-prefolds-and-covers stash with a small handful of "easy diapers" like the Tini Fit or the FuzziBunz XS mixed in for outings will allow you to have the 28 or so diaper changes you'll need (enough to have clean ones while others are washing).
Prefolds, shown packaged above, are inexpensive (24 diaper changes comes to just under $50) and simple to use, and covers can be reused throughout the day. You'll need one for every 4-6 prefolds.

Option Two: Opt for a smaller One-Size, then supplement with newborn diapers
If you opt for your "main stash" to include One-Size diapers that truly get tiny and trim, like the FuzziBunz One-Size Elite or either of the SoftBums lines, then you only need to fill in the gaps to make sure your baby is covered when she's in that "peeing every fifteen minutes" stage. Let's say your starter stash includes 12 FuzziBunz One-Size Elites--that takes care of 12 of the diaper changes in your newborn stash, too! Twelve prefolds and three covers, plus three or four newborn-sized pockets or AIOs could round out a '28-changes' newborn stash nicely.



Option Three: Instead of 'newborn' and 'everything after,' go with the Duo system
The Thirsties Duo Size One--available as a wrap-style cover, a pocket diaper, a fitted diaper, or an all-in-one--really does get teensy-tiny, and then it grows to fit to 18 lbs. Once your little one is ready to move into a Size Two, you'll need fewer diapers. In other words, you'll spend a little more on your first stash, but when it's time to up-size, you won't be spending nearly as much.

Option Four: Plan to re-sell anyway

What if you don't want to do prefolds? What if you don't want a varied stash? What if you want 30 easy-peasy, super-trim AIOs? Well, why not! It doesn't have to cost you a fortune, because you're guaranteed a return on your investment. The re-sale market for newborn diapers is HOT, and your diapers are sure to be in great condition after only 8-12 weeks of use. Facebook is chock full of cloth diaper re-sell discussion boards, and eLeMeNO-Pee even has our own!



Option Five: Buy pre-loved

There are deals to be found (if you're willing to forgo the manufacturer's warranty)! While prefolds, which are heavy and expensive to ship, aren't worth buying pre-loved unless it's local, you can find newborn diapers at around 20% off retail by looking through re-sell forums, asking your local eLeMeNO-Pee consultant if she has a client getting ready to sell, and digging through her clearance box.

Option Six: Keep your warranty, but get your 20% off anyway
It's a little-known fact that the consultants I've come to know and love these past few years offer more than just the private consultations you've heard about! Hosting a party can pay off in big ways, including receiving a 20% discount and FREE shipping for every guest. What if you scored a newborn stash for 20% off, then resold it for 80% of the retail value after only 10 weeks of use? How's that for a smart shopper success story!


There you have it, my cloth diaper-curious friends. Newborn cloth diapering just doesn't have to be pricey! Next week, we'll cover all the FAQs and make sure you feel confident cloth diapering a newborn. Until then, let's talk!