Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Newborns in Cloth series, pt. 3: Putting your perfect stash together!

Last week, we interrupted the Newborns in Cloth series for a little World Breastfeeding Week break (and, boy, are we glad we did! The overwhelmingly enthusiastic response has left us feeling so very grateful to be part of such a positive, supportive community of readers!), but this week, it's time to cough up the real goods: the promised series culmination, the "newborn stash layout" post.

Per Part One, the idea behind a newborn stash is to have enough diapers to actually fit your tiny newborn that will also (1) allow you to wash diapers only once a day, (2) be easy on you and whomever else might offer to change a diaper while you're adjusting to life with your new bundle, and (3) save you money over what you'd have spent on disposable diapering your newborn.

So let's lay out the perfect newborn stash checklist!

(First: I recommend having 26 diaper changes. I know that sounds excessive, but hear me out: I tallied up my newborn daughter's diaper changes during her first couple weeks of life, and one day she got up to 22 changes in 24 hours. Those four extra changes were all I had left while the 22 she had dirtied were washing and drying! 26 was the perfect number to have on-hand.)

8 FuzziBunz OS Elites or SoftBums Omnis (or four of each if you're a sampler).

James models a SoftBums Omni.
These aren't just part of your newborn stash--they will remain in your baby's cloth diaper stash for years to come. In the case of SoftBums, your little one will surely wear them until potty-training--the shell can "grow" that big! But they both truly, truly size down small enough for a newborn to wear with no leaks--and they are decently trim, at that!

Brand new Zeke in a FBOS.

When you purchase SoftBums shells, you will also need to purchase the newborn-sized "mini-pods" to use as the absorbent core inside them, and you can choose to stuff the pocket or purchase eight pods and four shells. The FuzziBunz Elite comes standard with two minky inserts, and one of those is newborn-sized.

12 cotton prefolds and your choice of 5 covers.

Prefolds: Tried. True. Inexpensive. Classic.
Can you say, "Inexpensive, tried and true?" This will make up the bulk of the stash of diapers you use at home and will really stretch your budget and ensure you have enough diaper changes for a newborn. Don't let the 'fold' part of the world prefold intimidate you--I covered how simple they are to use in Part Two. Many moms who are initially turned off by the plainness of prefolds end up listing them among their favorite diapering systems.

So, covers? I cannot recommend the Thirsties Duo Wrap enough. It's tiny when it's snapped all the way down, and a trim fit is guaranteed. If you decide you like prefolds enough to continue using them after the newborn stage, these covers will last you until your baby is 18 lbs. and, unlike if you're using the admittedly adorable Thirsties XS cover, you don't have to worry about your baby outgrowing it before she fits into her 'main stash' of cloth diapers. 

Typically, you'll need one cover for every three diaper changes, unless you get an explosive poop and can't reuse a cover that 'should' still be in rotation--that's why I always recommend that fifth back-up cover. (Go ahead, pick the print! You know you want to.)

2 Tots Bots Tini Fit All-in-Ones.

This is your 'church nursery' or your 'Hallelujah! Someone else wants to take this round!' diaper. With the strongest hook-and-loop material you've ever seen, a beautiful color palette to choose from, and a luxuriously soft minky inner, you can be assured that not only will your stand-in believe that cloth is easy--she'll also believe that cloth is wonderful.

So why only two? At nearly $19/pop, this one doesn't take you far on your long-term savings journey because it is so small and will only fit for so long. While I believe that the materials that make up this diaper are well worth the price-point, my ultimate goal is to build a stash that costs less money than using disposable diapers during the tiny stage would.

 4 FuzziBunz XS pocket diapers.

This is your 'diaper bag' diaper. At only $13.95 per diaper, this is an excellently priced, excellently rated pocket that gives you all the ease of disposable diapers. The fit is smooth and incredibly trim, so your baby's adorable outfits--the ones you know you save for errands--will fit just like they should. And the stay-dry inner layer means that if changing 'IUW' ('immediately upon wetting') is not a logistical possibility, your baby's skin will still feel dry.

So what is a 'dream stash'?

A 'dream newborn stash' combines all the best things about today's cloth diapers and applies them to the newborn stage: (1) money-savings over disposables, (2) cuteness and a trim fit under clothes when necessary, and (3) equal ease-of-use to disposables when convenience takes precedence.
What MY 'dream newborn stash' budget looks like all laid out:

The goodmama diapers blog estimates in this hilariously accurate breakdown that it costs $336.84 to disposable diaper a baby for the first eight weeks. So with the above 'dream newborn stash,' you've definitely saved your money--especially because you won't be buying disposable wipes, either, since you've already prepared your 'main stash' with cloth wipes. And I'd estimate that most of these, even the ones designed to fit newborns, will fit most babies until they're closer to 10 weeks old.

There are, of course, ways to cut the cost further, like replacing those last six convenience diapers with more prefolds and a cover, replacing my beloved Tini Fits with two more FuzziBunz XS, or just having a bigger 'overlap stash,' dealing with that little bit of bulk, and supplementing those with prefolds and covers to get your full 26 changes in. 

Now some of you may ask, "If prefolds are so easy, why bother with the more expensive diapers at all?" The answer is that I want my 'dream stash' to include some diapers that my friends and family members could have no problems changing--some that could go into the wet bag wholesale as they come off, without my having to explain, "Oh, no, I wanted to reuse that cover later!"

Others of you may ask, "Why not just have a whole stash of one-size diapers that get really tiny? Why not just 26 of those?" And the answer is: why not! If that's what you want, then definitely do it. But: many moms find that they don't need any more than 15-18 diapers once their babies are older and void their bladders less frequently. In order to stretch your dollar even further, we always outline the 'buy only as much as you'll need of the fancy diapers, then supplement with prefolds for the newborn stage' plan.

Does this look a plan you could hang with? Let us know in the comments how you did the newborn-in-cloth thing!


  1. My baby's not here yet (20 weeks along!) but we're probably going to do mostly prefolds due to cost. I've registered for some pocket diaps (GoGreen 3.0) and am hopeful we will get some, but I also don't want to count on getting them and be wrong. As far as the covers and prefolds, we're using the Thirsties Duo Wrap - I got a couple of the Thirsties Hemp Prefolds, and now I'm thinking of making my own prefolds out of an old duvet of cotton jersey. (We're really on a tight budget!)

  2. That's great! Those Thirsties Hemp prefolds are soooo nice, but I love plain old OsoCozy cotton prefolds for an inexpensive, workhorse option! That's awesome and resourceful of you to upcycle your old duvet. Congratulations on your impending arrival! You're going to LOVE cloth diapering a newborn!