A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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To Buy or Not To Buy {The Newborn Cloth Diaper Question}

'Are NEWBORN cloth diapers worth it?'

This is a question I'm commonly asked. and one that to be entirely honest I'm still not 100% sure how to answer. Why the uncertaintly? There's really not one correct answer- it all comes down to a baby to baby basis. Still, in an effort to provide the best advice, I've compiled a list of a few pros and cons of newborn cloth diapers:

The Pros:

  • Great Fit...From Day One! If you plan to cloth diaper from the very beginning, having newborn diapers are most likely to fit the smallest of babies. Many one size diapers have a minimum weight of 8-10 pounds and don't fit for the first few weeks, or even months in some cases. For babies that do fit one size right away, they still provide a trimmer fit.
  • Resale Value. If you choose to sell your diapers once baby outgrows them, they hold their resale value quite well as they are used for a much shorter time period and see less wear.
  • Cheaper than disposable. If your primary concern is saving money, newborn cloth can still be a cheaper option than disposable despite the need for essentially buying two different stashes. This is particularly true if you buy cheaper options (like prefolds and covers or buying used). Let's assume your little one is one of those that cannot fit one size diapers well until 6-8 weeks old...an inexpensive, modest stash of newborn cloth can easily be cheaper than buying disposable until that point. Especially when you consider that you're able to resell when you're finished. (We personally got back more than half of what we paid for our newborn stash...which made our investment after the fact equal to about two boxes of newborn disposables. WELL worth it!)
  • Less Likely to Change Your Mind. Perhaps this is personal to me, but I've found if I put something off until later, I'm much more likely to get used to my current routine and not go back to that original plan. I can't say that this would have been the case should I have waited to use cloth, but I could certainly see it happening. Starting from the very beginning made it just another part of the routine, not something I had to transition into.
The Cons.

  • The Cost. Sure, it's still cheaper than disposable, but buying TWO cloth diaper stashes can still be quite a lot to fork out...especially when your reason for choosing cloth is for financial reasons.
  • OS Works...For Some. When I bought our newborn cloth stash, I fully expected that my daughter would be one of those babies that would take a bit to fit into one size. The reality was, she fit into SOME of her one size at just a few weeks old. Had we known that, we probably could have skipped the newborn diapers altogether.
  • Baby Outgrows Them Quickly. With my daughter, I found that while her newborn diapers still fit until about 6-7 weeks old, she started outgrowing the absorbency somewhere between 4-6 weeks.
  • Stuffing Stinks. There are a few brands that carry newborn pockets, among them- china cheapies. Some of the brands we tried (like Charlie Banana) were no problem, but those cheapies were so narrow, even I (with my childlike hands) had a tough time...it could be near impossible for someone with normal sized hands. This isn't the only reason I don't recommend these particular diapers, but more on that in a bit.
As you can see, there are certainly pros and cons to each side. So what do *I* recommend? Are they worth it? Would I purchase newborn cloth again?

Personally, I think so. Despite the fact that we probably COULD have skipped the newborn and put Finley straight into the one size, I was glad we went the route we did. Sure, she didn't NEED them, but had we not had them, perhaps we would have. I was able to resell after she was finished and we really weren't out very much at all! We'd have paid more for disposables. Unless you can know for certain just how big your little one is going to be, you're kind of taking the chance either way. Buy them and not need them? Or not buy them and need them? Personally, I'd prefer to have them and not need them than scramble to get them later- or throw money away with disposables. Still, there were a few things I learned from our newborn diapering experience and a few tips I will pass along to all of you, should you choose to purchase newborns.

  • Skip the China Cheapies. Honestly, I'd have to say this about cloth diapering in general, but let's keep it to newborn for now. I decided to buy these cheap pockets because, well, they were cheap. For just $84, I could purchase 20 diapers...nearly a full stash. I knew she wouldn't be in them long, so I didn't want to spend a TON of money on newborn. If I could do it again, I'd have spent the money (or found another cheap option). First of all, as I said earlier, they were a pain to stuff...really narrow and to do. Still, if they worked at that price worth it, right? But they didn't. At least not for long...and not for us. After just a few weeks of use, 5 of the 20 delaminated. Sure, the company was great about sending replacements, but in the meantime, I was without those 5 diapers. Not good. The absorbency was also less than awesome. They worked well for the first few weeks, but it didn't take long for my daughter to outgrow the absorbency. They still fit size wise, but they just didn't hold enough (and their narrow design greatly limited boosting options). They were also the first of our newborn diapers that my little miss outgrew. Other brands like our Charlie Bananas worked much better, and much longer for us. (I know some use china cheapies exclusively with absolutely no problems, and that's great for them...unfortunately, that wasn't OUR experience, so I cannot personally recommend them.)
  • Don't buy both newborn and one size at once. When you think about buying two stashes all at once, it can be a bit overwhelming, but you don't have to buy them together...in fact, in my opinion, it's better if you don't. It's been said many times that when creating the perfect stash, the best thing to do is try many options to see what works. I opted not to follow this rule with our newborn stash, knowing it would only be used briefly anyway, and I stand by that choice still. However, having newborn diapers allowed me more time to go out and get different one size options to try. I did not feel the rush to go out an buy a huge stash right away because we had those newborns to use until then. I simply added one size into the rotation as we went. By the time she had completely outgrown them, I'd discovered what worked best, and could sell the newborn, using that money to purchase more one size!
  • Consider renting. Some cloth diaper stores offer newborn rental services. You get the benefits of using cloth from day one, but can return them once you're done, without having to shell out the big investment. This is also a great way to insure that cloth diapering is a good fit for your family before making that investment as well. Check with your preferred cloth diaper retailer to see if they offer this service.
At the end of the day, there really is no right or wrong answer...you just have to figure out what works best for your family and baby. For us, that was cloth from the beginning with newborn diapers. You may find starting with one size to be your best option, or even delaying cloth until baby can fit one size if he/she is too small.

Did you use newborn cloth? Would you choose to again? What are your pros and cons?


  1. Our little one is still pretty slim, at 7 mo. the OS diapers are still half her size, so I have considered getting some small sized diapers to see if they fit better. One reason we are in cloth now is that the absorbancy of the disposables just isn't adequate for her.

  2. Getting newborn sizes seems a lot cheaper when the route you go is covers and flats.


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