A lot of you have written to me in the recent past asking about cloth diapering a newborn. Now that I’m back to cloth diapering full time and from the start this time around, I thought I’ll quickly put up a post with pointers to help you get started.
Before beginning, if you’d like a refresher of modern cloth diapering, here are three posts I’ve written in the past that covers the basics:
- Modern Cloth Diapering – Types
- Modern Cloth Diapering – Inserts and Boosters
- Modern Cloth Diapering – Maintenance etc.
Building a stash:
Newborn cloth diapering is no rocket science because you know it means dealing with LOTS of pee + poop. That means you will be changing them quite often and at this stage, nothing works as well as flats*/prefolds** (with a diaper cover if you fancy) and good old langots for day time. Don’t forget to get a couple of quick dry sheets to save your clothes, mattress etc.
A few all-in-ones for outings/night times (although this isn’t necessary if your newborn like mine pees and poos just as often in the night as daytime) and you’ve got yourself covered for the first few months of your baby.
Since one-sized diapers may be a tad too big and bulky on newborns, I’d suggest investing in a few (I really mean few) newborn sized covers and all-in-ones to begin with. My current stash for the baby comprises of the following and I think it should be enough to get started:
- A dozen or so of muslin squares (a lot of them are what I used for my son three years ago)
- Almost two dozen langots (again, a lot of them are what I used for my son three years ago)
- A whole bunch of cotton squares cut up from old cotton sarees, veshti etc.
- Two newborn sized diaper covers
- Five newborn sized all-in-ones
- A Snappi fastener
- A few hemp/bamboo boosters to add to night time diapers or stuff inside flats for nap time
I’ve found that this is a decent sized stash to cloth diaper a newborn full time assuming you do your laundry every other day.
I’m cr*p at math, but let me do the calculation for you – the real expenditure you’ll be incurring (at the new born stage) would be to get all-in-ones (AIO), diaper covers. Assuming an AIO costs Rs. 700 on an average and a diaper cover costs Rs. 300, you’ll be spending Rs. 4100 (700*5 + 300*2). I’m going to round it off to Rs.5000 assuming you’re buying some flats/prefolds/inserts etc. Even if you add water and power usage and round this figure off to somewhere between Rs.6000-7000, it’s still economical because most of the stash can be used for much longer than the newborn stage.
Now, if you were to use disposable diapers full time, assuming you use at least 10-12 per day, that’s at least 300 per month and the cost of buying a pack of 72 diapers is roughly Rs.800. So that’s at least Rs.4000 (800*5) a month.
What is to be noted here is that the cloth diapers can be used at least for a few months in case they’re newborn sized and years if they are one-sized. What’s more, you can resell the ones your baby has outgrown or brands that don’t work for you (yes, you can!) and/or reuse them for siblings/cousins whatever.
Most of all, don’t forget to weigh in the ecofriendliness of cloth diapers.
A few other helpful pointers:
- If you are in Chennai – you can buy langots, muslin squares, dry sheet etc. from Naidu Hall or Instore. All of these are also available on shopping sites like Firstcry.com, Amazon.in and the likes.
- Given below is a list of cloth diaper vendors in India. This is no way a comprehensive list but just sites I’ve shopped from or know of –
- The pan-Indian Facebook peer group for cloth diapering is Cloth Diapering India.
- There are different ways to fold flat cloth diapers. Here’s a helpful video you can go through. You can even make diapers out of old cotton tees (no sewing required). Here is my video tutorial for that.
PS: I’m not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned above and this post is in no way sponsored by any of them.
*Flats: Flats or flat cloth diapers are nothing but square pieces of absorbent fabric that you can fold in various ways.
**Prefolds: Prefolds are rectangular fabric pieces that come with an absorbent layer sewn in making them more absorbent than flats.