After months of scraping, spraying, rinsing and soaking toddler cloth diapers and overcoming the tremendous challenges of potty training, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed cloth diapering a newborn. I welcomed the simplicity of a diaper that requires nothing… extra, other than the sheer joy of gazing into my sweet newborn’s face while putting a fresh diaper in place.
When our first son was born, we had not yet discovered the joys of using wool full-time, hence the great struggle with stinky polyester covers that never seemed to breathe enough to keep the diaper rash away.
This time, everything is different, and I am thrilled to report that it is entirely possible to use wool full-time, even on a tiny newborn. Cloth diapering a newborn with wool covers does require some preparation and planning ahead to be sure that you have the right supplies on hand, so we have compiled a few tips to make it as easy as possible.
Fitted, sized diapers will make your life a lot easier when using wool on a newborn. You will need approximately 2 or 3 dozen fitted, organic cotton diapers in a newborn size. If you plan on using cloth full-time for your newborn, it’s not a bad idea to invest in newborn, sized fitted diapers, such as the Organic Caboose newborn fitteds or the OsoCozy fitteds, as opposed to a one-size diaper. You can certainly use a one-size fitted diaper, but we have yet to find a one-size diaper that actually fits a newborn baby, so unless you want a diaper that is so gigantic that your tiny baby can hardly move, it will be well worth the money spent. Plus, newborn sized fitted diapers typically fit babies between around 7 and 13 lbs, so your baby can wear them for at least a few months. Compare this to the cost of buying a package of disposables every week, and your savings are big.
We suggest fitted diapers for newborns because of the notoriously explosive newborn poo! We love prefolds, flats, and tie nappies, but if you want to use wool full-time on a newborn, you may quickly tire of rinsing out stained wool covers, which must be hand washed. Fitted diapers are much more effective at containing the orange explosions—far better, in fact than disposable diapers, from which newborn poo inevitably finds an escape route and ends up all over the blankets, clothes, and anything else that was just cleaned.
Wool soakers and newborn babies are a match made in heaven. We love wool soakers for newborns for so many reasons- organic, soft, warm natural fibers keep your baby just the right temperature, warm and dry, and they can wear them all the time! With so much time spent at home just cuddling and loving, your newborn can wear his or her soaker on its own or underneath loose clothing and stay comfy and warm. There is really no need for separate day/night covers when using wool full-time on a newborn. The soft wool envelops their tiny bodies, rising up to the chest to keep their mid-sections warm, and the long legs of the soaker fits a newborn like a little pair of pants, keeping those tiny legs just the right temperature too. With a fitted diaper underneath, your wool should stay clean enough to require very little washing, which is always a relief for a new mother. A wool soaker that has been lanolized properly will keep your little one’s clothing and bed dry at night time as well. If your budget is small, purchase a wool soaker one or two sizes up, which will fit big right now but can be used for many months, if not years.
Another type of wool cover that we adore for our newborn are the lightweight, Engel nappy pants. Lightweight, breathable, and comfy, these little wool shorts will keep your newborn dry just long enough for you to know it’s time for a diaper change. Since frequent changing is ideal for sensitive newborn skin anyway and helps prevent diaper rashes, the nappy pants offer just the right amount of protection.
Prep your wool covers in advance!!! This means before baby arrives, not after. This must be part of your nesting duties. If you wait until after your baby arrives, weeks will pass before you have any desire to stand over a sink lanolizing and washing wool covers, so unless you have a family member who loves you enough to do it for you, prep your wool while you’re still pregnant!
This means washing and lanolizing brand new soakers several times, and allowing for a few days of drying time. This also means prepping your cloth diapers if they are brand new- remember that cloth diapers made from natural fibers must be washed in hot water 3-5 times before they are ready for use. Do not skip these steps and attempt to put a brand new cloth diaper with an unwashed wool soaker on your newborn because you’re anxious to try them out. Skipping this important step will result in lots of leakage.
Have a wool wash bar on hand for spot cleaning. Despite your best efforts and a stash of fitted diapers that fit your baby well, there will be times when your wool gets messy. As a new mom, protect yourself and respect those first few precious weeks of recovering from childbirth and bonding with your baby- the last thing you should be doing is washing your wool. With a wool wash bar, you can easily rinse out stains and rub a little soap onto the stain in less than 2 minutes, set the wool aside to dry, and by the end of the day, your cover will be good as new! This is a great job to delegate to husbands and other family members who can offer a helping hand.
Most importantly, make sure that cloth diapering is enjoyable for you and your new baby! If it’s too much, give yourself a break and use disposables for the first few weeks. We moms have enough mom guilt for the rest of our babies’ lives to stress over extra laundry when we should be resting, so if you don’t have someone doing laundry for you, don’t do cloth, and don’t beat yourself up over it! Spend every minute you have resting and cuddling with your precious new baby. Bringing a baby into the world is hard work, and you have earned every minute of this babymoon.