Cloth Diaper Essentials


If you’re new to cloth, you might be wondering about what cloth diaper essentials you really need to get started.

After working at Sweetbottoms for nearly a year and half, I’ve been asked, “What do I need to start cloth diapering?” more than once. So I though it was time to put together a little post about what I recommend to new moms who are starting out with cloth. (And I’ve got a follow-up post for later this week about what’s you’ll need a little further down the road!)

To start off with, you obviously need diapers. You’ll need at least 24 for a newborn. But which ones? The options are SO overwhelming. If you can look past the color and closure and brand choices for a minute, there are basically three ways to go when diapering a newborn.

  1. A newborn stash. Newborn-sized diapers are the teeniest and cutest things you’ve ever seen. They will fit your newborn’s bum perfectly—some even have the umbilical cord cutout! You will, however, have to buy a new set of diapers once your baby starts tipping the scale at around 12-16 lbs. Different brands have different weight recommendations, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. The Swaddlebees (shown below) go up to 16 lbs.
  2. One-size diapers. Some people jump straight in with One-Size-Fits-All diapers. Depending on the size of your newborn and how quickly he or she puts on weight, the One Size might fit within the first few weeks. The nice thing about starting off with these is that they will fit most babies through potty training, so you might not need to buy another whole set of diapers. There are some toddlers who grow out of the One Size (ahem, my son), but I’ve also heard of people who just use the same set the whole way though! (Shown below is the BumGenius Freetime.)
  3. Either Fitteds or Prefolds with a cover. Using a system with two separate parts can be a really economical way to get started with cloth. With my son, I used infant prefolds and covers for the first 4 to 5 months. You’ll need at least 24 of the absorbent cloth part and 5-6 covers that can be reused several times before washing. Because the prefold (or flat) is folded around the baby and secured with something like a Snappi, you’ll get a custom fit. There is a small learning curve with the prefold, and some people prefer the pre-made fitted that simply snaps onto your baby. Our Newborn Diaper Rental (shown below) is a fantastic way to try cloth diapering on your newborn without the commitment. (The cover is a Rumparooz Newborn.)

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you might have a mixture of all of the above! I’ve found that it’s really just a personal preference; some people like to have everything the same and others like to experiment with different types of diapers for different situations.

Cloth Diaper Essentials


Aside from diapers, you’ll also need:

4. Cloth Wipes and Spray. If you’re using cloth diapers, you might as well use cloth wipes! You’ll just throw them all in the wash together and won’t have to hassle with a separate can for trash or remembering to go buy them. I like having some that are thicker for big messes and some that are thinner for what I call “detailing” all those little folds. You can also use a special solution to dampen the wipe. Some people pre-moisten their wipes, but I’ve found keeping it in a spray bottle to be really easy.

5. Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to use the right detergent. Using something that’s not cloth diaper safe can cause stink issues, rashes or even ruin your diapers. We carry several brands of detergent that are okay to use. I actually just use the same detergent for all my laundry since I know it’s gentle and effective.

6. Large Wet Bags for the House. Ideally, you’ll need two larger wet bags to store your dirty diapers. If you’d rather use a pail, we also have pail liners that function in the same way. These bags (or liners) will keep your diapers from molding. They make laundry super-easy because all you do is carry the bag to the machine and dump it in. Then toss in the bag. The reason you need two is so that you’ll have a clean one while the dirty one is in the wash. (Shown above is a Planet Wise hanging wet/dry bag.)

7. Smaller Wet Bags for Going Out. How many you need depends on how often you go out and how often you do laundry. I do laundry twice a week and usually stay at home only one day a week, so I have five. I really like this medium size because I can get several diapers in there plus any soiled clothes I might have. There are smaller ones, too, that are perfect for shorter trips that would require only 1 or 2 diaper changes. And in the beginning you might not go out as often so depending on your needs, you might get by with one or two. (Shown above is a Planet Wise wet bag.)

Really, that’s it! Like I said before, later this week I’ll cover a few bonus things that you might find necessary as your newborn grown into infancy and toddlerhood.

Did you start cloth on your newborn? What were your must-haves?



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.