Whether you are birthing in the hospital, birthing center, or at home, cloth diapering the first few days after baby is born is really simple. After you have chosen your newborn stash, make sure to prep everything before baby is born. If you want to pack a bag to take with you, or a small basket to keep at your bedside at home, this information may help you.
How many diapers do I need for the first few days?
Newborn breastfed babies will generally pee and poop one time each per day of life for the first 5 or so days. So day 1: 1 pee, 1 poop. Day 2: 2 pees, 2 poops. Day 3: 3 pees, 3 poops, and so on. Most people return home from birth centers after 1 day, so packing about 6 diapers would be appropriate in this situation. Hospital stays are generally between 2 to 3 days, so a dozen diapers diapers is generally a good amount. If you are planning to stay longer, add diapers accordingly. It is also important to remember that the output baby will have the first few days will not be great in quantity, so your chances of experiencing a blowout is very slim.
What will baby’s first poops be like?
The first few bowel movements baby will pass will actually be meconium, which is a black or green, sticky, tar-like substance. Many people fear this will stain their newborn diapers and choose to use flushable liners to catch it and flush it away. I chose to spray the meconium off of our first few dirty diapers, but I was at home with a sprayer handy. You could also choose to dunk and swish it in a toilet if you are away from home. I have also heard that people have avoiding meconium staining by running a cold rinse before their wash, and others have placed their clean, wet diapers out in the sun to bleach the stains as they dry.
Breastfed babies generally start their “transition” poops between days 2 to 4 of their lives as mom’s milk is coming in. These poops are characterized by their green or yellowish-brown color and may appear grainy or seedy. At this point, I have foregone removing the debris on the diapers. Shortly after this, the typical “breastfed poop” appears. It can appear light yellow to bright green, be runny or curdy, look creamy like mustard, or even be seedy. This might change from diaper to diaper, or day to day. But the best thing about breastfed baby poop is that it is COMPLETELY WATER SOLUBLE! This means that until you add anything else to an infant’s diet, their cloth diapers DO NOT NEED TO BE RINSED! Just throw them in the pail, and wait until laundry day.
What else will I need during the first few days?
Bring a wetbag or pail liner to store your soiled cloth diapers in until you get home. Don’t worry, it won’t smell up the room. Most people claim that breastfed baby poop has very little scent to it at all. Others describe it as “curried yogurt” or “buttery popcorn.” Either way, it will not stink up any space you might be limited to.
Pack about a dozen cloth wipes. I also prefer to use a spray bottom cleaner to wipe off the stubborn sticky first poops. Throw them right into your wetbag or pail liner along with the diapers and wash them all together when you return home.
As previously mentioned, you may want to bring a few flushable liners for the first few diaper changes. After that, you may save the rest of the roll for later when baby is introduced to solid foods.
It is very unlikely that your baby will develop any kind of diaper rash during this period, so don’t worry about packing any creams, ointments, or other types of baby toiletries.
I also like to have a cloth changing pad to change baby on near my bed and in my diaper bag at all times. You may or may not need it in a hospital or birth center, but I find it useful even when changing a wiggly baby on my bed. Cloth changing pads, which can be washed with your linens, can protect your beds, couches, or floors from baby messes. They are also great for changing baby on the go.
What about the umbilical cord?
Until baby’s umbilical stump falls off, it is a good idea to fold or place diapers so that the area is clear to keep it from being rubbed or becoming damp.