Natural baby products: the best cloth diapers for newborns

Before I discuss the best cloth diapers for newborns that I’ve found, be sure to check out this post with my natural baby products guidelines AND a rundown of why we chose to go this route.
Then, be sure to get on the list for my fertility & pregnancy wellness program, Baby Making & Beyond!
Now, all a baby REALLY needs (*technically*) is your boobs and lots of love. But let’s be honest. They didn’t come up with baby registries for nothin’.
So here’s a rundown on the best cloth diapers for newborns that I’ve found.
REMEMBER, though – because every baby is different, be sure to explore and learn more (Green Mountain Diapers is a GREAT resource) before you decide to stock up on one particular brand! There are LOTS of different ways to diaper (or not diaper, helloooo Elimination Communication).
In the end, just do what you feel deep down is right for your family and DON’T STRESS. LOTS more goes in to parenting than a few items on a registry. I am in no way suggesting that cloth diapering or NOT cloth diapering will make or break one’s ability to parent.
I’m also NOT making any statements about how you SHOULD or should NOT potty a baby. Whether you cloth diaper, EC, or use disposables, more power to ya! This parenting gig is hard. 
Plenty more to come, and please leave your favorites in the comments!
Once you’ve read this post, be sure to read the other posts in this series:
The best non toxic baby products for a natural nursery
Natural baby products: safe non toxic baby bedding
The best non toxic baby shops
Natural baby products: non toxic nursing supplies (coming soon!)
Natural baby products: non toxic baby body care & natural remedies (coming soon!)
Natural baby products: non toxic baby equipment (coming soon!)
Natural baby products: organic & eco-friendly baby clothing (coming soon!)

For cloth diapering:

We use…

  • Blueberry Simplex AIOs (find them here), sometimes with doublers.
  • diaper sprayer. (You NEED one.)
  • We use Bumkins flannel wipes and just spray them with a mix of water and witch hazel when needed to make a reusable baby “wipe.”
  • The Mad Rash Baby Balm is amazing, but we haven’t needed it for rash (cloth diapers seem to keep diaper rash at bay) but it IS great for those easily-irritated, adorable little neck rolls. Since you’re not supposed to get diaper cream on cloth diapers, use this in your diaper-free time (wink…baby butts are so cute!)

And the “extra stuff” that makes cloth diapering even more interesting…

  • We have several sizes of cute Planet Wise diaper bags for home and away, which can be thrown in the wash with the cloth diapers. (Pro tip: you DON’T need an airtight seal on a diaper bag. Smells get worse without oxygen.)
  • We bought a Naturpedic changing pad, but we haven’t used it a single time. We just change baby wherever we are (floor, couch, bed) at the time, usually on an extra-large prefold.
  • We LOVE the “Baby’s Toilet Water” and “Baby Butt Balm” from Primal Life Organics.
  • I also LOVE having multiple sizes (orange, yellow and green-edged) of old-school prefold diapers around for anything and everything – from drool to diaper changes to protecting raw nipples from the sides of scratchy diapers.

What about other cloth diaper brands and types?

Now, the Blueberrys aren’t the only cloth diapers we’ve tried. We have a HUGE stash of everything from gorgeous, soft wool diaper covers (LOVE them), PUL (polyurethane laminate) covers, “workhorse” diapers, prefolds, other AIOs (All-In-Ones) and beyond.
Diaper supplies
Translations: Cloth diapering requires an inner absorbent layer and an outer layer. AIOs (all-in-ones) combine those two layers into one unit, usually using fleece or cotton for the inner layer and PUL for the outer layer. You can also get the inner and outer layers separately by using an independent cotton layer (“workhorse” or “prefold” cotton diapers) and covering that inner layer with a separate diaper cover, usually made of PUL or wool. Different diapers may fasten with snaps, snappis, old-school pins, velcro, etc…I know, confusing!
Seriously, I basically bought out Amazon and Green Mountain Diapers. (I have a SEVERE scarcity complex and always need to order a million of everything. I’m working on it.)
Quite simply, we’ve just loved the Blueberry Simplex so much, we’d definitely call them the BEST cloth diaper for newborns (or, at least, our newborn) out of all the ones we tried. (The separate inner/cover option seemed SO bulky on our lanky newborn that we decided to wait awhile before going back to it.)

What we love about the Blueberry Simplex:

Again, we still use most of the other items, but here’s what we love about the Blueberry.

  • The convenience of the AIO (all-in-one)
  • The outer is adorable
  • The inner is made from cotton and not fleece (fleece tends to get stinky over time, plus the fleece diapers we tried, like the Little Joeys, were much less form-fitting on our long & lean newborn and everything just leaked right out the leg-hole)
  • The Blueberry Simplex for newborns has a little umbilical snap-down that keeps the diaper from rubbing against the baby’s cord stump.

How many cloth diapers we use each day:

We have 10 of the Simplex Newborns, and we go through about 8 each day, throwing them in the wash at night with a natural, fragrance-free detergent and drying in the morning while we use the remaining two.
(We ALWAYS try to rinse poop diapers right away with our amazing diaper sprayer to prevent stains. Line drying in the sun helps with stains, too.)
We use a single disposable diaper, sometimes two, at night (DON’T JUDGE BECAUSE THIS MOM THING IS HARD AND SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A DISPOSABLE).
FYI: it’s easiest to use disposable diapers at the beginning until your baby has passed all the meconium, otherwise you’ll have some gnarly stains.
You can expect to use more cloth diapers than disposables throughout the day, simply because the baby will “feel” the wet – the cloth doesn’t wick moisture away to la-la land like disposables do unless you’re using doublers. The benefit to that, according to some moms, is that baby will potty-learn earlier. (Anyone have personal experience with this?)
We’re also transitioning into some EC (“Elimination Communication”) and, provided we can succeed without traumatizing our child, I’ll keep everyone posted on that. Anything to get my baby in buttless chaps.

And finally, what about the COST of a single disposable diaper, especially the AIO Blueberry Simplex?

Honestly, I haven’t run the numbers, but even with the more expensive AIOs, I’m guessing we come out a bit better in the end. We chose cloth because…

  • We figured, even when choosing the more pricey AIO Blueberry Simplex, that it would defray the costs of constantly purchasing disposables. (Most cloth users tend to agree.)
  • We felt using water to wash our cloth diapers posed less of an impact to the environment overall than disposables.
  • We believe that the natural cotton fibers are better for baby’s bum and less prone to cause diaper rash (most cloth users tend to agree).
  • We like to make things more complicated for ourselves.

My final advice:

First off, don’t be dogmatic, because you might find yourself needing to do something completely different than you’d planned (hello, disposables).
Second, find a cloth diapering store/advocate near you and rent a few different types of CD to try once your baby arrives. I was SURE we’d NEVER use a single disposable, and that we’d use workhorse diapers with wool covers from the beginning, but they just didn’t fit our long, lean baby well. No need to spend money until you know what works.
What questions do you have? What has your experience with cloth been like? Let me know in the comments!

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17 Responses

  1. Liz, congrats on your little one! I don’t have a baby…heck, I’m not even pregnant! Regardless, babies are popping up more and more in conversations with my partner, so I’m soaking up all this helpful info for future reference. Thanks for all the insight, new mama. Can’t wait for Baby Making and Beyond 🙂

  2. perfect timing for me Liz! Im 6 months pregnant and have been researching cloth diapers. Our little guy will be using cloth but for the first month were going to use a diaper service to get us out of the newborn stage. I’d kill me to know that I could only use a diaper for a couple weeks before having to buy bigger ones as he puts on more weight. The company we will use is all natural, chemical free laundering and use the tradition flats. With so many brands and choices this will allow us to find out what works for him. When it comes to chemicals, check out on YouTube a movie called “Toxic Hot Seat”. It was made by a San Franciso fireman that was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer caused by flame retardants. It was marked only to fireman (my husband works for Oakland Fire) but it should be marketed to everyone, especially moms! This video changed the way we take care of ourselves and how we’ll care for our new little guy. Thanks for a great post!!

    1. Oh, how fun! The flats are darling. We are going to start using them again soon now that our lil’ monster is a bit bigger. You’re so right about that expense and the diapers only being useful for a few weeks! Although they’ve been the longest AND fastest few weeks of my life! <3
      I will add that movie to my list of resources. Thank you. And keep me informed of other goodies you find so I can add to the list!

  3. I so love cloth diapering! We started off with disposable until our son could fit into the Bum Genius stash we had (at about 2 months). In addition to the financial savings, we love not having to run to the store when the diapers have run out (this is great during snowy weather or late at night!), aaaand while neither of us have a problem loading the washer, we haaaaate taking out the trash! We also have found that disposables, even the “natural” kind, tend to stink as soon as they get just a little wet, compared to the cloth which only stink when they’ve got poop. But as much as we love cloth, we do use disposables on occasion when on long road trips. I really like the Honest company disposables–less stink and more absorbent.
    I’m currently planning for next kiddo and wanting to use cloth in the newborn phase. I’m probably going to make some upcycled wool wrap covers and order a stash of workhorses and even more prefolds (you can’t ever have enough!).

    1. Just ordered some HC disposables to try for nighttime…they seem really solid! I like what the Honest Company is doing!
      There’s a company out there (I think in North Carolina) that sells upcycled wool covers…I wish I could remember the name! They started out just making them for themselves too…maybe you’ll have a business on your hands 🙂

  4. We’ve used BumGenius AIO since our little guy was about 10 weeks and love them! Now that he’s 9 months, I’ve also recently picked up a few Grovia. They’re very lean in between the legs, so it’s a bit easier for our baby to learn to walk. We go to a home daycare now, and will switch to a pre-school style daycare in the fall- both places are totally fine with cloth! I think it’s catching on. So maybe this is TMI, but asbout guy got older, the need for a diaper sprayer actually vanished. We let all the diapers hang out in out PW wet bag and then shake them out before putting in the wash (as opposed to cleaning them right when they come off the bum). It’s SO easy! ive actually gotten so much positive feedback that it is really encouraging. Plus, they just look so darn cute!

    1. Ooh, good to know about the Grovia! I wanted to find something in that middle ground between “naked time” and a big bulky cloth diaper. Really important for natural movement!
      And it’s NEVER TMI 🙂

  5. Love this series! I’m 2.5 months into mamahood and you’re right – it’s hard! Love the advice to not be dogmatic. We are slowly transitioning to cloth but use the earth’s best when out and about and overnight. Thanks for sharing all your favorite products!

  6. So right on about not investing in a single type of diaper until you know what you like and what works! Last baby, I used pockets (fuzzi bunz). They were convenient to use, pain to care for. The fleece repelled after a while and the inserts lost absorbancy, even after stripping many times. This baby I bought a few prefolds and a few workhorse fitteds (an FYI – everywhere other than GMD they’re just called fitteds). I’ve been surprised to learn that I LOVE the prefolds and I’m selling off the fitteds to fund more prefolds.
    I didn’t touch cloth for the first two months, and still use a disposable at night, and will until he stops nursing (and therefore peeing) all night long. If you DO end up wanting to use cloth at night – sloomb (aka sustainable babyish) makes the best nighttime cloth diaper out there. Also the best prefolds.
    Have you delved into the wide, scary world of baby wearing yet?

  7. So excited to see another baby cream recommendation. Our daughter doesn’t get rashes often, usually just when she eats an accidental food allergen, but they are a bear to get rid of!
    No judgement on toss out diapers from me! We haven’t cloth diapered at all, but only because I haven’t had the discipline.
    I hated the ingredients in conventional diapers though and they gave our daughter horrible diaper rashes. We have been using the Honest Brand diapers and wipes (can be found at Target and Whole Foods) and love them. No diaper rashes. No irritation. And no laundry. Win.
    Even if I cloth diapered I would have Honest Diapers around for traveling, night time, and babysitters. I love them.
    I hope you are having a great time with this motherhood adventure. 🙂

    1. Honest diapers are so cute! I got some daisy ones for when we travel and I don’t want to be chained to the diaper bag changing cloth diapers in the car over and over!

  8. Thank you for posting about cloth diapers! I’m currently 8 1/2 months pregnant and we are going CD. It is so nice to hear about all the different brands people are trying. I’m also very excited for the new blog about baby making and beyond to come out as we struggled for 2 years to have this miracle baby and there is still so much l want to learn so Thank You!!!

    1. The recommended products look good, Randi! I love using Tropical Traditions’ powdered detergent. I know you can DIY too, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

  9. We love Eco Chic Movement’s diaper cream. It is cloth diaper safe and formulated by a naturopathic doctor. works great for rashes, as it contains anti- viral, bacterial and yeast herbs and herbs that help heal wounds! We buy it online here:

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