The primary objection prospective cloth diapering parents raise when faced with the “prefold + cover” method of cloth diapering a newborn is: “It’s too complicated.”
Let me assure you that it is not complicated at all, even during those first foggy days when even making your own cup of coffee seems complicated. I speak from experience. Bummis prefolds and covers were the first diapers we ever used on Cub (we started when he was 4 days old), and my husband has been complaining about the complexity of our now insanely diversified stash ever since I went beyond just prefolds and covers. It’s still the only “system” he is confident about.
Let’s assume that you are here because you don’t have a newborn on your hands yet. Hi! I hope your pregnancy is going well! Whether you already have a one-size diaper stash prepped in the nursery or you’re not even convinced you want to use cloth diapers yet, let me tell you about this inexpensive, Canadian way to just dip your toes into cloth diapering when your baby is squishy fresh.
At just under $50, one Bummis Newborn kit comes with two Super Whisper Wrap covers and twelve organic cotton prefolds. The weight range on this kit is 5-9 lbs.
But wait! There are twelve prefolds but only two covers? How now, brown cow? You see, you use this system in a way that cloth diaper afficionados refer to as “all-in-two.” That’s just a fancy way of saying it’s a two-piece system. The cover can be reused over multiple changes, you just swap out the soiled prefold for a clean one! Bummis’ Super Whisper Wrap is perfect for this purpose:
If a little bit of runny newborn poop gets onto the cover, you can just wipe or rinse it away. Hang that cover to dry and use the other cover. Repeat until the covers need to go in the wash.
Not totally sure what a prefold is? It is simply a rectangular, absorbent cloth, which you fold prior to putting on the baby. Get it? Prefold?! And folding doesn’t have to be complicated, either. You can fold it just like you would fold a piece of paper, then lay it inside the cover. (Then, you put it on your baby… but you probably figured that out.)
Depending on your baby’s build, you might just fold it in three along the vertical fold lines, as in the first picture. You can also fold it over a bit at the top before folding it in three, adding extra absorbency. (That extra fold could go in the front of the diaper for a little boy and at the back of the diaper for a girl.) You can also fold it horizontally, as in the bottom right picture. I like folding prefolds this way for girls, as the most absorbent part is right in the middle.
Before baby comes, you’ll want to wash and dry your prefolds at least six times to make sure they’re super absorbent. When we used this system on Cub, I left all our prefolds folded in a stack on our change table, making it easy to grab a fresh one at change time.
If you want to get a bit fancier, you can also use a Snappi (it’s just the 21st-century equivalent of a diaper pin) to secure the prefold around your baby. With these tiny prefolds, this is only really going to work on the most mini of babies. Subbing in for such a tiny squish is our Steiff bear:
What are the advantages of the Bummis Newborn Kit?
1- An inexpensive newborn cloth option:
A full stash of newborn diapers would typically run you $500. (The average price of one newborn diaper is $20.) You will likely want to save that cash for your one-size cloth diaper stash, since those are the diapers you will be using until potty training. If you buy two Bummis Newborn Kits, you’ll have 24 diaper changes for less than $100. If you use your kit for longer than three weeks, or you use it on multiple babies, you’re saving money over disposables. (And if your primary motivation is waste reduction, you’re winning every time you keep a disposable out of the trash can.) I changed newborn Cub 14 times in one day (I tracked it. I was cool like that.) So 14 diapers per day over 21 days is 294 diapers. Newborn Huggies at Walmart are 34 cents each, so for three weeks, that’s $99.96.
2- A super low-maintenance system which is easy to master:
Can you fold? Can you secure velcro? You can use prefolds and covers! There are no fiddly snaps and no pockets to stuff or unstuff. Cotton prefolds are very easy to launder, too.
3- Your prefolds and covers will continue to be useful, even if you decide not to cloth diaper:
If you do keep cloth diapering, which is what we hope, you’ll find that you can use your prefolds as boosters (I tuck a newborn prefold in my overnight diapers for added absorbency), and they also make great wipes for those really messy diaper changes. Save your Super Whisper Wraps for baby number two, or find them a new home! If you don’t wind up cloth diapering, prefolds are my favourite rags and burp cloths! Plus, if you want to avoid diaper blowouts, put a Super Whisper Wrap on top on your disposable diaper and you’ll save yourself a lot of laundry.
4- A “compact” diapering system to bring to the hospital or birthing centre:
Compared to two-dozen regular newborn diapers, two Bummis Newborn Kits won’t take up an entire suitcase. Since I was testing a wide variety of newborn diapers when Little Miss Cub was born, I did, in fact, have an entire suitcase of diapers with me. (Much to my husband’s chagrin.)
5- An affordable way to bridge the gap until your one-size diapers fit (depending on the brand and your baby’s build, typically between 8-12 lbs):
Most one-size diaper systems don’t accommodate the umbilical cord, and are often too loose on skinny newborn legs, even when baby meets the minimum weight recommended for the diaper. If you are committed to cloth diapering right from birth, having a couple Bummis Newborn Kits on hand will guarantee you can do so.
What is the disadvantage of the Bummis Newborn Kit?
If your baby is big, and grows super fast, you may not get as much use out of the Newborn Kit as you would hope. Cub was a 95th percentile baby and had outgrown his Bummis newborn diapers in less than three weeks. Little Miss Cub, on the other hand, would’ve gotten over a month out of this kit. Lower birth weight babies could likely be using this kit for two months or more. A dear friend of mine was due a month after me, so I passed our newborn supplies on to her. Find yourself some pregnant friends, whose due dates are conveniently staggered, and you could all chip in for a newborn stash! (Then use all the money you saved on disposables for a Girls’ Night Out!)