One of the puzzles of cloth diapering is whether or not it is worthwhile to invest in newborn cloth diapers.
The answer to those frequently-asked questions is “It depends.” It depends on how big your baby is at birth. It depends on how fast she grows. It depends on which brand of one-size diapers you choose. It depends on your plans for future children (if you plan on having more babies, or split the cost with another pregnant mama, a newborn stash may be more affordable).
So what if you’ve got your full stash of one-size diapers, but you want to make sure you can cloth diaper right from birth? Let me propose a very inexpensive solution: flour sack towels and newborn-size diaper covers.
Flour sack towels are just big cotton kitchen towels, easily found at Superstore/Loblaws (in Canada) Walmart or Target. I have a full post on finding and using flour sack towels here.
As you can see, flour sack towels (FSTs) are about $1.40 a piece at Walmart in Canada. (“Linges” is dishtowel in French, and I took this photo at my Walmart in Montreal.)
Here’s a picture I took using a Bummis prefold, Öko trifold and BumGenius microfibre insert to give you a sense of how big a FST is unfolded:
Of course, a FST is only one layer of cotton. The absorbency comes from folding it up to get multiple layers.
Essentially, you can use a FST on your newborn like Mamas used (and still use) flat diapers on their babies.
The way I first tried it on Little Miss Cub, when our washing machine crapped out and I needed something easy to hand wash—YES, I hand washed diapers for a week—was using the Mini Kite Fold, which I learned from Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry.
The snug fit of our Thirsties XS diaper cover (Thirsties were my favourite newborn covers) over this fold makes it perfect for containing blowouts.
As you know, I like to choose the path of least resistance when parenting. So after a few mini kite folds, I decided I just wanted to use our FSTs and covers like any “all-in-two” diapering system:
Above, I’ve folded the FST to fit in our tiniest cover, our Thirsties “preemie” size.
Like this, we were easily set for two hours of absorbency. (The equivalent of using a prefold.) What I liked doing, to stretch the time between changes, was boost my pad fold using other boosters in my stash. Assuming you are using your flour sack towels as a bridge before using your one-size covers, you are likely to already have some boosters in your stash!
For example, I folded a BumGenius newborn microfibre insert inside my flour sack towel, creating an absorbent core!
I also used a Funky Fluff hemp booster:
If you want, you can also use microfibre dishcloths from the dollar store inside your flour sack towels! (Remember, do not put the microfibre against baby’s bottom, always cover it in the cotton FST.)
Our earliest fitting one-size diaper covers were our Best Bottoms. Here it is on its smallest rise, with an AMP hemp booster on top of our FST. Note that for a stay dry feel, you can cut up a fleece blanket to create a liner!
Benefits of using Flour Sack Towels & Newborn Covers:
- Choose an easily rinsed newborn cover (Thirsties are my favourite) and you can get away with buying 6 covers and 24 towels to get you through til your one-size stash fits.
- Combine with the boosters from your one-size stash to add absorbency.
- Newborn covers have the umbilical cut out, allowing you to use from birth.
- Your flour sack towels can be used as burp cloths or rags, or as boosters in your one-size stash once you’re passed the newborn phase.