Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do I Need Newborn Size Diapers?

I've had this discussion with several customers, and though it would be worth sharing here as well.

First of all, some basic information:
There are two sizing options in the diapering world: adjustable-size diapers (also called one-size diapers, or OSFM "one-size-fits-most"), and then traditional sized diapers with small, medium, large, etc. (Prefolds and flats are somewhat adjustable, depending on the style/fold pattern you use, but if you're going that route then you are probably not thinking about getting special newborn sized diapers anyway. )
The average newborn size diaper fits from about 5-10 lbs. The average size small diaper starts around 7-8lbs and fits until around 15lbs. The average adjustable-size diaper fits babies down to about 8lbs (and up to 35lbs).
(they're so tiny and cute!)

Do YOU need to worry about getting newborn size diapers?
  • Well, if you have 5lb babies, then newborn size diapers make a lot of sense because they will probably last 2-3 months for your child. Also, small diapers will be way too big for them at first. Some ethnic groups are predisposed to smaller babies (a Japanese friend of mine pointed out that a 7lb baby would be enormous for her), and some kids are just built little and will probably end up potty trained before outgrowing a 'medium' diaper. Of course babies born prematurely are also smaller and benefit from having smaller diapers.
  • If your babies are 7+lbs at birth, then newborn size diapers will probably only fit for a few weeks. That can be a lot of money for a diaper that will not fit for very long, especially because a small diaper will fit that size of baby pretty well right from birth. On the other hand, you may prefer to have some tiny diapers for those early weeks, especially if you use adjustable-size diapers which can be quite bulky on the smaller settings. If you plan to have several children use the diapers, then of course they become more cost-effective.
  • If you have a 10lb baby, as one of my customers did, you may find that the newborn diaper you bought barely fits him on the day he comes home from the hospital. ☺
So do you need newborn size diapers? Well, that entirely depends on you and your babies! Some mothers really like having those tiny diapers for the first little while, and some mothers need smaller diapers to fit their smaller babies. Some mothers feel that newborn diapers are unnecessary, and some babies are too big for newborn diapers on the day they're born.
Remember that almost any diaper will be a little bulky on a newborn, but that most babies grow very fast. So consider how big your baby is likely to be (consider your other children, or if this is your first baby then look at your mother's or sister's children for an idea of how big yours might be).

Of course, if you are still not sure what diapering sizes or styles will be best for you and your child, feel free to contact any of us on the team, we're here to help!


  1. I thought I would go ahead and mention what I do...
    Personally, my children are born around 7-8lbs, so I don't bother with newborn diapers. I actually use disposables for the first few days for the meconium (*gasp* I know, I probably shouldn't admit that here!), and then I go straight to the small size diapers.

  2. I made an adorable stash of newborn diapers before my youngest was born. She weighed 8 1/2 pounds and the diapers were tight on her from day one. Yet I continued to squeeze them on her for six weeks because I hadn't made any small diapers yet! If you do get newborn diapers, make sure you have some smalls ready too.

    One other thing: while she was in newborn size, I was constantly changing her. It seemed like her diaper was saturated every 20 minutes. Don't let their small size fool you, newborns can pee like a race horse! The newborn diapers were so tiny that they couldn't absorb much. Even though the small diapers are bulkier than newborn sizes, I think that will be my route with my next one.

  3. I am one of those who really likes to have newborn dipes...
    While they don’t get used for a long time, it is cute to have snug fitting diapers. I made DD (8 ½ lbs) newborn diapers from the VeryBaby pattern and had some Kissaluvs size 0 too. They actually fit for a couple months. The other benefit of newborn diapers is that they also have a scoop for the belly button. (If your kid is like my first and takes almost 3 weeks to lose the stomp, it is nice to be able to accommodate it.)
    When I did the post about diapering a newborn ( ), I was also suggesting buying these tiny diapers used, since they get so little wear before being outgrown.

    I have been looking at that monkey diaper set in Lilbees shop too :-)
    But I have not managed to justify buying it yet given the huge stash of newborn diapers that I still have :-(

  4. In the United States, we've been conditioned to believe that EVERYTHING must fit below the umbilical stump, and dr's and nurses don't help matters in telling people this.

    While, yes, a paper diaper should have a scoop (because paper diapers are rough and can irritate the cord location) a prefold or other cloth diaper is NOT.

    With my OSFM diapers, the way they are folded makes the rise the right size for a newborn (just below the umbilical stump) but the wings overlap over it. Because of the way the diaper is folded, the wings never touch the healing umbilical stump, and it is kept dry, which contributes to faster healing.


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