Mailbox Mondays Newborn Diapers

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 2/25/13 – Newborn Diapers & Umbilical Cord Stump

#clothdiapers and umbilical cord stumps on newborns via @chgdiapers

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Michelle says:

Hi Maria!

I have a question for your “Mailbox Mondays.”

I am deciding between 2 newborn all-in-one diapers. One has an umbilical cord snap-down, but most reviews suggest it will only be absorbent enough to be used for about a month.
The other version is far more absorbent and is very well reviewed. Most say that the diaper fit for about 3-4 months. I prefer this diaper, but I am worried that it will cover the stump (it has a wide aplix closure, so folding it down to allow for the stump doesn’t seem like it would be an option.

Is it okay to cover the umbilical cord with the diaper?
Does it make more sense to get the diapers that baby can go in immediately and just switch to one-size after one month, or get the diapers that will last longer but may not work the first 2 weeks?

Thank you for your input!


Newborn diapers are difficult since each baby is so different that it’s hard to know what will work best until the baby is here! I’d heard many people say that they had no trouble putting newborn diapers right over the cord stump, but when I tried, I couldn’t keep it dry no matter how often I changed him. For that reason, I loved the Rumparooz Lil Joey, GroVia newborn AIO and a few other tiny diapers w/snap down. The problem I had is that he was such a heavy wetter, they just didn’t work for us very long at all. Geffen Baby newborn quick absorbers didn’t exist at that time, but if I got to cloth diaper another newborn, I would get a stash of them to boost the absorbency of the little diapers, and use them as doublers later.

Once his cord came off, I loved mini one size and size 1 dual-sized diapers since he was eeny teeny, and it was a while before one-size diapers fit him. The problem with newborn cloth in general is that they are expensive. If you’ll be using them on multiple children, the overall expense isn’t as bad, and newborn cloth does seem to retain a good bit of resale value when compared to other sized or one-size diapers.

I suspect that covering the cord stump works better with baby girls (since the moisture is more towards the middle of the diaper than the front), and in babies who aren’t wetting as heavily. In the early stages, most babies dirty a diaper before they saturate it, but my little guy was soaking them multiple times per hour!

What did you do?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • Julie
    February 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Since I knew I was going to have to have a c-section I planned on using disposables for the first 8 weeks or so because my hubby was being a PITB this time around and refused to do diaper laundry. That meant this post-operative mama was on her own. :b I bought about 6 newborn prefolds, 6 infant prefolds in case baby was a moose and I had a few newborn covers (Thirsties xs and Imse Vimse- I bought these used. and three Thirsties Duo size 1), 1 GroVia AIO and several flats. I think if I had to do it all over again I’d skip the flats and get some quality prefolds with covers. Since I’m saving my dipes on the off chance we have another baby I’d add to my stash a couple of NB AIOs, a few more NB covers (probably Thirsties Duos) and some nice prefolds. Those Geffen newborn booster thingys sound absolutely perfect. I had an xs pocket diaper I had made myself but baby girl was soaking it so I had to retire it way early. I was so sad because I was so proud of myself for making a diaper that fit so well. If we have another I’m going to make some more and buy some of those Geffen newborn boosters. My baby’s cord fell of at about 7 or 8 days old but of my 5 babies that I had to worry about the times varied. My oldest child’s cord took over 2 weeks to fall off and that was back in the days when Drs advised using alcohol. The rest took about a week and a half and my youngest, like I said was about a week. I think since the cord stays on such a short time you’re probably better off getting the bigger diapers and just keeping the cord stump as clean and dry as you possibly can- maybe cut up some squares of micro-fleece and cover baby’s cord stump with that till it falls off? I don’t know, that just came to me right now. Either way it’s gonna be rubbed by something whether it’s the diaper, clothes or blankets.

  • Christine S
    February 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I would say get the ones that will fit the longest. We used one size happy heinys from about 5 days old on. He was only 8lbs, and his cord didn’t fall off until about 2 weeks old. We just took the 8 diapers we had and got a cheap pack of diaper pins from the store and folded the front down and pinned it to stay under the umbilical cord. I never worried about the cord getting we though. We were doing herbal baths from our midwife daily for the first week so his cord got wet every day.

  • February 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    My babies cords fell off within a week or two, but they were still so tiny that even the umbilical snap-downs covered up their belly button! I say buy the diaper that you’ll get more use out of – the worst case scenario is that you use disposables for a few weeks (if that) but you might be able to use them right away as long as the cord stump doesn’t look irritated by them! If you buy the ones that won’t last as long, you’re guaranteed to have a large baby who’ll grow out of them instantly (because that’s just how the universe works!) 😉

  • February 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

    we used a little bit of everything, but mostly prefolds. Doctors will tell you that it doesn’t matter if the stump gets wet. You just don’t want it to stay wet so that it starts to grow abnormal things. Most parents take enough care that there’s no way it could cause an issue. When you’re wiping your baby down, wipe down that area, too. Most of the ones we had actually ‘rode down’ enough to go under or just slightly over it, and for 10 days or so, why buy a whole new set? In all likelihood, you’ll be so exhausted that it a. won’t even cross your mind and b. won’t matter in the long run. Doctors can’t even say that wiping it down with alcohol is a good idea anymore, even though the hospital recommends it and sends you home with swabs. (alcohol is absorbed through newborn’s skin very easily). So take it all with a grain of salt. It’s all VERY unlikely that you’d have an issue. And even if you do, it IS dead skin, and you would cross that bridge when you get to it, although it’s VERY unlikely. Lol.

    • February 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      My son was so bitty that none of my covers rode under the stump, otherwise prefolds & covers would have been perfect!

      If I used more than 1 or 2 diapers in a row that covered his stump, it would get moist & start to turn white, even when it seemed close to falling off. And yes, I changed him constantly since he was such a heavy wetter! It just didn’t work for us. 🙁

  • Karen
    February 25, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I used prefolds and covers on my son for this reason. Our little girl is due to arrive in about a week and I’m trying more of a variety of newborn cloth this time but how long a diaper will last depends a lot upon your babies growth and wetting habits. All 3 of my kiddos have doubled birth weight in about 2 months (hello 16 lb 2 mo old) so our new born stash really doesn’t last us long. Maybe this little one will actually stay little 🙂 I was able to make the prefolds last longer as doublers etc. but I suggest trying out several kinds of newborn diapers and try not to go overboard in buying the little diapers. Good luck

  • Michelle
    February 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I used Grovia, BG, and Imagine NB diapers and had no problems with them fitting under the cord (even with no snap-down, but my kids both have long torsos). I quickly realized I had a serious diaper shortage and ordered some Thirsties Duo Diapers size 1 which were AWESOME and fit a long time but they came after the cord fell off. You’re only talking about a week’s time here, give or take, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much! I had about 8 newborn cloth diapers, washed every day (since I also have a toddler in cloth), and supplemented with sposies from the hospital until my Thirsties arrived (and cord was gone). Hope that helps!

    • February 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

      My kids’ cords stayed on forever! They must have short torsos too; BG newborn totally covered him. And wow, 8?! I was changing minimum 15+ newborn diapers a day/night. Just goes to show how different every baby is! 🙂

  • Caitlin
    February 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Great question! I had bought some kissaluvs sz0 and bumgenius aio for my newborn. I really liked the cord dip on the kissaluvs, but you’re right… they didn’t last long. She grew right out of them. I decided it wasn’t worth it to me to buy newborn diapers that would only last a month or 2. I went ahead and used disposables until she was 10 pounds (which wasn’t long at all since she’s a huge baby!) and could fit into her one size diapers.

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