Cloth Diapering Preemie Diapers

Cloth Diapering a Preemie

preemie and micro preemie #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

This week wraps up the preemie cloth diaper spotlights! We all hope we’ll never have the issue of diapering a tiny preemie or micro-preemie, but the information is very difficult to find if you need it. In my experience, many newborn diapers are simply too big for some babies such as my second son (born at 6 lb 12 oz, about 6 1/2 lbs at his lowest.)

I actually had a difficult time finding preemie diapers, and ended up with mostly Imagine Preemie Prefolds and Proraps Preemie Covers since they were the most cost effective way for me to help the mama who inspired this series. However, I discovered that I would want a stash of prefolds and Anibums preemie covers, should I ever have another baby.

You may click to photos below to go to that product’s post.

@anibums micro preemie #clothdiapers cover via @chgdiapers 1 @anibums micro preemie #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers 1
@imagine_baby  preemie prefold #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers 1 Proraps preemie #clothdiapers cover via @chgdiapers 1
Dri Line Baby Preemie Semi Fitted #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers happy heinys micro mini micro preemie #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers 1

While I loved the size 1 Thirsties Duo Diapers, they aren’t the cheapest diaper, and I wasn’t able to use them until my son’s cord stump fell off. I’m sure my older son (about 8 lbs at birth) would have been fine if I’d made the switch to cloth sooner, but my little guy’s stump was covered or rubbed by nearly every newborn size diaper. I could have saved a lot of time and hassle if I had gone with Anibums covers instead of a whole stash of newborn diapers that didn’t fit well and weren’t absorbent enough. Oh well, you live and learn, right?

Since I haven’t personally cloth diapered a preemie, Jen of Spray Pal graciously shares her thoughts below:


When my second baby was born, the last thing on my mind was cloth diapers. Sure, I had a small newborn stash that was coming together for when he was supposed to be born, but little did I know those wouldn’t fit him for months after his actual birth. You see, Ryan was born at 25 weeks exactly weighing only 1 pound 13 ounces. So even though I had every intention of putting him in cloth diapers from birth, when he was born, it was the last thing on my mind.

Then something happened. Someone planted a seed. A group of amazing women (I call them my “internet friends” to people who don’t get it, but they are so much more than that) came together and created a plan. They knew of my love for all things natural and my wish to cloth diaper my son, so they contacted Happy Heinys and ordered us a set of their Micro Mini stages 1-3 diapers. It actually still brings tears to my eyes to think about it over a year later because it will always stand out to me as the first moment when I felt a tiny sliver of normalcy while my son was in the NICU. I told them how much I appreciated it at the time, but I don’t know if they truly understand what this gesture meant (and still means) to me.

Many people will question why you would bother with cloth in the NICU. Don’t you have enough to worry about besides washing dirty diapers? Why would you pay for cloth diapers when they give you the throw away kind for free in the hospital? Just like when you choose cloth for your full term baby, there will always be doubters and nay-sayers who are just waiting for you to fail or give up. For me, it was 100% completely worth every ounce of extra effort it took, simply because it made me feel “normal”. The number one reason I loved using cloth on my preemie was the bonding. I treasured every diaper change because it was a chance to bond with my son who seemed so distant tucked away securely in his isolette attached to various tubes, wires, and cords. Putting him in a cloth diaper made me feel even closer to him because I felt like I had made at least ONE parenting choice for him. As a NICU mom, there’s not a whole lot you can do with your baby without a doctor’s orders, but the cloth diapers were all me. Every time he felt that soft fabric against his super sensitive preemie skin rather than the stiff paper of the micropreemie pampers, I knew I was doing what was best for my son. I also felt that the chemicals found in disposable diapers were not what I wanted him inhaling into his sensitive lungs while living inside his isolette. These are just a few of the reasons why I loved putting my preemie in cloth.

Many have asked me how we were even allowed to use cloth diapers in the NICU, and it honestly wasn’t as hard to get permission as I had anticipated. When my friends first showed me the HH micro minis, I read up on them and discovered that they were calibrated in weight so that they could be used in a hospital. If you’ve ever had a baby in the NICU, you know that the nurses weigh the diapers after each diaper change to calculate fluid output. The HH micro minis all weigh the exact same amount so that you can use them just like you would a disposable diaper to get an accurate read of fluid output. Once I knew that, I knew I had a pretty good case for using them in the hospital. I went to the Nurse Practitioner in charge of Ryan’s care and asked. She seemed hesitant at first, mostly because it had just never been done before. I explained that I would leave a clean wetbag by his bedside each day to store the dirty diapers, and when I left the NICU I would take the dirty diapers home to wash and leave a new wetbag behind. I switched the bags out like that daily and just washed his diapers in the same load with my daughter’s diapers.

After a few days, I noticed one of the night nurses had made an adorable sign and posted it by his isolette to explain to all the other nurses the cloth diaper system we had going on. Throughout our 7 months there, I had so many nurses comment on how adorable his diapers were, and a few even said they were now cloth converts and would want to try cloth on their own future babies!

Ryan is home and happily adjusting to life in his regular sized cloth diapers!

View preemie cloth diapers, newborn cloth diapers and how newborn diapers fit my smaller baby.

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • May 27, 2015 at 9:35 am

    […] Little Warriors diapers were inspired by the Spray Pal family’s youngest son Ryan, who was born at 25 weeks. When Ryan was in the NICU the Apreas received tremendous support from March of Dimes Volunteers, […]

  • Megan
    May 5, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    I have been following Jen and Ryan for a month or so after finding them on the Cloth Diaper Experiment! Amazing story and amazing family. I have a 24 weeker who was also 1lb 13 oz, and spent 5 1/2 months in the NICU. We weren’t a cloth family until later, but I know exactly what she means by having something feel normal. As a NICU mom, you treasure things most take for granted!

  • March 20, 2015 at 12:00 am

    […] contains affiliate links. In 2013, Jen of Spray Pal shared with Change-Diapers readers her story of cloth diapering a preemie. Jen was a huge support when Up On The Hill‘s baby Oliver was born at 25 weeks and 1 lb 9 oz […]

  • March 9, 2015 at 8:52 am

    […] Pal‘s son Ryan turns 3 on 3/20, and he’s come a long way since he was born at 25 weeks weighing 1 lb 13 oz. Spray Pal is celebrating his birthday with a 10 day giveaway bash (plus one bonus day on his […]

  • christine k
    August 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    this made me tear up. I would want something “normal” in that situation too.. I’m glad those wonderful women were there 🙂

    • August 22, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      It’s inspiring, but almost a little hard to read. I can’t imagine having my life turned upside down like that. <3 Jen is a strong Mama!

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