Cloth Diapers at the Hospital?

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Yes, yes and yes.  It’s so easy!

When our newest baby girl was baking, I began putting together a diaper stash for her.  I couldn’t wait to use my itty bitty fluff.  It was so tiny and cute, and more importantly, it would keep harmful chemicals off of my baby and out of the landfills.  I never gave a second thought to using cloth at the hospital.

Fast forward a few months and there I was in labor.  My bags had been packed for a month and included were a whole host of cloth diapers.  Unsure of what I might need, I packed several fitteds, prefolds, covers and wool.  I was quite excited not just to use cloth on my baby, but to educate while doing so.  I knew that others would see them and it would help open some minds without having to say a word, unless asked of course.

Our baby girl arrived and I soon slipped her into her very first cloth diaper, that I made for her.  I didn’t think that the cloth would be a problem with the nurses, and it wasn’t.  I never dreamed that they would love it so much!  I was so pleasantly surprised by the staff.  I always am though.  (I had a two week stay with them following the premature birth of our older daughter… these ladies are phenomenal!)  They loved the diapers and I was so happy to have such a positive and open response.  In fact, I had several nurses come to my room at different times during my stay to see the cloth diapers.  It was great to share and great to see them all again.

So I figure if you’re reading this you’d like to know a big about the logistics of it all.  How to use cloth in the hospital, what you’ll need, etc.

The first things you’re going to need are your diapers and a wet bag.  I chose to bring a pail liner.  I hung it on a hook in the bathroom to keep it out of my way, but still at easy access.  As for the diapers.  I ended up using fitteds exclusively.  You’ll be monitoring wet and dirty diapers, so these were perfect in my opinion.  I didn’t even use a cover during my stay.  Since newborns hardly pee during those first few days, it just wasn’t needed.  I would still recommend bringing a cover, just in case.  The amount of diapers to bring will depend on your stay.  I was there for two days and maybe used 20 diapers.  They are tiny and take up very little room.

Here you can see my baby girl with a newborn Nanipoo on.  I don’t believe these are still being made.  They are my absolute favorite newborn diaper though.  Loved the fit.  They fit well from the start and lasted a a very long time too!

The biggest concern I see about using cloth at the hospital is those first few new baby poos.  The meconium is thick and sticky, much like tar.  I can tell you from experience that it really is no big deal and it will not ruin your diapers.  When we had these poopy diapers I simply rinsed the diaper off with some water into the toilet and tossed it into my wet bag.  It was simple and easy.  I did not rinse one solid white diaper and it ended up with a smidge of staining that I sunned out when I got a chance.

The other concern that I see is about just having too much to do and not wanting to come home to laundry.  Well, yes, you will have to wash them.  But no, you likely won’t need to wash them the moment you come home.  You will likely have more than enough diapers to get you through a day or two more at least.  I think I was able to get by for a couple of days before needing to do a load of laundry.  She just peed so very little those first few days.  It was pretty handy when it came to the whole laundry thing.  It’s also very easy if you want to toss them in the wash.  It takes a few minutes, at best.  You’ll just add your detergent, dump in your diapers and go.  That’s it.

Using cloth at the hospital really is very easy and I think it sends a good message.  Speaking of a message, there is a neat page on Facebook that I came across.  For those who might be interested, there is a group all about trying to get cloth back into hospitalsπŸ™‚

If you are really against using cloth at the hospital, you can still do it with less chemicals by choosing a safer disposable.  You might try Seventh Generation, Nature Babycare, Earth’s Best or Tushies.

Did you use cloth in the hospital?  I’d love to hear your experiences.

Amanda Hearn
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  • Great post. I really lucked out when I found out my hospital already used cloth diapers! That nanipoo is adorable.

  • Sascha that's really lucky! Which hospital is that? Did you know that 'Real Nappies' are the choice of diaper in some hospitals in New Zealand – they don't even use sposies. They try to educate moms on cloth diapers before they leave the hospital while offering them the opporutnity to get their own Real Nappies cloth diapers. that's pretty cool huh?!

  • Thanks for this post! I was wondering what I was going to do in the hospital, but now I think going straight to cloth will work πŸ™‚

  • Mira~ The hospitals in Edmonton, Alberta use cloth. That is a pretty cool program NZ has!

  • That is a great story! We had our son at Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder Colorado. They are a certified green hospital, which means a whole host of cool things including that they only use cloth diapers! It was so great to learn this on our hospital tour and made things super easy during our four day stay:) Anyone else heard of hospitals with similar practices?

  • Hi there,

    Found you on the GFC Followers group on Mom Bloggers Club. I'm now following you, please follow back when you have a chance (if you aren't already). Thanks!

    I'm looking forward to reading your updates! πŸ™‚


  • Hi! I'm a new follower! I love love love it! I'm a cloth diapering frugal green blogger too. I can't wait to check even more of you site out!

  • This is PERFECT info! I'm a cloth-diaperer and would have loved to have this info a year ago! Our baby's behind hasn't seen a disposable diaper since we got home. I felt overwhelmed at the thought of CD'ing at the hospital. Maybe next time . . . Actually, I'll probably have my next babe at home so this won't even be an issue. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great post! It was super easy to use cloth at the hospital. I was afraid it wouldn't be or that the meconium wouldn't come out. They cleaned up perfectly.

  • Great post! It was super easy to use cloth at the hospital. I was afraid it wouldn't be or that the meconium wouldn't come out. They cleaned up perfectly.

  • What a great post! We had a home birth so while we did not use cloth in the hospital we did use cloth from the very first diaper. I did have a harder time cleaning the meconium but we anticipated that and used second hand pre-folds for the first few days. This way we did not spend much money and we did not feel bad when we had to bleach out two of the diapers.

  • Thanks for the info! I am going to use cloth in the hospital when LO makes his appearance.

    Most places I have worked use disposables, but in nursing school the hospital at which I did my maternal-newborn rotation used cloth. Unfortunately they were still using pins. This was in 2002. I'd like to write them and let them know about Snappis! Would have saved me a little heartburn as I was new to changing diapers back then πŸ˜‰

  • Thankk you so much for sharing your story. I am now confident that I can CD baby #1 from day ONE! Yippie!!

  • This is a great story! I’ve always wondered about this, but was too shy to think of asking anyone. I always assumed if you birthed at a hospital, they staff had more control over the situation that you did. I may have to birth at a hospital due to health conditions that require monitoring, but I’m happy to know I can still do it “my way” and that staff would be open to it!

  • Thank you! I’ve been researching CD and stocking up for when we have another baby. I have been thinking a lot about what to do at the hospital, after reading your post I think we’ll do cloth right away πŸ™‚

    p.s. I looked up nanipoos and apparently they weren’t available for a few years but they are now (under the original owner still). They’re pretty inexpensive for a nb diaper, I might have to add one to my stash πŸ™‚

  • We’re a diaper service family (the cost per load with our coin-op washers makes it cheaper, and we won’t have to move a stash of diapers when DH gradutes), so the midwife was familiar with our exact diapers, which was good because it means that she could show us how to put a diaper on without being confused by the diaper (snap fit diapers confuse a lot of people).

    About bringing a wet bag: both of the birth kit packing lists I got listed multiple diapers (I honestly don’t see why), but neither one listed bringing a wet bag! I’m not sure I’d want to actually – if you have to stay extra time, someone will probably be going home and could bring one back, and given the amount of extra stuff you’re going to be bringing anyhow (just in case), it seems like a bother.

    • Christine,

      I was a bit confused by your comment. If you don’t bring a wetbag to the hospital what would you store your dirty diapers in until you go home?


  • We used disposables when my son was a newborn (Seventh Generation), just because it was so expensive to buy a newborn stash. I’m not sure what we’ll do with baby #2, who is due in May. Depends on how many teeny tiny dipes we can pull together by then. But I do agree, it sends a great message to use cloth in the hospital!

  • We used cloth in the NICU! Our nurses loved it and a lot of the younger nurses were so surprised how easy they were to use. I can’t wait to use them again!!

  • I live in Corpus Christi Tx and the hospital I gave birth at last week was totally against it πŸ™ I had my stash just in case but unfortunately wasn’t allowed to beuse them! Bummer but we are going strong w cloth since the moment I brought her home!!

  • Great post thank you so much for telling your story about cloth diapering from the start. I look forward to doing the same with our lil one πŸ™‚

  • I used cloth on my 2nd baby in the hospital. The nurses said they had never seen cloth in the hospital, but by the time I had my 3rd daughter two years later they didn’t act surprised by it at all. I think #makeclothmainstream is slowly becoming a reality!

  • Thank you for your story and experience! We are expecting our first baby boy August 9th and i am determined to use cloth diapers even in the hospital! Our midwife is totally on board which i love, but everyone one else i have talked to says that’s a horrible idea and that we should use disposables until the tar poop is gone then start using the cloth……. But i personally feel that doing that would be going backwards and some might get use to the disposables and never end up using cloth! Anyways im very grateful to know im not the only mom that was determined to use cloth in the hospital:) Your post definitely gives me hope that we can do this! Thank you again!

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