I see this question every day in cloth diaper groups. No one wants to waste money, whether that is on disposables because your baby doesn't fit into cloth diapers yet or on diapers that your baby is born too big for. I wish there was a clear cut answer, but really it depends on several factors. Hopefully these things will help guide you to the best decision. (Our friend, Lauren, at the Cloth Diaper Blog also just wrote a great blog with newborn diaper tips!)
How big is your baby?
(This is the first photo of my boy in a cloth diaper! 😍 He's two and potty trained now *cue tears*)
This is not fully known until your baby is born, but sometimes doctors have a good guess. If they are expecting your baby to be 10 pounds I probably wouldn't invest in a large newborn stash. You can also gain a better understanding if this isn't your first baby. Usually mothers have babies around the same size, and they tend to be slightly larger with each child. Obviously this isn't always the case, but it is a common pattern. It's also worth noting that multiples are usually much smaller than single babies, so if you're expecting twins it would most likely be worth investing in newborn diapers.
How small are your newborn or one size diapers?
The diapers above are the PanBam gentle fit diaper cover in one size. The left is snapped all the way down and the right is fully unsnapped to see the size range.
Not all diapers are sized the same. For example, petite crown's one size covers notoriously run large. This is great for toddlers, but could be a problem for a 6 pound newborn. (They do now carry a newborn size which is quite small and lovely). On the other hand, I've noticed that bare and boho one size diapers seem to snap down quite small. While they do carry "mini sizes" (which are the tiniest and cutest things I've seen), I think that a one size cover would likely fit a 8 or 9 pound newborn. I plan to put this to the test when my little girl arrives 😉 The real unicorns are the diaper brands that have a large size range. The PanBam forever fit diaper is a good example of this... They have extra rows of snaps and rises to be very small or let out to be quite large.
It's also worth noting that various newborn diapers fit for different amounts of time. Some brands may only fit for a month while others may fit for 6. It would depend on the diaper and how your baby's growth and shape changes over time.
How many kids are you planning to have?
Pictured are a Diaper Rite newborn cover (green), Petite Crown newborn cover (blueberries), and a Bare and Boho mini cover (black and white).
This was a deciding factor for me. If I had only one kid in newborn diapers for a month or two it might not be worth the investment for me, especially with my son being so big. Since I hoped to have more kids though I knew that I could save my newborn diapers for the next one and save months of disposables per child. On the flip side, used diapers can hold decent value so even if one child only wears them for a few months they would likely have resale value.
My main advice is always to start slow and small. Maybe buy one or two newborn diapers from a couple brands. That way you can see what works before making a large investment and you could always sell any that don't work. I would also recommend having a couple different one size diapers on hand just in case those fit your baby better. They will eventually fit into them anyways.
A plus side to newborn diapers is that they aren't often worn for as long so buying used is a great option too. Not only are there great buy/sell/trade groups on facebook, PanBam is also launching a Newborn Stash Program coming soon. It could be the perfect solution for that quick newborn stage!
Remember to use code NIKKI while shopping at Pannolino Bambino to receive a discount on all your newborn needs!