If possible, it's good to have natural fabric on the baby's skin. It allows the skin to breathe well and provides more warmth and comfort for the baby. It is preferable to change the baby's diaper as soon as they are wet or soiled, unless they are sleeping, of course, both for the health of the skin and the baby's comfort, and in using cloth diapers, one is less tempted to leave a diaper on for long periods of time.
At first, most newborns need about ten to fourteen diapers a day, so having a good laundry machine is important. Diaper services are a good option for those that don't have a machine at their disposal. Cloth diapers come in all sorts of shapes and designs, they are cheaper in the long-run than disposable diapers and are free of potentially harmful chemicals, as well as creating much less waste. (Though if you use a diaper service, it’s worth asking how they clean them.) Cotton diapers are ideal, especially used with warm wool diaper covers that let the skin breathe. Wool covers require a little more care than plastic or nylon ones, but the warmth they provide is worth it.
If cloth diapers are out of the question, a good option is using unbleached, non-toxic disposable diapers that can usually be found in health food stores. One can also easily make wipes with little cotton flannel squares to use with water or vegetable oil, or find natural, non-toxic, un-perfumed wipes in health food stores.
For the first week or so, the baby usually has tar-like meconium stools that can be cleaned off very well with organic sunflower or almond oil, or Weleda baby oil. The oils are plant based, and very safe, and help keep the baby's skin moisturized and promote warmth. Weleda also has a calendula diaper cream which is very good at preventing and soothing diaper rashes. If you can, choose plant based creams which are closer to our own skin oils and are more easily absorbed, as opposed to mineral based creams.
Virgin of the swaddling clothes
by Bartolome Esetban Murillo
Mother and child by Mary Cassat
THE FIRST MONTHS
CLOTHING AND CARE
FOR THE BABY