Many have had questions about cloth diapering a newborn. There are obviously many ways of doing it and what I did may not be what works for you, but I thought I would address a couple of different factors that come with cloth diapering a newborn to see if I might be of some help.
While in the hospital, I just had my baby boy in disposables that they provide at the hospital, although I have heard of some babies who have only had cloth touch their bums from the moment they were born. It is do-able to cloth diaper while at the hospital. You would want to make sure and bring enough cloth diapers for the amount of time you are in the hospital and a large wetbag to store them in until you get home to wash them. Also, you will want to make sure and inform the nurses that you are cloth diapering so none of your diapers are misplaced or thrown away. This may mean that you will have to do all the diaper changes while at the hospital, but even in disposable diapers I did the majority of diaper changes anyway while in the hospital.
Many are worried about those first tarry, black poops (meconium) and what they'll do to their cloth diapers. While meconium is messy and may stain initially, it isn't anything that sunning your diapers won't remove. Most of it will come out in that initial cold soak/prewash in your washing machine. I have read in many places that breastfed poop stains more than meconium. My baby left the hospital in a cloth diaper and since I only stayed over one night in the hospital, I think we had about 2 days of meconium. But I don't remember it being a problem or staining my diapers. If you are worried about this, you could try cutting a piece of flannel and laying it in the diaper.
Cloth diapering a baby boy can be different from cloth diapering a baby girl if you have your baby boy circumcised. Because you are often instructed to use some sort of ointment on the area of circumcision to prevent the diaper from sticking while it heals, you will want to use some sort of barrier between your baby and the diaper so you won't end up with diapers that repel liquid (don't absorb). Vaseline and ointments are a big "No-No" with cloth diapers as they coat the fabric and then don't allow the urine to pass through into the absorbent layer of the diaper. Because I did have my baby boy circumcised (please no negative comments if you choose differently) I simply purchased a box of 2 x 2 inch gauze squares from the pharmacy and put Vaseline (the ointment I chose to use) directly onto the gauze and then placed it over the area. Then come time to change baby, I took the gauze out of the diaper and threw it away and replaced it with a clean, new gauze with ointment on it. I only had to do this for a couple days until the circumcision healed.
One thing that I didn't find out until later with cloth diapering my newborn was that (I was mostly using fitteds) the baby feels wet the whole time wearing them. During the day this is not a big deal as you change them often (usually about every 2 hours), but at night time I wondered if my baby would sleep better if he felt dry. Something you may try would be to cut up some thin fleece (maybe from a blanket) and lay in the diaper as fleece is not good at absorbing liquid. The wetness will pass through the fleece and into the absorbent layers of the diaper allowing your baby to feel more dry than if the wet fabric was directly against their skin. I will definitely have to give this a try the next time around and do until my baby is able to fit into pocket diapers.
Hope this info helps answer some of those questions about cloth diapering a newborn.
Enjoy your new little bundle of joy.
Happy Cloth Diapering!