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Those are not stupid questions - they are great questions, things you need to know to make it work!
Washing - basic routine is cold soak with plain water, hot wash with 1/2 amount of recommended detergent, double rinse. Dryer or hang to dry. Start there and see how it goes. You can fiddle with it later if it isn't working well for you. Good detergents to start with include: Country Save, Purex free, Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin, Planet.
Covers: in general and for starting out Yes, always use a cover. Recommend a bummis cover - either a super whisper wrap or a super brite (the super brites have an umbilical notch so that the cover doesn't come up over your newborn's healing belly button).
Nights: if your newborn is waking frequently and you are changing frequently (ie same as day - do nothing differently). If your baby is sleeping longer, he/she will need more absorbency so you can add a doubler (basically a pad that adds material = more absorbency).
Going out: take a reusable diaper tote. Bummis make a good quality one that is not too expensive. Or at the mimimum take a Ziploc to carry your dirties home in.
Hope that helps! Good Luck - once you get your mojo, you WILL love it!
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