While there is a lot of internet hype about how cloth diapers will save you thousands there is actually some truth there!
First let’s get into some of the background…
What are cloth diapers?
To be blunt… cloth that your baby poops and pees on! All joking aside there are many different types of cloth diapers. I will briefly describe the ones that I have used and their average cost.
Pocket Diapers – range from 10-30$ each + inserts which range from 1-8$ each. These are great for daycares, husbands, babysitters and anyone else who needs super simple to use diapers. I personally highly recommend velcro diapers for these people. Velcro has two names in the cloth diaper world, aplix or hook and loop. Snap diapers have a lot of different snap settings and hip snaps. Matt never remembers to do the hip snaps and it sometimes causes leaks!
All in Ones or All in Twos (AIOs or AI2s) – range 20+$ each. These are pocket diapers with a built in insert. The bonus of AIOs or AI2s is they are slimmer fitting and less bulky looking on baby. Many moms swear by these, but they did not work for our family. Our darling daughter urinates more than one would think is humanly possible. She will wet through an AIO in under an hour, and I don’t believe in spending that kind of money to have to add more inserts.
Prefolds & Covers – average 1-4$/prefold and 5-15$/cover. These make up the majority of my stash of cloth diapers. These are workhorses of the cloth diapering world and they are the most cost effective in my book. A cover is literally a plastic cover that goes over the pre-fold. A prefold is a flat that has been tri folded. There is some origami baby folding involved here, which makes these diapers less appealing for those, like my wonderful darling love-of-my-life husband, who aren’t totally on board with cloth diapering
Fitteds – 25-50$ each. These are super slim, super absorbent diapers that still require a cover over top of them. Again I don’t seem the point of paying an arm and a leg for something that I still have to purchase plastic pants to put over top.
Flats – Your cheapest option. you can turn an old 100% cotton tee-shirt into a flat. It is just a flat piece of fabric that you origami fold around baby and then throw some plastic covers over top! I have not yet tried flats, but have just put in a co-op order for some hemp and bamboo flats to try!
Cost of Disposable Diapers or Sposies
I am basing the costs off of my baby’s experience with disposables. Your mileage may vary somewhat.
- We had roughly 16 diaper changes a day for the first 3 weeks of her life and then it went down to 12-14 diaper changes for the following three weeks of her life.
- Note this does not include the numerous diapers that we would lay her on and then she would pee on them and have to be changed again.
- Butt Cream – from the time we left the hospital until the time we switched to cloth diapers we were going through jars of aquaphor, hydrocortisone, bactrim, A&D ointment, Calmoseptine, and other various butt creams at an alarming rate
Pampers are currently on Amazon.com for .27/each. 16x21x.27 = $90.72 for the first three weeks of her life 13x21x.17 (she was in size 1 dipes by then and Amazon.com has them for .17/diaper) = $46.41
During the first 6 weeks of her life we went through 3 tubes of A&D cream, 3 tubes of Calmoseptine, 2 tubes of hydrocortisone, 2 jars of aquaphor, 2 tubes of destin and 1 tube of bacitracin. All of these prices are coming from Amazon.com. Cream Price = $88.86
I almost forgot about wipes! We were using Pampers sensitive wipes and we went through 2 of the giant boxes of wipes during the time we were using disposables. For a grand total Amazon.com cost of $34.38
For the first 6 weeks of the baby’s life we spent a grand total of $260.37 + tax 🙂
Cost of Our Cloth Diaper Stash
* Please note all of these prices are for brand new diapers and I bought all of ours second hand, seconds or irregular sales, or from a co-op
- 24 GMD Pre-folds $36/dozen and we have 2 dozen = $72
- 1 Bummis size medium, 1 best bottoms, 3 happy heiny covers, 1 thirsties = $79.14
- 12 pockets (I have about one of each brand I swear so to make life simple I will go with what my favorite diapers Rumparooz cost which are currently on sale on Kangacare for $17.95 each) = $215.40
- 12 hemp inserts ($3 each) = $36
- 12 Charcoal bamboo inserts ($2 each) = $24
- pack of 3 snappis = $9.95
- 2 pail liners (also on sale at Kangacare for 5$ each) = $10
Grand total of: $446.49
- We could have stopped buying at the pre-folds and covers, but I got pockets for Matt and the ease of going out places
- In real life we actually spent a lot less than that because everything we bought came from a co-op or mother’s group
- We never have to purchase another diaper as long as Stella is in diapers. It is the beauty of one-size diapers!
- Well cared for, these will last through the second child. There is where cloth diapers really out shine disposables. I never have to buy another diaper for as long as even my future children are in diapers!
- There is really no way anyone is escaping paying at least a thousand dollars in the the 2+ years their kids are in disposables. While even with utilities I am not going to get close to that number.
- The money we are saving by using cloth diapers will be going towards her 529 fund!
Cloth diapering would super suck if you do not have a washer and dryer in your house. Coin operated laundry facilites in California are really expensive, and having do wash diapers every other day would definitely add up. Handwashing is an option, but as far as I am concerned I have no time for hand-washing and drying diapers every other day. We have not noticed a significant increase in the amount of electricity we use, and our HOA pays for our water usage.