Many of you seemed to have really enjoyed the Diaper Stock Up I previously posted! I’d like to take the opportunity to provide a similar breakdown for mothers who are interested in cloth diapering their little ones. I turned to my friend Emily for more information and here’s her breakdown on the costs associated with cloth diapering.
What are the initial costs involved in cloth diapering?
On average it can cost anywhere from $300.00 to $1,000.00 to build a full stash of cloth diapers. (This doesn’t have to be purchased all at once) These averages vary depending on the brand, type, and amount of diapers needed. Cloth diapers can be purchased from online retailers or auction sites like Ebay for as low as $7.99 a piece. BumGenius brand diapers cost $17.95 through Cotton Babies retail stores.
Along with the diapers, a couple of other accessories should be considered with the initial start up costs. Some of these are more important than others and include diaper fasteners, a diaper sprayer, wet bags, a dry pail, diaper detergent, and cloth diaper rash cream. If all of this lingo is making you dizzy, check a list of cloth diaper terminology complete with pictures over at The Diaper Jungle.
How many diapers will I need to start with?
Infants wet and soil their diapers more frequently than older babies or toddlers. For this reason it makes sense that you will go through more diapers early on than once your baby gets a little older. I recommend having at least a dozen or so diapers to get through a day with an infant. If you find that you need to wash too frequently increase your stash from there. A baby 6 to 12 months of age uses closer to 8 diapers a day and toddlers about 6 per day. I would recommend eventually increasing your stash to at least 2 to 3 dozen diapers total.
A simple diaper cover and prefold is typically the most economical option for cloth diapering. Through online retailer Cotton Babies you can purchase a trail pack including 1 cover and 3 prefold inserts for $11.99. The nice thing about covers is that they can be reused from one diaper change to the next by just swapping out the insert, so this would account for 3 diaper changes.
How many of each size will I need?
Like disposable diapers, cloth diapers also come in different sizes to fit different sized babies. Every diaper uses either hook and loop (Velcro) or rows of snaps to secure onto baby. These are adjustable and will even overlap to ensure proper fit. When it comes to sizes most brands carry a newborn size and a one-sized diaper line. Rarely some brands will carry sizes small, medium, and large or sizes 1 and 2. The newborn diapers typically fit infants from 6 to 12 pounds. One-sized diapers have snaps down the front to adjust the rise of the diaper as your baby grows. This allows them to accommodate babies from 7 to 30 plus pounds. That’s practically from birth to potty training! Charlie Banana is a popular brand of cloth diapers that come in small, medium, and large as well as one-sized. They can be found at select Target stores or on their website and other online retailers. Keep your eyes peeled, Target has been known to offer their in-store supply of these diapers on clearance usually around June or July!
If you tend to have larger babies, you may be able to save money by skipping right over the newborn size and go right to the one-sized diapers. In this case, you can build your entire stash of 2 to 3 dozen diapers with all one-sized diapers. Otherwise, try to purchase a dozen infant-sized diapers. You can sell these off or pack away once your baby grows out of them.
How much more laundry will I need to do?
Cloth diapers need to be washed every 2 to 3 days. A larger stash of diapers will afford you more time between washes, though you don’t really want to go any longer than this due to smells and odor that can occur. If diapers are washed every Tuesday/Thursday/Friday that’s really only 3 extra washes a week. Personally, I’ve found that having to keep up on cloth diaper laundry keeps me in a groove and I’m more likely to get a few more loads of regular laundry done in the same afternoon. Also, it’s common for cloth diaper manufacturers to recommend air-drying or drying diapers with PUL (the material that provides the waterproof barrier) on low heat. Hanging inside or on clothesline outside not only cuts down on energy costs but also makes up for the extra loads of wash.
What about cloth wipes?
As long as you use diapers you will need wipes. If you’d prefer to use disposable wipes reference Diaper Stock Up here.
Reusable wipes can be purchased individually on Etsy, or for about $11.99 per dozen on Amazon. Cloth wipes tend to be more heavy duty than disposable wipes so you may notice you use less at a time. Either way, you could easily build a stash of wipes to last you from birth to potty training for under $50.