Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Diapering for under $150?

Is it possible?  Diapering your child from birth to potty training for $150, it must be too good to be true because surely the only way this is possible is by either practicing elimination communication* or, or, or what?  It must be impossible.

It is indeed possible and it isn't an unrealistic idea.   Even better, if you continue through the post, you will find even more ideas to save money.

If you haven't figured it out, it does involve cloth diapers.  Not a terrible choice and not something that needs to be difficult.  Cloth diapering is becoming more popular and more and more parents are choosing this green option that saves the planet and money.  (How often are you able to be green AND save money?)

Although I was able to get the number under $100, I felt $150 was more realistic.  You might be thinking, "Yikes!  Buying all those diapers for $150.  I can't afford to pay $150 upfront."  Lucky for you, most women find out they are pregnant early on in their pregnancy.  Start saving $5 a week and you will have saved the $150 by the time your bundle of joy arrives.  A pack of middle of the road diapers can cost you around $.12/diaper if you change your baby 10 times a day (as newborns tend to pee often) you will pay $1.20 a day on diapers.  At $1.20 a day or $8.40 a week (versus the $5 I mentioned) you will pay for all of your cloth diapers and cloth diapering gear in 125 days or 4 1/2 months.

This list does not include changing pads or a diaper bag as these are things you would already be needing or using.  That said, I say use an old towel and backpack work great for a changing pad and diaper bags (this is true for cloth or disposable).

So, let's begin!

$48 - 24 flat diapers
$45- 5 one size diaper covers at $9 each
$1.50 - 4 diaper pins
$15 - 1 diaper pail liner or wetbag
$24 - 2 overnight diaper

Grand total = $133.50

This will diaper your child for 2 days.  Wash the diapers on the second day and use the second overnight diaper while most of the other diapers are in the wash.  

Flat diapers are a great deal.  They are a single layer of material folded into a shape to fit onto a baby of different sizes and genders.  Different folds leave more material in the front versus the middle and you are able to make the diaper smaller to fit your small baby.  The flat diapers I bought when Bug was a baby still fit him today.  Yes they come in toddler size, but at this time, I have not needed to purchase them.

The picture on the left Bug is about 3 months old.  It is an angel wing fold, basically the square flat fold twice and wrapped around the baby.  The picture on the right is the same size diaper.  This was taken a few days ago, Bug is 2 years and 3 months.  It is folded in an origami fold with an extra doubler.  He wandered around for a while without a cover.  The absorbency of a flat is surprising.

<--The back of an origami fold.

Bug wearing a flat under a cover. ---->

Other ways to save:

-You are able to use cloth wipes as well!  Make your own with repurposed material.  I cut up a pair of old sweatpants with shot elastic.  There are sprays and solutions you can make out there or use warm water to wipe your baby's bum.

-Instead of using a wet bag or pail liner, use a plastic garbage bag.  These will not be machine washable.

-For an out and about wet bag, use a gallon sized wet bag.  As most of these commercials claim, they are leak proof, they can hold 3-4 dirty flats and you can wash these by hand.

-Don't buy fancy diaper detergent.  Many people like Original Powder Tide.  I've used Purex Free and Clear with no issues.

-Lengthen the life of your covers by hanging them or laying them out to dry.  Flats and covers dry fast.  If left out overnight they will be dry in the morning.  PUL covers should not be left in the sun for long periods of time, the sun will eventually ruin the material.

There are other things you may wish to buy:
- Extra absorbency pads, as your baby grows and wets more, extra absorbency may be wanted, or you can just use 2 diapers at once
- Liners for the inside of the diaper (makes flushing the poop much easier but completely unnecessary)
- Different fasteners - You may wish to buy a different fastener.  Many people find them easier than pins and is why you will pay between $-$6 for them
- A diaper sprayer**

Now you may be thinking, "But Vicky, what about all that water we'll be using and wasting and paying for by having to wash our diapers?"  I will say, I was quite surprised how little our water bill went up.  So little in fact that when I asked Hubby about it, he said he didn't even notice.  If it did go up, it was no more than a couple of dollars a month, or 2 days of diaper changes.  "But Vicky, what about all the extra time to wash those diapers?"  Well, it does take time to wash them but I put ours in the washing machine at night and in the morning I stick them in the dryer.  Doesn't take up any of my time.  I have found that the biggest time spent with the laundry end is the spraying and the folding.  "YUCK!  I hate folding clothes."  Well, if you're doing flats, they're no different than folding a square pillowcase.  There's no folding involved with the covers.  "YUCK!  Spraying poop!"  Yeah, well, poop is gross but I've had poop ooze and drip out of disposables, squish out onto car seats, get my shirt, pants, robe, socks.  I still have to deal with poop and until they're potty trained and able to wipe their own butts (and wipe them well) I will be dealing with poop.

There is one more issue that I am not able to say I've had to deal with: a laundromat.  I've always had access to my own washer and dryer.  If you do not, you may wish to buy 3 dozen to cut back on how many times you have to head over to the laundromat.  Bringing them home wet and hanging them dry, be it inside or out, will save you money on each load.  For those who are a bit more daring, hand washing is also an option.  Make sure you rinse any poop off in the toilet and wash all soap out until there are no suds.  Soap residue will cause diaper rash and will cause the diapers to stink when they are dirtied again.  This is when being a single layer is also useful.

Now you may be thinking that you remember seeing pictures or posts of my kids wearing different diapers, not just flats.  Very true.  (Thanks for paying attention and being a loyal reader!)  Like most things in life, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  There are many different types of diapers but if saving money is what you are  want the most, flats are by far the way to go.

Good luck and happy diapering!


*Elimination communication: starting at a very young age, parents watch for signs of child eliminating, including, but not limited to, grunting, timing, and other things I don't understand.  (I do not recommend following this description to teach your child elimination communication.)
**This is not at all necessary but I will say I like ours and it has kept Hubby from changing his mind against cloth diapering.  It has also helped wash puke out of clothes, sheets and winter coats.


  1. Great CD tips! I need to get my stash out and use CD again. I ran out of the fancy diaper detergent (and the store I bought it from closed), and I haven't known what to use without damaging the diapers. I'll try Purex F & C. Obviously, I am more of a 'hybrid' CD. :)

    1. How has your diapering experience been going?