The following post contains affiliate links, however all opinions remain my own. For more information, see my full disclosure policy.
At first the price of cloth diapering can seem daunting. $19.99 for a single cloth diaper? A pack of disposable diapers costs half that! Over time though, the cost of cloth diapers (including cleaning costs) is much cheaper than disposables (and earth friendly!), particularly if you will be using them for multiple children . Babycenter’s first year baby cost calculator estimates $72 per month for disposable diapers versus $19 per month for cloth (assuming you already have a stash). That’s $864 per year not including wipes! This doesn’t even take into account if baby outgrows some of the diapers before you can use them. If you had a base stash of 24 diapers that all cost $20, it’s still only $480. And this is only the first year. Many cloth diapers are able to last much longer than that when taken care of properly. Still, $480 can seem like a lot to come out of pocket all at once.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend that much to successfully cloth diaper.
1. Use Prefolds – Although this type of diaper is the least like disposable diapers, they are the most economical. These diapers are what people typically think of when they think of cloth diapering: large squares of fabric that must be pinned to baby. The prefold diapers of today are much different than the big squares that our grandparents used. Many prefolds have extra padding sewn into the middle for absorbency. Even safety pins are outdated in favor of diaper fasteners which close the diapers without the risk of a pin stab. On a really tight budget? Maman Loup has a great tutorial on how to cloth diaper using flour sacks towels.
2. Buy Used – Used diapers are a great way to save some money. That’s actually how I got most of my diapers! There are numerous sites and events devoted to this. Diaperswappers.com has a forum where you can connect with other parents and swap diapers. There are also both national and local facebook groups devoted to selling and swapping used diapers. read my review here) also occasionally has cloth diapers as well. You can also check consignment events such as Just Between Friends. Just be sure to have an idea of prices and brands. You don’t want to pay more for a used diaper than a new one just because it’s convenient.
3. Make Your Own – Are you handy with a sewing machine? Then you can make your own! You can use old clothing scraps or material to make diaper inserts, or if you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can make the whole diaper. Premeditated Leftovers has a great link roundup of free patterns.
4. Shop clearance & Sales – Another great option is being on the lookout for sales and clearance. For instance, Bumgenious just came out with their 5.0 diapers, which means the 4.0 diapers are on the way out. Normally between 15.99 and 19.99, they were on clearance at BuyBuyBaby for $13.95, and CottonBabies for $10.95. I snagged a few BumGenious Freetimes this way!
5. Cheaper Brands – Consider a cheaper cloth diaper brand. Keep in mind, many cloth diapers (but not all) are cheaper due to production being outsourced to developing countries. That being said, they can still be a great addition to a stash on a budget.
Brands Under $10
- Alva Baby – Also available on Amazon (affiliate)
- Kawaii Baby – Also available on Amazon (affiliate)
- Sun Baby
- Fox Groo – Also available on Amazon (affiliate)
Brands Under $15
- Trend Labs
- Glow Bug – but only sold in packs of diapers. (Use this link for a 5% discount code)(Affiliate)
- Imagine Baby -(Affiliate Link)- Also available on Amazon (affiliate)
- Happy Endings Eco Diapers – Also available on Amazon (affiliate)
Have you used any of these tips? What worked best for you?