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The Down and Dirty of Cloth Diapering; Why Would Anyone Use Cloth Diapers?

 

A long time ago I wrote about my experience switching to Cloth diapers. This post will be a revision to that, as I’ve learned a lot more about Cloth diapers, and I’ve also experienced a larger variety of brands and styles. But you can still read the original if you would like at It’s Not Your Grandma’s Cloth Diaper.

The idea is that cloth diapers have come a LONG way since your grandparents or maybe even your parents used cloth diapers. Many people don’t know this about us, because when you look at us, talk to us, hang out with us, we seem like a NORMAL family. Now if you have been following us online, you know I love my cloth diapers! But little do they know, we are one of those Crazy Cloth Diapering families.

When you hear that someone uses Cloth diapers, what is your usual response? I’ve heard it all!

“YUCK!”

“You’re NUTS!”
“Isn’t that a lot of work?”

“How do you CLEAN them?”
“Don’t they leak ALL the time?”
“What about Diaper Rashes?”
“Do you have to use those PINS?”
“Wow, You are brave! I could never do that!” (really it’s not as bad or as hard as it seems)
“Oh that is Gross! You seriously touch POOP?” (There I said it! Yes, I’ve had that question! And the answer is NO! I don’t touch Poop!)

I’m here to tell you I used to be one of those that feared and didn’t understand Cloth diapering and I was QUITE anti cloth! My sister started Cloth Diapering a long time before I did. And I thought/said the same things to her. In fact I was so closed-minded I wouldn’t even let her tell me about them. Boy am I kicking myself now!

Like I mentioned before, Cloth Diapering isn’t anything like it used to be. They have been improved and are very user friendly now. In fact, there are so many new and different kinds, styles, and brands, there is no way I can talk about them all here, so I’m going to hit on the most popular styles and brands that I have had experience with and I will tell you what I’ve discovered from personal use.

First of all; WHY did we switch to cloth diapers if I was so against them? Easy, MONEY! That was seriously our main deciding factor. My husband was nearing the end of his Army contract, he was going to be leaving the service and going back to school and our income was going to go from Comfortable to Nada. We had to find ways to cut back on our monthly spending, and one of our biggest monthly expenses was Jade’s Disposable Diapers and wipes. So I finally called my sister and told her to tell me all about cloth diapers.

So I’m going to show you how switching to Cloth really did save us a lot of money, by comparing the different kinds with Disposable diapers.

Disposable Diapers cost

So you figure you change your child’s diaper 5-6 times a day at first. We’ll use 6 to be on the safe side.

At the beginning, the child is in Size 1. We like to save money so we always tried to buy diapers in the box packages, instead of the smaller packages. So a typical box has 92 diapers at an average price of $27. This box will last you 15 days. So you will need 2 of them a month. Most babies stay in size one for about 2 months..so a total of 4 boxes.

SO, for size 1 diapers at 2x a month times 2 months= $108

Now Size 2:  they come in boxes of 84 count. So you will now need a little more than 2 boxes a month, but for ease of calculating we’ll still say 2X a month. These boxes cost: $25/box. and most babies tend to stay in size 2 diapers for about 4 months.

Size 2 Diapers at 2X a month times 4 Months= $200

Our baby is now 6 months old and we’ve already spent: $308 on diapers, not counting wipes.

Now at 6 months old, if you are lucky, you no longer have to change your child’s diapers 6 times a day, so lets drop that number down to say 4 times a day. If you can get away with even less, I want to know your secret!!

Size 3 diapers: A lot of babies stay in this size until they are 12-15 months. We’ll say 15 months old until they grow out of this size so that means 9 months in size 3 diapers. Now the boxes start getting more economical, bigger count, but also bigger price, but you are still saving when it comes to each individual diapers cost: average box is about 174 count at $46. This box will almost last the entire month, but again, for ease of calculating we’ll say it lasts the whole month. But you will still need 9 of them…
Size 3 diapers at 1x a month times 9 months = $414
And our child is only 15 months old.

Size 4 diapers: Most babies stay in this size until they are 2 years old, so for another 9 months. Boxes come in 192 count, so again will only need 1 box a month. Price: $45 a box

Size 4 diapers at 1x a month times 9 months=$405

Now if you are very lucky your child will potty train soon and the total amount you will have spent on diapers for this child will have been approx: $1127

If your kids are anything like MY kids, you still have another 1.5 years in size 5 diapers…so we’ll continue on…

Size 5 diapers,  boxes are 172 count at $44…still just one box a month but for 18 months

Size 5 at 1x a month times 18 months = $792
Now we are PRAYING that your child is potty trained by 3.5 years old. If not, my deepest sympathies.

Our total average spent on disposable diapers on this one child is now: $1919
And if you have any more children, you get to do the entire thing all over again. A little disheartening.

Let me show you why the cloth diapering was SO tempting that we made the switch.

I will now show you the average cost of different styles of cloth diapers.

Prefolds:

Prefolds are known for being the least expensive. They are also the most like the old style of diapers, but even Prefolds have come a long way!

You still have the cloth “diaper” that you have to fold and then instead of using pins, you use a wonderful invention called a Snappies. And then you have a diaper cover, which is also a large improvement on the old plastic “pants”!

Even still the average cost of this system is $90, or less if you buy on a sale. There are 3 sizes for this system, so as your child grows you will have to replace this system with the next size up, so that is $90 spent 3 times for the entire duration of the child in diapers

Prefolds: $90 X 3 = $270 For 3.5 years of diapering, that is all you spend. Then you still have the diapers for any future children!

Big difference right? Which would you rather Spend, $1919 or $270?

But some people just don’t like Prefolds! I don’t blame you, I’m not a prefold girl myself. Those were the first cloth diapers I tried, and I almost quit cloth diapering all together.

Pros of Prefolds:
They are the least expensive Cloth diaper

Cons:

  • a little too much like the old fashion diaper for me
  • My child was SO skinny, these didn’t fit her very well, they still leaked a little because I couldn’t get the right fit
  • more work when it comes to a diaper change

Sized Diapers!

These are diapers that are tailored specifically for the size of your child at a specific age. As your child grows, you will need to get bigger diapers. Prefolds are a sized diaper. But there are many other kinds but I’m not as familiar with them. The most common one, since Bumgenius discontinued the 3.0’s is Fuzzibunz Perfect size diaper, so we will use those cost numbers.

Fuzzibunz XSize small is $13.95. A child will probably stay in this until they are 4 months. You need an average of 6 diapers a day,  so you will need an average of 24 diapers to get you between washing every 2-3 days.

So $13.95 X 24 = $334.80

Size Small is $14.95 and is good for up to 8 months. So we need another 24diapers here:

$14.95 X 24 = $358.80

Now we move to size Medium which costs $15.95. This is good up to 36 months. So hopefully this is all we need. You will still want 24 diapers.

$15.95 X 24 = $382.80

If your child is larger than 30 lbs you will have to move up to size Large which is $16.95. But I’ll let you do that math if you need it.

So total for Sized diapers is $1076.40.
Yes these are quite a bit more expensive, but it is still less than disposables and you also need to realize, that these diapers last through more than one child, where disposables are only good for that one child.

Pros of Sized Diapers;

  • trimmer fit for baby
  • lasts through more than one child

Cons:

  • Constantly having to buy new diapers when the child grows
  • more expensive than prefolds

ONE SIZE Diapers!

One size merely means it is a diaper that can be adjusted to fit your child through the entire diapering process. The majority of these diapers have a lot of snaps around the front of  the diaper allowing you to snap up to the correct size. The great advantage to this is that you can buy your original system and be done! You never have to buy another cloth diaper again, because they grow with your child!

There are a LOT of different brands and styles in this category. You have Pocket diapers, hybrid diapers, fitted diapers and even some All In ONES!

Pocket diapers are diapers that have the same “PUL” outer lining (this is a special material which is what keeps the diaper from leaking), but also has a nice fabric lining which is what sits against your child’s skin. It has a “pocket’ in the back or front where you can stuff an insert (the fabric piece that absorbs all wetness)

Hybrid Diapers are different from other diapers. They have the same PUL lining but instead of stuffing the pocket, you merely lay or snap the insert on top of the PUL. There is no extra barrier between the absorbant layer and your baby’s skin. The major brands I know in this style are Flip, Best Bottoms and Grovia.

I honestly don’t know anything about Fitted, nor what makes them different, as I’ve never experienced a “fitted” diaper before.

All In ONES are the closest thing you will get to a disposable diaper, but still using cloth. It has the same PUL lining, and it also has the nice barrier lining as the pocket diaper has that goes between the insert and the child’s skin. But instead of stuffing the insert inside, it is already sewn into place. Some of these also have a “pocket” where you can choose to stuff additional inserts for heavy wetters, but this is not required.

Each of these styles have a large variety of brands and prices, so figuring this cost is much harder. If you already know the style you want, it would be easier for your to calculate the cost. But I will do my best.

One of the least expensive One Size diapers I know of is the Sunbaby diaper. It’s a pocket diaper. And one I have used and really like.

Sunbaby diapers for 24 diapers costs $108.00. And this is all you would need for the entire time your child is in diapers as it adjusts sizes with your child, and 24 diapers would allow you to have 6 diaper changes a day and washing approximately every 2-3 days.

On the higher end scale is the bumgenius Elemental All IN one diaper which costs Approx $25/diaper. You will again need a minimum of 24 diapers

$25 X 24 = $600.

All other diapers in the One Size category will fall between $108-$600 TOTAL! And again, the great thing is that these diapers are not for just one child, but for all the babies you have! That’s a rather large savings compared to the $1919 you are spending on Disposable Diapers!

Pros of One Sized Diapers: 

  •  One size lasts the entire Diapering season
  • Adjusts to the perfect size
  • Costs less
  • higher quality diapers
  • More variety of diapers/styles/colors to fit your personality

Cons of One Sized Diapers:

  • Some have longer drying times
  • Some you have to “stuff” pockets
  • Some you don’t have a liner between baby’s skin and absorbent insert.
  • Sometimes you can’t get a perfect fit if your child is sized different than other children.

Other BENEFITS to Cloth Diapering!

So I’ve just showed you how you can honestly save a lot of money by cloth diapering. And that was just with the diapers! Think how much more you can save when you switch to cloth wipes! You merely wash the wipes in the washer with the diapers. No extra laundry loads. And no more buying those expensive wipes! And there are plenty of recipes online for great wipe solutions!

So other than saving money there are many other benefits to cloth diapers such as:

  • No Poopy explosions! Oh, you know what I’m talking about! Almost every disposable diaper except the Bambo-nature Disposables would leak a poopy mess onto the clothes, which caused stains that rarely came out. Again, saving money on not having to replace baby clothes too!
  • Dramatic Decrease in Diaper rash
  • Softer on baby’s Skin
  • No Harsh Chemicals in manufacturing or in materials in product
  • More environmentally friendly
  • Adorable Prints/colors. More variety than Disposables
  • No “ripping”. Almost every disposable diaper (again with the exception of Bambo-nature) I’ve used; the tabs rip off, or the diaper rips open and the chemical “buds” spill everywhere. These are a NIGHTMARE to clean up!Not to mention dangerous if the baby gets a hold of them due to their chemical nature.
  • No different in Convenience in clean up from disposables! Did you know, you technically aren’t suppose to throw poop in the trash with disposable diapers? Yeah, it says so on the disposable diaper packages! Seriously, go read it. Even with disposable diapers, you are suppose to dump the poop down the toilet, so really it’s not much different from cloth diapers!
  • Once you buy the initial start up cost, that’s ALL you spend on cloth diapers, unless you WANT more.

CONS to cloth Diapering:

Yes, there are cons. I’m not completely blinded by how much money we save. There are some drawbacks.

  • Sometimes cloth diapers are not as convenient. If you are out traveling, you can’t just change the stinky diaper and toss it. You will want a special bag that doesn’t leak odor, so you can carry your diaper home with you and get it in the wash.
  • You do have to wash the diaper. But this usually isn’t bad.
  • Once you start, you will fall in love with the large variety of patterns/colors and WANT more diapers, even though you don’t NEED more diapers.

What do I recommend?

Well, Again I can’t tell you exactly what to get, because you need to experience the different brands/styles yourself to see what fits with your personality.

I also highly recommend searching for cloth diaper reviews on blogs to see what real moms using the cloth diaper brand have to say about it, how well it stands up to washing, how well it fits, etc.

But as for myself, I have tried the prefolds, hybrids, all in ones and pockets. I’ve tried many different brands in each of those styles as well.

I love the idea behind the All In ones, but I don’t like the ones that are sized and don’t grow with the baby. I prefer the ONE SIZE diapers the most. I use both Hybrids and pocket diapers, but have not yet had the opportunity to try out the one size All in one diapers.

At present, which is also subject to change when I experience different brands, my favorite diapers I currently use are: Go Green Diapers and Sunbaby pocket diapers. Although there are many brands/styles out there that I haven’t tried yet but really want to because they look so amazing; such as Fuzzibunz, Bumgenius Elemental, Rumparooz and many WAHM made diapers!

I am also very open to trying new brands and styles! You never know when you will find your new Cloth diaper love, unless you try it!

If you come to the conclusion that cloth diapers just aren’t for you, that is ok! We can still be friends! I’m not one of those crazy cloth diapering moms who looks down on those who still use disposables. I can see why you’d want to. But for our family, the cloth diapers just work a lot better. Sure we still keep a package of disposables around for baby sitters and the grandparents to use, and for long trips where I won’t have access to wash the diapers. But overall, we much prefer the cloth in our family.



PLEASE if you have ANY questions about Cloth diapers, how it works, the ins and outs, or want to know other reasons why I love it, or how it compares to diapering with disposals, Go ahead and comment with your questions or concerns and I’d LOVE to answer them all! If you are one of us Crazy Diapering Families and love it, feel free to comment with what you love about cloth diapering, I’d love to  hear from you!

Keep your eyes open for our next Cloth Diapering article:Things you Need to Know Before You Switch to Cloth Diapers. This article will go more in depth with the ins and outs of using cloth diapers, how you wash them, use them, etc. And will also answer any of the questions you have and comment with below!

Disclaimer: Although some sites/brands were linked to in this article, it is solely for the research ability of the reader. This Article was not sponsored in any way, shape or form. No brands mentioned in this article commissioned or asked to be included. I merely used them because they were brands I have  a little experience with and understand more than others.

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How to begin Cloth Diapering Part 1: Things You Need to Know Before You Switch to Cloth Diapers

Wednesday 22nd of June 2016

[…] have come a long way since your parents and grandparents have used them, and I showed you the many benefits to cloth diapering. Now we need to get down to the nitty gritty details of what really goes into cloth diapering, tips […]

carol roberts

Sunday 18th of November 2012

i tried this lasted all of a day i give u props for sticking it out

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