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It's not your Grandma's Diaper…Why Use 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. But little do you know, we are one of those Crazy Cloth Diapering families.

When you hear that someone uses Cloth diapers, what is your usual response?

"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?"

I"m here to tell you I used to be one of you. My sister started Cloth Diapering a long time before I did. And I thought the same thing to her. Infact I was so closed-minded I wouldn't even let her tell me about them. Boy am I kicking myself now!

I am here to tell you, as one who has been on both sides, Cloth Diapering isn't anything like it used to be when your Grandma, or even your own mother was using Diapers. They have been improved and are very user friendly now. Infact, 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 ones, tell you what I've discovered from personal use.

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. 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.

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 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 talk about the 3 main types of diapers: Prefolds, Pockets and All in ones. when Switching you will want to try out 2-3 of each type that sounds appealing to you to find the kind that you really like, cause if you use the wrong kind that doesn't fit with your personality, you will hate it and go right back to disposables. But if you find the kind you really like, it can be a wonderful experience.
Keep in mind, with cloth diapers you will be washing them 2-3 times a week. I found a great system where I wash on Mondays and Fridays, and it always keeps me in diapers. I purchased enough Diapers for 24 diaper changes.

PREFOLDS
 
 
This is the style we first started out with. It was not "my personality style". But I know others that just LOVE this style. To make the switch easy, you will need approx 24 prefold cloth diapers, about 5-6 Snappies (coolest invention ever to replace the safety pin!) and about 5-6 Litewrap covers.
Total system averages about $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.

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
Pocket Diapers
 

 
 
For Pocket Diapers, all you need to buy is the Diaper "shell" itself and then inserts. You will need 1 diaper and 1 insert for each diaper change. So a total of 24 of each.

There are LOTS of different brands of pocket diapers, so the price can vary greatly.


Low end in Price (NOT quality) is definitely the Kawaii diapers. The average price for the diaper is about $10 . The great news, each diaper comes with 2 bamboo cloth inserts, so no additional purchase is needed.

Kawaii Diaper: $10 X 24 = $240


 
High end in price: One of the most popular brands: Bumgenius 4.0
The average price for the diaper is about $19 per diaper.
The great thing about the Bumgenius 4.0 is that each diaper comes with 2 inserts, a newborn insert and a regular sized insert, so you don't have to buy them separately, unless you have a heavy wetter at night and you need extra for night time.

Diaper + insert: $19 X 24 = $456

Pros of the Pocket Diapers:

  • These are both "One size" meaning they are adjustable and will fit your child all the way until they are out of diapers. You don't have to continually buy a new size as they grow. So that $240 or the $456 is all you will be spending on this child's diapers. 
  • They are Fast Drying
  • Trim fit

Cons:

  • Needs completely new diaper each change
  • have to "stuff" every diaper's pocket before each diaper change or after washing
 
 
 

All in Ones
 

 
All in ones is a diaper that is most like a disposable diaper. the Shell and insert are sewn together on the inside, so all you need is that ONE diaper for each diaper change. But you do need one for EVERY change.

There are quite a few different brands in this section too, but I will only talk about 2.

Bumgenius Elemental Organic AIO

Each diaper averages about $25 but that is all you need. They adjust for each size, so again you don't have to buy another system when your child grows.

BG: $25 X 24 diapers = $600

 
 
The Other brand I want to talk about is one I haven't tried, but I've heard nothing but Rave Reviews for and would LOVE to give it a try:

Blissful Booty
Again, all you need is the ONE diaper, no inserts. These diapers are $19.99

BB: $19.99 X 24 diapers = $479.76
The downside to the Blissful booty is that they are not a one size fits all. You will need to re-purchase this set as your child grows in size…so 3 different sizes…

$479.76 X 3 =$1439.28

 
Pros of All in ones:
  • Convenient
  •  most like Disposable diapers
  • very easy to use
Cons of All in Ones:
  • Most expensive Cloth Diaper option
  • Longest drying time.

 

The Last Kind of diaper I'm going to talk to you about, is the kind I use the most. It is a HYBRID diaper that doesn't fit into any one category. They are unique and not well known.

Best Bottom Diapers

 
 
The Best Bottom Diaper is completely unique. It is a 2 part system, meaning there is the diaper shell, and the insert. The inserts SNAP into the shell, helping to prevent the insert from moving, which if you have a wiggly baby like my own, this is a heaven send!

For the Best bottom System you will need 5-6 shells (they are re-usable for each diaper change) and about 24 inserts.

The Diaper shell is a One size diaper, so it adjusts to your baby no matter what size they are. The inserts however do need to be replaced as your child grows. My personal experience, there is one size you can practically skip all together, so you really only need to buy the 2 sizes for the entire time your child is in this diaper..the small and the large.

Diaper shell: $16.95 X 6 = $101.70

Inserts: $3.95 X 24 = 94.80 X 2 sizes = $189.60
Total: $291.30

Again, that is all you'll need to spend on the diapers for the entire 3.5 years your child is in diapers.

Pros of Best Bottoms:

  • Fast Drying time
  • No stuffing Pockets
  • inserts Snap in and don't move on a wiggly baby
  • Very Trim fit
  • Only need one for all sizes of the child
  • very absorbent
  • Not expensive

Cons of Best Bottoms:

  • You have to snap in each insert

Of course if you have to buy overnight inserts, etc for heavy wetters, there will be additional cost, but not much more than about $15-20 for those, in any brand/style.

Conclusion 
To Recap
 
Disposable Diapers: 

$1127-$1919 Per Kid

 
Prefolds:

$270 Re-usable with EACH child

 
Pocket Diapers:
$240- $456 re-usable with each child
 
All in Ones:
$600-$1439.28 Re-usable with each following child
 
Best Bottoms:

$291.30 re-usable with each following child. 

 
And all those prices don't even include the Wipes that you use. If you switch to Cloth wipes, again, you will be saving even more money, and you won't be adding any additional work to your current Cloth Diaper wash load, as you just throw them in with the diapers and wash it all together.
So, have I sparked any interest in cloth diapering for you yet?

After I compiled this list the first time, and I saw the Price difference in cloth diapering vs Disposables, I was kicking myself and wishing I would have had a more open mind when I was diapering our two boys. Just the amount of $ we would have saved on the diapers alone– Oh I'm kicking myself. Plus the fact that our Cloth diapers, DO NO LEAK! No "poopy Explosions" so all those cute outfits could have been saved from "poop stains"! Vision is 20/20 with hindsight.

This is just ONE benefit we found to using Cloth Diapers in comparison to Disposable, because no matter what system you choose, it is a one time purchase that you will have, that you can use for each Child one after another. You can't do that with Disposable diapers. There are many other reasons why I have grown to LOVE cloth diapers, but I think this post is long enough.

But 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, we'd love to hear from you too!

 
Disclosure:
Prices for Disposable diapers taken from Amazon.com
Cloth diaper prices taken from 
Kawaii Baby Diapers
Blissful Booty
 
For easy of shopping: the places where I buy my diapers are:
Nicki's Diapers

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

Friday 1st of April 2016

[…] 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. […]

Amber Edwards

Wednesday 21st of September 2011

Alena, I have not noticed any dramatic change in our water bill. I have enough diapers that I really only wash diapers 2times a week. Once on Mondays and then again on Fridays. So it doesn't make that much of a dent in our water bill..what REALLY does is watering our Grass. lol. Now that...that is when our bill goes up!

I think I was one of those people who used to day, "oh Cloth..GROSS! Don't do it! You will hate it!" but that was because I was thinking about the OLD kind like what you described..with the pins and the pull up plastic pants, etc. I think they are probably thinking the SAME thing! They probably don't know about all the changes that have been made to cloth diapering since then. Try to educate your family, not in a "I am telling you.." way, but in a "Oh this is SO cool!" or "See these diapers! They are SO cute!" type way. :) They will come around.

As for others not wanting to deal with the cloth..if it is someone that will be dealing with your child often, just show them how easy it is to work the cloth diapers. As for nursery, in our church, the teachers always bring the kid to us for diaper changes anyway, so it doesn't really matter that my daughter is in a Cloth diaper.

We DO however, keep 1 pkg of disposables on hand for emergencies (ie, if I forget to wash the diapers on time) or for babysitters. It's just easier for them to use disposables..unless you have a very forward thinking babysitter. lol. But even with that, the cost is only $20 and for us we only have to buy a pkg every 3-4 months.

Alena Belleque

Tuesday 20th of September 2011

Hi there! I found this post from your comment last month over at Freckleberry Finds. WOW!!! This is EXACTLY what I needed to read!! I used trifolds (but with pull up plastic pants and pins) with my siblings when I was little, and while they work fine, they do leak and you have to pin them just so or, well, badness. I've only heard otherwise about the pocket diapers, and while they are intriguing, the stuffing and having to get a whole new diaper every time is REALLY not my style (or my husbands). But those last ones, with the snap in liners?? GENIUS!!

I do have a question for you: how bad does this affect your water bill??? My in laws are too diplomatic to try and keep me from going cloth (I'm expecting my first in April), but they keep telling me all the down sides, namely cost of washing "all those extra loads", and how no one in the church nursery or babysitting will be willing to use the cloth diapers. I'm a bit discouraged on those two fronts.

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