It is estimated that the average baby goes through 2700 diapers in his or her first year. If you average 20 cents per diaper, that is $540 for year 1. If your child is magical and completely potty trains by year 2, then you will come out at spending a little over $1,000 including wipes. But more than likely, your child will potty train closer to 3, then still be in pull-ups for a few nights after that. Experts say it costs about $2500 to diaper a child. This process starts over with each new babe and after discerning with my husband, we decided early in our first pregnancy that we were going to explore the wonderful world of cloth diapering. Many people doubted this choice, but if you’ve read Brennan’s story, you know that cloth was our only option (divine intervention for sure!). Those same people said it could not be done with two kids, and I’m here to tell those people they are wrong (the rude family and friends usually are)!
What We Use
I did a good amount of research and found that Bumgenius makes the easiest to use cloth diapers and has a great warranty. However, they are more expensive than basically any others. They average about $18/diaper, but I have found such luck in buying in bulk on www.thegreennursery.com. If you get a good sale, they’ll even throw in an extra diaper or disposable liners (I’ll get to those in a minute). The Freetime diapers are all-in-ones and you are able to manipulate the padding on whether or not your baby is a boy or a girl.
The 4.0 Pocket diapers are wonderful for nighttime and are able to hold extra padding which keeps the diaper liner dry as the baby gets older. I started using both of these on both kids once they hit 11 pounds and have had great luck ever since! (Brennan is 23 pounds now and about 33 inches.)
What about Newborns?
We purchased a package of disposables to fully get us through the meconium poops as those stains don’t come out! We were also gifted a pack so we used about 80 Newborn disposables total.
Last year, I purchased a bulk pack of the Bumgenius Newborns (right) and was gifted some Little Joey’s (left). We liked both, but only used them for about a week with Winston since he grew so fast (hence no picture of him in these).
What about the poop?
It’s really not as gross as you think! You are likely already elbow deep in your kid’s bodily fluids anyway! We invested in a diaper sprayer which is a God-send for poopy diapers. A friend said she never needed one because breastmilk-poop is so easily washed and used disposable liners as her baby got older. Now that we are in the trenches of teething diapers, I would recommend a diaper sprayer as this same friend purchased one for this very reason!
Disposable liners are biodegradable liners that can line the back of the diaper so when a baby poops, you just throw the liner in the toilet and flush. We haven’t used these yet, hence the unopened packaging.
Every cloth company has a recommendation for how to wash the diapers. What works for us is making sure any poopy diaper is sprayed, and then we wash all of them in a hot cycle, with double rinse and spin. Most diaper company’s make their own gentle detergent which costs an arm and a leg, so we stick with Tide Free & Clear and have had great luck. Then they are hung on the line to air-dry (drying them usually voids the warranty). Occasionally I will strip them (wash them in bleach, recommended every few months)—particularly if we are dealing with a diaper rash but we’ve only had two of those. That’s right, out of both my kids (one of them being on a small pharmacy of meds) we have had just TWO diaper rashes total. It’s awesome. Their baby butts are happy.
Two in Cloth
The only difference between one and two kids in cloth is I went from doing diaper laundry every other day to every day (and obviously I change double the diapers, which I would be doing in disposables anyway). I am blessed to be able to stay home with my kids so this is a possibility for us. I know in some cities and suburban areas cloth diaper cleaning is offered for a pretty hefty fee. I just make throwing in a load of diapers part of my morning routine (good filler for when the coffee is brewing)!
The Pretty Penny
Newborn diapers: 18 total (4 of them gifts): $178
One-Size Diapers: 40 total (4 of them gifts): $670
Diaper Sprayer: $50
Disposable Liner: Free gift from ordering cloth diapers (retails $15)
Electric & Water: $175.00/year
Disposable Wipes $40.00/year **many people use cloth wipes as well and simply make a gentle detergent to soak them in. I think that will be my project for baby #3!
As you can see, it cost us $898 to build my diaper stash with $265 reoccuring yearly costs. In 2017 we will have spent under $300 to diaper two children. As a stay at home mom, I feel it is part of my job to figure out how our family can spend less money. The result is us being able to pay off student loans faster and put money in our children’s 529s and our own IRA’s monthly. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it has been a fun (and sometimes smelly) journey for us! If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out!