Cloth Diapering can be a big money-saver, but it’s one many people don’t think of. There might be many reasons for that, but I thought I’d share a little bit about our decision to cloth diaper, and how our family feels about it.
When I was pregnant with my second child, my husband and I got into a conversation about cloth diapering. My best friend, Rosie, cloth diapered all of her babies, and I figured it could be a huge money saver. We looked into all the possibilities. Starting off, I thought our only option was Gerber prefolds and a diaper service… I was so very clueless! Thank God for great friends! Rosie talked me through a lot of it, and I finally decided I’d probably be at least a little clueless until we got our first ones.
Being the frugal lady I am, I searched the internet for what was inexpensive. We settled on buying two boxes of Econobums to start, because we figured that it was the least amount of money spent for the most diapers, and we could figure out how to make it work. We got them in the mail, washed and prepped them, and set them all up in a sweet little basket.
When our little Bear was born, we were thankful to have received plenty of disposables (commonly called sposies in Cloth Diapering circles, but most people just call them diapers!) from the hospital to get us through the first couple of (exhausting) weeks. The first time I tried to put one of our cloth diapers on him, I cried. It was easy to get on him, but the tri-fold insert folded the small way made the diaper about as big as our baby. I was sure our cloth diapering journey was over, and that I had just wasted about a hundred bucks. My husband is a very smart man, though, and immediately thought up a solution. He took a store-bought Gerber flat fold that we had been given at our baby shower, and folded in half several times into a rectangle… it was perfect.
Over time, we bought more diapers. We got some medium Blueberry Pocket Diapers (back when they were sized) and loved them. Then our little one grew and we bought a used stash of large Fuzzi Bunz, which we still use and love to this day. And the Econobums serve us well as our backup diapers. Our cloth diapering experience has, overall, been wonderful thus far with a 2-year-old and a 7-month-old. In fact, we haven’t had to buy any diapers since our 2-year-old was about 8 months old. If you estimate spending about $50 a month on diapers per child, we would have spent $1700 on diapers alone between the two boys, but we have, instead, spent about $350.
I know what you’re thinking. You wash them? With your clothes? Well, no. They get their own load. And it’s really not that bad. When the little guy makes a #2, it gets shaken off in the toilet. I have gloves nearby but they’re mostly a hassle. And if you’re really bothered by it, there’s an amazing tool called the diaper sprayer that works like the sprayer in your sink does to wash the yuck off of your dishes. So the diapers get rinsed, tossed into a lidded pail with a waterproof liner, and then every day and a half or so, I take the bag out, carry it to the washer, dump it into the washer, toss it in as well, and run it on the longest hot wash possible. I run it twice for fun. I always tell people that at first, the idea grossed me out — like, back when my Princess was little. Then, she potty trained. Once you have potty trained a youngster, you have likely cleaned poop out of every type of clothing and material, so it pretty much doesn’t scare you anymore. And that’s a lot grosser than any of the cloth diapers I’ve ever cleaned.
Is it worth it?
Yes! I used disposables with our Princess, and remember ALL the leaks, the rashes, searching for the right brand (ugh!), using the Diaper Genie with pricey refills. We haven’t had to deal with any of that stuff with cloth diapers! We’ve saved a significant amount of money over disposables – about $1,000 already, including the amount it costs to wash all those diapers! (if you’re curious how much the extra washing would cost you, calculate only diaper loads here. For us, it’s about $15/month.) I will admit, cloth diaper detergent can be pricey, depending on the type you get. We used this chart to determine which one to use. We chose Country Save and it was actually cheaper per load than what we had been using before, so we switched to using it for all of our laundry! But when our local Sprouts store stopped carrying it, I decided to start making my own and we like it even better (and it’s even cheaper.)
Is cloth diapering for you?
Pros: It’s a big money saver. It’s chemical-free, and therefore better for your baby’s bottom. Fewer diaper rashes. WAY fewer leaks (which means fewer ruined outfits). It’s better for the environment.
Cons: It is more work. And to be honest, I have used disposables during those times that I just can’t take 4 extra loads of laundry a week, but they are few and far between.
All in all, you have to do what’s right for you and your family, but this is a change we have made that we have been incredibly happy with, and that has saved us what we feel is a significant amount of money.
If you are considering cloth diapering, I’d love to answer any questions you may have!