Cloth diapering your little one can be very inexpensive, depending on your tastes in diapers and where and how you shop. There are work at home mom (WAHM) diaper brands that can be very spendy (and quite trendy) that could cost upwards of $35-50 a diaper! Then there are prefolds that are $2 each.
Here are some tips on keeping your cloth diapering costs down:
Buy in bulk! Certain brands like bumGenius, Flips, GroVia, and FuzziBunz periodically have sales where you buy so many diapers and you get one or two diapers free. It's an awesome deal if you already know you like the brand.
Company loyalty. Certain online stores will reward you for shopping with them again and again. I have taken advantage of the rewards program that Kelly's Closet offers – it's wonderful! Free diapers for buying diapers and accessories? Yes please!
eBay diapers. I personally have not tried any of the eBay diapers available (e.g., Sunbabys, Coolababys, Babyland, etc.), but I hear they do hold up fairly well. They typically cost around $6-7 each.
Prefolds/flats. You can buy prefolds or flats for your little one. I have used the Econobum prefolds and I absolutely love them! They are so absorbent and dry very quickly. We even use them as nighttime diapers! You can buy a kit that comes with 12 prefolds and 3 covers for $50. If I were cloth diapering full time on a tight budget, I'd buy two kits and be done with my stash. You can get 12 flats for about $25, so that's another inexpensive option, as well. You only need a few covers to get through the day, so you could easily cloth diaper a baby full time for about $100.
Make your own diapers. There are so many patterns or tutorials out there – some are free, some are not. You can easily create diapers out of old t-shirts, all those flannel receiving blankets I'm sure you received at the baby shower, and hundreds of other materials you may already have laying around the house. You can also make your own PUL, fleece, or wool covers. You could even get fancy and make your own all-in-one or all-in-two diapers! The options are endless and can save you a lot of money if you are crafty enough and have the time to do so.
Sell your diapers. When you no longer reach for those few diapers or your little one has outgrown his/her newborn or sized diapers, sell them! (Well, as long as you won't use them for future babies.) You can make a good return on your diapers, especially if they are in good condition. If you aren't using it, why keep it? There were many diapers I tried out and didn't like for numerous reasons. I sold them and used the money to buy more diapers I did like.
While you can certainly spend a pretty penny when building your cloth diaper stash, there are so many ways to save money. There's no reason not to!
Bio: Jennifer Esposito - I've been cloth diapering my daughter, Adele, for a little over a year. She wore her first cloth diaper when she was 6 days old and was in them full time at 3 weeks. I've been married to my best friend for 4 years. I'm an editor by trade, and during my free time I like to run, sew, or read.
This blog post originally posted on September 11, 2010. With the recent after-math of Hurricane Sandy we thought we would re-post for you:
The renewal of hurricane season and active storms has made me re-evaluate my emergency plans and preparations. I have given thought to water supply, food, batteries, important documents, and more...but with my decision to use cloth diapers exclusively, and the disappearance of the very last disposable diaper, I have new plans to make. Part of my preparation will no longer include picking up an extra pack of disposable diapers. It is important to me to find an environmentally safe emergency plan.
How will I wash my stash if we were to lose power and water? What happens when I run out of clean cloth diapers? Do I really plan on washing everything by hand with a limited water supply? Many questions began spinning through my head, and I realized I hadn't planned for conditions without a washing machine.
In formulating my plan, I slowed down and asked myself the following questions:
How many diapers does my child use in a day?
How often will I wash diapers? (As a load, or individually?)
Do I have enough diapers to rotate clean/dirty diapers in time for them to be dry and ready?
Where will I wash the diapers? (In a bucket? The sink?)
Do I have extra needed accessories (diaper rash cream, laundry detergent, wipes, liners)?
Where will the waste water be disposed?
How will the process maintain sanitary conditions? (Hand-washing/disinfecting?)
How long will I be prepared to be without power/water?
My stash of cloth diapers includes mostly One Size FuzziBunz and bumGenius, with a few Rumparooz, and Thirsties. I also have 3 Bummis Whisper Wrap Covers which I use with a Kissaluvs Hybrid One Size Contour (I really need to get more inserts!). I have enough diapers to last 3 or 4 days, but from experience realize that it is necessary to plan for a week or more in an emergency situation. My planning decision revolved mainly around the question of hand-washing diapers that I already have (counting on enough extra water to the supply to enable this), and/or finding an alternative solution. Standard disposables for me will be an absolute last resort, and I won't stock them.
Kelly's Closet offered me a very appealing solution: GroVia Bio-Soakers! With this option, I can reuse a cover multiple times and replace the insert as needed...without a significant water resource impact (I'll only need to clean covers). I will always have my other cloth diapers and inserts, as additional options available in my emergency kit. Even if I ran out of Bio-Soakers (my first choice for avoiding a heavier wash load), I will still have a wonderful supply of fluff to wash and reuse. GroVia also makes Bio-Diapers, an alternative to disposable diapers that may be another option.
Cloth diapers are actually a perfect solution for emergency situations. Long before washing machines, cloth was THE only option, and mothers (and fathers) made it work. Granted, emergencies can be slightly different without a known unlimited source of water, but the same principles apply. Reliance on modern convenience is not necessary to making cloth diapers effective. The biggest added bonus is not having the worry of a panicked sell-out of all disposables at the grocery store...my cloth will always be right there.
I'll be ordering some GroVia shells and Bio-Soakers to test drive this solution. In the meantime, I may come up with other ideas, but at least I'm on the right track for being prepared in an emergency with cloth diapers. Are you?