Having a baby can bring up a lot of different things. You realize how expensive everything is from clothes to a crib, car seats, and diapers. it can be very complicated to decide what to use for your baby when all bottles serve the same purpose. Every car seat passes the same safety tests. The list just keeps going on! There are some choices that we default to without even thinking about it. The biggest one is disposable diapers. Most people forget to even consider cloth diapers. And when they do, it seems so complicated that they give up.
This is how I made the change to cloth diapers with a 2 week old and a 16 month old.
I barely considered cloth diapers when I was pregnant with Tobias. It seemed complicated. And I thought you had to fold them all every time. And pin them shut. Then figuring out how to wash them just seemed icky.
So I moved on and spent my time researching diaper prices and figuring out what brand would be most cost-effective. Since then I have spent hours going over and over diaper prices at several different points in my son’s life. And we do alright each month with the cost. But it’s always a place I return to when I’m going over the budget.
Why Did I Look At Cloth Diapers Now?
As I mentioned, I looked at cloth diapers very briefly during my first pregnancy. But once I had 2 kids I felt like doubling our diaper cost monthly was not going to be possible for us. Not while we are trying to pay off our debt.
So I decided to really to some serious research into cloth diapers. I took several hours to talk to friends, ask local moms, post on Facebook Mom groups, and do an in depth Google search. I wanted to be informed enough to be able to make the best decision financially for my family moving forward.
My family’s finances is one of the things that my husband entrusts to me. So I try to do everything as efficiently as possible and stay in budget. So I have looked into a lot of different aspects of our budget multiple times to keep us on track.
Looking at cloth diapers gave me another opportunity to make a pretty decent cut in the child care section of our budget.
What Did I Find And How Did I Decide?
First of all, there are a TON of different options when using cloth diapers. And a ridiculous amount of information out there about how to care for them and use them. What to buy.
It’s incredibly overwhelming and intimidating.
I am lucky enough to have a friend who was willing to describe different types of diapers to me. She made it super simple and even sent me pictures of what she does with her 2 boys.
She also suggested a wonderful website to get info that has a nice community that you can request to join of other families using cloth diapers. They are a wealth of knowledge.
The website is Fluff Love University
Once I had a general understanding of what I was looking for I created my ‘shopping list’ so I could figure out how much getting started would cost me. I do want to note that in the weeks I’ve been using the diapers I learned a few more things I needed, so those items will be included in this list as well, though I didn’t buy them immediately.
Shopping List And Expected Cost
- 20-30 Pocket Diapers
- Inserts (mixed types)
- Flour Sack Towels
- Wool Dryer Balls
- Tide Original Powder Detergent
- Coconut Oil
- Wet Bag (1 large and 1 small)
- Toilet Sprayer (I could’ve done without this but my husband wanted one. Doing dunk and swish made him feel like he had to scrub his hands off to get them clean)
After searching for each item and considering many different brands and retailers, I came up with needing around $350-400 to start.
What I Actually Spent
I was incredibly lucky with how I got my stash.
17 Pocket Diapers and 34 microfiber inserts – $50 second hand from a local mom
7 pocket diapers with bamboo inserts – Free gift from a friend
1 Cover with 3 flip inserts – Free gift from a friend
1 pocket diaper with inserts – Free gift from a friend
2 hemp inserts – Free gift from a friend
Wool dryer balls – $12.49
Toilet Sprayer – $29.99
Large Wet bag – $9.99
24 Flour Sack Towels – $41.98
12 Charcoal Bamboo Inserts – $27.99
Coconut Oil – $4.99
Tide Original Powder Detergent 180 loads – $32.99
As I said, I was very lucky. I spent about $200 total. Including the first powder detergent which is the only continuous cost I have with cloth diapers. Since we have a well, we don’t have a water bill.
I am blessed to have a wonderful friend who uses cloth diapers for her kids. She sent me several different things because she wanted me to be able to try them and find out what I liked. So she sent me a bunch of awesome things, brand new so I could try them.
The other thing I did was get the majority of my stash secondhand. Which was the biggest money saver. I got 17 diapers with inserts for $50. That would’ve cost close to $150 without inserts brand new.
Using Cloth Diapers
So we’ve been using cloth diapers for about 6 weeks now. So I’m still new to the whole thing. And it’s definitely a learn as you go type thing.
But the transition has been relatively straightforward.
At first it was really intimidating. The first time I tried to put a diaper on, I actually gave up and used a disposable. The issue I was having was figuring out what to do with all the buttons. That’s when I discovered the rise buttons. They are little snaps that you have to snap up in order to make the diaper fit a smaller baby. But man, that was terribly confusing at first!
Since figuring out the sizing for both kids, a diaper change doesn’t take any more time with cloth diapers than it did with disposable ones.
And the best part? I have only spent $25 on overnight diapers and $5 on regular disposables in 5 weeks. We use disposable when we go out to avoid compression leaks in the car seats. And overnight, because they need to last about 10 hours without leaking. So I wanted to stick with what works.
I wash them about every other day. I figured out how to do the laundry end of it relatively easily by visiting Fluff Love University to research it. They have everything setup nicely so all you have to do is look up your washer and decide on your detergent. And what I found has worked with no issues for me so far!
Buy What I’m Using
I have learned that most all the items are personal preference. What I list here is going to be all the items that I have tried. I’ll include a quick blurb about my opinion on each. Keep in mind everything that I use works just fine for us. As well as the fact that I did get some of my items second hand, which may have to do with my experience with them. I will notate all items that I did not get new.
Click through the link to get the items I use brand new. The links provided, like all links on this site, will give Living Life As A Wife a small commission at no extra cost to you. This being said, I wouldn’t link to anything I wouldn’t use myself.
Alva Baby Pocket Cloth Diaper with 2 Inserts Each – I got these second hand from a local mom. It worked out that this was the brand that I had decided to purchase myself anyway. I have had absolutely zero issues with these diapers and inserts. I will buy more to grow our stash and replace old ones over time.
Kawaii Baby Original Pocket Cloth Diaper with 2 Inserts – I got this brand second hand. I’m not crazy about the pocket style. There is a flap meant to cover the insert inside the pocket and it doesn’t always stay in place. I make sure not to use microfiber in these because of it.
Pocket Diapers 7 Pack with Bamboo Inserts, 1 Wet Bag by Nora’s Nursery – I was gifted this brand by a friend. I like the diapers and the bamboo inserts they come with. The prints are cute and the pocket is good at keeping the insert from popping out in the back.
bumGenius Original Pocket Style 5.0 – I was gifted this by a friend. This is the most expensive diaper I own. But just because it is more expensive doesn’t mean it works better. I have had no more or less leaks using it versus the others. Despite it fitting my kids fine, it seems to be smaller than other one size diapers. But A LOT of people use bumGenius exclusively
Flip One Size Diaper Cover – This is a cover that you lay an insert inside of. You just change the insert out for a fresh one instead of the entire diaper. I like the cover and it is convenient. Something to note is the wetness stays against baby, meaning the diaper needs to be changed quickly to avoid discomfort or a rash.
Flip Inserts – These are the inserts to go inside the flip covers. I like that these have little markings to match the sizes of the rise snaps. Which is really cool and easy. There are a few different kinds, these are the stay dry version that I have and they hold up great with my heaver wetter son.
Hemp Inserts – I was also gifted these from a friend. They are nice to add in a little extra absorbency when paired with another insert. I don’t use them alone, because they do tend to leak that way. But they are great to extend the length of a diaper between changes.
Charcoal Bamboo Inserts – I bought these so that I had something to use other than microfiber. I have really liked these a lot. They do well for both of my kids. And they seem to be pretty high quality as well.
Flour Sack Towels – I use these to help with my son. I pad fold them and pair them with an insert. The FST catches the urine when my son wets too fast for an insert to keep up with. We also use them to replace paper towels some in our house. To wipe up messes and such. They are good for bulking the washer a little if I have a smaller load of diapers and not many clothes to go into the load.
Wool Dryer Balls – I got these to replace dryer sheets specifically for the diapers. I was informed that dryer sheets are not recommended for cloth diapers after a few weeks of using them. Now I am using them for all of our laundry. I use all 6 at once and they keep our clothes from becoming too static-y and they dry quicker too.
Toilet Sprayer – We started out doing dunk and swish to get rid of the poop in diapers. But my husband was not overly thrilled about it. So we bought this sprayer to connect to the toilet to spray it off. I can’t say it’s not easier. And since we saved so much money on the diapers part, I didn’t have an issue spending a little extra to splurge. This was super easy to connect, it took Stuart less than 5 minutes.
Large Wet Bag – I wanted a wet bag to hang in the bathroom for used diapers and this one is larger enough. We use it for about 1.5-2 days before washing. I ended up with 2 small travel wet bags that came with other items I bought so I didn’t have to buy those.
Coconut Oil – This is what I’ve been using to replace diaper rash cream with my cloth diapers. My kids have not had many rashes and this has been working well enough for us. However some people say it doesn’t do some job. Just make sure to do some research on creams safe to use with your diapers.
Tide Original Powder Detergent – I chose to switch to this detergent because it is something that a lot of people using cloth diapers swear by. I haven’t had any issues and don’t have to use too much of it.
So overall, switching to cloth diapers has been a great investment for us. It took a little time to figure out how to make it all work but it hasn’t taken much more effort than using disposables.
I am in no way an expert on this subject. If anything I am still very new. But what I’ve been doing has been working great and has saved us money already. In just 6 weeks we would’ve spent about the same amount on disposable diapers for 2 kids as we did to get our stash started.
If you are thinking of making the switch let me know why and how! And if you have anything that works well for you with cloth diapers I’d love to hear it too.
PS Cloth diapers not for you? Check out Best (And Worst) Diapers I’ve Tried
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