New parents joke about making that “diaper money” for good reason. Disposible diapers are crazy expensive, not to mention that they’re a huge source of landfill pollution. Although cloth diapering can seem so old fashioned or an inconvenience, they have awesome benefits financially, environmentally, and for your baby.
I already knew before I had my son that I was going to use cloth diapers. Now that I’ve had a decent amount of time to figure out what works best for us, I’d figure that I’d share it with you. But first let’s talk a bit about disposables.
Disposable diapers can cost an average of $72 a month or $864 a year.
Disposable wipes can cost an additional average of $20 a month or $240 a year. So in essence you can spend around $1104 each year on disposable diapers and wipes for 2-3 years depending upon when you begin potty training. I’d honestly prefer to put that money in savings, towards a vacation, or anything else.
Now let’s say you use an average of 8-10 diapers daily. You’re then adding 2920 – 3560 diapers in the landfill annually. When you look at this number it seems extreme, and it is. Diapers are a HUGE detriment to the environment!
My favorite cloth diapers are crazy inexpensive!
I picked out the cloth diapers and covers that I wanted before doing much research on cloth diapering. Luckily this combination is the exact one that we’re currently loving and using even after trying a few other arrangements.
To my surprise I’ve fallen in love with flat cloth diapers and use organic cotton flats by OsoCozy with birdseye weave. At first I thought I made a big mistake selecting three dozen based only on positive reviews before even trying them out myself.
Flat cloth diapers fit babies from 7-25 lbs.
Instead of purchasing a few dozen cloth diapers each time your baby gets bigger, you have a diapering system with a range of 7-25 lbs with flats. Aside from any extra costs for laundering, you save a TON of money. Who doesn’t want to save money especially where babies are concerned?
I suggest having 3-4 dozen cloth diapers to minimize having to do laundry too often. We currently only need to do laundry for our son twice a week. We were doing laundry every other day when we did not have enough cloth diapers to work with prior.
OsoCozy Organic Flat Cloth Diapers cost around $30 per dozen which is between $90-$120 depending upon if you purchase 3 or 4 dozen diapers.
My son was born well under 7 lbs, so I had to get creative with these diapers. I actually cut 10-12 flat diapers into fours because the full size was enormous and impossible to work with at first. I had the quartered flats hemmed at the dry cleaners to prevent fraying.
I now use these quartered flats as additional inserts with the “origami fold”. This simple combination has been life changing, and the origami fold is my current favorite cloth diaper fold which I use with a Snappi. Although we tried organic cotton pre-fold diapers in the newborn size when my son was born, I still prefer flats and won’t be going back to pre-folds.
6 Benefits of Using Flat Diapers
1. They can be used for babies from 7-25 lbs which eliminates purchasing new sets for each stage of growth.
2. They can be folded various ways depending upon your preference.
3. They have multiple uses such as a changing pad cover, burping cloth, car seat cover, etc.
4. They wash and dry very easily, and can be hand washed and line dried if necessary.
5. They are extremely inexpensive.
6. They are very absorbent.
My favorite cloth diaper covers live a triple life.
Finding an awesome cloth diaper cover is usually the next project with cloth diapering. I chose GroVia Snap Diaper Shell System covers, based on my midwife’s recommendation, which fit babies from 8-30 lbs. I wasn’t able to use these right after my son was born, so two smaller covers of a different brand were used.
The GroVia Snap Diaper Shell System covers are considered hybrids which can be used with snap-in soaker pads, pre-folds, flats, or biodegradable disposable inserts.
The only con with using soaker pads or pre-folds “pad style” with diaper covers is that breast milk poos will not be contained. This means both the diaper and cover will be soiled with the possibility of nasty blow out leaks. This is why I love the origami fold so much since it contains leaks so well.
GroVia Snap Diaper Shell System covers cost about $17 each. I suggest having at least five covers. Purchasing five covers can cost around $85. There’s an initial investment in this simple cloth diapering system that I use, yet the only additional cost from here after is only laundering.
Laundering cloth diapers and covers can be chemical-free and easy.
I use 1/4-1/2 cup of undiluted Mountain Rose Herbs Organic Castile Soap for laundering. I also do a presoak and hand wash all poopy diapers before laundering. Many poos are pottied thanks to elimination communication though. As gross as hand washing poopy diapers may sound, my level of grossness tolerance greatly shifted after giving birth. Also I am currently exclusively breastfeeding. My tolerance may shift though once my son’s eating solid foods!
These particular diaper covers can be hand or machine washed, yet are recommended to be line dried. I still use the same castile soap to wash these as well which is actually the most affordable organic and unscented castile soap I’ve found. I also use this same soap for my son’s simple skin care regimen which you can see here.
Flat cloth diapers, covers, and reusable baby wipes cost less than 10% of what disposables do.
So instead of spending $1104 or more annually or $3312 for three years on disposable diapers, there is a more cost effective organic option. How about spending around $247 on flat diapers, covers, Snappis, and reusable baby wipes plus laundering for the same duration of time. There are many cloth diaper options now on the market which are much fancier than classic flat cloth diapers, yet these are the most cost effective in my opinion.
There are more pros than cons.
To be 100% transparent, the only downside of using flat cloth diapers is that they need to be washed multiple times before gaining proper absorbency for initial use, and folded prior to being worn. They also often need either a diaper pin or Snappi for closure unless you are even more creative. If this doesn’t discourage you, definitely give it a try.
Cloth diapering equals little to no skin irritation and maintains an awareness of body functions for easier potty training.
Lastly just in case you are wondering based on previous articles, we are still practicing elimination communication while using cloth diapers. I’ll be sharing my experience with elimination communication soon. I can also share exactly how I do the origami fold for flat diapers it you’re interested, yet there are videos on YouTube if you can’t wait.
Do any of you use cloth diapers on your little ones? If so what is your favorite cloth diapering system?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)