So my family cloth diapers. Though it may appear granola, we actually do it to save money. While many will argue that cloth diapering saves our environment, in practice it doesn’t according to this Stanford article. And this is what I have argued with many people about, which is weird since we cloth diaper. Basically, the water and energy used to produce and wash cloth diapers is basically equal to their disposable counterparts. So if you really want to save the environment, you should look into compostable diapers (which are way more expensive than disposables).
Anyhoo, we cloth diaper to save money. How you may ask? So here’s the breakdown of how we are saving money.
Cloth diapers – 3 packs of 6 x $11.99 = $35.97
Diaper Covers – 5 x $12.75 = $63.75
Cloth diaper fastener – 1 pack x $11.25
Total = $110.97*
This gives you enough diapers where you do laundry every 2-3 days.
For our newborn, we go through about 50-70 diapers in a week. Yes, you wouldn’t go through as many diapers if you were using disposables because they are more absorbent so you wouldn’t change the baby as often. So let’s say if you were using disposables you would be on the low end of usage, so 50. Pampers Swaddlers are $45.99 for a pack of 216. This breaks down to $0.21 a diaper, or $10.50 a week. So by the time our baby is 11 weeks old, we’ve already made our return on the cloth diapers (which should last until the baby is 15 lbs, which our son reached at 6 months old). This is also the second time we’re using the cloth diapers. So let’s say we get 12 months usage out of the cloth diapers since we are using them with both kids. There are 52 weeks in a year. And say we average about 60 diapers a week, which means we go through 3,120 diapers during that 12 months. That breaks down to $.04 a diaper!!! And it will only go down more if we use it with another child. On top of that, we can recoup some of our costs by reselling the diapers (yes, there’s a market for cloth diapers out there!). So you see, we are trying to save money here.
These are enough diapers to last 2-3 days between washes. You can add more or less depending on how often you are willing to do laundry, and that will change how much you spend per diaper. And honestly, it’s not as difficult as it appears, especially a breastfed baby. Because breastmilk is water soluble, poops will go away in the wash. We also don’t put the diapers in the dryer (although a friend of mine does), which adds a bit more work. But we just let them sit out in the sun to bleach out the poop stains, that do in fact go away at the end of the day. But it’s just another small load of laundry. My friend (who is a working parent) puts the diapers on before bed, and then puts them in the dryer before she goes to work so that they are done when she comes home.
But I realize that for many parents out there, it’s not compatible with your lifestyle. We are all busy and sometimes disposable diapers are the answer (we still use them here and there). There are fancier diapers that have less moving parts, like all-in-ones that mimic disposables in that you just take the entire diaper and put in the bin for the wash. So really if you are willing to do laundry to save money, then you should look into cloth diapers. But don’t feel bad if you need to use disposables (like I said, we still use them here and there).
*I’m not including water and electricity in the total as they end up looking negligible on our monthly bills.