Diaper That Baby With A Little Less Moolah

Last week when Megan so graciously allowed me to fill her in her comfy, cozy Monday spot here, I talked about how much I learn from my children daily. Many of the things I’ve learned since becoming a parent lay in the realm of the abstract – piercing joy, unspeakable devotion, life-changing love . . .

There are, of course, so many concrete things to be learned in this parenting journey as well. In September of 2005, I decided that we should give cloth diapering a try. (And by we, I mean me, since I think my husband has changed less than seven diapers total since we became parents over four years ago. As a father, he is wonderful, helpful, loving, and kind, but a diaper-changer, he is not. Oh well. Bygones.)

Although the chance to reduce the amount of garbage our family produces was a major draw, I can’t honestly say it was our only deciding factor. We needed to trim our family budget down to heretofore unheard of leanness. Sure, cloth diapering could be good for the planet, but I was far more interested on how good it could be to our checkbook.

Imagine my surprise how much money is required for the initial investment in cloth diapers! I completely understood the math that showed how much money I would save over a span of several years by using cloth diapers (here’s a chart that explains how), but since we were barely able to scrape together the money for disposables at the time, I was unsure this would be a feasible change for us.In the past three and a half years, I’ve learned some ways to get started in cloth diapering on the cheap. Well, cheaper anyway. If you are interested in reaping the reward from all of my trial and error, here are a few quick tips:

1) If you already have a baby in diapers and think you might want to switch to cloth, look to buy used diapers to try first. You can check your local craigslist for cloth diaper listings or visit an online site like diaperswappers.com to purchase single diapers at a good price. If buying used diapers makes you feel squeamish, you’ll find many cloth diaper retailers offer some kind of “trial” or “try it” package. Here’s one at CottonBabies.com. Really research how the whole process works and give it a hands-on try before you plunk down all of that money into your initial diaper investment.

2) Put back a little money each month until you have enough to buy your stash. Anywhere from ten to twenty-five dollars a month seems about right, depending on what diapering system you want to use and when you start saving.

3) Start with a “frugal” stash (here’s the one I started with) and then slowly add in more “fancy” diapers as your budget allows.

4) Ask for cloth diapers or cloth diaper money in lieu of other gifts for the child you are diapering. Some family members and friends might be a hard sell, but if you show them the math and explain the long-term savings for your family, maybe they will partner with you in your efforts.

5) If you are handy with a sewing machine, make your own! Here are instructions on how to start a cloth diapering stash for around $30 and here are some basic diaper patterns and tutorials.

Here are some other articles I ran across that might prove to be helpful resources:

Questions? I’m far from being an expert, but I’ll share with you what I know!

Megan is a recovering “cloth diaper hobbyist” who has tried nearly every diapering system on the planet. She advocates an uncomplicated approach to parenting at Simple Kids and writes about faith, mothering, and natural living (sorta) at SortaCrunchy.

6 Responses to Diaper That Baby With A Little Less Moolah
  1. Stephanie
    May 25, 2009 | 10:37 am

    These are GREAT suggestions. I had no clue what I was getting into about 4 months ago when I started cloth diapering Ivy. But I LOVE IT and can see how you can get addicted! My post about getting started late in the game (on my 4th kid after she was born!) is here: http://www.adventuresinbabywearing.com/2009/01/totally-bummed.html


  2. Maria
    May 25, 2009 | 11:17 am

    Great advice! I started with just two covers and some prefolds from Jillian’s Drawers. I’ve shop around for used ones from the bigger diaper shops and from DiaperSwappers. Seconds are always great too–they’re usually missing inserts but you can pick them up cheap. I’ve never paid over $12 for a diaper and I have a ton of Fuzzibunz now.

  3. Megan
    May 25, 2009 | 11:59 am

    Oh my goodness! You are so right, Maria. I totally left shopping for seconds off of the list. Many stores and also WAHM diaper crafters sell slightly-off seconds for a great discount.

  4. Melissa
    May 26, 2009 | 3:33 am

    it came right on time this post, had emailed Steph for some help (and thanks Steph for your quick reply)….i’d love to try the bumgenius organics but its proving difficult as noone in Malta brings them and the company doesnt allow international shipping. have contacted them and we’ll see what they say. In the meantime will look at other diapers…..

  5. Wendy
    May 26, 2009 | 10:42 am

    I’m expecting my sixth now (!) and finally deciding I want to go cloth. I really appreciate posts like this, because doing the research myself has been kind of overwhelming! It certainly is incentive to get my sewing machine out of its box and learn how to use it. LOL

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