When I was pregnant with my son the brand of diapers we preferred for our oldest was plastered all over the news for the new formula leaving chemical burns on babies. I was freaking out big time. Our oldest reacted to all diapers but those and a store brand that was not available in the state we had moved.
I had to find a solution that would protect my baby. I began to research options. I stumbled upon modern-day cloth diapers and wish a smile and a shake of his head my husband said I could give it a try.
Our experience with cloth diapers
I had to find something budget-friendly because we had no idea if cloth diapers were going to work for us. To tell the truth, I was scared. I had no idea what to expect and my grandmother had horror stories from the one time she dealt with cloth diapers while babysitting.
I did some searching and found a system that seemed to be as easy as it could get but fit a variety of needs. So I dove in and ordered a set of two covers and six inserts on sale.
Once my son fit them we started using them until I ran out each day then I would switch to disposables and wash them. I quickly learned cloth wipes are so much easier when using cloth diapers and made the partial switch to those as well. After two weeks we made the choice to order more diapers and never looked back.
Fast forward a few years and we had found ourselves struggling in a high-cost area while my husband went to school. We added more babies to our family in this time.
Cloth diapering helped us afford a new baby when we would never have been able. Cloth diapers saved us from the heartache of being unable to afford diapers for our baby even when it meant I had to hand wash diapers.
Cloth diapers do not have to cost a lot.
I have seen used diapers sell for over $100. Yes, you read that right. A diaper that has been pooped in went for more for what most spend on a month’s worth of disposable diapers. Seeing this it is easy to be turned off by the idea of using cloth diapers.
How can you save money if a single diaper costs so much? The good news is all of that craziness does not have to be part of cloth diapering. You don’t have to be the crazy collector of cute limited edition prints.
In fact, cloth diapering can be frugal and money saving. Most of our diaper covers were bought on sale as seconds. That means they were less than perfect. Sometimes a snap is a little off center or a mark from a pen is on the diaper and can be washed off.
Most of the time I could never find why they were marked as seconds but I loved getting them half off. Some are still going strong after years of use.
I used to buy microfiber inserts for them, But when baby number 3 was sensitive to them I switched to prefolds. Soon after I discovered that flour sack towels cost less, wash easier, and dry faster making them the perfect fit for what our life was like at the time.
When handwashing diapers for two babies before bed every night you tend to favor the easiest to wash option. The price tag at under $1 each was a major bonus for frugal cloth diapering.
For wipes, I discovered that Wal-Mart carries cheap 18 packs of wash clothes for under $4. These make the perfect cloth wipes that never leave your hands covered in baby poop, wash easy, and they can be used dry to stuff a diaper so it will hold more when you are going out of the house or for bedtime.
How cloth diapering has affected our family.
Cloth diapers have meant that we never have to worry about running out of diapers when we can’t afford more. When you’re a parent on a tight budget you don’t need the stress of worrying about if your baby goes through more diapers than you had planned for.
When you’re low on diapers you just run a load of wash and go on with your day. Not having that financial stress has saved my sanity many times over during tough times.
We save money that can go towards other things. Without having to spend money on diapers we have a larger budget for building our stockpile and paying for homeschool field trips. We even have the option to put out savings away in our emergancy fund.
Common questions we get about cloth diapers
Do you really save money with cloth diapers?
Unless you are the “Gotta collect them all” kinds of cloth diapering parent it is hard not to save money. We sure do. While we have to do a load of laundry every few days we had diapered 3 babies for only $250! that is only 10% of what we spent on disposables for our first baby.
That load of laundry is often padded out with baby clothes and linens allowing us to wash baby items in the more expensive detergent our youngest skin requires and the rest of the laundry in a cheaper detergent.
What about poop in my washing machine?
Every time someone asks this I have to laugh. You see when you have a baby poop in the washer is well a fact of life. Disposable diapers have blowouts. The kids that make you debate tossing out that cute baby outfit.
You’re forced to give the baby a bath because they are covered in poop from head to toe. And you pray it never happens in public. After 6 years and 3 in cloth, I can tell you it happens a lot less often in cloth diapers.
Arn’t you scared you will poke the baby with the diaper pins?
So often when people think of cloth diapers they think of diaper pins and rubber pants. An outdated approach that while still, an option today and I HAVE used to go coverless on hot summer days they are not necessary anymore.
You can choose between low-cost covers and inserts, all in ones, or pocket-style diapers. Most modern cloth diapers go on and off just like disposables. No pins are needed.
How many do I need to start?
This one rides heavily on the type of diaper you choose. If you go with covers and inserts like we did you can easily get by with 18 inserts and 4 covers washing once a day. As time goes by and you find sales you can grab more and work up to doing a load every few days.
You even have the option of using disposables at night like we did when we started to allow you to wash the entire collection each night. Cloth diapering does not have to be all or end-all. In fact, they are my baby shower go-to gift for any friend because you never know when they will find themselves in need one day. Life happens.