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Friday, November 19, 2010

Diaper Economics 101

Most moms I know in my day-to-day life use disposable diapers.  Moms that notice me changing my kiddo's cloth diapers eventually always ask, "what do you do with the poop?"... However, I've noticed that the most common response is, "I think they're great, but they're too expensive."
Okay moms!  When you go car shopping, do you buy the brand new $100,000 Lexus because you can make the payments or do you buy the $5,000 gently used Honda because you can pay for it all now and have no payments ever again?  Not that disposable diapers are ANYTHING like a Lexus.  Disposables are rough little peices of paper with toxic chemicals inside that we wrap around our baby's most gentle parts and call it good because we can afford the payments!  Okay... calming down now.
Let's get real.  You're concerned about the upfront cost.
There are some great low-cost options to start your stash out there!  If you could spare just $100, you could have enough cloth diapers to start today using Econobum ( -- and this will get you all the way through Potty Training!  But... but... but... so you see all those moms out there using fancy AIOs and Pocket Diapers, and that's what you want too!  Start with Econobum, and spend $16/month on a cute or easier diaper rather than $40/month each kid on something you will throw away!  The other beauty of cloth is that you can use them again and again and again for every child!  If you were using disposables, Consumer Reports estimates that you will be spending $1,500-$2,000/year for EACH CHILD on disposables!  You can even find many great deals on gently used cloth diapers if it doesn't bother you to use another family's diaper.  They all get washed anyway!  Another great option for low income families is the Cloth Diaper Foundation ( where you can apply to get started for just shipping!  The Cloth Diaper Foundation will send you enough gently used cloth diapers to get started while you build your stash.  When you're done, you just mail them back! 
Alright, now let's pretend for a moment that you just found out you were pregnant -- let's even pretend it took 2 months to figure it out!  That leaves you 7 months to save for diapers.  I spent about $40/month each kiddo on my children for disposables back in the day (and I have 2 in diapers, so start multiplying).  If you put $40/month away for 7 months, you would have a really nice stash of cloth diapers!Okay, okay, so I've convinced you that you can afford the diapers!  But what about the extra water and detergent costs.  I'm going to have to wash these things!  I'm sorry, but having kids means you're going to have to wash a lot of extra cute little things anyway!  The moms at say it costs them an extra $3/week to wash diapers once a week.  However, I'm going to guess most moms wash every 3 days, so we'll bump that to $6/week.  Not too bad.  I've actually never noticed the extra cost myself.  I buy laundry detergent anyway, and $6/week split between your water and heat bill, you'll never notice.And you have to admit, that warm fuzzy feeling you get when your kiddo's diaper matches his/her outfit AND is helping the planet AND you know it's chemical free AND your saving money!... now THAT is priceless! ... well, the price is at least LESS!

If you are new to cloth diapering, here are some great links:
Getting Started...The Cloth Diaper Foundation: clothdiaperfoundation.orgDiaper Companies...
Nifty Nappy:
Apple Cheeks:
Bum Essentials:

Cloth Diaper Stores...
Cotton Babies:
Diaper Junction:
Kelly's Closet:
Eco Baby Gear (Portland):


Real Diaper Association:

(PS- Sorry for all the written out web addresses, the Link option on Blogger doesn't seem to be working this morning)
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  1. If it is purely financial, look into The Cloth Diaper Foundation. They provide cloth diapers to families who demonstrate financial need for just the cost of shipping! I received 6 Blueberry diapers with inserts, and another 6 prefolds with a cover, all for the $22 shipping. You do have to return the diapers once you are done with them, but the whole idea is to give you a starting point, and you can grow your stash from there!

  2. Very cool! Thank you Hannah! I will add that in the body of the blog and also take note of it for my book.