Once upon a time, long Ago sweet little babies crawled around, their squishy bums covered in cloth.
Actually, not too long ago cloth diapers were the norm in society and not the trendy luxury that everyone seems to think they are today. In 1948 Johnson and Johnson introduced the first mask-marketed disposable diaper in the U.S. (source)
So less than 80 years ago the majority of babies were wearing cloth and only cloth.
By the year 2006 American babies were wearing 3.6 million TONS of disposable diapers, making of 2.6% of municipal waste. (source)
Typically when cloth diapering comes up in conversation the first thing someone will say to me is, “Wow! I wanted to cloth diaper but I just couldn’t commit to it.” Cost and laundry are usually the top two reasons why most mamas feel overwhelmed by cloth diapers.
Cloth diapers don’t have to break the bank! Don’t believe me? Let me walk you through it.
When I decided to cloth diaper I only knew what little I had been exposed to. You can read more about that here. When I shared that I wanted to cloth diaper with other people, I was met with skepticism. I was told it was expensive and would only add unnecessary work to my already overwhelming role as a new mom.
I didn’t set out to prove anyone wrong. But I knew I had to be smart about the cost part of it and the work part of it, well I wasn’t afraid of a little extra work. Which by the way is A HUGE misconception when it comes to cloth diapers. By the time I was pregnant we were a one income family, living in a 600 square foot basement apartment. We didn’t have extra money to throw around. How was I going to afford a bundle of cloth for my sweet baby?????
- Buy Used (Secondhand). Buying used DIAPERS? Gross! Actually, it’s not. Most cloth mamas treat their cloth diapers like another child, especially if they bought them brand new. You can find SCADS of secondhand diapers at a fraction of the cost literally all over the Internet. Facebook marketplace is great place to start. If you live in Canada, Kijiji is also a great resource for finding secondhand diapers. If you are looking for the most budget friendly secondhand cloth diapers, FB Marketplace and Kijiji are your best bet. You can usually haggle with people who are trying to sell of parts of a stash. Sometimes a mama will even be selling wet bags, diaper pail and sprayer as part of her stash!
Cloth Diaper Trader is a HUGE resource for finding consigned cloth diapers.
Nicki’s Diapers has really great standards as far as what they sell. Check them out!
- Shop Deals and Promotions. I recently (and for the first time) purchased new Kawaii Baby diapers through this deal on Amazon. I now receive monthly emails about discounts, deals and promotions that this brand is offering. Brands will also discontinue different styles and put them on clearance. If you keep tabs on your favourite brands, you might be able to snag a deal when something goes on sale!
- Become a Brand Ambassador. While I’ve never done this during my cloth diaper journey, I’ve seen plenty of moms across the internet who have. A brand ambassador is someone that a company will send diapers to, to try out and review. This usually means that you can get diapers for free or at a major discount. The downside to being a brand ambassador means that you need a website or blog with high traffic. The whole point is that the company is getting free advertising in exchange for letting you try out their diapers.
- Put cloth diapers on your baby registry! I WISH I had thought of this but it never occurred to me until after the fact. You can score almost everything you need by registering for your stash before you even have your baby.
- Inherit diapers. My sister gave me a garbage bag full of cloth diapers and it really boosted my stash! If you know a friend or family member who isn’t going to resell or has had used diapers for a long time and wants to just get them gone-try asking. You might be surprised!
Cost Breakdown: New VS Used.
If you are new to cloth, you might be asking yourself how could they possibly cost so much? That all depends on how you go about it. If you MUST have high end, brand new, organic diapers you are going to spend anywhere from $500 to $900 for a stash. For example:
The Charlie Banana brand of diapers sells 3 brand new diapers with 6 organic inserts at the price of $112 CAD. If you are diapering from birth, you’ll need at LEAST 12 diapers a day (and be washing every night) to have enough. That’s a cost of about $350 for 12 diapers (with inserts) or over $37 per diaper. If you go with a budget friendly brand like Kawaii Baby (my FAV!) you are looking at $7 to $12 CAD per diaper with or without inserts, depending on the style. That’s an incredibly GREAT deal at $84 CAD for 12 diapers. But even $84 can feel like a lot when you are on a really tight budget.
When I first started my stash I spent a total of about $180 on everything. I had about 30 pocket diapers with 2 inserts, cloth wipes (given to me for free), 2 brand new wet bags at $15 for both, $50 diaper sprayer, $2 gloves, and 2 buckets ($5) for dirty diapers. If you break down the cost, I spent about $3.60 per diaper including inserts.
I was given more diapers from my sister after she didn’t need them anymore. I’ve resold almost ALL the secondhand diapers I started out with. This enabled me to purchase BRAND NEW diapers this past Christmas. YAY! I now have a total 24 pocket diapers with 2 inserts each, for my boys. I typically wash twice a week. We use cloth Monday through Friday, during the day. We use disposables nights and weekends.
Budget Friendly New Cloth Diapers:
If you aren’t keen on secondhand diapers you can still purchase brand new diapers that are budget friendly. You are still going to spend more than if you bought secondhand but these are the two most affordable brands I’ve seen that I can reccommend.
In conclusion, I’m PRO secondhand diapers all the way. Why? Because it’s the most affordable option when you are starting out. You can also try so many different styles of diapers when you buy secondhand because the cost gives you more freedom. That is how I figured out what brand, style and fit I liked the most and why I eventually purchased brand-new from this company. Cloth diapers don’t have to be a luxury thing. It’s the same way I think about unmedicated birth, midwives, doulas and home birth. Women have been doing these things for ages!
Do you cloth diaper and have you ever tried doing it on a tight budget? I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks!