Posts Tagged ‘cost of disposables’

Why would someone*want* to cloth diaper?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012


When I was pregnant with my first baby I remember mentioning to someone that I was considering using cloth diapers. Her reply was very discouraging. She assured me I would be way too busy caring for my newborn to wash poopy diapers. “Why do you think they invented disposables?” she said in a somewhat mocking manner.  Sadly this conversation was the primary reason I used sposies for the first 6 months of my first baby’s life.  Now why I let someone who had never cloth diapered a baby before influence my decision about what type of diaper to put on my child I do not know. I guess it was first time mom insecurities? After all, I worried what if she was right? What if caring for and nursing a baby is more work than I could ever imagine? Would adding extra laundry just be a huge nuisance? Surely disposable diapers are a viable option because everyone I knew used them. In fact I didn’t know a single person who cloth diapered when I was pregnant with my first!

Although there was a whole subculture of cloth diapering families. Why were they committed to cloth? Surely there must be some benefit to it? Why would someone want to cloth diaper? Basically there are few main reasons. Although in all honesty  for many, many families it boils down to ONE main consideration; cloth diapering saves you money!

While it is difficult to calculate an exact amount you will save by using cloth due to a number of variables, a general estimate can easily be obtained. A savings of  roughly $1500 is commonly sited in literature that compares cloth versus disposables.  Some of the variables that influence the amount saved include how long your child is in diapers and what type of diapers you use. Let’s say for example your child potty trains at age 2.5 and averages 8 diaper changes in a 24 hour period during their 2.5 years in diapers. On average disposables cost about .25 per diaper (name brands and larger sizes will cost you more while generic brands and smaller sizes will cost you less).

2.5 years/912 days of diapering x 8 diapers a day x .25 per diaper = $1824.00 per child

Cloth diapering estimates are a little trickier to obtain since there is a large variance in price depending on what type of cloth diapering system you use and how many diapers in your rotation. A most basic system consisting of pre-folds and covers would cost approximately $300 (check out Econobum Trial Pack).  A more eclectic stash that includes a mix of pocket diapers, all in ones, and or one-size diapers would cost approximately $600.  Given those numbers it sounds like an average savings of $1500 is spot on! Now keep in mind the benefit of cloth diapers is that they can be used over and over again.  This means the amount saved increases as you cloth diaper subsequent babies! And for those families who only have one child, don’t fret because this benefit is available to you as well. There is a market for used cloth diapers. Yes, you can actually SELL your cloth diapers when you are done with them!

Purely from an economical standpoint cloth diapering makes sense and is the primary selling point for many families. The ecological benefits are typically a secondary consideration, especially once the true impact of disposables is examined. Want to know more about the ecological benefits of cloth diapering? Be sure to check back here tomorrow for more information about why cloth diapering really is an Eco-friendly choice! Still think cloth diapering might be too much work? Check back later this week where that myth gets debunked once and for all!

Why do YOU cloth diaper?