It is much easier to get rid of disposable diapers than you think. You can find out more about cloth diapers and their estimated costs, as well as how to properly use them.
Cloth diapering is an option that many parents may be reluctant to consider due to the cost, effort, and mess involved. Cloth diapers are more labor-intensive than disposables and may not be the best choice for all families. They may be more practical than you think, thanks to modern tush-covering technology.
You might be inspired to try an old-fashioned option by our primer on modern cloth diapering.
Different types of cloth diapers
Cloth diapers are a lot more sophisticated than ever before. There are now nearly a dozen available. “There are so many styles–no matter what your baby’s activity level or body type, there’s an option that will work for them,” Erin Odom, mom blogger, says in Confessions Of A Cloth Diaper Convert: An Easy, Comprehensive Guide to Cloth Diapers. Here are the top options.
Prefold cloth diapers
Prefold diapers can be described as the cloth rectangles that you see when you think about old-fashioned cotton diapers. To create thicker centers, they have been folded and stitched with more layers at the center. Prefold diapers are available in many other fabrics such as hemp and bamboo and come in different sizes. Prefolds cost around $2 per diaper, making them the most affordable cloth diapering option.
Cloth diaper covers are still necessary. They protect the pre-fold mess and wetness. Most covers are similar to disposables. They wrap around the prefold and close at the baby’s hips using either snaps or Velcro. These covers are usually made from a poly-blend fabric and have a waterproof laminated inner. They come in a variety of colors and prints. Covers start at $8 and the average landing is about $12.
You can reuse the diaper cover after it is time to change it. You can also use Snappis separate stretchy, one-piece fasteners to keep the prefolds in place. These are called Snappis and include Velcro, snaps, and other elastic options. To ensure that their child is safe at night, parents often double the number of prefolds or add soakers to their cloth inserts.
Hybrid cloth diapers
Hybrid diapers combine the advantages of cloth and the convenience of disposables. The diapers have a waterproof outer and an inner absorbent layer. One is a cloth insert, the other is a disposable insert. The basic shape of a cloth insert is a rectangular runner made from a variety of fabrics, including microfiber, hemp, and cotton. Sometimes they are filled with ultra-absorbent microfiber.
You can purchase 100 disposable inserts for $10. Disposable inserts are the single-use version. You can buy rolls of 100 inserts for $10. They are usually low in chemicals and some of them can even be biodegradable. The diaper covers can be reused with hybrids.
All-in-one cloth diapers
AIO diapers are a combination of a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent layer. (Imagine a cloth disposable diaper. Inserts don’t have to be stuffed in, and the whole thing can be tossed in the washing machine when it gets dirty. They attach at the hips like pre-fold covers with Velcro or a series of snaps. AIO cloth diapers are available for as low as $20 per piece.
Pocket cloth diapers
Pocket diapers look similar to AIOs, but have an interior pocket made from wicking material. They also contain a removable absorbent fill. You can adjust the absorbency by using different inserts and stuffing the pocket with multiple inserts. The pockets of disposable diapers are more drying-efficient than thicker AIOs because they have separate pieces. (Remember that both types are single-use diapers and that a diaper service cannot be used so laundry is more expensive!)
Ellen Kucera, a Warren, Vermont mom to Tarin, 2, and Eli, says, “I stuff my inserts into the pocket diapers right from the dryer so that they’re ready for use, just like disposables.” They’re so easy that grandparents, daycare centers, babysitters, and other caregivers don’t have to know much about them. It is similar to AIO diapers in cost.
The Ultimate Guide to Diaper Sizes for New Parents
One-size cloth diapers
Odom states that there are “one-size” diapers available that will grow with your baby. “So you can potentially use exactly the same diaper on your newborn of 8 pounds as you would when they’re ready for potty training.” You can adjust the size of your diapers with snap or Velcro closures. Larger inserts are available to accommodate changing needs.
All of these options share one thing in common: they come in a variety of bright colors and cute designs, including punk rock skulls and crossbones and fire trucks. These are also more expensive than mainstream brands, with prices ranging from $18 to $30 for the higher-end models.
Cloth Diapers: How to Get Started
Are you unsure how to start? A cloth diaper novice should visit a store, whether it’s a chain like Buy Baby or a small boutique in their area. Bryana Guckin, a mother of three and owner of cloth and Beyond in Virginia Beach is the best place to start. She has been selling cloth diapers online and in-store for almost a decade. She says that there are many options, and it can seem overwhelming. “Seeing diapers in person makes them much more understandable.”
Try a range of styles and types before you commit to a brand. You can also borrow diapers from your friends or use online diaper-swap websites or consignment shops. Also, check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for various brands as they may have called for testers. It all boils down to your (and your baby’s) personal preferences.
Just like you would with brand new baby clothes you will want to wash cloth diapers that you just bought before you use them. Use mild detergent to heat the cycle. There are some exceptions. Hemp diapers need to be washed 8-10 times before they become absorbent. Cotton needs to be washed 4-5 times. Bamboo should only be washed 2-3 times.
What is the Average Cloth Diapering Price?
You can spend anywhere from $500 to $600 on cloth diapers for your nursery, particularly if you are buying new pocket, one-size, or AIO styles. The cost of cloth diapers can be as low as $800 to $1100 over the course of two years if you wash them yourself. This is half the price of disposable diapers which Odom estimates will cost around $1,400 per year. However, the cost of cloth diapering a second child will be less than the cost of laundering them.
The price of cloth diapers will vary depending on what type you choose, where they are purchased, and how many you purchase. While some families spend less than $600 for cloth diapering, others spend more like $1,500.
Also, keep in mind that cloth diapers have excellent resale value. Odom states that you could make a lot of money selling diapers once your child outgrows them. You can also save money by buying mint-condition cloth diapers online.
Many parents-to-be stocks up on one brand during pregnancy, only to find that they prefer another brand when their baby arrives. There are also those who sell excellent diapers and allow you to upgrade to the latest designs. You can save money by purchasing their cast-offs.