All right, it’s time for the big diaper debate: cloth vs. disposable.
Early on in my pregnancy with Lincoln I discovered cloth diapers and immediately fell in love with the idea. They were just so darn cute–that was initially what led me in. But then I figured out how much it would cost to diaper a baby in disposables for the next two and a half years, and even Chris was sold on the idea of cloth after that.
Now, there are people who can get away with cloth diapering for just a couple hundred dollars. I envy those people a little bit, but I was definitely not one of them. Even though I know we could have grown our stash for much cheaper using just prefolds and covers, I’m a sucker for the cuteness. So I’m one of the ones who’s spent way more than necessary on a cloth diaper stash. And even still we’ve come out way ahead on the cost of diapers.
I mean, come on. How do you pass this print up?
So here’s my personal expenditure, from a we-didn’t-try-all-that-hard-to-keep-costs-down point of view. I listed every diaper expense below from the time we knew we were pregnant until now.
From 2015-2017, we spent $740.16 on cloth diapers and diapering accessories. This covered Lincoln’s entire diapering experience, and then he potty trained in the summer of 2018. The low end of average disposable diaper costs over 2.5 years is $1,500 and the high end is around $3,000. So we were able to create a huge stash with half the amount it would have taken to use disposables.
And the best part? Now we’re set to diaper the next baby at no additional cost. All of our diapers are still in excellent condition, no stains, stretchy elastic, the whole shebang. Because we had such a large stash, our diapers have held up very well over time.
(Of course, just because we’re all set doesn’t mean I won’t end up buying more diapers. In fact, if you look at my inventory list below, you’ll see all the ones I’ve bought in 2018 in preparation for Baby #2 already. What can I say, Thirsties came out with some amazing prints this year. And then Cotton Babies had to go and have a huge sale on BumGenius diapers that was literally impossible to pass up!)
And the second best part? As long as we keep our diapers in good condition, I’ll easily be able to sell them to another family once we’re done having kids. No, I won’t recoup the entire cost of our stash, but I’ll probably be able to get at least 50% on most of our diapers. When was the last time someone reclaimed money on the thousands of diapers that get thrown out with the garbage every day?
Our Cloth Diaper Inventory and Cost Breakdown
Thirsties (Scottish Storm AIO): $19.75
Thirsties pocket (Mango): $20.75
BumGenius Freetime (Teal/Hummingbird): $19.95
BumGenius Pocket (Blue/Moonbeam): $16.95
Thirsties Doublers (2 packs of 3): $8
Thirsties Diaper Pail Liner: $17.50
Dandelion Diapers organic cotton refolds (size 1, 6 prefolds): $9.95
Snappis (Pack of 5): $15.75
Random brand wet bag: $6.99
Thirsties Duo Wraps Size 1 (Whale Tail, Fin, School of Fish): $12.99 each, $38.97 total)
BumGenius newborns (6) (Bought used on Cloth Diaper Trader): Approx. $40
2 Free newborn gDiapers (from Cloth Diaper Trader purchase)
12 Alva Baby pockets: $77.90
Gifted: 3 BumGenius pockets
2015 Cloth Diaper Cost: $292.46
Thirsties pocket (Moss): $20.75
Thirsties AIO (Ocean Life): $22
Thirsties pocket (Silver Dollar) $20.73
Dandelion Diapers organic cotton refolds (size 3, 6 prefolds): $14.38
Charlie’s Soap (hard water softener): $14.99
GDiapers (Medium): $21.99
BumGenius Freetime (Albert): $19.95
Thirsties AIO (Moss): $19.75
Thirsties pocket (Ocean Blue): $20.75
Random Brand AIO (fox print): $16.99
Thirsties 2 AIOs (Sand Dollar/School of Fish): $26.50
Thirsties AIO (Whale Tail): $18.95
Thirsties Pocket (Whale Tail): $19.95
Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted (Meadow/Green): $16.50
Thirsties 2 AIOs (Winter Woods, Happy Camper): $33.58
Thirsties Hemp Inserts 2 pack: $7.44
Thirsties: Midnight Blue & Moss sz 2 Duos, Adventure Trial pocket, Fallen Leaves wet bag): $42.88
2016 Cloth Diaper Cost: $358.08
Disana organic wool cover: $22.94
Thirsties: Hemp inserts and Size 2 Duo: Won on Thirsties Thursday giveaway
Thirsties: Woodland collection 5 AIOs: $66.68
2017 Cloth Diaper Cost: $89.62
Thirsties 2 AIOs (02 Revival, Fern): $37.90
Thirsties 2 Newborn AIOs (02 Revival, Fern): $29.50
Thirsties 2 Newborn AIOs (Heart to Heart, Birdie): $27.28
Thirsties Due Wrap (Size 1, Heart to Heart): $12.75
Thirsties 3 Newborn AIOs (Winter Woods, Floribunda, Classic Jurassic): $37.62
BumGenius (Prairie Print): Free with Cotton Babies purchase)
BumGenius 5 Freetimes (Mirror, Oops x 2, Alicia, Newborn Stellar): $70.75
BumGenius 5 Freetimes (Auction: Original Albert, Louis, clementine, mirror, moonbeam): $40
2018 Cloth Diaper Cost: $255.80
Thirsties 2 Newborn Natural AIO (Endangered, Plume), Natural AIO (Endangered): $63.45
Thirsties Newborn Natural AIO (Rainbow), Duo Wrap size 1 (Rainbow): $34.95
Thirsties AIO (Rainbow), Duo Wrap (Peony): $29.25
Thirsties AIO (Modern Jurassic), Natural AIO (Science), 2 Natural Pockets (Modern Jurassic, Moon Blossom) : $93.40
Thirsties Natural Fitted Diapers (2), Diaper Pail Liner: $61.13
Thirsties Natural Pocket (Merry Moose-Has): $22.50
Thirsties AIO (Merry Moose-Mas) & Duo Wrap Size 2 (Merry Moose-Mas): $35.12
2019 Cloth Diaper Cost: $339.8
Thirsties Duo Wrap (Size 1, Floribunda): $15.00
Thirsties AIOs (Floribunda, Camper): $25
Thirsties Natural AIOs and size 2 duo wraps Down Under (one of each in aplix and snaps): $130.30
Thirsties pocket (Peony) used: $18
Bumgenius AIO (Albert) used: $12
Thirsties Natural AIO and size 2 duo wraps (Jaws 2 and Fish Tales): $52.45
Thirsties Natural Pockets (Leap, Fish Tales) + Rocket AIO: $67.45
Nicki’s Diapers Ultimate AIOs (Little Dipper and Lemon Drop): $24.21
Thirsties new stay dry NAIO (Birdie and Mountain Twilight) from SweetBottoms: $52.27
Thirsties new stay dry NAIO (Forest Frolic) and Size 2 swim diapers (Azalea and Palm Paradise) from Green Mountain Diapers: $57.45
2020 Cloth Diaper Cost: $454.13
Update 2020: Now that Baby #2 is here, and I’ve learned from Baby #1 that we LOVE the Thirsties brand, I’ve been working on selling some of our other brands, as well as some of our Thirsties that we no longer need. Baby #2 is just about out of the newborn diapers, so I’ll be listing those soon- excited to see what I can get back for them. (And also ridiculously sad to see them go.)
Update 2022: Baby #2 is finished with diapers now! For the last year we have slowly been selling off our stash with excellent results. On almost all diapers we’ve sold, we’ve made back what we paid for them, which is more than I expected for sure, but also part of the reason I focused on buying prints that I knew would become “HTF” (hard to find) later on and would retain their value. We still have about half our diapers and accessories left, and the market has stalled quite a bit, so I’m putting sales on hold and waiting to see if it comes back around. If it doesn’t, I feel pretty confident I’ll still be able to sell the rest of our stash off for at least half of what we paid per diaper.
Fave Cloth Diapers
Now that we’re out of diapers, we’re onto trainers! Here’s our favorite toddler undies for a less messy potty training experience. These training pants are super padded to absorb those accidents–we’ve found them very helpful with our kiddo who frequently has tiny mishaps.
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Originally posted January 27, 2019
I really love the idea of reusable nappies and had at one point received a generous stash of nappies from a friend who no longer needed any.
However, they came at quite a bad time as a young mum when I was going through a depression and the thought of washing pooey nappies with no end in sight didn’t help. Especially as my husband wasn’t about to take over laundry duties! So they just sat there unused.
Eventually I donated them to my sister who made good use of them.
If I could do it all over again, I would DEFINITELY use cloth nappies! I love the fact that they’re environmentally friendly, pretty to look at and not filled with chemicals. Which is a big deal for my kids as they have particularly sensitive skin.
My youngest has just finished potty training, and I’m not sure if there are plans for more….but you never know!
What a brave momma. I wanted to do cloth diapers when my boys were younger.
Love cloth diapers! I’ve saved a ton of lonely, but it is hard to resist all the cute prints!
Wow! This was eye-opening! I love all the different prints and eco-friendly this is!
I love cloth diapers very nature friendly at the same time it can help our budget a lot instead of buying disposable ones.
Cloth diapering is awesome. I wish I had done it will all four of my kiddos. I didn’t know much about eco-friendly products with my first two kids and went straight for disposable.
Holy cow I don’t think I’ve ever seen a diaper bill expanded to a year of cost! Phew!
Yes!!! I love that you completely broke down the cost for those considering cloth diapers. I also didn’t realize how stinking cute they are!
Pinned! These prints are wildly adorable! Oh, those sweet baby days!
I have never tried cloth nappies but I guess its worth a try!
There are a lot of cute ones! I’m just happy to be leaving the diaper phase entirely. 🙂
YES YES YES, all the way! I had the best of both worlds: from 2010 (first born) through 2014 (2nd was 2yo) we had a local diaper service that removed the dirties/brought us clean cloth prefolds every week for a modest fee. Then the business went under, so we bought our inventory on hand and I laundered them myself until youngest was done with diapers a year later. SOOOOO much cheaper than disposables!!! (AND I agree with those who said that they are relieved to be DONE-DONE-DONE with this phase!!!)
YES!!! It saves so much money, and then they can still get more use when you are done with them.
We also used cloth diapers, but only when we were home. We used disposable diapers when we were out and about. 🙂
I cloth diaper because of the cost benefit as well. I didn’t with my first and am saving so much with my second. I habe just enough to make it 2 days between washes and habe only spent about $50 on diapers! ( i had some gifted to me too)
Ok I’m OBSESSED with that diaper with all the plants/trees!! What brand is it?? And if you ever choose to sell it (I don’t blame you if you dont!) Id be happy to take it off your hands!
So sorry I didn’t see this when you first commented! That is a Thirsties brand diaper called 02 Revival. I actually have started selling my extra diapers recently, but that one in particular is sticking with our family for awhile, because I love it too! It was a limited release by Thirsties in 2017, I think, so it’s hard to find now!