Thursday, June 9, 2011

How Many Diapers Do You Need? And How Much Does it Really Cost?

Figuring out how many diapers to buy has been one of the more difficult parts of the process. Basically, it comes down to how often you want to do laundry and how much your baby actually needs changing (the second part of this can be hard to guesstimate)!

If the average newborn needs to be changed 12-18 times a day, and you want to do laundry every 1-1.5 days, then you really only need 18-24 diapers (or the equivalent thereof).But, if you’d like to extend your time between washes to every other day, then you’ll need at least 30-36 diapers.

Older babies don’t need as many diaper changes…so, if you aren’t starting at newborn stage, you shouldn’t need as many diapers.

Because no one really likes doing laundry – myself included – we have been building our stash up to a minimum of 36 diapers, which should be two full days worth of diapers.

Initially, half of those would have been Fuzzibunz (18 diapers) and the other half best bottoms (6 shells and 18 liners). But, since I’ve been utilizing the free diaper codes from Kelly’s Closet (and I’ve branched out and bought a few Happy Heiny’s and Rump-a-Rooz on my own), those numbers have changed a bit.

Our diaper breakdown currently looks like this:

Pocket Diapers (20 total)
8 Fuzzibunz from Kelly’s Closet (8 x $19.95 = $159.60)
2 Fuzzibunz from (2 for $24.99 plus $6.95 shipping = $31.94; retail $39.90)
5 Happy Heinys (5 x $18.95 = $94.75; but, I got 2 of these free, so I only paid $56.85)
5 Rump-a-Rooz (5 x 23.50 = $117.50, but I got 4 of these free, so I only paid $23.50)

Best Bottoms (equivalent of 18 small, 12 medium, and 9 large diapers)
6 Best Bottoms Shells (6 x $16.95 = $101.70)
18 small BB inserts + 2 small overnight inserts (18 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $85)
12 medium BB inserts + 2 medium overnight inserts (12 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $61.30)
9 large best bottom insert + 2 large overnight inserts (9 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $49.45)

So, in all, we will have spent $569.34 ($709.20 retail) on cloth diapers that will last from birth to potty training. (Note: this cost does not include the cost of wipes…we will be doing cloth wipes and I did spend $10.75 for some already. A friend of mine has offered to make the rest of my wipes for me, but even if she didn’t – I could complete my cloth wipes stash for $33 or less buying retail. Cost including retail wipes = $613.09)

Yes, I may have to spend a few dollars here or there if a diaper cover gets ruined or an insert gets lost…but all in all, we are coming out well ahead of what we would have spent in disposables (approx. $2611.80)! We have already saved around $2000 ($2611.80 - $613.09 = $1998.71)…and if we use these cloth diapers for a second child, our savings will more than double!

A Hard Pill to Swallow…
I will admit that it has been difficult to part with the money for all of these diapers and diapering accessories. The fact that almost all of the cost in cloth diapers is totally up-front makes it a hard pill to swallow. In some respects, it would be much easier to buy disposables…if only because you can literally buy them a pack or two at a time and not have to shell out so much money at once. But…whenever I see the savings over the long-run…I feel so much more confident in our decision!!


  1. If you can get Jason to do the part where you get laundry from the drier in the basket and bring it to the nursery (or organizer) that would probably help TONS! Maybe you can get it in writing too :D

  2. I'm sure that would make my life more convenient - every little bit helps!

    We are actually laundering all of our inserts and covers for the first time today (the pre-wash) and I am incredibly nervous! I am worried that I'm going to mess them up before we ever get to use them - which is silly because I'm just washing them on cold with my CD detergent (Rockin' Green). I wiped out the dryer with white vinegar to get out any fabric softener residue that might be in there. So, I really should be good-to-go. It's just first time jitters, I'm sure!

  3. Are there any "other" costs associated. I saw some things like a mini-shower? I think I'm going to give AIO's a try, is there anything else I'd need to go along with those. You also mentioned detergent-is there a specific brand or type of detergent? I'm using Dreft on the baby's cloths now, could I use that for the cloth diapers? Never heard of cloth diapers, need to do more research. Sorry I have a lot of questions! I really appreciate this though, you're very infomative!

  4. Oh sorry! Also what is a diaper pail? Is that the same as a Diaper genie? Last...(I think) what is a wet bag?

  5. There are a few incidental costs that go along with it. You'll need some kind of wet bag or pail liner that is made specifically for use with cloth diapers - that way you have a place to stash your dirty diapers until laundry time, and a diaper sprayer (or mini-shower)can be helpful for pre-rinsing (especially poopy diapers). The poop of exclusively breast-fed babies is water soluable, so you don't have to pre-rinse if you don't want to. But, once you start introducing other foods, that changes...and you'll want to do something with the poo before dumping it into the wash. You can spray it off into the toilet, or if that's not your thing, you can opt for flushable liners that go in on top of the absorbent part of the diaper...and when baby goes poo, you just shake the liner and poo off into the toilet and away it goes!

    Also, when you wash cloth diapers, you have to use a detergent that is free of enzymes, additives, and softeners, so definitely not dreft. A lot of people swear by Rockin' Green (which is what we are using) or another brand called Country Save (both of which have to be purchased online, unfortunately).

    Some people have good luck with ALL free and clear or Tide free and clear as well. What will work best for you actually can vary depending on the type of water you have and the type of machine you are using.

    But, definitely, you want to use something that is approved for use with cloth diapers (the diaper brand manufacturers website with have some suggestions as well) and don't use any fabric softener!

    The wash routine that I am going to start with is:
    cold rinse w/no detergent
    hot wash/cold rinse with Rockin' Green
    line dry

    If that works (i.e., no stinkies and no problems with leakage due to water/pee repelling), then I will just stick with that. It seems like most people swear by this, I'll give it a go.

  6. A diaper pail is different from a diaper genie. The genie has plastic bags in it and it wraps each disposable diaper in a little plastic cocoon for disposal. That won't be helpful for you if you are laundering cloth diapers. So, what most people use is a regular 13-13.5 gallon kitchen trash bag with a waterproof pail liner (like one from Kissaluvs or Planet wise). When you launder your diapers, you also wash your pail liner.

    And a wet bag is a waterproof bag that holds "wet" things (they can be used for wet clothes or bathing suits OR more commonly for dirty cloth diapers) while you are on the go. You can get small, medium, or large wetbags (depending on how much you think you'll need to hold) to keep in your diaper bag for when you are out and about.

  7. Just wanted to comment again on the EBF (exclusively breastfed) baby poop...(Do I comment too much? I swear I have a life Ricci outside of commenting on your posts :D) Anyways, yes I've found the poop actually washes out very easily in the machine without pre-rinsing (when it got on clothes/blankets/my clothes etc). You'll find that it is extremely liquidy and a lot of it is probably going to be absorbed by the diaper. (I.e. so all rinsing does is getting your poop soaked fabric, nice and water soaked so that it drips poop water everywhere--gross i know) When the poop got on my clothes and other fabrics, best thing was to throw that stuff in the wash immediately to reduce staining. It is so wet that you basically just need a place to set it down that it won't seep into, hence directly into the machine! Also, I have heard bleaching in the sun is a great way to remove poop stains that are stubborn.

  8. I think I'm giving you a run for your money with the "who comments on Ricci's blog the most"! While I do plan on getting a diaper sprayer sometime (and definitely before another baby comes along) it can be done without it. With my dipes that have a fleece liner I find the the poo just plops right out of the diaper and I just toss it in the bag. There is a little bit that gets left on there but I have never had a problem getting it clean. For my prefolds (cotton) the poo gets a bit more stuck on, so I use flushable liners and just pick it up and toss it all in the toilet. They can be washed a couple times so it'd it's just a pee diaper I toss it in with the dipe to get washed.

  9. I don't think that any of you post too much - I appreciate that someone reads and comments on my blog :-)