I Can’t Afford Cloth Diapers

Baby counting money

When money is tight, it can be tough to squeeze out enough for diapers. We have a few tips to help you save money on diapers.

Consider these factors to save yourself money:

  • whether you choose cloth or disposable diapers;
  • which style of cloth diapers you choose; and
  • what to do if even the least expensive cloth diapers are too much for your budget.

Which diapers will save you the most money? The first choice most parents make is cloth or disposable diapers. Cloth diapers win the math every time.

Compare the cost of cloth diapers with disposable diapers over 5,220 diaper changes. (See our “Baby on a Budget” article to see how we came up with that number.)

Total diaper cost

  • $1,200 Disposable Diapers @ $.23/each (major brands)
  • $679 Disposable Diapers @ $.13/each (low-end brands)

Even a high-end option like one-size, all-in-one cloth diapers plus newborn size is less expensive than disposables for one child. If you need to cut the budget, you still have more inexpesive cloth diaper options.

  • $600 Cloth All-in-one (AIO) Diapers plus Newborn
  • $240 Cloth One-size AIO Diapers
  • $231 Cloth prefolds with sized covers
  • $177 Cloth prefolds with one-size covers

The problem, of course, is that you need to come up with that money all at once rather than $20-30 at a time. If you put away $12 per week starting in your 5th month of pregnancy, you will be able to buy a complete cloth diaper supply in your final month of pregnancy. All done!

Which style of cloth diapers is least expensive? If you are limiting your budget even within cloth diapers, there is actually one best choice: prefolds.

Budget choice: prefolds with one-size covers

We carry several choices of prefold and flat diapers. We like the Bummis Beautiful Basic Starter Package and the Bummis Newborn Cloth Diaper Package. Both are currently on special, so you save even more. (These are sized packages, meaning you need new diaper covers as your baby grows. To save more, buy prefolds separately with one-size diaper covers. These adjust as your baby grows.)

Bummis Beautiful Basic cloth diaper package

What if even cloth diapers cost too much? Volunteers across North America build local cloth diaper banks for low-income families.

If even a prefold package on special is too big an expense for your family, talk to us at bynature.ca about free or very low cost diaper options. If you are in the Simcoe County / Georgian Bay area, stop by the byature.ca store and fill out a diaper bank application. Outside that area, drop us a note, and we’ll help you find a cloth diaper bank in your area, if one is available.

How can you save a lot of money cloth diapering? For more tips, see the Real Diaper Association low-income cloth diapers tip sheet. They give details on starting small, upcycling, buying used, keeping wash simple, and, of course, diaper banks.

Cloth Diapering Basics

This month we’re responding to common comments by our customers, like “I don’t have time for cloth diapers,” “Don’t cloth diapers leak?” and “Aren’t cloth diapers gross?”

Image ©  | Dreamstime.com

Why Cloth Diapers Contest Winner

This afternoon we announced the winner of our Why Cloth Diapers contest. This contest was so much fun to organize, and it really sounded as though the participants had fun putting their videos together. A great big thank you to all who participated and took the time to show the world why YOU choose cloth diapers.

The winner of a $1000 gift certificate to spend at bynature.ca was Cloth Now put together by Charlene and her husband. You can view their video here.

As a side note, Charlene told us afterwards that she has 5 children, ages 12, 7, 5, 2 and 6 months. This prize will surely be put to good use! Congratulations Charlene and family.

Blog to Inspire: I Choose Cloth. I am Saving the Planet.

Can You Inspire banner

This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Muskoka Bear Bums profileBlog to Inspire entrant from Muskoka Bear Bums is AmyLynn Duffield, who blogs about her story of how her family tries to keep ‘natural’ parenting an attainable reality.


Why are so many parents today choosing cloth diapers?

Well, can you reuse a disposable diaper? Can that same diaper fit from birth to potty training? Can you then take that diaper, and start again with your next child? Or can you donate that diaper to another family who is in need?

The clear answer to those questions is a big NO. With cloth all those options and more are made possible. Cloth can be a realistic, cheaper option to disposable diapers. Yes, more money goes out in the initial purchasing, but the savings of this choice can be in the thousands. Allowing that large amount of money to go a long way when raising a child.

Parents are choosing a proven system that has been used for thousands of years. A safe choice for the environment and a healthier choice for their babies.


What are my options?

I am not talking about big flat pieces of fabric, held onto your baby with pins, then covered with bulky rubber pants… minds tends to go back to the 1950′s. I am here to tell you that there are tons of well thought-out, designer choices. From traditional pre-folds and covers, to the ultimate top-of-the-line style in diapers; an all-in-one with a custom, fun outside print, that is virtually no fuss or work in changing. With hundreds of other options in between these two sides of the scale, there is sure to be a system that will work for every parent, and every budget.


Where do I buy my cloth diapers?

My personal favorite place to buy my diapers is from fellow parents who work from home. They produce high-quality diapers that they would, and have, used in their cloth diapering experience. Hyena Cart for me is a great place to browse and find awesome custom handmade excellent quality diapers.

That said there are also many online stores offering great name brand cloth diapers. These stores have many other products available as well; toys, clothes, laundry, babywearing, and home items that make the shopping experience easy and natural parenting to seem attainable. I have found so many awesome products by cruising online and realizing “Hey, I am not alone on my quest, and other parents have great ideas!”


How do I spread the good word?

Isn’t it fun to show your fluff off? To pack a fun, color-filled diaper bag? Show another parent how easy and simple cloth diapers can be. Taking multiple snap shots of my happy baby in a great diaper. Sending those pictures off to family members on Christmas cards or uploading to Facebook lets my community of fellow parents know, “Hey, I use cloth, its fun!”

Show your gorgeous baby off in that chunky, funky cloth bottom. Be willing to share your cloth diapering experience, your favorites, likes and dislikes, opinions and reasons behind your choice to anyone and everyone. Even the most strong-willed parents have a natural side that needs to be awakened. I am sure of it! Tell the messy, dirty truth about disposable diapers, and bring everyone over to the fluff side.


Who cares?

Our children. We are leaving behind this world, the mess and the destruction. Our parents and grandparents have made choices, and along with our own quest of convenience, we have had a strong, horrible impact on the planet. We are saying, “Stop! Enough is enough,” by choosing to cloth diaper our babies. Each parent has the ability to save thousands of diapers from entering our landfills for each child they choose to cloth diaper. Together we have the ability to reduce the use of harmful chemicals, the extra carbon output, and water waste that is produced when manufacturing disposable diapers, by choosing cloth diapers.

We can teach our children from day one how important our planet is, how we as their parents are making life changes and choices to do our part in leaving a healthy, natural, environment for generations of cloth diaperers to come.

Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.

Blog to Inspire: Being Green Never Felt So Good

Can You Inspire banner

This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Thrifty Mama Bee profileBlog to Inspire entrant Thifty Mama B’s is Shanaka B. She is a West Virginia coal miner’s daughter-in-law. She and her husband have two boys. She’s a stay-at-home mom. She started coupon clipping, cloth diapering, CVS’ing, and saving where she could in August 2008. Call it cheap, frugal, thrifty or whatever. Doing what she does has made it easier for them to be a family of four on one income.

If you’ve read my posts before y’all know I am obsessed with cloth diapers and the world that is cloth.

Why cloth diapers? I can give you a bunch of reasons why we chose cloth diapers but will only highlight a few. And just so you all know we were a disposables household, so I have nothing against parents who choose that way of life, I’m just making my case as to why we switched to cloth. I knew I wanted away from disposable diapers but didn’t know where to start.

Mama Bee 1

There was so much info out there about cloth, it is a lot to take in. I can say that switching to cloth diapers is one of the best things I have ever done (seriously). If I can help just one person understand and accept cloth diapering into their life I would be really happy. But I do understand that it is to each their own and I am not trying to push my lifestyle off on anyone. Really, though, cloth diapers are awesome. I’m about as girly girl as you can get and I have no problem washing cloth diapers. We are also a one income family of four and we could afford to buy more than half of our stash. If you truly want to make the switch to cloth you can do it! I’ve even given away 8 cloth diapers just so one person could start their diaper stash. Thats how strongly I feel about using cloth diapers.

Mama Bee 2

  1. They help save our environment. Every child that uses disposable diapers adds a minimum of about 6,500 disposable diapers (30% which are non biodegradable) to our landfills and in all those disposables are many lbs. of raw fecal matter that can spread viruses to our water supply should a crack show up in a landfill. The manufacturing of disposables also poses another threat to the environment. They require large amounts of wood pulp (aka trees) and dangerous chemical substances which can leave behind harmful byproducts. It makes me feel good that I know I’m doing my part to help save the Earth for my children.
  2. They help you save money. Yes, when you look at the initial cost of a cloth diaper you may feel that it is a bit much. I did at first. Then I sat down and did some number crunching. On average you can spend $2,000 on disposable diapers per child. That compared to the average $700 spent on cloth diapering your first child. A good thing about that $700? You can use it on the children you have after your first. Making the cost of diapering even less than disposables. The $700 mentioned may even be less than that depending on the cloth diaper system you choose to use.
  3. They are easier on the skin (babies and mine). They don’t contain any of the chemicals that disposables do. They are made of natural, chemical-free materials. Most babies have less to no diaper rash when using cloth compared to disposables because the cloth diapers are more breathable than disposables. I have hand eczema, and disposables made my eczema flare up badly.
  4. They are easy to use. These aren’t your grandma’s cloth diapers with rubber pants and diaper pins. You have a plethora of options when it comes to cloth. Velcro or snaps and your done. You can show your fashion taste on your little one’s bum. I’ve been asked, “Isn’t washing cloth diapers nasty?” My answer? “No!” Washing our cloth diapers is no different from washing clothes that got poo on them from a blow out disposable diaper or washing clothes that your little one has thrown up on. It’s all the same to your washing machine. Use the flushable diaper liners and you don’t have to mess with much of the poo. Cloth diapering can be adapted to fit any lifestyle even if you aren’t a stay-at-home parent. To me the added effort of doing a couple extra loads of laundry a week (I wash our diapers twice a week) is worth the multiple benefits to your children, the environment and your pocketbook.

Mama Bee 3

If you already use cloth diapers then you agree with my points, yes? If you don’t cloth diaper and are interested or are intrigued to make the switch, you can contact me and I can do my best to answer the cloth diaper questions you have or direct you to someone who can answer them if I can’t. I’ve already converted a family member to cloth and four friends, so I’m confident I can help you, too. Why would you not want to use cloth diapers? For every reason you have to not use cloth diapers I can give you a reason why you should. Using cloth diapers has also opened my eyes to other eco-friendly things.

Being green has never felt so good!

Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.

Cloth Diapering 101



Let’s face it, we all know cloth diapers are better for the environment. In our disposable society anything that can be reused again and again is a clear winner. We are also a society that strongly appreciates ‘value’ and ‘convenience’. Cloth diapers come out on top for these requirements, but did you know there are many reasons why more and more parents are choosing cloth diapers today (yes, in the year 2009!?!)? Learn some of the top reason why parents are choosing cloth diapers for their babies. Once you actually give cloth diapers a try, you will discover many more.

The complete Cloth Diapering 101 tutorial can be found here, Cloth Diapering 101 Guide.