Cloth Diapering ~ Is It Worth It?

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Cloth Diapering

As a soon-to-be mother I’m a little overwhelmed by this new world of parenting that I’m about to approach. One of the main things I’m most lost about is this whole cloth diapering thing. Prior to becoming pregnant, I had little knowledge (and interest) in any of the current baby or parenting trends. In my attempts to gain as much knowledge about pregnancy and babies, I came across the whole diapering phenomena. I’ve heard nothing, but good things about it: Its more economically savvy! It’s better for the environment! It’s better for your baby! BUTTT…just like with anything, there are cons. The cons are what I want to first address, before I jump on the cloth diapering bandwagon. My main concerns are from a financial standpoint. Is cloth diapering really more economically savvy? I mean, I’ve see YouTube videos of moms who are doing cloth diapering laundry every single day. On top of that they are using three different washing cycles and two types of detergent, and I just can’t keep up. Mind you actually taking the dang thing apart. Cloth diapers seem to have all these different components to them, which to seem spells time! I think to myself as a new mother, could that time be better utilized doing something else for baby. Yes I know that if things are important to you, you make time for them. However, we don’t have convenient things in this world for no reason. I’m at a loss for what to do, and in my current quest to school myself on all things cloth diapering, I’m still on the fence about it.

Cloth diapers tend to be pretty pricey. We’re talking about $16-$20 a pop (or diaper)! According to this is the breakdown of diapers I’ll need for baby:

Newborn to 4 months – 20 – 24 diapers
Infant (4 to 10 months) – 16 – 20 diapers
Toddler (10 months to potty training) – 12 – 16 diapers

These are estimates, but they still give you a good idea of a reasonable and realistic number of diapers you would use. So let’s do the math, based off the average price ($18) of a cloth diaper:

Newborn to 4 months – 20 – 24 diapers = $432
Infant (4 to 10 months) – 16 – 20 diapers = $360
Toddler (10 months to potty training) – 12 – 16 diapers = $288

Total # of diapers needed and cost: 64/$1080

Let’s compare to disposable diapers:

According to, the breakdown of disposable diapers needs for baby is as such:

Changing on average 10 diapers per day/night, ½ lb growth per week, starting weight of 6 lbs

First 4 Months
Newborn Size: 2-3 packs (not really needed most can go straight to size 1)
Size 1: 840 diapers needed to get to 12 lbs = 16-20 jumbo packs
Size 2: 560 diapers needed to get to 16 lbs = 13-15 jumbo packs

5 months to 12 months
Growth slows to 1 lb every 3 weeks on average
Diaper Changes on average 6 per day
Size 3: 1512 diapers needed to get to 28 lbs = 56-62 jumbo packs

Total Diapers needed in the first year and cost: 2,912/roughly $425 to $582 (based off of an average best price of $4-$5/per pack), retail price would be double that, so $850-$1200.

To me it looks to be a difference of about $250-$300 in just the cost of the diapers. However, there are some other factors we have not taken into account yet. I’ll address cloth diapering ones first. Cloth diapering requires constant laundry, so that means water and electricity as far as utilities go, detergent, and general wear and tear on your appliance. Now washer machines usually last forever, so the wear and tear isn’t a huge cause for concern, but the increase in utilities is. All that extra washing could easy add an extra $50-$100 to your monthly bill. Now on the topic of detergent, it can be expensive and I’m a Tide girl, however I’m using All for Baby at this time for all of baby’s items. It’s still in the $8-$9 range for a 100 fl/oz size of detergent. Fortunately, you don’t need much, but you may need some bleach for the tough stains, which although is super cheap is still a cost to consider.

Now to address disposable diapering: Folks, it’s hard to believe that you need nearly 3000 diapers for baby within the first year! To me, its not just about the money though. It’s also about the environment. Disposable diapers, from what I’ve heard, are horrible for the environment. According to, a disposable diaper takes theoretically 500 years to decompose. That’s half a century! Now, I’m no environmentalist, but I try to do my part daily to not contribute to waste and help the environment. 500 years is ridiculous and so sad in a way! Nothing natural takes 500 years to break down, so that lets you know just how unnatural disposable diapers are. Disposable diapers also contains chemicals that can be harmful to babies, and set them up to diaper rash, yeast infections, and general irritation. This is not to say babies who are cloth diapered don’t experience any of these issues, but the odds are much lower and typically less severe. While it might be somewhat trivial, you have to look at the numbers of trash bags you would use with throwing out disposable diapers. Yes, I buy the 84 count pack too, but I can only imagine how fast I’d run through them throwing out diapers every couple of days. Those trash bags can get expensive! Even buying them in bulk, along with all the other trash you accumulate from having children and living normal daily life, you Can really run through them quickly.

So with all that being said, and I hope as unbiased as possible, the verdict is still out for me. Yes, I’m an environmentally friendly person who wants to go as natural as possible when it comes to products I use on my child. However, as a new mother, I’m not quite sure what I’m in for, and don’t want to put excess pressure on myself. Convenience exists for a reason, and having a baby, you need as much time as you can spare and find to not only take care of baby, but yourself and family. Additionally, I don’t want to put any extra financial burdens on my husband and I, due to the fact that we will potentially be dropping down to one income family after the first of the year. At this point, I’m just not sure what to do.

Mamas/caregivers what is your take? – Do you cloth diaper, if so why or why not? Is it really worth it? What the consumption of resources, to include time?

I can’t wait to hear your feedback!


21 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering ~ Is It Worth It?

  1. We used disposable diapers. My twin boys (who are now 6) were late being fully potty-trained, so we spent a lot of money on diapers and Pull Ups over three years. That being said, I honestly can’t imagine dealing with all that goes along with cloth diapering. But I do have several mom friends who think it’s the best. I would recommend you talk to a few cloth diapering moms to get the scoop. Good luck!

    Thank you for joining us at the Share the Love Blog Hop!!!

    Cindy from Superheroes and Teacups
    Cindy Howell recently posted…Fall Decorating: Women vs. MenMy Profile

    • I could imagine that with twins you have your hands full and it was probably a little more difficult to keep them on the “normal” timelines of things like potty training. With clothing diapering, there seems to be so much maintenance. With disposable diapering, it seems to be so much money! Who knows what I’ll end up doing!

      Thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to linking up again as well!

  2. We cloth diaper and love it. At $16-$20 a diaper, I’m assuming you’re looking at pockets? Flats/Prefolds with covers are the most economical option as far as cloth diapering, or you can go for the cheaper pockets like Alvas or Happy Flutes which would run you about $7 a diaper. My recommendation would be to get about 2 dozen prefolds and 3 or 4 covers ($8-$15/each) for the newborn stage. Then buy about 2 to 3 dozen one size pockets or more prefolds and one size covers. The one size will fit a baby from around 9 lbs to 35 lbs, so there is no need to get anything different from the Infant to Toddler stages.
    Of course, you could always buy used and only pay about half of retail, which is something else to consider. You can easily resell these diapers when you are through or use them on any future children you have.
    As far as utitlies go, our water bill has gone up from $75 to $95 with the extra laundry, dishes, and baths of our little boy and our electricity has gone up maybe $10-$15 a month.
    I’ve written a 3 part series on cloth diapering on my blog, I hope you’ll check it out.
    Sara @ Not Your Mainstream Mama recently posted…Yes, I Cloth Diaper (Part 3)My Profile

    • Sara, thank you for your thorough insight! I will definitely stop by your blog and check out your post on cloth diapering. I’m always looking for more information on it. Headed over to your blog now!

  3. I don’t have kids but… I’m do read momma blogs sometimes. I genuinely enjoy that you have written about a taboo topic and responded to comments without being judgmental or aggressive. I’ve found that to be pretty rare and I wanted to say thank you for putting together something that was informative, rather than sensationalist!


    • Thank so much! I really appreciate your kind words!

      I always try to be as objective as possible, especially when it comes to topics that I don’t know much about. Its an important goal of mines to not try to push my thoughts and ideas on others. I’m happy to know that I’m coming across that way. I’m far from a sensationalist, and would never want me blog (or voice) to have that feel. I too have visited and come across both bloggers and non-bloggers alike who tend to be very pushy and judgmental and its a real turn off, no matter what the topic is.

    • You definitely have a point there! I guess I’ll just have to see what works for us once baby gets here. Nursing is super important to me as well, so I will be focused on that before anything else.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  4. You forgot one important detail. You only factored in the cost for one year. Your child will likely be in diapers at least 2-3 years. If they are in the diapers for 2 years, the cost for disposable doubles. The cost for cloth stays the same. If they are in diapers for 3 years, the cost for disposable triples. The cost for cloth remains the same. HUGE savings! Also, if you have a second child, you can reuse the cloth diapers. More savings.

    I cloth diaper. I have an energy efficient washer. Our water bill only went up $3-5 a month. The electrical bill increase was even less. Your utilities should not jump up $50-100. I also follow the instructions for cleaning the diapers. I never use the dryer, only the washer, and the amount of soap you put in is not that much. Very little in fact. You maybe pay for 1 more bottle of detergent a month than if you didn’t cloth diaper.

    I’ve now been cloth diapering for 2 1/2 years. I have 2 little ones in the cloth diapers. I love them. Do I get sick of laundry at times? Heck, yeah. But it is so worth it. By the way, I think your estimates for diaper cost are off. Those numbers are something else. For my 2 girls (toddler who is 2 1/2 and baby who is 11 months), I have 33 diapers, total. I use One Size pockets with snaps. They adjust as the girls grow. I did have some newborn diapers, most that I got used (buying some for half the cost and getting some from a friend). I only had 19 of them that are now out of rotation. I only used them for 1-2 months. That bit about needing 64 diapers is ridiculous. Before I had my 2nd daughter, all I had were 24 One Size plus those newborn. It was plenty.

    Good luck!
    Denise recently posted…Turn It Up Tuesday!My Profile

    • I am learning about both types of diapering, so my post is not a source by any means for anyone interested in cloth diapering. Its simply my initial thought process about both forms of diapering right now. I won’t know which one will work for me until my little one gets here and I figure out what works best for my little one, my husband, self and lifestyle. I referenced the sources for where I got the pricing, which of course are estimates, because I due to my inexperience, I have no way of supplying my costs for both.

      I can totally see why factoring in a second year would be important, but right now I’m just focused on the immediate costs of both. This is my first child so I’m taking it one day at a time, and right now to foresee a year in the future is a bit overwhelming. The price for utilities and such was the overall price of adding another person, the baby, to the household. I include the cost of cloth diapering into that, as I did the same for disposable diapers. I see it more as an overhead cost, rather than direct when it comes to the utilities.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and insight. I’ll definitely be taking them into consideration as I embark on this new journey of motherhood.

  5. I did disposables with my first and Happy Heinys with my second. I loved cloth, my husband hated them. I turns out that it was a good choice though because when we tried disposable diapers for a weekend away, she broke out in a rash. I guess she inherited my sensitive skin because my son never did. I only put them through the wash twice though. One load with no detergent (Cold/Cold) and a second with Tide Free & Gentle (Hot/Cold). I read that the stuff in All would make the diapers break down sooner. I would consider the size of your septic if that’s an issue. We had to have ours pumped a year into it. Just my 2 cents, I hope it helps. Btw, I found this blog on Posed Perfection. :o )
    Charlie DeRuiter recently posted…Slouching Pink Posie: a free crochet patternMy Profile

  6. Hi there! I admire your honesty here. It’s easy to jump on the cloth diapering bandwagon, and it looks like you’re really taking time to consider all of your options.

    We did a combo–cloth diapers at home for the first 18 months, disposables when we went out and traveled. We ended up using disposables between 18 months and potty training.

    Cloth diapering did save us money–I spend $200 on 13 diapers (Kelly’s Closet, and I got a free diaper with my dozen from a coupon at I sold them on Craig’s List for $100, so in the end, I only spent $100 on the set. Pretty decent deal! (I got all-in-ones so I never had to buy any new sizes. This was it!)

    They are more time consuming than disposables, but it’s not like you’ll be watching the washer/dryer–I just put a load in and went back to playing with my baby. They are easy to fold. Be careful about detergents–even no-fragrance natural brands like ALL can wreak havoc on the cloth diapers, depending on which brand diapers you are using.

    Looking forward to hearing what you decide!! Found you through the Turn It Up Tuesdays blog hop, and I’ll follow you on Bloglovin. :)
    Lauren recently posted…Easy Sides: Green beans with baconMy Profile

  7. Congrats on really researching this! I think you make some very good observations. I used cloth diapers for the first couple years when my little guy was going through hordes of diapers. When he turned 2 it slowed down a little so I switched to disposables but don’t feel 100% comfortable with it. He NEVER had a diaper rash with the cloth but now has them occasionally. I also heard somewhere about disposables being linked to infertility in the future but I honestly have no idea if there is any truth to it. I am just hoping gets potty trained soon. Thanks for bringing up a topic that we should all talk about more!
    Momprojects recently posted…Custom Storage BenchMy Profile

  8. Hey momma! I’m a CD momma and love it. There are so many myths floating around about CDing. I started out with disposables, we got a bunch at our baby shower {size nb- 3} so we waited on Dot to grow out of those before we started cloth. I’ve spent about $125 (on 30 diapers) and will never have to buy diapers again, pending that I take good care of them. That being said, if you are a CD momma don’t be afraid to take a break. Sometimes the laundry can be daunting, buy a pack and take a weekend break. Do you’re research on both and decide what’s best for you and your family. After reading about the diaper plant explosion I decided I didn’t want all those chemicals on my baby’s bum. Also look on ebay for reputable sellers of cloth diapers. I bought mine from ebay and have loved what I’ve gotten… Hope that helps!
    Brooke recently posted…American Horror Story: Coven- Week TwoMy Profile

    • Thanks so much! I’m still doing more research and gaining knowledge before I completely delve in. I love the idea of being able to resuse them and the environmental savviness of them.

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