Got you covered (cloth diapers)

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Did you know that the average cost of diapering a child these days from birth to three years old is about $4500 dollars? I don’t know about you but I consider that to be a big chunk of money that I could put to good use somewhere else. Over thirteen years ago my husband and I researched, calculated, and experimented with the idea of cloth diapering our girls. At that time the average cost for disposable diapers was $2500 dollars (can you say inflation?). We knew that a LOT of money could be saved in this area.  I first encountered the idea on Dollar Stretcher and thought we should give it a try. I am very frugal and when it comes to saving money, this was something that could have a huge impact on the bottom line (get it? Bottom?) 🙂

My research soon showed that there are many different products and many different decisions to be made. For instance, did I want to select a diaper that was more expensive but convenient or less expensive that is less convenient? I learned that cloth diapering was more common that I had originally thought.  I had no idea there was that many choices out there but there definitely was. So I narrowed my options to three choices, if you knew me this would not surprise you.

Option #1 – The more expensive diaper that has the plastic outer shell included and with snaps attached.  This was the all in one package.  You buy a set of these and there’s nothing else to get but baby powder.  This is the closest thing to a disposable diaper, except you wash it after it’s used.

Option #2 – Prefold diaper that has with velcro already attached to the sides of the diaper and a plastic diaper cover.  Like the one above except that the vinyl-plastic shell is something you put on after the diaper.  This is used to prevent leaks.

Option #3 – A prefold diaper, either diaper pins or Snappi fasteners, a fleece liner, and a plastic diaper cover.  Everything is separate and nothing is attached.  Using these requires a bit more work but is the cheapest option.  First you lay the diaper down, stack the fleece liner, add baby, fold the diaper over the baby, use the pins (or the safer Snappi fastener), then put on the diaper cover.

When we started cloth diapering with our oldest daughter we decided to use the prefold diapers with velcro. I soon found out that it was a big mistake. Every time I put the diapers in the dryer the velcro would come loose from the tabs and they would all tangle together. Also smart toddler + velcro = naked toddler if you know what I mean. So when it came time to make the choice for my youngest I learned from the experience and chose differently. This time I chose to use regular prefolds, the fleece, and snappi fasteners with an outer diaper cover. We bought 48 prefolds all together in two different sizes and three sizes of diaper covers and of course the snappi fasteners as well. In all we paid $53 and only had to buy diapers when we were on vacation or when preparing for a hurricane.  That was a savings of $2400 or more.

Along with those items we also purchased one 5 gallon bucket to put in the bathroom for the soiled diapers and one 5 gallon bucket to put by the changing table for the wet diapers. Every two days I would wash the diapers that I put in the buckets and refill them with a homemade prewash soak. I also went to a few garage sales and purchased quite a few receiving blankets to cut them into squares and kept them by the diaper changing table to use for wipes. I also purchased fleece liners to place inside each diaper to wick away moisture from the baby’s skin. We left the fleece liners out later on to aid during the potty training stage.  We found that both our girls were completely potty trained well before the national average.  The theory is that, with cloths diapers, they still FEEL when they go as opposed to disposable diapers (which keeps them completely dry).  Kids don’t like feeling wet to they learn how to potty train a little faster.

Cloth diapering is not for everyone but it really helped out financially when we had two small children to diaper and only one income.

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