Cloth diapering is a great way to save money, but you may be surprised to know that many women spend MORE cloth diapering than they would on disposables. This is usually because they buy too many or want to collect special prints.
I think you should expect to spend about $500 or so on cloth diapers for a good starter stash, but it is perfectly possible to cloth diaper on less. In this post I am going to share my ideal diaper stashes for $100, $350, and $600.
Keep in mind that disposables for an average child will cost between $1200-$2000 between birth and age 2. Yikes! With cloth diapers, even though there is a large up-front initial investment, you end up saving a lot over the long run. Also, cloth diapers have a good resale value as long as they are well cared for AND can be used for more than one child.
There are several great online stores for purchasing cloth diapers. They all offer incentives including freebies and rewards points, and the reviews and other information on them are very helpful. I shop at Kellyscloset, Nicki's Diapers, and Diaper Junction. I have included links to each of the products, and used Diaper Junction for most of them.
First, let me give a few disclaimers:
1) what I would choose to purchase is not what everyone would choose. This is all purely my opinion
2) I am attempting to keep in mind a stash that could work for most babies from infancy through toddlerhood, but that may exclude very tiny newborns who may require newborn-size diapers when they are itty-bitty.
3) I am not getting money or any kind of sponsoring for my opinion of different brands, and am only endorsing them based on my experience.
4) These numbers assume I am buying everything new. There are amazing cloth diaper buy/sell/trade groups on facebook where you can get great diapers for less than retail.
Ok, here goes!
If I only had $100 to spend on cloth diapers, this is what I would buy:
12 Diaper Rite Cotton flats-- $23.95
-12 Diaper Rite Bamboo flats-- $32.95
-4 Diaper Rite One-size covers-- $8.95 each
-a 2-pack of Snappi diaper fasteners-- $6.75
Flats are great because they are just one, large, delivery-blanket-sized piece of fabric. They wash extremely easily, and users rarely encounter issues like ammonia build-up or other issues that can be easily found in other modern diapers. They can be folded into a pad and laid into the covers, or folded and "pinned" onto the baby using the snappis (old fashioned diaper pins are a thing of the past). Dirtydiaperlaundry.com even has a flats challenge every year to raise awareness of the awesomeness and versatility of this type of diaper.
I would choose to buy some bamboo flats for times when I need some extra absorbency, like nap time (hello, tummy sleepers), night time, or while running errands. Another option is to just buy more cotton ones and use 2 when you need more absorbency. I actually would be really happy using this diaper stash, and plan to buy some flats for myself soon.
So now let's pretend I have $350 to spend on diapers. If I had my way, my stash would look something like this:
-6 Bumgenius freetimes --$19.95 each but $110.95 for 6-pack
-4 Lalabye Baby diapers --$19.95 each
-3 Kawaii bamboo diapers --$16.90 each
-a 2-pack of snappi diaper fasteners-- $6.75
-12 Diaper Rite Bamboo Flats --$32.95
-3 Diaper Rite One-size covers-- $8.95 each
-2 Grovia O.N.E. diapers --$21.95 each
Spending some more money on a cloth diaper stash will get you a little more variety which will allow for ease in some situations. It will also allow you to enter the rhelm of pretty diapers! I mean seriously, how cute is that owl print on the Kawaii diaper above?
This stash would still be a 2 day stash for most children, meaning you would have to wash at least every other day, but it does give a little more leniency than the $100 stash.
So here is the breakdown of why:
-I like bumgenius freetimes and have found them to be one of the best fitting diapers for every age so far. Although they have microfiber in them, they are quite easy to wash
****word to the wise: microfiber is a very popular insert material because it is very absorbent and it is cheap! So cheaper diapers will often have microfiber inserts. Although it is possible to have a great diapering experience with microfiber, it can be a BIG headache to get them clean. Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo and hemp are much easier to keep clean and therefore will be less prone to ammonia issues. When at all possible, I suggest you spend the extra few dollars on natural fibers.
-I added a few lalabye baby and kawaii bamboo diapers simply because they are both diapers that I like. Lalabyes are very very well made and quite trim. They are also quite versatile. I also like Kawaii bamboo products.
-The flats, snappis, and covers are still in this stash because they will be a great and inexpensive addition. They are easy to use and wash, and would be perfect for using during naps when it is important to get all-around absorption (not just between the crotch) because baby could be laying any which way. Flats are also great for boosting absorption in the other diapers.
-The Grovia O.N.E. is a new and quite revolutionary diaper. Night time cloth diapering can be a bit difficult, as it requires lots of absorption even when baby is laying on his/her stomach. Usually fitted diapers are best for that, but I have it on good authority that these diapers are AMAZING at night. They even work for toddlers. I will be selling off a majority of my night-time diapers to purchase these soon.
Now let's say I have a little more to spend on a stash. If I had $600, and this is what mine would look like:
-7 Blueberry Simplex --$28.95 each
-12 Bumgenius Freetimes --$19.95 each or $204.00 for 12
-2 Rumparooz aplix (velcro) diaper --$17.95 each
-6 Cloth-eez workhorse organic cotton fitteds ---$33 to $67.50 depending on the size. I'm putting $50 as average
-2 Blueberry Coverall covers --$18.95 each
-3 Grovia O.N.E. diapers --$21.95 each
Total: between $579.30 and $613.80 depending on the size of fitteds
Honestly you could find most of these 2nd hand in excellent condition for at least 25% savings, but still, this is a good idea of what my stash would look like if I had $600 to spend new.
-I absolutely love blueberry simplex diapers and think they are worth every penny, but they are quite pricey new. Bumgenius freetimes are great for babies at pretty much any age, and I added 2 Rumparooz aplix (fancy word for velcro closure) as well. This is because Rumparooz has by far the best velcro closure of any diaper out there, and it is good to have at least one or two of those for when grandma wants to change a diaper or to send along to the church nursery. Aplix, in general, is much easier for non-cloth-diapering people to use.
-I also added some Cloth-eez cotton fitteds, which is what Victoria currently uses for naps. They are very soft and flexible and she has never ever had a leak out of them, even while lying on her tummy for hours. They are sized, which means you would have to get new ones as baby grows (25 lbs Victoria currently wears size Large), but they have an AMAZING resale value (nearly 100% retail), so they are worth it.
-I also use Blueberry Coveralls as my cover over the fitteds, and they are also worth every penny. The quality is much higher than any other cover I have tried.
-I would have 3 Grovia O.N.E. diapers for overnight, although I would ideally like to have 4 so I can allow them to air dry.
So there you have it! Three ideal stashes for three different price points.
Check out my other cloth diaper posts:
Everything you need to know to cloth diaper from newborn to toddler
My diaper stash and cloth diaper favorites