Affording Cloth Diapers on a Low Income
After the recent series on cloth diapers, you may finally be thinking: Hey, I CAN do this! She makes cloth diapering seem so EASY!
But have the upfront costs of modern cloth diapers frustrated you?
I’ve been there.
And I found a solution.
It wasn’t long after the birth of my second daughter when I realized my family would barely be able to afford diapers for both our children, since our 2-year-old wasn’t potty trained. It was the perfect time to suggest cloth diapers to my husband.
He agreed that we could try them—but our compromise was that I would seek out modern cloth diapers , like pocket diapers.
So I happily set out to researching modern cloth diapers.
And I quickly became frustrated. The brand my one cloth diapering friend recommended cost $20 per diaper.
I realized I would have to spend money (money we didn’t have) to save money, and it just didn’t make sense.
The Cloth Diaper Foundation
I set out to find a way—any way—my family could afford the start-up costs of cloth diapering. My search led me to The Cloth Diaper Foundation.
The premise of the non-profit organization is to provide diaper loans to parents who cannot afford the start-up costs of cloth diapers. The program is open up to anyone living within the continental United States who meets certain income qualifications.
Once your application is processed (including paperwork with your child’s birth certificate and recent pay stubs), The Cloth Diaper Foundation will loan out 12 diapers per child for the cost of shipping. My family received 24 diapers—12 for each of our girls.
Sometimes the foundation will send new diapers, but they mostly send out gently-used diapers. They rely solely on donations from cloth diaper companies and individuals who want to spread “cloth love” to other mamas.
The goal of the program is that parents will use the diapers CDF loans out while slowly building their own stashes, as their income allows. Parents will then return the diapers to CDF.
The CDF is currently in the process of transferring their location from Texas to California, so they are closed for applications, but they hope to re-open sometime in August.
Giving Diapers, Giving Hope
As more people are finding out about CDF, other organizations like it are popping up all over North America.
Giving Diapers, Giving Hope started in early 2011 as another diaper-lending organization for low-income families. Cloth diapering mom Kristen McCarthy began the program after losing her job and house and finding herself in a tough financial situation.
“I started to think, what WOULD other people do if they were in a similar situation and DIDN’T cloth diaper? How would they diaper their children?” Kristen says on the Giving Diapers, Giving Hope website.
Like CDF, the program is open to anyone within the continental United States. Applicants must meet certain income requirements and pay for the shipping of the diapers. Recipients must return their diapers at the end of their loan.
Local Diaper Lending Programs
The Cloth Diaper Foundation and Giving Diapers, Giving Hope operate on a national level, but many other communities offer smaller programs to local families in need.
Former CDF recipient Cara DeCoito recently founded Kaw Valley Cloth, a diaper lending program in her Lawrence, Kansas community.
Sweet Cheeks Diaper Kits is a North Carolina non-profit that makes, collects and distributes cloth diapering supplies in their area. Each kit contains everything a parent needs to cloth diaper one child full-time, including a diaper pail, handmade T-shirt diapers, donated brand name diapers and covers, handmade wipes, a spray bottle, detergent, diaper cream, stay-dry liners AND on-going support!
Volunteers from the community get together for a Diaper Derby each month, where they recycle old T-shirts to make the fitted T-shirt diapers for the kits.
But how do I build my own stash cheaply?
The point of a cloth diaper loan is to allow you to cloth diaper full-time while slowly building your own stash.
There are ways to build a stash of modern cloth diapers cheaply:
- Buy used from cloth diaper companies, Craigslist, DiaperSwappers, your local Mommies Network, from Facebook trading and selling sites, etc. (Just exercise caution when you don’t personally know the seller!)
- Check out Re-Diaper. This company sells some gently-used diapers as well as new diapers for a lower price than some other stores. They also offer a small diaper assistance program.
- Make your own. Cotton Babies has an excellent tutorial on making your own cloth diapers—even if you don’t know how to sew!
- Buy second-quality new diapers. Many companies will sell their slightly imperfect diapers for a fraction of the retail price. I bought several Bum Genius diapers for $8, and they work perfectly!
- Buy off-brands. The bulk of my stash are Kawaii brand diapers, which cost about half the price of name-brand diapers. I have found them to hold up as well (or better!) than my more expensive diapers.
- Are you a missionary? Cotton Babies offers a grant program for missionary families, providing gently-used (and sometimes new!) cloth diapers.
- Remember: You don’t need EVERYTHING. Stephanie demonstrated in her video last week that you can “swish” poopy diapers; a diaper sprayer isn’t necessary. You can make your own stay-dry liners out of fleece remnants. You can use baby washcloths instead of buying pricey cloth wipes. If you get the diapers, you can be creative with the rest.
A Challenge for YOU!
If you have a low income, I hope this post has given you HOPE that there IS a way to afford the start-up costs of cloth diapering.
But what if you aren’t low-income? What if you already have all you need to cloth diaper your babies? What if your babies are already grown?
I want to leave you with a challenge. Why not give to The Cloth Diaper Foundation; Giving Diapers, Giving Hope; or another diaper lending organization?
You can donate your gently-used diapers, new diapers or even monetarily.
Many mamas want to cloth diaper their babies and think that they can’t.
Maybe you can help them out?
Or maybe…just maybe, God is leading you to take it a step further and start your own diaper lending program in your local community. The organizations I listed can only service so many families.
I was unable to locate any diaper lending programs in Canada. Does anyone know of one? Maybe a Keeper of the Home reader can start one?
How did you afford the start-up costs of cloth? Do you know of any other diaper lending programs? What are your ideas to afford the start-up costs of cloth?
Do you know what this organization does to ensure these diapers are clean and safe?
@Katie@Gluten-Free Food Storage, Hi Katie! I think that is probably a risk you are taking. The diapers are sent back “clean” from the previous participants, but it is up to the recipients to clean them themselves upon arrival. I recommend a disinfecting wash with tea tree oil, pure oxygen and HOT water–as well as drying in the sun. At first, I was a little grossed out when I started reading that people buy and borrow used diapers, but then I realized that they do get really clean in the wash.
Also, Don’t forget that you can ALWAYS strip diapers to renew them! or throw a few tiny capfuls of bleach in the water to kill anything you fear.
@Nichole, Absolutely! I learned the hard way that I always need to have some Dawn dish soap on hand! (I made just about every cloth mistake in the book in the beginning!) I recently wrote in-depth about stripping at Jack’s Changing Table: http://jackschangingtable.com/2011/07/04/cloth-diaper-challenge-3-stripping-your-diapers/
Wouldn’t they be as “clean” as diapers from a diaper service? I helped out at a local diaper service in exchange for the service and they didn’t use anything “special” to clean the diapers. Pretty much what Erin O said to use.
Thanks for this blog, I will have to look up these programs and see how I can help out and spread the word.
We also used prefolds with simple, cheaper covers for our first 2 children and they worked great! Well enough for me to continue cloth diapering all the way through. I have had to buy new covers for the 3rd baby b/c we were using some hand-me-down covers used on 2 other babies and they were just done.
@Jessica C, I would think so. That is really neat that you helped out in order to get the service. It almost likes like a CSA! That’s a great idea to share!!
My only hesitation with receiving used diapers now is that you never know if they possibly have been infected with yeast. I would have never thought about this except that my baby battled yeast her first 5 months. It was a secondary decision for switching to cloth because we didn’t know it was yeast. When it still didn’t go away with the switch, our pediatrician finally diagnosed the yeast. I had to do a special disinfecting wash.
I do NOT think the yeast came from the CDF diapers. In fact, I know she had yeast before.
At the time I used CDF diapers, their policy was to return them or pass them on to someone else who really needed them (I *think* now you have to return them.)
To save on shipping, I passed them along to several different families who I knew were in our same financial boat. Before doing so, I disinfected the diapers again AND warned the families about the yeast. One of my friends’ daughters STILL got yeast. (I think it is BAD right now!) That is the main reason I would take extra precaution with used dipes.
@Katie@Gluten-Free Food Storage, If they are prefolds or flats you can boil them once they arrive, and bleach any covers. I hate bleach and its not ideal but it would work.
My husband and I went the prefold route, which is much cheaper than pockets. We got them from cottonbabies, 30 of them for $45 I think, and some Flips covers. We were gifted 3 Bum Genius pockets, so it’s nice to have them in our rotation, but mostly it’s prefolds for us. Our whole stash, including pail liners, snappis, wet bag for diaper bag, etc. was about $230 tops!! If you really want to cloth diaper, there are cheaper ways to do it. Flats are even cheaper!
@caroline, That’s a great point, Caroline! I really would love to try prefolds one day! Unfortunately, it was a compromise between me and my husband (he doesn’t mind me saying that!) to use modern cloth. Praise the Lord, with the time CDF gave me to build our stash, I was able to shop around and purchase an entire stash for TWO babies (my 3-year-old is…still!…not potty trained!) for less than $200. CDF and Giving Diapers, Giving Hope send an assortment of diaper types. I didn’t receive any prefolds, but they do send them. I received partly pockets and partly fitteds (which I loved!). There is no guarantee of what types of diapers you will get. The loan, though, allowed us time to get the diapers my husband and I could both agree on.
Prefolds all the way! I have some pockets in my stash, but my favorites for everyday are indian cotton prefolds I bought as seconds from little-lions.com
They are cheap, easy to wash, dry quickly and fairly adjustable. There is a small learning curve on getting them snug, but the cover helps keep everything in place too.
Great that so many programs exsist!
@MamaK, Thanks for the great comment about prefolds! I think more moms need to know they aren’t something to be “feared”! 🙂
My husband wanted to go the modern diaper route too when we found out we were expecting baby #1. We are fortunate to have a cloth diaper store within 30 minutes of home, so I brought him with me to see what his modern diapers cost. Then we looked at the cover and pre-fold and one-size cover option and after the wonderful mama’s there showed us how the prefolds work on their own babies (the kiddo’s come to work wtih mama at this store), he decided it wasn’t so bad.
To save some more money, we found another couple at work with whom we could exchange diapers with. We split some of the costs, and when we were done with newborn diapers for our March baby, they used them for their November baby. As we are finishing up the medium sized one’s they are using them too. It’s kind of like a diaper share program. It’s worked great for us, and we can talk about what we finds works and doesn’t.
The biggest cost we have had is wool diaper covers. They range from $30-$45 new. With our son being a heavy wetter, we have found the wool cover to be indispensible. He’s now 16 months, and we acquired three of them over time by watching craigslist and the clearnace/used section of the diaper store. We find this to be the perfect number, in combination with 4 one-size covers.
@Sara, One great way to save money on woolies is to learn to knit or get 100% wool sweaters from thrift stores to recycle into covers. I learned to knit woolies for my heavy wetter son and they are by far my favorite. They really are not that hard. As for the recycled sweaters, there are a number of patterns on line for wool covers. You felt the wool sweater (basically wash it exactly how you shouldn’t, Hot water and dish soap until it forms a thick fabric) then you can cut it into any shape you want and cut a button hole or two and hand sew on a button or if you have a sewing machine you can add velcro (you would want to re-wash it with a lanolin based wool wash) and you have a wonderful wool cover. All for the cost of a sweater from a thrift store. I use new yarn and mostly I haven’t paid more than $15 for the yarn, I enjoy the knitting so that is just an excuse to do it :-).
@Sara, I love your swapping idea! I think cloth diapering is a lot like breastfeeding in that support is a must! I have made many friends in the cloth diapering “community” since starting cloth. It’s nice to have friends do it with you!
Wool covers are one of the only things I haven’t tried so far. I hear they are a must for using prefolds or fitteds at night! We currently use the Kawaii Bamboo diaper for overnight. I hear that wool lasts a long, long time, too!
That is so cool! I’ve never heard of the Cloth Diaper Foundation. How great for people to get started who can’t shell out a couple hundred bucks up front!
@Emily, It is a really neat organization!
You posted this at just the right time! We are trying to make the switch to cloth but are having to buy them one at a time since they are so expensive. I will def check out both of these sites!
@Jana, I’m so glad, Jana! There are so many ways to build your stash! I didn’t mention entering contests. I didn’t over-enter, but I did actually win a diaper in a contest the other day (it came in the mail today!). I didn’t even remember entering the contest. A lot of bloggers will do the reviews and giveaways. I hope you enjoy cloth as much as I do!
Hey Erin if I started up a business like this, how would I go about it? I am a stay at home mom and would like to find something where I could make a little money but spread the love of cloth diapers to others. I just have NO idea where to start or even if this would be possible. If you have any advice please let me know. Thanks -Heather-
@Heather, honestly, I think the CDF and other organizations listed in the post don’t make any money. Unless things have changed in the past few months, CDF is run purely by volunteers.
However, I know of several moms who have decided to sell cloth diapers on their own. I am friends with Sarah, the owner of The Earthy Baby (www.theearthybaby.com) and Stacy of Jack Be Natural (www.jackbenatural.com). Like you, they both desired to advocate for cloth diapers and bring in a little extra income for their families while staying at home. If it were me, I would probably contact some of the diaper companies and ask about wholesale account information. I know some have minimum order sizes–but some don’t.
Another friend of mine recently started selling SmartBottoms diapers. They are a direct sales company for cloth diapers–kind of like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef…but for diapers! The sellers get friends to host cloth diaper parties, so it can make for a really fun mom’s night! I really have no idea the buy-in cost, but you can find information here: http://www.smartbottoms.com/
Blessings to you in this business venture! I think the start to a great business is being passionate about what you are selling…and it sounds like you are!
When I first started cloth diapering over 15 years ago, there weren’t as many wonderful options as there are now. At the time, I lived in a fairly large city; so there was a diaper service. For a weekly fee (about the same as you would spend on disposables) they would drop off clean diapers once a week, and pick up the dirty ones.
Another option is to build your cloth diaper collection gradually. Figure out how much you are spending on disposable diapers, let’s say it’s $75 a month. And lets say that the complete system of diapers you want costs $250. So the first month you spend $25 on disposables and $50 on cloth. You use all your cloth diapers, then put baby in a disposable and do a load of wash. Sure you have to wash a bit more often, and you don’t have it all, but there has been zero impact to the family budget. By repeating this every month, you can have your dream system for NO EXTRA $, and without putting it on a charge card and having to pay interest.
After that initial 5 months, you will now have an extra $75 in your family’s budget that you wouldn’t have had if you had stuck to disposables!
@Lois, Great idea!
@Lois, I love that idea, Lois!
this is a great idea, i might have to borrow this to make it all work 🙂
I am new to cloth diapering. My husband is currently unemployed, so we are living on a tight budget of saved $. The best option we have found is prefolds and covers. I even found our newborn stash at a local thrift store! It is nice to have the all in one, or pocket styles, but for a tight budget prefolds really are awesome!
@Nicole, I pray your husband gets a job soon! My husband is a public school teacher, and we are so thankful for a job…but they keep getting their already-small salaries cut.
I love thrift store finds! I have heard you can just use pocket diapers as swim diapers, but I was able to snag a swim diaper at a local thrift store very cheaply!
@Nicole, I agree, I use prefolds too. I do have a few pockets now, mostly gifts, but actually I don’t like them. I LOVE prefolds and they are certainly cheap.
Great post! I was content to wash diapers every day when I first started CDing. I built my stash very slowly and when I was pregnant with my second baby, my mother-in-law bought us many more pocket diapers. I was recently given a huge stash of prefolds, which I now love. I wish I would’ve used prefolds much sooner so that I wouldn’t have to wash every day.
As for wipes, make your own! I asked friends for old receiving blankets and made our wipes for free! Here’s my tutorial: http://mamagab.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-make-cloth-diaper-wipes.html
@Gabrielle, Thanks for that tutorial on making cloth wipes! I currently use baby wash cloths for wipes, but making wipes like this is on my to-do list! I have so many old receiving blankets that are just sitting in the baby’s drawer! I am bookmarking this tutorial!
Hey! Thanks for this info! Quick question. The link where it says, “Are you a missionary? Cotton Babies offers a grant program for missionary families, providing gently-used (and sometimes new!) cloth diapers” doesn’t work. Where can I find this program?
Here you go http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=58
Envibum.com also donates the mom4mom covers and liners to missionaries if you email them and see if they have donations to give right now. Also you can check with other smaller cloth diaper companies. : )
@Savvy Wolfson, This link should work: http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=58
I have personal friends who have received these grants. I was visiting one missionary friend this past spring when her Bum Genius package arrived! Cotton Babies is so generous!
My sis, cousin, and I started a cloth diapering company called envibum. While we have a more expensive cloth diaper, we also have a diaper cover called mom4mom cover, that is $12.99. It’s rinsable and reusable because there are no seems for yucky stuff to get caught in. We have ‘t-shaped liners’ or you can use prefolds…uh, admittedly I’ve even used dish towels before. When one is purchased, another is donated to a mom and baby in need somewhere around the world, whether it a baby in an orphanage in Ethiopia or a missionary family Kenya or a mom in low income housing just trying to pay her bills.
@Leah Mick, that sounds like a wonderful business-ministry venture! I will check out your site!
It is so super easy to sew a few diapers or covers for the cheaper refolds too! Even if you don’t have a sewing machine you could borrow one or just ask a mom friend to use hers in her home for a couple of hours some day. I learned to sew making diaper covers! And they don’t have to be some super fancy fabric. Even if they aren’t waterproof they work. You just need to change baby more often no big deal. Probably better for baby anyway!
Also o ce you become a mom and start making mom friends you can find other moms who cd easily and buy or even get gifted their old diapers! I only have bought 24 refolds new and I have a huge stash now that I am on my third son with. I bought second hand from a friend and had 3 other friends give me diapers their kids had outgrown too! They weren’t in perfect condition but they work great. And with sunning they stay very clean and fresh!
Cloth diapering with second hand diapers has saved us so much money! I literally started with 2 dozen new prefolds and one cover. And slowly built up a very large stash for seriously less than a 100$ once it was all said and done.
I am on my last baby and hope to some day pass on my used diapers to another mom looking to save some cash and save the planet!
@LeaG, I have found the cloth diapering community very willing to help each other! When I was first starting, a few months just gave me some of their old diapers! I hope to do the same when we are finished with our stash!
6 years ago with my first, we had a much lower income than we are blessed with now. We started with only secondhand diapers from thrift stores, eBay, Kijiji, and some made from the free Ottobre pattern and upcycled receiving blankets. Many, many varieties. We had most of my diaper stash before my dd was born so I always found the price of disposables shocking. With my second we decided to try simplifying to mostly one brand and got rid of most of our worn ones. I got some Mother-ease one size fitteds (about $10 new) new, and some used for a large supply to use on a newborn and a toddler, that way they both wore the same diapers. With my third we are still on those fitteds, but we also purchased some infant prefolds for the first weeks (about $2.50 or less each, new). I am sure I could have spent less, but overall I haven’t spent much in comparison to disposables, or even new cloth diapers. We will use the current stash from 2 and 3 to diaper number 4 this winter. I still cringe at buying the occasional bag of disposables (for overnight or a trip) and always wonder what new cloth diaper I could have gotten instead!
@Kim M, I *cringe* when I have to buy disposables, too, Kim! We just had to buy the first box of disposables in months yesterday because our daughter has a yeast rash. 🙁 I am so encouraged to hear your diapers has lasted so long! We desire more children, and I hope to use our current stash again! We bought mostly gender-neutral diapers for this reason!
We’re having our first in November and I’ve been working on building the stash for about 6 months. I have yet to buy a single diaper. So far I have swapped through SwapMamas.com for a few dozen prefolds and a wool diaper cover, made a bunch of prefolds from old flannel sheets, old towels, and t-shirts and made a number of fitteds from t-shirts (purchased elastic and hook and eye tape though). I had all these materials on hand because I’ve planned for a while to make diapers so I have saved all our old sheets and t-shirts but these things are definitely available from the thrift store. Also, once our family found out what I was using to make them we were given old sheets and towels 🙂
@annie, Congratulations, Annie! I had never heard of SwapMama! I need to check them out!
We’ve been able to completely cloth diaper for practically free. I asked for flatfolds for my baby shower (at about $1 apiece, they’re pretty cheap) and received about two dozen. I just fold these into a rectangle and lay it in the cover…no diaper origami! The nice thing about flatfolds is you don’t necessarily need special detergent (since they’re just cotton), they’re really easy to get clean and are less likely to get buildup.
I also put the word out that I was planning on cloth diapering and ended up getting a bunch of diaper covers from someone who had just potty trained their child. I was also able to make several wool covers from yarn I already had (a great option of you knit or crochet) and have won some OS diapers from giveaways. Most online cloth diaper stores have regular giveaways and special deals for those who follow their blog or Facebook, some even have referral and/or frequent buyer rewards…just a few more ways of saving money!
@Jessy, I wish I had put the word out while I was pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t decide to cloth diaper until after she was born. I definitely want a cloth diaper registry next time!
Don’t forget about SunBaby diapers! I love mine! They’re no less better than the BG stash I had with my first kid! They make up my whole main 20 diaper stash (I have about 24 prefolds as backup as well). You can get 12 diapers and 12 inserts for about $60 from sunbaby, and less if you ebay them! Also, I got MANY diapers on diaperswappers.com, gently used diapers abound and you can get really great deals there!
@Nichole, Thanks for the good review of SunBaby! I have wondered about them! I feel the same about BGs compared to my less expensive diapers!
This is a really neat idea. I am in Canada and have only heard of trial programs, and also one independent store that will try to find good condition although used diapers for someone on a low income to give for free. But its not something I can mention here as its not a large scale type of thing and only for that community. However if there is that store then there must be others somewhere in Canada.
Often times I have seen used diapers for free on websites like online classifieds such as freecycle and others. Even if they weren’t necessarily “the best” diapers you really want at least it would allow you to use something until you could gradually save up.
I also know of a diaper service here that will sell prefolds at a very reduced cost that are not “perfect” anymore for customers but still very useable. They are sterilized etc. so try checking with diaper services. Again its a cost but its at least much less cost as prefolds are already cheap and then reducing that cost even more works well.
I agree you definately can make do with accessories or avoid them altogether/get them when you have some money. I also think the same thing about lesser # of diapers. Its not ideal to have less than 2 dozen but it can work, as you know from 12 per child. I remember my aunt saying she did 18 diapers (flats with pins and plastic pants!) in the 50’s for two children in diapers (17 months apart) and she did have to wash a lot but she made it work since she could not afford anything else.
If I find anything about the loan idea here in Canada I will post it in the comments.
@Nola, I hope you find a Canadian organization! I had a hard time locating one. 🙁 Maybe a Keeper of the Home reader will feel led to start one?! My family spent a semester in Vancouver a couple years ago. I <3 Canada!
@Nola, I didn’t find anything doing a search for Canada, but I did find (didn’t look at it thoroughly but it would be worth looking at) “giving diapers, giving hope” website, and “lend a hand diapers” (but the second one appears it may no longer be working). I also found that Ottawa Cloth diapers (Ontario, Canada) has a diaper trial program that looks really great and although it would not actually work for someone who needs to have the diapers free, it would allow them to try many kinds for a low cost and then know what they want rather than waste their already limited/none budget on cloth that doesn’t work out for them. Its a 1-2 week trial I think it said but includes many kinds. Again not exactly what I want to find but another good option to know about.
Great resource! When I cloth diapered my (now) 10 year old daughter, I was a single mom with no additional financial support. Since disposables didn’t seem economical, I was able to buy a stash of diaper covers and (some) prefolds from a mama whose child had outgrown them (Craigslist!). There were all sorts of sizes in the stash that covered most of my needs, so I really just needed to buy enough prefolds to fill the gap. As well, I kept an eye out for diaper covers at thrift stores and used baby item stores. While the “fancy” diapers are great (that’s what I’m using with my 17 month old now that I have more financial flexibility), it really was easy enough to go the more “old fashioned” route. Once you’ve done it a few times, it’s not really that hard to get the prefold pinned into place without sticking yourself (or the baby!) Also, I didn’t have a diaper sprayer, liners, etc. and it worked just fine!
@Joanna, What a neat testimonial about cloth diapering “then” and “now.” Do you have a blog, Joanna? That would be a great post!
Woolies and prefolds are the way to go! I made all my own wool covers and now sell them on etsy. Check out etsy for wool covers of all kinds. Many sellers are willing to barter, so it never hurts to ask!
@MonkeyMuffin, What is your etsy name? A lot of my “cloth curious” friends ask me where to purchase things, and I haven’t found a place for wool yet since I haven’t tried it. Thanks! 🙂
@Erin O, my etsy shop is http://www.monkeymuffin.etsy.com
I hope you check out my shop. I have several more things to post in the next few days. Woolies are my favorite thing to knit, it’s just a matter of finding the time! There are lots of woolies available on etsy and I love to support other artists.
Also, don’t rule out having something custom made. My custom work is only slightly more expensive and can be tailored to fit all baby shapes.
For those of you who can sew (maybe I will be past the novice stage ONE DAY!), here is a site with free patterns: http://rctdiapers.webs.com/freepatterns.htm
I also didn’t mention that I got several of my diapers cheaply by offering to be a “tester.” I “liked” a lot of cloth diapering pages on FB, and many times they will offer their fans to “test” new lines they want to carry. I paid as little as $5-$6 for some pocket diapers this way–and I got some for free this way! The Lord provides!
I used a combination of flat diapers, prefolds, and pocket diapers with my twins. I found each one had it’s merits. I loved flat diapers because they were easy to wash. If I hung out a load they would often be dry by the time I had everything else hung, and they are the cheapest way to buy cloth diapers. I got mind at less that $2 a diaper. I also like them because you don’t have to buy different sizes just use a different fold, and they weren’t as bulky as prefolds. Of course you do have to fold them, but what won me over was a video of a five year old folding a diaper in a minute of so. I figured if I five year old could do it so could I. If you’re tight on money they are certainly the way to go, and if you have a five year old they can help you *smile*
@c, After reading all the comments, I have decided: I must try prefolds and flats! Cutting down on laundry time sounds like a winner to me!
I started with 12 prefolds, two Snappis and 2 pairs of plastic pants. Then I ordered two Thirsties covers and two Bummis covers from Amazon, I got them much cheaper there than the other CD stores online. Over the course of my daughter’s first year I slowly added BumGenius 3.0, Fuzzibunz and Kawaii pocket diapers to the stash. I was even given 6 Kawaii diapers as my own birthday gift. 🙂 So now I have 24 pocket diapers, 12 prefolds and 5 covers. I spent around $150. For the next baby I’d like to add more Fuzzibunz, I only have two. I like them a lot more than the Kawaii, which always leave marks on my daughters legs, even if she’s only had the diaper on for 10 minutes. :/
@Tiffani A., Tiffani, what types of Kawaii do you have? I have one FB, and I actually prefer my Kawaii! I have found the different Kawaii styles to fit differently (and I think they are constantly updating them). My first two Kawaii ever were a fun print and ultra soft. I was SO disappointed when they left red marks on my daughter’s legs. Well, I ended up stretching the leg elastic out with a pants hanger, and now they fit fine. I was hesitant to try other Kawaii, but none of the others have left red marks. Maybe you can trade someone for more FB?
What a great post! I had no idea there were such organizations, and I know some moms who might benefit from their help. DH and I did a couple of things to help reduce our diaper start-up costs:
1. Registered for diapers and diapering supplies for our baby showers. This got us about half the small diapers we needed, plus some doublers.
2. Shared diapers with a friend who was on a different baby timetable. We each had different sizes of the same kind of diaper; when we pooled all the diapers, we each ended up contributing about half the stash.
@Kathryn, I hope your friends will find the help they need! I really wish I had known I would cloth diaper. I didn’t register for my second daughter, but I would have loved a cloth registry! Someone else mentioned the sharing idea, too. That is such a wonderful plan!!
Mrs. Erin! This blog has been one of my favourites for the past couple of months, and I was so excited to see you posting on it! I’m still several years away from cloth diapering, but we might give it a try when we get to that point. Your blog looks great, by the way!
@Elsie, Thank you, Elsie! I can’t believe you are all grown up and married now when I taught you in high school in Costa Rica! I love Keeper of the Home and was so honored Stephanie allowed me to guest post about our experience with CDF. I wish I had had a resource like this blog when I was newly married. I am so excited you want to cloth diaper one day, too!!
I wanted to add two things…
1) I would recommend buying one cloth diaper each month during your pregnancy, if at all possible! I heard this advice with my first child when I was six months pregnant, and I had a great head start on cloth diapers this way! It was much easier because I had an income then, vs. being a SAHM after the baby. This might not be the case for most of your readers, but maybe they know someone to pass the advice on to!
2) Why no mention of flats? Flats are so awesome! I am lucky enough to have the pricey diapers, but I really, really, really like unbleached organic flats from Green Mountain (which seems to be a great Christian business with diaper grants and missionary grants!). These are super, super affordable. Other types of flats are even less expensive, and some people just use flannel blankets or sack towels from Walmart.
@Bethany, Thanks! I wish I had known I was going to cloth diaper when I was pregnant. I need to try flats!!
Wow, this is great. But our biggest cost obstacle, as a low-income family (we qualify for WIC right now living on my husband’s student stipend) is the cost of doing laundry. We live in a small apartment where we pay $1.75 per washer load and $1.50 per dryer load. Even if we hung the cloth diapers to dry, we calculated that it would still be much cheaper to go with the LUVS disposables we get for $.10 each on Amazon. And in a small apartment, there just isn’t room to do laundry by hand. So what we need is a cheap diaper laundry service for low-income families (and we also happen to be future missionaries)!
@Charissa, Wow! That does sound a big obstacle! My family did a short (semester) missionary stint in Vancouver (LOVED it!), and we lived in a tiny apartment and had to pay (lots!) to do laundry there as well. At that time, we weren’t using cloth. I guess the only other option I can think about is if there is a laundry mat close by that is cheaper (but that might be a lot of hassle). Have you looked to see if there are any diaper services in your area?
Once you have all your paperwork from your church and mission sending agency, I encourage you to apply for the Cotton Babies grant! I *think* they only give so many per year, but I have had several friends receive them and was visiting one of my friends when her package arrived. They are very generous. She received 15 brand new Bum Genius diapers (although sometimes I think they send gently-used) plus all the accessories she needed to cloth diaper her son full-time! Blessings to you, Charissa! 🙂
Thanks so much for this post! My husband and I , recently started cloth diapering our soon to be 8 month old daughter. We desired to cloth diaper from the very beginning, but received so many disposables from our showers, that we just used those first out of gratefulness. After we begin buying disposables, we quickly realized that we would save money, by using cloth. I too, surfed the internet looking for the best possible buy, for our budget. I needed to find a good system for under $100.00 We ended up spending around $30.00 for 6 covers and $30.00 for 60 contour prefolds. Such a great deal! I ordered the (Kawaii) covers from “Sweet Bottoms” and the prefolds from Amazon. I took about $35.00 more dollars and bought material/PUL (on sale) to make 15 more covers (my wonderful mother-in-law showed me how.) This is really working well for us!!! I just tri-fold the diaper and lay it inside of the cover and it works just fine!
I’m so glad you like the Kawaii brand as well! I have found them to be really quality diapers for a low price! We did not have any showers for our second baby (we didn’t start using cloth until our second–although both girls were still in diapers), but we did buy diapers during my pregnancy to “stock up.” We ended up taking most of them back to Wal-Mart and Target and getting gift cards to use on other merchandise. Thanks for sharing!
JustSimplyBaby.com has great deals too . . .
The Cloth Diaper Foundation is no longer in operation. Just thought I would pass that on!
I know–it’s sad! I need to update the post. Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is basically the same thing: http://www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org/
Hi I’m Maria I’m a mother of 5 kids, i was looking on the internet about cloth diapers and this page came through I need some help with cloth diapering I have a 6 months old baby girl she’s got a bad diaper rash, i tried a lot of stuff to take it away but nothing seems to work, then i thought maybe cloth diapers but i found out they’re more expensive then i thought to be honest and God knows its not a lie we don’t have money to buy them, but if there’s someone willing to teach me how to make them I love to learn if you want to communicate with me please send an e-mail to email@example.com
Thank you very much to take the time to read my ad.
God Bless you
Hi Maria! Check out: http://www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org/
Thank you for this post! I found it really helpful! I already cloth diaper but you posted some resources I had never seen before.
Cotton babies offers Econobums. Buying two of the prepackaged Econobum covers with prefolds is enough to start cloth diapering for under $100. This is what I probably should have done, but instead I have turned to family members to help out. We live in an apartment so space is at a premium, instead of asking for a bunch of toys my son doesn’t need, we have asked for cloth diapers to add to our stash. I also asked for only one size diapers because we plan on having another child, I figured that way we could use the same diapers on both babies, just adjust them to size ;). We also used the money he got for his Baptism, since he didn’t need anything at the moment. He already has a Bible, some books centered around scripture, etc.
hi, thank you.. this was very helpful and im thankful that the Lord led me to your site. 😉 blessings, sandra
Hey I came across this page while looking for single moms that cloth dipered I know random… But I also see a lot of people looking 4 more cheaper options… I sew my own diper covers (snaps or velcro no pull flece or old blanets or tee shirts and PUL catch a sale at Joanns fabrics and look 4 free patterns online also so Maney YouTube tutorials) I chose to use prefolds with covers because they are WAY cheaper (12-$30 that all you need to last a full diper day with NB..just going to need to wash daily or the way cheaper brand is gerber 12-$10 but they dont hold much pee + snappies optinal) and easy to wash if u don’t have a washing machin also I use viva paper towels $1 Walmart probable buy n bulk as SAMs club or bjs (so soft and don’t break apart)4 liners when I know he has to poo so its not so messy.I don’t use cloth wips ( I know not Eco friendly but I don’t CD 4 that reason sorry ) my diper stash only cost me $300 maybe more and my time that’s including thread and I use metal snaps witch r pricer then plastic snaps or Velcro… Just a segestion…hope I could help someone
I am the CEO of Cloth for a Cause! We’re your Canadian Cloth Diaper charity! :]
We have 12 chapters across Canada, and we’re growing! We got our beginnings in October, 2011. I wasn’t able to afford my first stash until my son was 6 months old! I remember starting out with 8 Fuzzibunz perfect size. I always knew I wanted to cloth diaper, so falling in love wasn’t difficult!
Anyways,wishing you a great new years!
FYI- the Cloth Diaper Foundation has officially dissolved as of May 8th…
They’re referring everyone to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.
Thank you for this post, though!
Just want to thank you for this post. Due to current hardships and trials in my family life I have been looking for ways to pinch pennies. I figure by converting most of our everyday disposable products to cloth it would cut costs tremendously. I’m leaning toward AIO for my 10 month old daughter. Any suggestions? I’m so glad this popped up in my Google search. Such a blessing 🙂
AIOs can be pricey. I would suggest going with a cheaper pocket diaper. It will still seem very much like a disposable diaper. The Kawaii brand is very affordable, yet it is still a quality diaper.
Thank you so much for your article! We live on one income under $20k. I remember with my second son not having work in the winter and having to ask people on Facebook for diapers! Send out a mass plea! It was aweful. We now cloth diaper our second and its been rough affording everything. Now we have found out unexpectedly that we will have TWO in diapers! So we need ANOTHER stash of diapers! So I’m trying to figure all that out lol. I’m thinking thirst flats, inserts from old flannel shirts, but in unsure for what covers to get? I like just the wipeable covers like thirsties but don’t know what other brands are out there that are cheaper! The baby is due in the winter when we again will not have an income!