Someone asked me what the cost of cloth diapering is compared to the cloth of disposables. So, I finally sat down and figured it out. I was floored. Here's what I told her:
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The price can vary depending upon what system you want to use. There are various ways of cloth diapering, from cheap (but not as easy) to easy (but not as cheap). It all depends upon how much you want to spend. :o)
Prefolds - these are the cheapest cloth diapers to use. You'd need 3 dozen preemie, 2 dozen infant, and 2 dozen premium diapers. However, for the first 4-6 months you only need the preemie and infant. The preemies run about $11-$12 a dozen, and the infants about $18-$25 a dozen. You'll need about 6-8 covers per size, newborn (NB), Small (SM), Medium (MD), and Large (LG). But, again, the NB and SM will get you to about 4-6 months, giving you time to buy the next size (Premium prefolds and medium covers). You can get ProRaps for about $4.50 each if you call the 800 number in the FAQ section of the link in my siggy. You're also going to want about 3-4 snappi's (these are used instead of diaper pins, and are a one-time investment). They run about $2.50 each. So, to start, you're looking at:
Preemie Prefolds - $33
NB Covers - $18
Snappis - $10
This will get you through the first 4-6 weeks, so you'll want to order these first and order the infant and SM asap.
2 Dozen Infant - $40-$50
SM Covers - $10
The easiest method is to use all AIOs or the very popular Fuzzi Bunz (a pocket diaper). These are pricey, running $20 each. Again, you'll want 3 dozen smalls, and 2-3 dozen medium and larges. The thing about the mediums is they stay in the forever. My 2.5 yr old only started to fit into the Larges about a month ago, and he still wears the mediums. You can also find packages online where they have sets of 1-2-3 dozen and the price per diaper is discounted a little. You can also buy packages of seconds (they have some small flaw but are perfectly functional) discounted even further. For instance, www.abbyslane.com has 24 fuzzi bunz for $430. However, if you join her Yahoo! email group you can get a discount code for 5% off of your purchase, bringing the 24 diapers down to $409.26 However, you'd need to spend this for each size, bringing it up to about $1300 total. You can recover a lot of this (half or more) by selling off each size as your baby outgrows them, as they hold their value and are highly sought after. www.diaperswappers.com is a good place to buy and sell used diapers.
There is a method that is between the two above methods: BumGenius One-Size diapers. They fit from birth to 35 lbs (yes, my 2.5 yr old can still wear them, as can my 4 yr old...yes she's potty trained, she just wanted one on one day, LOL) Again, you can buy them at www.abbyslane.com You'd want 3 dozen of these (to prevent too much wear and tear over the years and because a newborn will need closer to 3 dozen diaper to get through 2 days between washings). They run $613.20 before her discount for 36 diapers (ordering a set of 30 and a set of 6) and $582.54 after the discount.
Compared to disposables, that run about $0.25 - $0.35 per diaper. A newborn will use about 15-18 diapers a day the first 2 months, averaging 960 diapers in the first 2 months for a cost of: $288 (at $0.30 per diaper in the current economy). From 8 weeks to about 9 months baby will use about 9-12 diapers per day, and the diaper packages go down to about 32 diapers per package. So, about $823 for those 7 months. From 9 months to 24 months they'll use about 6-9 diapers a day (depending upon how often baby pees)so about $882 for those 15 months. IF your child potty learns at 2, you're looking at a total of: $1993 for two years.
If your child doesn't potty learn until 3 then you're looking at an additional $705 bringing the total up to: $2698 for 3 years of diapers that end up in a land fill for 500 years.