How Much Does it Cost to Use Cloth Diapers Exclusively?

When shopping or registering for baby items, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.  After endless online shopping and in-person browsing, the biggest question most parents-to-be have is, “What do I REALLY need?” While there are lots of nice-to-haves, the reality is that there are relatively few must-haves. Newborn babies who are breastfed typically only need a safe place to sleep, a car seat, clothes to wear, diapers and wipes, and the basic care items that can be found in a standard baby care kit.

If you’re looking to save some serious cash, most of these items can be found at discount stores or second-hand. And, once you have them, you don’t have to worry about the expense again. Diapers, though, will be a reoccurring expense. So thrifty parents might want to know: Are cloth diapers more expensive than disposable diapers?

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If a parent chooses disposable diapers they can expect to spend about $750 per year or $62.50 per month on diapers. With a child who potty trains on a typical timeline that adds up to over $1500 from birth through the end of the diaper phase.

When considering cloth diapering parents have two options: a diaper service that launders and delivers cloth diapers or the purchase and care of a set of cloth diapers.

Diaper services are often hailed as the most convenient way to cloth diaper. Typically a diaper service will drop off clean diapers weekly and pick up and launder the ones a baby used in the last week. Throughout the week parents usually just need to rinse diapers and place them in a specialty bag. The cost of a diaper services ranges from city to city but on average costs about $1200 per year or, $100 per month. This adds up to about $2400 from birth through the end of the diaper phase.

The purchase and care of cloth diapers takes more work than a diaper service, but it also costs considerably less. A full set of new cloth diapers costs as low as $300 for basic diapers to over $1000 for organic cotton diapers. Cloth diapering parents will also need to factor in the cost of using the washing machine and detergent which can be about $150 per year. Over the course of a baby’s diaper-wearing years, cloth diapers can cost between $600 and $1300 diapers. What’s not factored into this cost though is the time labor of rinsing, washing, and folding diapers for 2+ years.

As you think about diapering, and whether you’ll use cloth or disposable, the cost can be a major factor. Now you know just how much each option costs!

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How Much Does it Cost to Use Cloth Diapers Exclusively?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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