A Tale of Two Diapers


I don’t think I had really considered cloth diapers until I read this post on Young House Love. They introduced me to the world of votton babies in general and bumgenius diapers specifically. They convinced me in the ease of use but more importantly, the cost savings. For a set of 12 elemental diapers, they spent around $240. (See breakdown below.) I quickly made my way to the cotton babies site and read every review for the many cloth diapering options. The least expensive are the “Flip” or Econobum pre-folds with a starter set for $100. The most expensive are the elementals at about $20 a diaper. The plus to the elementals are that they require no stuffing. The diaper is completely intact and ready to use after washing.

We went for the middle priced bumgenius All in Ones that have an insert to stuff after every wash with a diaper shell that is waterproof and lined with microfleece that wicks the moisture away from the baby’s bottom. They are resizeable to fit your baby as he or she grows so there is no need to buy different sizes.

How well do they work? Pretty darn well. There are occasional leaks, but they usually come after waiting too long between diaper changes. That’ll happen even in disposables. There are “hook and loop” closures and snaps. We prefer the “hook and loop” ie velcro ones since tehy seem to have a more exact fit and are much quicker to put on. They are also wonderful for babysitters or grandparents! The argument for snaps are that they probably last longer since velcro has a tendency to wear out. We like the velcro better, but to each her own. The colors are lovely and our baby has never (knock on wood) gotten diaper rash. The moisture really is kept away from her skin by the microfleece. It’s pretty amazing. So do I recommend them? You bet.

Also, cloth wipes have worked really well for us with cost and cleanliness. Throwing them in the wash with the diapers costs you nothing. I made my own for about $14 out of jersey I got at the fabric store (no sew) and I make diaper solution from mixing a teaspoon of baby shampoo in water to spray the wipes with before use.

Here is the cost breakdown:

The bumgenius diapers cost about $100-$500 depending on how many you feel the need to own total, and they should work for multiple kids. Washing cost varies widely depending on your machine. Diapers washed in an energy star washer are said to cost something like $17 a year. All of the bumgenius diaper shells are dried on a clothes line which saves on the costly drier expense.

Startup costs: $100-$500 and more if desired $14 for wipes

Monthly cost: $2-$40

Total cost for one child: $186-$1,954

Cost for 2-3 children: $186-$1,954 plus replacement velcro as needed

Lets compare this to disposables:

Disposable diapers range significantly depending on how name brand you want to go. Our good friend has shopped around for the lowest disposables and has found Walmart to be the winner most of the time for their in-house brand. He spends $40-$60 a month for the diapers and $20-$30 for wipes, which is lower than almost anyone else I’ve asked. Most estimates range from$60-$100 a month and the wipes run another $20-$40.

Upfront cost: $0

Monthly ongoing cost: $60-$130.

Total cost for one child: $2,160-$4,680 if they are in diapers until age three.

Cost for 3 children: $6,480-$14,040

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