Looking for the best ways to get cloth diapers on a budget? I’m here to help.
Cloth diapers are one of the most budget-friendly ways to diaper a baby. It’s more common in third-world countries because of how affordable it is.
Growing up in Nigeria, that was the only method of diapering a baby I knew. Even though cloth diapers are more affordable than disposable ones, some people find the upfront cost too much.
If you’re going after the best prints and styles. You’ll end up spending more than you should.
In this article, I’ll explain how you can save money on cloth diapers if you’re on a budget.
Keep reading to find out more
Before we can discuss ways to get cloth diapers on a budget, we need to learn about the different types of cloth diapers first.
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Types of cloth diapers
There are three different types of cloth diapers. They include flats, prefold, and all-in-one cloth diapers.
Flat cloth diapers
These are square fabrics that you fold into a triangular shape to wrap around your baby. It is then fastened with a diaper pin or a snappi.
I asked a few women in my mommy group and these were the most recommended brand of flat-cloth diapers. They are soft and made with organic cotton and bamboo.
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Prefold cloth diapers
These are cloth diapers that have been pre-folded with a thick layer of cloth sewn into the center. This allows it to be more absorbent.
Prefold diapers are great for parents on the go who have no time to fold a flat cloth diaper before use.
These are my favorite brands of Prefold cloth diapers. They also double as burp cloths and can be used for household cleanup when you’re done diapering your kids.
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All-in-one cloth diapers
All-in-one cloth diapers have the insert (a very absorbent cotton layer) sewn together with a waterproof outer layer.
There’s no need to use a flat cloth diaper or a prefold because all the work has been done for you. This is my favorite brand of all-in-one cloth diapers on Amazon. They come highly recommended by all the cloth diapering moms I spoke to about their experience.
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Cloth diaper covers
Cloth diaper covers are plastic underwear that goes over a flat or prefold cloth diaper. They basically look like an all-in-one cloth diaper without the inserts sewn in.
They are essential because they hold the cloth diaper in place and also prevent any leakage that may happen.
I asked a few moms in my mommy group, and this was the most recommended brand of cloth diaper cover on amazon.
Now that we’ve learned about the different types of cloth diapers, let’s take a look at how we can get cloth diapers on a budget.
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How To Cloth Diaper Your Baby On A Budget
Buy them on sale
One simple way to get cloth diapers on a budget is to buy them when they’re on sale.
Most all-in-one cloth diaper vendors are small boutique stores. They rely on constantly producing products with different colors and patterns to get repeat customers.
This means they have to get rid of old inventory. They do this by running sales often. So check online to see what’s on sale and stock up on them.
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Get used ones from family and friends
Since kids outgrow their clothes and accessories quickly, it’ll be cheaper to get hand-me-downs from family/friends if you’re on a budget.
Just make sure you properly wash and sanitize each cloth diaper you get, since it was used by someone else.
Use your local buy-nothing group
The buy-nothing project was created to prevent consumer goods from ending up in landfills.
Its mission is to connect people in the same neighborhood together, so they can share resources and help each other.
To Join a buy-nothing group, head over to Facebook and search for the closest one in your area. So if I lived in Brooklyn NY, I would search “Buy-nothing Brooklyn” to see all the groups in my area.
Your local buy-nothing group would be a great place to get cloth diapers if you’re on a budget.
For my second child, I didn’t set up a registry because I received every Item on my list from the buy-nothing group near me.
Buy prefold cloth diapers in bulk
Buying prefold diapers in bulk will save you money because it’s cheaper to ship multiple items together than one item at a time.
Amazon has a great collection of prefold cloth diapers you can choose from. They’re very affordable too.
Prefolds are usually cheaper than all-in-one cloth diapers because they don’t come with a waterproof outer cover built-in.
Use dish cloth
If you’re on a strict budget and can’t afford to buy cloth diapers, then consider DIY-ing it yourself.
You can use your dishcloth as a flat cloth diaper. As long as you know how to fold it correctly, your little one will be protected from leaks.
Like other flat cloth diapers, make sure you change it frequently because a dishcloth is not as absorbent as an all-in-one cloth diaper.
Use a washcloth
Washcloths are designed to be absorbent, which makes them a perfect material for flat cloth diapers.
Washcloths are also cheap, so they’re a good option for someone who wants to use cloth diapers on a budget. Because they’re highly absorbent, you need to change the diapers frequently to prevent diaper rash.
Use your old t-shirt
If you’re in a bind, a t-shirt would work as a cloth diaper. The shape of a t-shirt makes it a perfect DIY flat cloth diaper.
All you have to do is fold it around the baby and secure it by tying the arms of the t-shirt around the waist.
You could get a pack of t-shirts for a cheaper price than cloth diapers. You could also use your old t-shirt as well. Either case, it’s a good option for someone on a budget
Use a burp Cloth
Burp cloths are thick and highly absorbent. This makes them a perfect option for budget cloth diapers. Burp clothes are also very cheap to buy. Most companies sell them in bulk. Check out my favorite burp cloth on Amazon.
Use receiving blankets
Another way to get cloth diapers on a budget is to use receiving blankets.
Receiving blankets is one of the most common gift items babies get in their first year, so I’m sure you have a few of those lying around.
Receiving blankets can be used as flat cloth diapers because they are soft, highly absorbent, and not too bulky.
Cut old bath towels
If you have bath towels that you don’t mind getting rid of, then consider cutting them into small rectangular shapes.
You can use these small pieces as flat cloth diapers. Bath towels are designed to absorb liquid so they’ll keep your baby dry for a long time.
It’s still recommended to replace the cloth diaper frequently because you don’t want your baby sitting in wetness for a long time.
Using a bath towel is a great way to get cloth diapers on a budget.
Use a disposable plastic table cover
If you can’t afford cloth diaper covers, you can use a disposable plastic table cover.
All you have to do is cut the table cover into triangular pieces large enough to wrap around your baby.
After wrapping the baby in a flat or prefold cloth diaper, use the plastic sheet to also wrap the baby. Then secure both the cloth and the plastic cover with a diaper pin.
This method is commonly used in Nigeria where I grew up. It’s a good cloth diaper cover alternative for anyone on a budget.
Use a disposable Pee Pad (AKA Doggie Pee Pad)
You can use a disposable doggie pad as a replacement diaper cover. I’ve met many moms who do this when they’re at home and have run out of cloth diapers.
Make sure you put a layer of cloth to absorb pee and poop before you wrap the disposable pad around your baby. Using the pee pad on its own will not prevent leaks from happening.
To use this method as a budget cloth diaper, just fold one side of the pad down to create a triangle. You then wrap it around your baby and secure both the cloth and the disposable pad with a diaper pin.
Use underwear to secure your cloth diapers
If you run out of cloth diaper covers and need something last minute, you can use your panties. Granny panties would be the best option in this case.
Cloth diaper covers are basically plastic underwear, so it’s perfectly okay to put a clean pair of underwear over a flat or prefold cloth diaper.
Because regular underwear isn’t waterproof, you might get some leakage. It’s best to use this budget hack at home.
Make them yourself
If you’re creative and know your way around a sewing machine, then consider making cloth diapers yourself.
All you’ll need is a premade pattern. You can find some free cloth diaper patterns on the internet.
There’s no better way to save money on cloth diapers than to make them yourself.
FAQs About Cloth Diapers
When should I start cloth diapering?
You can start using cloth diapers from the newborn stage and just make sure that you pick the right cloth diaper for your baby’s size.
Cloth diaper sizes range from preemies to newborns all the way to toddler sizes.
Is cloth diapering actually cheaper?
Cloth diapering is cheaper than using disposable diapers because cloth diapers are reusable. you only have to worry about the upfront cost of purchasing the diapers.
After purchase, you can reuse those diapers over and over again. Most all-in-one cloth diapers are designed so that they grow with your baby.
This means you can use them in the newborn stage and all the way to the toddler stage.
They will be even cheaper than disposable diapers if you get them as hand-me-downs from friends or family. You won’t even have to spend any money.
How much do cloth diapers cost per month?
Cloth diapers don’t cost anything each month after you purchase the bulk of the diapers you need for your baby’s first few years.
You occasionally have to replace diapers that are torn or worn. That’s the only time you will need to spend money on new cloth diapers.
What are some advantages of using cloth diapers?
There are many advantages to using cloth diapers. They’re affordable and environmentally friendly. Parents who use them also report having fewer blowouts.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of cloth diapers
As described above, you can create flat cloth diapers from everyday items you use around the house (towels, dishcloths, T-shirts, etc). This makes it very affordable.
It takes about 500 years for one disposable diaper to biodegrade in a landfill (source) each year. Cloth diapers are environmentally friendly because they can be reused over and over. This means that fewer diapers end up in landfills.
You get fewer diaper blowouts
cloth diapers have more surface area to absorb pee and poop, so there tend to be fewer blowouts.
More diverse prints and styles
Most brands of disposable diapers only come in one style. In comparison, cloth diapers come in a wide range of styles and prints. This makes it a very attractive option for parents.
What are some disadvantages of cloth diapering
Disadvantages of using cloth diapers include doing more laundry and running out of diapers. When you only use cloth diapers, you’ll have an increase in the amount of laundry you need to do each day.
If you don’t have a large stash of diapers, you may end up running out before the day is over.
How many cloth diapers do you need in your stash?
I interviewed Susan Klein, a mom who has used cloth diapers for all 3 of her kids, about this question.
According to Ms. Klein,” you should have a minimum of 24-30 cloth diaper changes in your stash. This could be 24-30 all-in-one or pocket diapers, or 24-30 prefolds with fewer covers”.
You may choose to increase the number of cloth diapers you have if you plan to change your baby often. This will also reduce the number of laundries you do each day.
How many inserts should I buy for cloth diapers?
Ms. Klein, an experienced mother of 3 who uses cloth diapers says “you need to get 30-40 diaper inserts”. This could be flats or prefolds.
You don’t need as many diaper covers. As long as the diaper cover isn’t soiled, you can reuse it with a new insert.
Can you leave a cloth diaper on all night?
You shouldn’t leave a cloth diaper on all night because it will get too soaked with urine and leak. A baby who is constantly left in a soaked diaper all night will eventually develop a diaper rash.
Try changing your child at least twice a night to ensure they don’t get too wet.
How often should you change cloth diapers?
You should change cloth diapers every time your baby wakes from a nap and is wet. For example, If your baby wakes every 2 hours to eat, then you need to change them.
Don’t wait until the diaper is completely soaked before changing it. Keeping a baby in their diaper for too long could lead to diaper rash.
Diaper rash can lead to a secondary infection when bacteria or yeast get into the sore (source)
How many cloth diapers do you use in a day?
The amount of cloth diapers you use in a day depends on how often you change your baby. On average you’ll use about 6-12 cloth diapers a day (In a 24-hour period).
This amount is for those who change their babies every 2 hours. If you change your baby less frequently, then you’ll use fewer diapers.
Final thoughts about cloth diapering on a budget
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to buy your baby diapers. Cloth diapers are a great option for anyone who wants to get diapers on a budget.
They’re environmentally friendly, easy to use, and come in a variety of patterns. With cloth diapers, you don’t need to worry about toxic flame retardants and other chemicals touching your baby’s sensitive skin.
They’re easy to DIY if you run out of diapers.
I hope this list helps you find cloth diapers on a budget. Comment below and let me know which suggestions you’ll try at home.
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