Parenting & Family

Is cloth diaper a good investment?

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  • Jul 15th, 2014 5:46 pm
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Nov 20, 2014
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Scarborough, ON

Is cloth diaper a good investment?

Hi,
I am looking for help on deciding whether to use cloth diaper or disposable diaper. My friend recommended me to use cloth diaper. Cloth diaper is expensive but it save my money in the long run whereas disposable diaper is cheap but expensive in the end. Please help. Any experience on cloth diaper? Thank you in advance for your help.

- Annie
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May 25, 2009
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annie81 wrote: Hi,
I am looking for help on deciding whether to use cloth diaper or disposable diaper. My friend recommended me to use cloth diaper. Cloth diaper is expensive but it save my money in the long run whereas disposable diaper is cheap but expensive in the end. Please help. Any experience on cloth diaper? Thank you in advance for your help.

- Annie
Comes down to personal preference.

Are you going to clean the cloth diapers yourself? Or are you paying for a service that will pick up your dirty cloth diapers and provide you with clean ones every few days? That saves you the hassle and work but you'll have to pay for it. On the other hand, you can save money in the long run by using cloth diapers and cleaning them yourself but it does require some extra work on your part.

So it comes down to whether or not you're willing to do the extra work to save some money. Whether it's worth it or not is relative and entirely up to you. For my wife and I, it's not worth the hassle and we would rather pay for disposable any day of the week than clean cloth diapers ourselves.

Also, there's the argument that cloth diapers are more green because they're reusable, but most municipalities accepts disposable diapers as greenbin waste now so that point is kind of moot. Plus cloth diapers do come with the associated energy and water costs for washing.

FWIW, it's not like you can't use both. We have friends that uses cloth diapers at home but disposable when they go out.
"God's in His heaven. All's right with the world." - Robert Browning (1812-1889)
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Nov 20, 2014
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Scarborough, ON
Thanks for your opinion. My main concern is the cost of diapering. I don't mind doing extra work if it save me in the long run. I like the way you said about cloth diaper "green" point. Disposable diaper can be more "green" because its getting dump into the green bin. Do you have any recommendation on cloth diaper brand? I am looking at Sckoon cloth diaper from babyjoy.ca. http://www.babyjoy.ca/product-p/sk230016.htm. They are on sale. I am also looking at huggies diaper at Amazon. http://www.amazon.ca/Huggies-Pure-Natur ... ds=huggies. Any thoughts?
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May 25, 2009
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annie81 wrote: Thanks for your opinion. My main concern is the cost of diapering. I don't mind doing extra work if it save me in the long run. I like the way you said about cloth diaper "green" point. Disposable diaper can be more "green" because its getting dump into the green bin. Do you have any recommendation on cloth diaper brand? I am looking at Sckoon cloth diaper from babyjoy.ca. http://www.babyjoy.ca/product-p/sk230016.htm. They are on sale. I am also looking at huggies diaper at Amazon. http://www.amazon.ca/Huggies-Pure-Natur ... ds=huggies. Any thoughts?
We use Huggies and we buy them mainly from Costco. We like them, they fit our baby well and don't leak unless the diapers are full to bursting and absorb a ton of liquid. From my experience Huggies are generally a better fit for plump babies, while Pampers fit slim babies better. Both brands are good overall. If you have a Costco membership you should consider Kirkland diapers, they are actually manufactured by Huggies and a fair bit cheaper. I have not used them before but I have heard mostly favourable reviews for them.

Unfortunately I can't provide any recommendations on cloth diapers since we don't use them and haven't tried any brands before. However a number of RFDers here do use it so you can wait for them to chime in.
"God's in His heaven. All's right with the world." - Robert Browning (1812-1889)
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Jun 23, 2006
357 posts
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We use both - cloth at home and disposables out. It worked out well with the first kid and the second is wearing the hand-me-downs. We have the gDiaper system and it's fairly easy. We use a wet bag to store or a bucket to soak all the wet/soiled diapers with a few drops of bleach to keep the bacteria down until laundry day (every other day with the whole family's clothes). It'll probably save you some money in the long run if you have multiple kids or sell the cloth diapers second-hand when you're done with babies. Conceptually it sounds gross to use another kid's old diapers but I guess it's no different than what we're doing with the siblings' hand-me-downs. The gDiapers have a cloth insert that's moisture-wicking fleece on one side (dry against bum) and absorbent hemp on the other side (wet against the plaster liner). People say that the feeling of being wet helps with potty training so I intentionally flipped it to the hemp side to let her feel wet and uncomfortable so she learns faster. Now that kid#1 is out of diapers, there's less diaper-related laundry and expenses.
There's various types of cloth diapers out there so do your homework and maybe even try different types to see what works best for you. Finally, also consider cloth swim diapers while you're at it. They're great!
Sr. Member
Oct 29, 2007
698 posts
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Victoria
nomdesplumes wrote: go green and use cloth ones
+1 on this. While the savings are there, I don't think it's a huge amount of $$$ by not using disposables. Diapers are such as small percentage of what it costs to raise a kid, it really isn't worth it for us anyways. Would love to use cloth for the environment, but disposables just end up being way more handy. Kudos to those that do it though.
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May 28, 2012
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Saskatoon
Mine are teenagers, so haven't had to deal with this in many years. We started out with cloth for the daughter (used disposables when we were not at home). Had a boy next and he pee'd through the cloth diapers and we ended up using disposables exclusively after that, and with the second son.

I'm pretty sure we didn't save much money with cloth since they were a large initial investment and we bought products for the diaper pail (laundry booster, Diaper Pure and an enzyme stain remover), which wasn't cheap. Also factor in the cost of energy to wash and dry.

Imo, it's more of a philosophical choice than anything, and it's good to have alternatives because everyone's situation is different.

If you go with cloth, maybe ask friends who are done having babies whether they have some to give you, or buy a few to try out. If you go for disposables, remember that the generics are often good and because they are store brand, you will always get your money back if you are not satisfied.
Member
Aug 12, 2011
219 posts
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NORTH YORK
We were considering this as well. I think one of our deciding factors was who will be taking care of your child after mat leave. If your child is going to daycare anyways, it's unlikely that they will continue to use cloth diapers, so then you would have to end up buying disposables anyways. So, if you are looking at long-term costs, you'll want to keep that in mind. Primarily for that reason and for convenience we chose disposables.
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Jun 23, 2006
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Our daycare was fine with using cloth diapers and we weren't the only family using them. Everything came home at the end of the day in a wet bag and we would resupply after laundry day. It wasn't a big deal for us.

One more idea: Do consider using wet face cloths for wipes instead of disposable wipes. They're easy enough to toss in the laundry. Some babies' bums are sensitive to the detergent in the disposable wipes.

I'm pleased to find that some cities are accepting diapers in their compost program. Not where we live...
Member
Apr 4, 2010
363 posts
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If you plan on having more then 1 child and plan on exclusively cloth diapering, I think you might be saving money. But you sure will have more work, which obviously will not really seem like work if you are standing behind the cloth diaper philosophy. For me those extra loads of laundry and the line drying would cause a significant amount of extra work (obviously you could pay someone for this service as well).

Of all the friends that I have seen start the "we are doing the cloth diapering cause it is so much better for nature" thing, only one couple actually exclusively cloth diapered and I applaud them for it! The others would be either a cloth in the house and disposable while out, or start with cloth and switch to disposable at some point.
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Jun 9, 2003
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We have one 3 month old. So far have been cloth diapering (and disposable while traveling). We also used disposables when he was really tiny, because it didn't seem worth it to buy the newborn cloth size just to use it for a few days.

Our reasoning is a combination of cost, environment, and wanting less artificial things in contact with our child (I'm not saying there's any science to this, just a general tendency of ours). It is a lot of work, but we've been doing a lot of laundry (every other day at least), so that keeps the loads small and manageable. We bought a HE washer and although some people will tell you that you need a top loader, we have not found that to be the case. Because we wash so regularly, we don't need to soak either. We do however run an extra rinse cycle beforehand.

In the end, the extra energy and water that we use might be a wash against the waste of the disposables, but it did kill us to basically 10x our garbage output during the week or two that we did use disposables.

The "nice" thing about having a kid is that for almost everyone, you first kid, no matter what you choose to do, is going to be a lot more work and effort than you're used to. So is cloth diapering less convenient than disposable? Probably, but do I realize this? No - because having a kid is hard work and I just lump the diapering effort in with that.

We got the Bummi's starter kit which was nice because it included everything we needed to get started for under $200. Since our son has grown like a champ, we've had to buy the larger sizes, but I definitely think we're already saving relative to disposable, $-wise (especially since we would have bought the natural disposables, which cost extra). One tip I have is that the cloths will stain, which doesn't mean they're not clean, but it doesn't look nice. To get rid of the stain, simply put some lemon water on and let them dry in the sun. Cleans them right up. Not sure what we'll do in winter!

Also, ask me about all of this again when the little guy starts on solid foods ;)
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Dec 24, 2004
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Cloth is cheaper in the long run but the environmental benefit is questionable (additional disposable waste vs power/water to do laundry). I believe the cost of disposables is a couple of thousand over the baby's life vs $400-500 for a cloth diaper system.

We use cloth at home and disposables for travel and changes when out. We use the Best Bottoms system and are happy with it. There are so many systems out there so if you go cloth, pick one that has features that are important to you.

We have to do a cloth diaper laundry every other day.
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Orthonos wrote: Cloth is cheaper in the long run but the environmental benefit is questionable (additional disposable waste vs power/water to do laundry).
I think it really hinges on whether your municipality accepts disposable diapers as green bin waste or not. If they don't, then the diapers you're throwing out goes to the landfill and the environmental benefits of cloth is more clear cut as you're not contributing to landfill waste.

Our city does accept it as compose waste though so the overall impact is likely similar and becomes a moot point.
"God's in His heaven. All's right with the world." - Robert Browning (1812-1889)
[OP]
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Nov 20, 2014
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Scarborough, ON
Its true. I have actually brought disposable one for daycare use.
Penalty Box
Nov 23, 2012
1451 posts
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Toronto
Cloth is very good.....I found they did not fit as well on the baby BUT there were no chemicals in them.
If you clean them yourself (as everyone did decades ago) I think you just need a huge boiling pot and tongs.

We used cloth for ages and then swapped out to disposables due to other stresses and the outer diaper was causing some scrapping on the legs. We used a service.
Someone may know if a regular wash machine is good for cleaning them but I doubt they are.....boil em.
Newbie
Jul 2, 2014
4 posts
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Toronto, ON
My sons are in their early 20′s now but I was given a great set of cloth diapers that closed with Velcro when I was pregnant the first time. It saved me a lot of money. I did use disposable when we would be out for a very long time. I also started to use disposable diapers at night when they were about 15 months old because they would sleep longer if they felt dry and I love to sleep in.
Member
Apr 18, 2005
429 posts
75 upvotes
Cloth diapers don't have to be expensive. We were able to get all ours from friends who were finished with theirs and were able to try a few of the popular name brands like Bum Genius and FuzziBunz. Can you borrow some newborn cloth diapers to try out for the first month?

If you can't borrow them, I recommend going with disposable diapers until your newborn moves into size 1s. We used pre-folds and they leaked. It was a really old borrowed set, so I think the velcro on the covers was too worn to be useful. It'll give you an idea of how much work is involved though. We needed to change often that first month/two months to reduce/eliminate diaper rashes.

Our baby is almost a year old and has used up the smallest package of disposables in size 1s, 2s, and working on the first size 3 package. Other than that, we used cloth exclusively. We loved the cloth diapers and found they leaked less than Huggies or Pampers, even at night.

You can also buy used cloth diapers in baby consignment stores or kijiji/craigslist so you can try them out to see if it works for you. We found Bum Genius and FuzziBunz leaked with our little one, but MotherEase worked perfectly.

My only complaint would be that they are made with white cotton terry towels. Who thought diapering babies in white towels was a good idea?!

You might also need to switch your detergent with cloth diapers. Using any fabric softener will decrease it's absorbency. On the bright side, most cloth diapers can be hung outside to whiten and it doesn't make them any softer to go through the dryer. You will save by not running the dryer after each load. The only exception I've found is MotherEase, which becomes as hard as a regular towel if you wash and don't put it in the dryer. Good luck!
Jr. Member
Oct 17, 2013
165 posts
94 upvotes
Ontario
Here are a few more suggestions. Join a local Facebook cloth diaper group where you can get lots of support and participate in diaper swaps or sales. Also, check out Etsy and Hyena cart for diapers sewn by work at home moms. Some of those diapers could be collectors items, but you could also find someone who could sew diapers made specifically for your baby.

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