Friday, January 25, 2013

Myths and Misconceptions: Cloth Diapers Are Expensive!

I've decided to do a series of blogs all about common myths and misconceptions about cloth diapering! If you have any ideas feel free to comment here, share on my twitter, or post to my facebook page any myths or misconceptions you have heard, especially ones that really drive you nutso!
 
Myth #4: Cloth Diapers Are Expensive
 
Ok this one is more of a misconception than a real myth. I say this because yes, it can be, especially if you are into all the cute little prints and cannot resist, or if you are trying to buy only AIOs or other more expensive types of diapers. I'm not saying if you are in it to save money that you have to just have flats and prefolds, but I find it best for me to have a large stash of more affordable diapers with some fitteds and AIOs accenting the stash rather than making up the entire stash. Plus, unless you are going way overboard and buying a lot more diapers than you could ever use, you will still save money in the long run, especially if you use them for more than one child! Plus you can resell your cloth when you are done with it, cloth actually holds it's value very well.
The fact of the matter is, you don't have to spend a lot to save a lot!
 
Buy Used, Save the Difference
 
You don't have to spend a lot on cloth diapers, but you sure will save a lot if you use them! There are several ways to do this! You can buy used, which may sound weird at first but I just strip and steralize my used diapers and they are as good as new. Stains don't bother me because usually I can get them out with BacOut or by sunning them! First I strip them like normal. If you don't have a whole load or a good amount to do you can just soak them in a tub or sink overnight with a little bit of stripping agent. Then I fill the washer with HOT water, no detergent. When it is completely full of hot water I put in 1/4 a cup of bleach. I close it and let the agitator run for 10-30 seconds to mix the bleach in, then I toss the diapers I want to sanitize in there. Afterwards I do a hot wash with detergent and then as many hot washes as it takes for them to not smell like bleach whatsoever. I am a germaphobe when it comes to diapers and even I feel comfortable putting used diapers on my baby after that routine! 
 
Buy Simple, Buy Affordable
 
Another way to save on your start up costs is to buy simple types of cloth diapers! Generally the most affordable diapers are the simplest. I found that the cheapest way to start my stash was to buy prefolds, flats, and covers. Maybe they aren't the fanciest, but I got some adorable diapers and most importantly, my baby was diapered! It does take a little extra work because you have to fold the diapers and then put a water proof cover on over them, but it works out! You can see my post about Flats here and my post all about prefolds here. If those don't work for you, you can just stick to the type of diaper you like, but more affordable brands. One VERY affordable brand is OsoCozy diapers! OsoCozy is based here in Utah and they have VERY affordable prices but they don't seem cheap at all. You get what you would get with a more expensive diaper, for a fraction of the price. I have their AIOs, Better Fit Prefolds, Better Fit Staydry Prefolds, and fitteds. I don't dislike one thing I have from them, and they are one of my most trusted brands. I know that if I buy something with the OsoCozy name on it, it will be good and I won't be throwing my money away! You can buy OsoCozy brand diapers at Mama's Emporium. I really want to try their flats out next!
 
Find A Diaper Bank Near You
 
For those in dire need of financial assistance diapering their baby, you can still afford to cloth diaper! This is especially good for those who are in such a financial situation that they cannot afford to start a stash, but would also struggle to keep their baby diapered in disposable diapers. Help a Mother Out, Jillian's Drawers (run by cloth diapering store), and Giving Diapers, Giving Hope are just a few where you pay a small fee and are shipped diapers. Then you return them when you are done and in most cases get most of your small fee (I've heard some are as low as $20 or $30) back minus some for sanitizing and repairing diapers as long as they are in great condition and they are all returned. Here is a list of resources I found, but I cannot personally vouch for any of them. You can also google "free cloth diapers city,state" or "cloth diaper lending city, state" etc to find local cloth diaper banks in your area.
 
Save Up Points
 
One of my favorite ways to get free/cheap cloth is to save up rewards points. I shop almost exclusively at Mama's Emporium for this reason in particular. I enjoy supporting Work At Home Moms and I want to shop as much in one place as possible to save up as many points as possible! I buy all my EcoSprout detergent there, the diapers I need and love such as OsoCozy products, diaper fasteners, all my Diaper Rash Cream, EcoSprout disposable liners for when we are out and about, and baby gifts for new and expectant mommies I know such as Melissa and Doug toys and Amber Teething Necklaces! You can save up your points for free products and for gift certificates to the store! I make the most of my points! Right now I'm saving up for another gift certificate!

Enter Giveaways 
 
This one is a little out there, but hear me out! I enter giveaways A LOT. I figure if I can spend five or ten minutes entering a giveaway, liking facebook pages, tweeting about the giveaway, etc, and have the chance to win something, why not? My time doesn't cost me anything when I'm just relaxing after the kids go to bed, or in the morning when I'm all ready for work but have a spare 20 minutes to sit and relax! If you don't win, what have you lost? If you do win, you have free stuff! My favorite giveaways to enter are, of course, cloth diaper giveaways! I have won so many things by entering giveaways! My first cloth diaper giveaway I entered was a Mama's Emporium giveaway and I won a gift certificate! Since then I've entered so many giveaways sometimes it is hard to keep track. I have won free Rumparooz diapers, free aprons, free books, free diaper covers, and all sorts of other free things! If you want to enter giveaways but don't know where to find them, follow cloth diaper companies on facebook and twitter! Especially on twitter, companies like to promote giveaways where their product is being given away! I follow OsoCozy, EcoSprout, and many more cloth diaper related companies on twitter and that is where I find some of the best giveaways! When a blog does a giveaway I make sure to follow their twitter as well! You can follow me on twitter, I always retweet giveaways I enter or am involved in, even if I don't put them on my blog. Also, I now have my twitter linked to my facebook, so if twitter just isn't your thing, follow me on facebook.
 
Make Your Own and Re Purpose Materials
 
This is where the Internet becomes your best friend! There are SO many tutorials on pinterest and floating all over the Internet about how to make your own diapers. You can also re purpose tshirts, hand towels, receiving blankets, wool sweaters, and much more to make diapers, covers, doublers, etc. Sure, some take some talent sewing, but if you already have that talent, or you are determined to learn, you are in a good place! Shop around for cheaper fabric, use coupons, and see what you can come up with! Necessity is the father of ingenuity after all. One thing I did was reuse a bunch of flannel receiving blankets. You know, the things you swaddle baby with until about a month when they are too big. The ones that the hospital gives you a bunch of, that everyone and their mother gives you, and that you can find at thrift stores for very very very cheap? Yeah those ones! I stripped them all and then cut them into squares. I sewed (with a simple zig zag stich, it was my first time ever even touching a machine) two squares together and voila, I had homemade cloth wipes! I have also heard of people using the same method but instead of squares measure your diapers, newborn diapers, one sized, whatever you want a doubler for, and insetad of just two, sew four, five, six, seven, eight, how many ever you think will make a good absorbent doubler together with a simple stitch and then lay it inside the diaper at night or whenever to add extra absorbency. You can also stuff it in a pocket with the normal things you stuff them with. You can also fold tshirts into diaper shapes, or into a pad fold to lay in a cover. You can even use tea towels, flour sack towels (usually about $5 for 5 at walmart or target!) or hand towels as inserts, flats, or doublers. Just remember to strip whatever you are going to use so it is absorbent. When your baby outgrows those tiny preemie/newborn/infant prefolds, use them as inserts in your pocket diapers! They are so absorbent and a great way to get more bang for your buck as it's usually much cheaper to buy pocket diapers without inserts!
Some of the MANY tutorials out there:
No Sew Tshirt Cloth Diapers

China Cheapies

I am only going to touch on these briefly as we haven't really gone over them much before. I am planning on doing a blog in the future comparing different kinds of China Cheapies and discussing them more in depth. China Cheapies is what people call cheaper diapers that literally come from China. You usually pay less because it's cheaper to manufacture them in China, but it can also be hard to deal with people who speak limited English when customer service issues arise, and it can take a long time for them to come over, 2-4 weeks, sometimes more from ordering them till you get them in the mail. They also are often not as well made. I'm not saying they don't work, a big part of my stash is made up of china cheapies and they will catch poop and pee just fine, but I feel you really do get what you pay for when you buy higher quality stuff. Another drawback is often you cannot order just one or two to try out, but must order in intervals of 6, 12, 24 etc. Sometimes you can't decide what kind of inserts come with them. Sometimes you can't decide much of anything. But they are cheaper. You can get them even cheaper in Co-ops, which I think we will save completely for another day. It's where many people join up in a group, one person orders a HUGE order so they pay wholesale prices, and then that person ships the items out to the individuals. A big draw back is it takes longer to get things, but a big rewards is they are generally a lot cheaper. More on that later though.
 
Bottom Line
 
Yes, cloth diapering can be expensive, if you let it. If, however, you start early and take your time, and watch for ways to save money, you will be able to build a stash cheaply and it will save you a lot of money. You will also save more money in the long run if you reuse your cloth diapers for more than one baby. Obviously, a mom who buys cloth diapers once and uses them on one baby saves money. One who buys cloth diapers once and uses them on two babies, will have saved twice as much and so on and so on. Our pediatrician has cloth diapered seven babies. She said she used the same prefolds and covers for the first four, and added a few more around that time to replaced worn out ones but never had to buy a complete new stash. You can also do other things to save money on cloth diapers such as entering giveaways, buying used, reusing materials you already have, making your own, saving rewards points, and more! It can be done very cheaply, and it's worth the investment!

12 comments:

  1. I have to say while I'm out of the diaper stages for a while now my youngest being 5, I never knew all the facts--thanks for sharing / educating

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  2. The list of diaper banks is short and it makes me sad that there is nothing like that in the Rocky Mountain Area. I'm going to do something about that!

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    1. That's awesome!! It makes me sad how short it is and how little there is locally too! I wish I had the money to start one here in Utah!

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  3. when i was back in the Philippines majority of the families over there use clothe diaper and it's not even printed or shaped like a diaper, they use a square clothe and fold it to make it look like a diaper. it works great actually. When i got here in America that's when i learned about disposable diapers and yes we need it especially when we have carpets because we don't want our kids peed on our carpet or let them leak their pee. disposable works for us though.

    http://www.beautyisintheeyeoftheb.com/?p=4230

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    1. Sounds like flats! Flats are great and they don't have to leak if you put a waterproof cover made of PUL, wool, fleece, etc over them! No need to ruin carpets. =]

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  4. I used disposables with both of my kids because they were in daycare. If I had the opportunity to try cloth, I definitely would have. I think it's better for the environment but also for my kids' skin!

    Dede

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  5. I bought a bunch of china cheapies on Ebay when my son was little. They worked great. I don't have a washing machine now, so I can't do cloth with my daughter. I wish I could.

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    1. I am a big fan of china cheapies because not everyone can afford nicer diapers. I do prefer the other diapers I have such as Rumparooz pockets and OsoCozy fitteds, but my china cheapies just work great and they were a great gateway into the world of cloth diapering!

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  6. Even though I have spent quite a bit on cloth diapers, my costs still do not compare to what I would have spent on disposables!

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    1. My children have VERY sensative skin so they have to be changed often in disposables as well. When my little one was a newborn I was spending $100 a month on diapers because I had to change him all the time! So I KNOW I'm saving tons using cloth diapers and cloth wipes!

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  7. I've just installed iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.

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