Cloth diapering is a great choice for many reasons — it’s better for the environment, it saves money and it’s healthier for your baby, just to name a few. That said, it can be expensive when you first start out.
Here are ten ways to frugally make the switch to cloth.
1. Spread the word that you’re looking for used cloth diapers. Friends and family may donate their old cloth diapers to you or sell them at a steep discount.
2. Ask around on parenting groups, both in your community and online. Members of groups like local attachment parenting groups or La Leche League often use cloth diapers and may be willing to pass some of their outgrown stash along to you. Also check on Facebook pages for natural and AP parents. Let them know that you don’t have much money but can reimburse shipping plus whatever you can afford. Mothers are often happy to help each other out.
3. Check Craig’s List. You can generally find lots of listings for both used and new cloth diapers on Craig’s List. A quick search for cloth diapers on the Minneapolis list yielded 125 listings.
4. Ask on Freecycle. Many moms hang onto diapers long after they need them, not sure what to do with them. You may be able to get a stash of diapers free just for asking.
5. Ask for cloth diapers for baby gifts or holiday presents. Let loved ones know that you’re trying to build your stash and have a preferred brand or type picked out to pass along to those who ask.
6. Start with prefolds. Traditional white cloth diapers, also known as prefolds, are always an economical choice. There are multiple ways to use them (very few of them involve pins these days!). Scroll down here to see several ways prefold diapers can be used and fastened.
7. Sew your own. There are many free patterns online to make your own pocket diapers, all-in-ones and more. Stay tuned for a round-up of great patterns in this column.
8. Invest in one size diapers. It can be depressing to stock up on a giant stash of newborn sized cloth diapers and see them outgrown in a short time. Many brands are made to grow with your baby or to at least last for quite a few size changes. Prefolds, velcro covers and certain brands are better for multiple sizes.
9. Put more of your money in the larger sizes that your baby will spend more time in. If you don’t go for one size, it might still be smarter to put most of your money into the size your little one will probably be in for the longest time. For instance, you could purchase a lot of used, small prefolds for your newborn and a few other styles to try them out. Then put your money into more of the styles you really like for the older baby and toddler times once you know which ones are your favorites.
10. Try a few of several types before investing in any particular style or brand. Babies’ bodies are so different, and what is perfectly comfortable and leak-proof for one baby may be a gapping mess for another. Fuzzi Bunz were a great fit for one of my sons, but gapped around the thighs for my next baby. I heard rave reviews about Kissaluvs but they didn’t work well for us at all. It’s better to try a few different diapers and then stock up on the ones you love.
Also remember that you’ll need fewer diapers once your baby is past the newborn stage and if you commit to washing more often. If you have an older baby and can wash every other day, you can get by with a surprisingly small stash of cloth diapers.
These days, there are so many adorable cloth diaper options that it’s easy to get sucked into purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of diapers. That is completely unnecessary, though. With a little planning, creativity and old fashioned legwork, you can build a good supply of cloth diapers for very little… and maybe splurge on just a few of those adorable all in ones.
Want to stay in the loop? Be sure to subscribe to my column to be updated when I post articles. You can also find me on Pinterest and on pingroof.com on the topics of homeschooling, green living and my other attachment parenting column.