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Getting started with cloth diapers on a MAJOR budget!

Posted by Julie Clark on 2/13/2013 to Cloth Diaper How-To
Switching to cloth diapers in order order to save money is one thing, but many people choose cloth because they HAVE to save money, they have no other choice.

I'm often asked what I recommend to someone who needs a really inexpensive method of cloth diapering. Here's my two cents!

Economical Cloth Diapering

The most economical method is to use flats and one size covers. I would suggest Diaper Rite Flats and Diaper Rite OS Covers.

However, there is a learning curve. With flats you have to use a folding technique but it's super easy once you do it a few times and get some practice under your belt. There are some great tutorials on Youtube. Simply visit the site and do a search for "cloth diaper folding techniques."

You may want to consider the above method during the day and something more absorbent for overnight like a one size pocket diaper.

If you wash diapers every 48 hours then in my opinion you'd need 2-4 OS Pocket Diapers to use overnight, accounting for a couple extra in the event there's a need for a mid-night diaper change.

For the Flats I'd suggest at least a dozen and maybe 2-4 covers minimum. The cover doesn't need to be washed with each diaper change, just use over and over until you feel it's soiled or smelly.

You'd also need a fastener like a Snappi to hold the Flats on.

There are many many more options, this is just the least expensive route. There are also several factors to consider when switching to cloth and when trying to determine how many diapers you need.

Factors to consider:
  • The age of the child. Younger babies obviously need many more diaper changes. Older children need less diaper changes but wet diapers more at one time so they need more absorbency.
  • Washing. How often you plan to wash will dictate how many diapers you need.
  • Your water type and drying facilities. If you have to hang diapers to dry you will have to wait on them. This means you could be left without diapers if you only have the bare minimum.
  • Diapering overnight. Flats and prefolds need to be changed often and can sometimes not be suited for comfortable overnight diapering. A more expensive but more absorbent pocket diaper, all in one or fitted may be required for night time and long naps when you don't want to have to wake and change the baby.
These are my best tips for getting started on the fly with a really limited budget. It can be done. Don't let the fancy diapers fool you, basic cloth diapers are alive and well and work for many families.

So are you looking for the most affordable method of cloth diapering? Do you agree with the above tips or do you have something else to add?