|"cute" diaper: Fuzzibunz onesize|
For the purpose of this "experiment" I am going to say that $20 per week is spent on disposable diapers. That is how much you would spend if you bought one big package of disposables a week. I know that I used more than one package a week when my son was a newborn, so your actual cost may be slightly more or less. I do NOT recommend using the cheap Gerber prefolds/covers that they sell at Wal-Mart or Target. Those prefolds are junk and don't work in diapers very well. If you happen to have $50 to spend upfront, I recommend this kit. It contains 12 prefold diapers, 3 covers and a wetbag. Use it for the first week instead of what I recommend, if you only have $20, read on:
|receiving blanket folded into quarters|
Almost all moms have some receiving blankets. I am assuming that you have at least 4. You will need at least 12 for the first week. If you have more, great! If not, head out to a thrift store or kids consignment store. I've seen them at both for $.25 each. Buy 8 so that you have a dozen. This should last for a day, more is better so if you had more to begin with you're doing good. Cost: $2.00 Now head over to cottonbabies.com and buy two Econobum one-size covers. I snagged a Flip cover on cottonbabies for $9 (normally $14) once so check clearance first just to make sure there are no cheaper covers on sale. There are many covers out there but this is one of the cheapest places that has free shipping. Total cost: $20. If you have a few extra bucks throw in a snappi with your order for $3.95. If not, find some diaper pins somewhere for the first week. My mom still has the pins she used with MY diapers 24 years ago, she uses them to pin socks together. If you prefer to shop on Amazon (free and faster shipping with Amazon mom) try this Kushies cover. It is "two sized" so you might get a better fit. If you just don't have the money to spend on the cover and wait for it to arrive, pick up a couple pairs of the icky plastic pants from Wal-Mart or Target. These are pretty much the worst of the worst when it comes to cloth diapering, but they'll work in a pinch. These are super cheap so if you buy them, buy more receiving blankets so that you can go longer without washing.
What about wipes?
I didn't factor the cost of wipes into this experiment so I am assuming you have some already. I used disposable wipes with my cloth diapers for about a year before making the switch to cloth wipes. If you do want to use cloth wipes baby wash cloths, pieces of flannel or cut up receiving blankets work well. Stuff the pieces into a disposable wipes container with water and a tiny bit of baby soap.
Now you have your diapers, what do you do?
|Mikaela in a receiving blanket "diaper"|
Washing Diapers - How to:
I have posted before about laundry issues with cloth diapering. I realize that many people don't have the extra money to spend for a cloth diaper specific detergent, so for this week just use what you have. Make sure that you do not use fabric softeners, bleach, or dryer sheets. These are all bad for your diapers. Simply wash the diapers with about 1/4 of the amount of recommended detergent. Many people have had luck washing their diapers in Tide. When I first started cloth diapering I just used regular detergent (eco-friendly brand from Sams club) and it worked fine. Line drying will prevent stains (you may not care about them on the blankets but you will later with "real" diapers and it saves money. Always line dry your diapers covers or dry them on very low heat, otherwise they can get ruined.
What about being out of the house?
Use the diapers as usual when you are out of the house. If you have extra disposables from last week you can use those, otherwise use the blankets/covers. Use a plastic bag to put the dirty diapers in. In a couple of weeks you will be buying a wetbag but for now just use the plastic bag. Make sure it has no holes in it or double up.
Other cheap cloth diapering ideas:
Check out diaperswappers for pre-owned diapers. After you sign up make sure to check the FFS (free for shipping) category. This stuff goes fast but a lot of times they have FFS lottos that you can sign up for, many of them are only for those who truly need diapers. There is a LOT of drama on this site and if you want to avoid that stick with the FSOT (for sale or trade) part only.
The Cloth Diapering Foundation does diaper grants to those who really need them. I don't know much about it, but check it out. :)
Make your own! There are lots of sites with diaper patterns if you are crafty enough.
So there you have week one. I just want to show how it's possible to cloth diaper on very little money. Next week (like I said before, I'm not actually posting these a week apart, they're just examples) you will be buying "fancier" pocket diapers.