Cost of Diapering: More Than Money
Just as you gathered information
on pregnancy, birth and infant care, so will you want your diapering
choice to be an informed one. Today, parents must consider which
diapering system is best for their baby, convenient to their lifestyle,
financially feasible and environmentally responsible.
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Cloth diapers are made of
100 percent natural soft, absorbent cotton and are gentle on baby’s
skin. Cotton is a breathable material, allowing fresh air to freely
circulate, cooling and preventing diaper rash. Cotton is kinder
and more comfortable to your baby’s skin than paper or stiff
plastic and contains no irritating perfumes or chemicals.
The interior of single-use disposable
diapers do not breathe well and therefore can be a much higher
temperature. Parents tend to change single-use disposable diapers
less often than cloth diapers, increasing the risk of diaper rash,
since heat and moisture provide an excellent medium for bacterial
Innovative cloth diaper designs
provide a slim, tailored fit. Washable stay-dry liners keep moisture
away from a child’s skin. The fit, natural softness and
dryness are all there for baby’s cotton comfort.
How much will they cost?
The costs calculated below for disposable, single-use diapers
are based on two of the most popular brands from a store known
for its value pricing.
The newborn package (up to 10 lb.)
contains 48 diapers at $16.23, or $0.34 each . The average number
of changes for a newborn is 12 to 16 per day for the first two
14 diapers x 7 days x 2 weeks
= 196 diapers at $0.34 each = $66.64
The infant size 1 package (up to
14 lbs.) contains 104 diapers at $ 0.22 each. An average baby
requires 10 to 12 changes per day for the first three months.
11 diapers x 30 days x 2.5 months
= 825 diapers at $0.22 each = $181.50
The infant size 2 package (12-18
lbs.) contains 88 diapers at $0.26 each. An average baby who is
three to six months old requires 10 to 12 changes a day.
11 diapers x 30 days x 3 months
= 990 diapers at $0.26 each = $257.40
Mega-pack pricing was used for
the balance of the packages, because mega-packs are the least
expensive. Each mega-pack was $28.92 + $2.02 sales tax, for a
total of $30.94 per package.
The infant size 3 package (16-18
lbs.) contains 96 diapers $0.32 each. A six- to nine-month-old
baby requires eight to 10 changes per day.
9 diapers x 30 days x 3 months
= 810 diapers at $0.32 each = $259.20
The infant size 4 package (22-27
lbs.) contains 64 diapers at $0.37 each. A nine- to 12-month-old
child requires eight changes per day.
8 diapers x 30 days x 3 months
= 720 diapers at $0.37 each = $266.40
The toddler size 5 package (over
27 lbs.) contains 58 diapers at $0.41 each. The average 12- to
18-month-old child requires six to eight changes a day.
7 diapers x 30 days x 6 months
= 1,260 diapers at $0.41 each = $516.60
The child size 6 package (over
35 lbs.) contains 48 training diapers at $23.00, or $0.45 each.
An average 18- to 30-month-old child requires six to eight changes
7 diapers x 364 days = 2,548
diapers at $0.45 each = $1146.60
The total estimated average cost is $2,694.54 for 7,349 disposable,
single-use diapers. Keep in mind that this is a conservative estimate.
It is not uncommon for a child of 3 years to require a diaper
at night, and children in single-use diapers tend not to feel
wetness, requiring a longer duration of time for toilet training
success. Your child’s individual sleep pattern, body functions
and time frame for toilet training success will determine the
number of actual diaper changes required.
Cloth diapering is relatively simple
and financially rewarding, saving from a minimum of $2,300 to
upwards of $5,000.
Single-use diapers range in price
from $0.22 to $0.45 each. Cloth diapers pay for themselves within
a six-month period. After six months, you’ll be diapering
for almost free.
A quick estimate of cost: Consumer
Report estimates that the most inefficient washer and dryer system
costs approximately $0.78 per load, whereas more efficient models
cost approximately $0.44 per load. So wash your own twice a week
for $0.44-0.78, including water, hydro and detergent -- or spend
$16.94-$22.05 for single-use disposable diapers. Please keep in
mind that your child is in the large size single-use disposable
diaper for the longest stage of diapering, and yes, they are the
most expensive at approximately $0.45 each.
A simple indicator allowing a new mother to determine if her newborn
is being breastfed successfully is the number of wet diapers her
baby produces. Due to the super-absorbent padding found in today’s
single-use disposable diapers, it can be very difficult to know
if your baby has a wet diaper.
It can be a true confidence-builder
to readily detect that your child is producing eight to 12 wet
diapers a day. A new mother may incorrectly decide that her child
is not feeding well and switch to a bottle because she is unaware
of the wetness her child is producing in disposable single-use
diapers. If a child produces no wet diapers within an eight-hour
time period, professional help should be sought immediately. Cloth
diapers assist in detecting signs of illness and attaining prompt
Cloth: Better for the
Consider the numbers: 36 cloth diapers that are used over and
over, most likely for more than one child -- or an average 7,349
single-use diapers per child. One-time use, throw-away diapers
are the single largest nonrecyclable component of household garbage,
creating one ton of garbage per year per child.
Throw-away isn’t go away,
and what appears to immediately advantageous also has long-term
consequences. It is agreed by many objective reports that so-called
“disposable” diapers are the worst environmental choice:
Environment Canada, The Recycling Councils of Ontario and BC,
The BC Medical Association, The Society Promoting Environmental
Conservation (SPEC), The Worldwide Home Environmentalists’
Network (WHEN) and The David Suzuki Foundation.
More than 4 million disposable
diapers are discarded in Canada per day (1.6 billion per year).
Disposable diapers are not biodegradable and make up a significant
amount of municipal waste. A landfill site does not provide the
conditions necessary for the single-use diaper to biodegrade.
The “Diaper Genie” now mummifies single-use disposable
diapers into our landfill sites for eternity. Consider the cost
to operate additional landfill sites and the depletion of our
Cloth is convenient!
Cloth diapers are less likely to leak because of a two-stage containment
system. Not only does a leak have to get past the elasticized
leg of the diaper, but it has to escape the leg gusset of the
cover as well. The diaper and cover work in tandem to prevent
Velcro or snap closings have done
away with pins, making modern cloth diapers as easy to change
as single-use diapers. Today’s cloth diapers require no
folding. Stay-dry liners catch a child’s bowel movements
so you don’t have to rinse the entire diaper.
Home laundry may take less than
10 minutes of your time per load, while using disposables entails
repeated trips to the store. When running low on diapers and the
weather was foul outside, I was so thankful that I just had to
dump the diapers into the washer (less than $0.78) turn it on
and within two hours (while I did something else), clean, fresh,
soft cloth diapers were available. I would not have relished bundling
up the baby, warming up the car and trekking to the store to spend
$30.94 and carry the bulky disposables home.
routine: Flush the poopy liner down the toilet and soak the diaper
in a pail with a solution of water and a half a cup of vinegar
(keeps odors at bay). When you are ready to wash, simply dump
the whole pail full of diapers and solution into the washing machine,
spin out excess liquid, run through a cold rinse, a hot wash cycle
and dry normally. Later place into a laundry basket and pull out
diapers as required.
Some disposable, single-use diapers have been linked to suffocation.
The plastic exterior of the diaper is removable to aid in disposal.
However, it can also be removed by your baby and can be as dangerous
as letting them play with a plastic bag. The super-absorbent padding
presents a similar hazard. It can be pulled apart by your baby
and stuffed into his mouth and nose. The sticky tabs are not always
strongly attached and if removed, may be ingested. Never put your
baby to bed clothed only in disposable diapers. Always cover the
diapers with clothing.
Babies diapered in disposable diapers
are exposed to far too many questionable chemicals contained in
the disposable diapers. Newborn skin has an underdeveloped outer
layer, and chemicals are more readily absorbed through the skin
and into the fat cells than in adults.
The B.C. Medical Association warns
of the danger of dioxins and encourages the use of cloth diapers.
The absorbent chemical in disposable diapers, sodium polyacrylate
gel, absorbs 100 times its weight in liquid.
Studies have shown that when these chemicals become wet, they
become even more absorbent and pull moisture from the baby’s
body, thereby diminishing the normal defenses of the skin. You
can see when this is happening, since your baby’s bottom
will look a bit shriveled.
© Diapering Decisions
is a supplier of innovative cloth diapers and home to an extensive
collection of diaper reviews, tips and care instructions. The
above article has become an internet classic to parents seeking
information about the cost of cloth diapers vs. disposables.