Friday, July 1

Thrifty Momma Diapering

This post won't actually have much to do with our house, but it definitely falls into the category of saving money! Anyone with a baby knows that the cost of diapers & wipes can really add up over the years. Before Baby B was born I did a lot of research into cloth diapering in hopes of saving us a substantial amount of money. I was surprised at how much information there was and how many options there were. I've only been using cloth diapers for a few weeks, but so far I love it and after the initial investment it really will save us tons of money in the long run. Here's a run down of what works for me and the pros and cons of the products I've tried. (Also check out my two follow up posts here and here!)

Pocket Diapers - After researching the many different types of diapers, I decided right off the bat that I wanted to use pocket diapers. I like them because they are essentially as easy to change as a disposable diaper (which my husband appreciates). They take a little bit of prep work after washing because there is a separate insert that has to be put inside the diaper, but it only takes a couple minutes to get all the diapers ready. I like having an insert that comes out because it makes sure everything gets cleaned thoroughly and it dries faster than diapers without a removable insert. (I also have a couple covers and prefolds to try out)

One-Size Diapers - I also chose diapers that are one-size, meaning they fit from infancy through potty training! This saves even more money because I only have to buy one set diapers and adjust the size, instead of getting a set in each size. Most of the diapers I use have a series of snaps on the front for adjusting the size. My diapers have snap closures on the waist instead of velcro because reviews I read said that velcro wears out faster and bigger kids are able to unbuckle the diapers themselves.

Rumparooz -$25 each, I have 1
  • Soft lining
  • Adjusts small enough to fit a newborn - most one size diapers don't go small enough for tiny babies.
  • Lots of insert options - each diaper comes with two inserts, a small newborn size insert and a larger insert that is length adjustable. Both inserts can be used together for extra absorbency for bigger children.
  • Inner gussets - This is the only diaper I know of that has extra inner gussets to help contain messes. I haven't had a single leak with this diaper, and I think these gussets are the reason why.
  • Less bulky - because these diapers adjust so small and have a newborn size insert, they are less bulky on their small setting than some other diapers.
  • $25 each - this is the most expensive diaper I bought, which I why I only bought one! It is top-of-the line quality, though.
  • Insert doesn't shake out - you have to pull the inserts out with your hands before washing. Definitely not a deal breaker for me, but a little less convenient than other diaper where the liner just shakes out.

You can find more info and pictures at

    Fuzzibunz - $20 each, I have 3
    • Fits newborn - this diaper adjusts small enough to fit my baby as a newborn, but I feel like it doesn't get quite as small as the rumparooz, so I couldn't say about a really tiny baby.
    • 2 size inserts - A newborn insert and regular size insert.
    • Lots of size options. - this diaper is different because the rise is adjusted by elastic in the legs instead of snaps on the front. There are a lot more size options in this style, so it seems like you could really find the perfect size for your baby. It also makes the front of the diaper look prettier without those extra snaps.The elastic is easily replaceable so even if the elastic wears out the diaper can keep on going!
    • Less bulky - New born insert and adjustable elastic make this diaper look more trim than most.
    • Soft - the lining is very soft
    • Shake out insert - this is the only brand of diaper I have that you can shake the insert out instead of pulling it out. It's nice because I don't have to touch the dirty liner and it only takes one hand so I can hold my baby at the same time. :)
    • $20 each - This is a very reasonable price for a cloth diaper, but we just have a tight diaper budget so I was looking for something even cheaper.
    • More complicated to adjust - definitely not too complicated, just a little more complicated than a snap adjustable diaper.
    You can find more info and pictures here:  You can buy them individually or in bulk on I also was given several fuzzibunz perfect-size medium diapers. Baby B doesn't fit them yet, but once he does it will be nice to have some extra diapers. :) (Out of all the reviews I read, Fuzzibunz were probably the most popular.

    Smartipants - $12 each, I have 1
    • $12 each - that's more like what I'm talking about!
    • Wash-out insert - this diaper has a patented "smart sleeve" which means you don't have to mess with dirty inserts at all! They come out in the wash all on their own! Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
    • American made - always good to support things made in the USA.
    • Mom designed - I like that this diaper was designed and originally produced by a mom who wanted a better way to diaper her kids. As a mom myself I like knowing that she thought about all the things we need in a diaper, and that she took the initiative to do what she needed to do for her family.
    • May not fit newborn - I didn't try this on my baby when he was newborn, so I can't say for sure. It was fitting him when I first tried it around 4 weeks (he was about 10.5 lbs then) but doesn't look like it goes quite as small as the other diapers. It's the only diaper I have where the waist tabs can overlap so it could definitely fit a tiny waist, I'm just not sure about the leg openings. (I do know that they are now making infant size diapers separately to use before the onesize diapers but I've never tried them)
    • Not as soft - the lining definitely isn't as soft as the first 2 brands, but it definitely feels nicer than a disposable. :)
    • Single insert - each diaper comes with only one insert and it is a large size. On the small setting I have to fold the end of the insert under so it doesn't stick out of the diaper (not a big deal for me). You can buy extra inserts if you need more absorbency.
    • Bulkier - because it only has one large insert, it's bulkier than the other diapers and gives my baby a bigger booty. We just put bigger pants on him. :)
    You can find more info and pictures, or purchase them at   When I first heard of these diapers, I thought they were too good to be true (which is why I only ordered one) - American made, good price, and an insert that washes out all on it's own. But they really are all that plus they work just as well as my more expensive diapers!

    Sunny Baby $6-8 each, I have 10
    • $6-8 each - these diapers are sold on ebay, so the price kind of varies, but they are definitely the cheapest pocket diapers I have found.
    • 2 inserts - each diaper has 2 inserts that can be used together when you need more absorbency, but both are large.
    • Chinese made - I like to support USA-made, but I also have to use what I can afford!
    • Least soft - these are the least soft of the diapers I have tried, but I still think they are better than disposables.
    • Pull out insert - still not a big deal, but less convenient than shake out.
    • Does not fit newborn - these definitely do NOT fit a newborn. I kept trying them and they kept leaking until Baby B finally fit into them. It was around 6 weeks old, I'm not sure how much he weighed then, probably at least 11 pounds. I didn't plan to use cloth diapers the first few weeks while we adjusted anyway, and the price was so good that I was okay with it too. Just know that if you want to start diapering a smaller baby these won't work!
    • Buy in bulk - I don't know if this is a pro or con. I've only seen these sold in sets of 10 or 11. Great for starting a stash, but not so great if you just want to add 2 or 3 more to your stash. I'll let you decide.
    • Can't choose colors - they just send you a variety of whatever colors they have. It doesn't bother me, but it is more fun when you can pick them out yourself. :)
    • Bulkiest - these are my bulkiest diapers because they have big inserts and don't snap down as small as the Smartipants. But for the right price, I can totally deal with it.
    You can see more pictures and order diapers on ebay. This is my most used diaper...because they came 10 at a time! :)

    Thirsties Duo Wraps $13 for cover, $3 for prefold, $1 for fleece liner (I have 2 covers, 6 prefolds & 5 liners)
    • Cheap - A cover can be used more than once if it doesn't get messy, so I can use one $13 cover a few times with a new $3 prefold each time.
    • Fits newborn - these diapers are size adjustable, but are not one size. They come in 2 stages that adjust to fit from infancy to potty training.
    • Leg gussets- the leg gussets are different than any of my pocket diapers and the design of them fits snugly around Baby B's legs.
    • Kind of bulky - That seems to be the nature of prefolds, they are not small. Maybe using this cover with a different kind of insert would work better?
    • Harder to use - these are not easy-on like a pocket diaper. You have to switch out the prefolds each time you change the diaper, so my husband doesn't seem to like changing them as much. :)
    I did get these covers with velcro instead of snaps because I know as long as Baby B is in the smaller size he won't be old enough to try to take it off. If I get more in the larger size, I will probably go with snaps. Although the velcro has been really nice. :) You can find more info and pictures here: And you can buy them on

    Now, to make a long story short (although you've already heard the long), out of the ones I've tried I'd say if your main concern is cost you would probably want to do Sunny Baby, or the Thirsties Duo covers if you don't mind a little extra work putting them on. If you want top-of-the-line, go with rumparooz or fuzzibunz, probably based on which rise adjustment style you like better. And if you want a nice compromise of a good price and well made diaper, go with Smartipants, which would probably be my choice if I was only going to get one kind of diaper. So that's just my 2 cents. (*Note: the next time I buy diapers I might try the ones sold by grape-apple on ebay. to see how they measure up. I just heard about them and it sounds like they are priced similar to Sunny Baby, but higher quality materials. )

    I have a total of 16 pocket diapers and 2 covers with prefolds and the total investment so far is about $200. Not bad for a lifetime supply of diapers! (Remember most of our stash is Sunny Baby. It will be more if you go with one of the other diapers!)

     Image from

    The size of my stash has me washing diapers every other day (I'm hoping to add a few more to my stash so I can still wash them every other day - probably don't want to let them sit much longer than that - but without crossing my fingers that the dryer gets done before Baby B messes his diaper because he's wearing the last one!). I use EcoSprout "In the Buff" diaper detergent (regular detergents leave build up and make your diaper less absorbent) which is about $25 for 96 loads. I chose "In the Buff" because it is their unscented variety for sensitive skin and I didn't know if Baby B would have sensitive skin. He doesn't seem to, so I might try a scented one next time. You can get more info about EcoSprout and order here. Washing diapers is way simpler than I expected it to be. Here's my routine when it's time to wash (with the washer set to run a hot wash for a small load):
    1. Run a heavy wash with no detergent
    2. Run a heavy wash with about 2 Tbs of Eco Sprout
    3. Run an extra Rinse cycle
    4. Pop them in the dryer (no fabric softener) - usually mine are still damp after a run through the dryer, so I lay them on my table in the sun until they finish drying out. I just don't think it's worth running the dryer again when they are just a little damp. I would like to line dry them someday, but I need to build up my diaper stash first because I don't have enough to use while I wait for them to line dry!

    Here is a peek at Baby B's cloth diaper changing station:

    1. Garbage can for dirty diapers, $5 from Walmart - When I take off a dirty diaper I give it a spray with the diaper sprayer, pull out the liner and put it all in the can. 
    2. Hand sanitizer - that's an important one.
    3. Dresser & changing pad - putting a changing pad on a dresser instead of getting a separate changing table saves space and money because you only need one piece of furniture instead of two. Plus it can grow with Baby B instead of being replaced once he's out of diapers. Does the dresser look familiar?
    4. Small garbage can for wipes, $1 at FiveBelow - Since the wipes are the only thing being thrown away, I only need a tiny can for actual garbage. I line it with plastic Walmart bags. 
    5. Prefolds - folded and ready to go.
    6. Pocket diapers - keeping them in a basket on the dresser top keeps them handy, but still looking tidy. I put all the inserts in the diapers once they dry so there's no assembly at diaper change time!
    7. Homemade wipes - I'm thinking about trying cloth wipes, too. Recipe for homemade wipes is below!

    Ready to make your own baby wipes? These are SO easy to make, and much cheaper than buying wipes! Here's how:
    1. Cut a roll of paper towels in half (I use a sharp serrated knife) and remove the cardboard tube so you can pull wipes out from the center (like the roll shown above). Put the roll in whatever container you will keep your wipes in. I use the Tupperware container in the picture that's just the right size, but I know some people who just use a gallon size Ziploc bag.
    2. In a small sauce pan, boil 2 cups of water. Once it's boiling add 1/2 tsp baby shampoo, 1/2 tsp baby wash, and 1/2 tsp baby lotion. Stir until dissolved (like 10 seconds).
    3. Pour the mix over your paper towels and you're ready to go! You probably want to let them cool a little bit before you use them on baby, though. :)
    There are couple other things that I use for cloth diapering:

    Before I put a dirty diaper in the diaper pail, I usually give it a rinse with a diaper sprayer. You don't have to do this before babies start eating solids, but I do it anyway hoping to prevent stains and keep my pail from getting too stinky. :) Once a baby gets on solids, a sprayer is a good alternative to the old toilet-dunk technique. Diaper sprayers hook right onto your toilets plumbing and are easy to install with just a wrench and a few minutes of work! You can buy them on Amazon and they run anywhere from $20-$60.

    For long trips with Baby B we use disposable diapers, but if we're just going around town I have this small wet bag that I can stick a dirty diaper in to keep the mess contained until we get home. I also want to get their larger wet/dry bag (33 design options!) so I have room for enough clean and dirty diapers to last for a longer outing, like a day trip to the zoo!

    And there you have the very long details of how I diaper Baby B on a budget. If you have any questions let me know and I'll try to help! Happy diapering!


    1. Better for your budget and in my opinion, better for baby! Our granddaughter Ellie has been a cd baby from day one. Amanda and Daniel have saved a ton of money going this route. Amanda uses baby washcloths and a special concentrate for baby wipes. Grandma confession: I have reached for the packaged store wipes during a few 'orange alerts.' I love the idea of making your own disposable wipes!

    2. Thanks. :) Do you know what concentrate they use for the wipes? I've found several and don't know what is best!

    3. Kissaluvs brand--little lavender soap cubes, diluted about twice as much as directed. Amanda tried making her own solution with baby oil, soap, etc., but it caused a rash on baby's bottom.

    4. I recently started cloth diapering as well and absolutely LOVE Rumparooz - they are hands down the best, imho. I also love your recipe for wipes, but just wondering if there was any reason you chose those instead of cloth wipes?? With cloth wipes, you only have to use water (it's just like a wash cloth) and that way you can throw them in your diaper pail with the other dirty diapers, plus it saves money :)

      1. I don't really know why I did. I guess for some reason cloth wipes seemed grosser than cloth diapers? It didn't make any sense. :) But I have switched to cloth now wipes now, and I'm not looking back! Most of my wipes actually are baby washcloths, and I also have a few flannel one's I sewed from old receiving blankets. Thanks for sharing the tip!