October 12, 2010

Cloth Diapers for a Working Mom: Dollars and Sense

So, I did some quick math:

One disposable diaper is about $0.20 to $0.25.

A cloth diaper (not including pre-folds and wraps) is about $23-$25. So a hundred uses, makes it pay for itself (not including the cost of washing). The cost of washing is about $0.60 per load.

So I REALLY like the rump-a-rooz diaper for overnight. If I bought 2, to rotate evenings, They would pay themselves off in about 6 months. So 3 or 4 pay off in less than a year.

For the day diaper types (except pre-folds), if I am just using them in the mornings and afternoons, I would use about 3-4 a day, and maybe 6-7 a day on weekends. So if I invested in a dozen of one kind (or some combo of a couple kinds), That's about $300. So they would pay for themselves in just under a year (assuming a couple weeks of vacation in disposables, perhaps).

So... still the cost of the laundry, but that's $400 up front cost for nights and weekends, so if the little guy doesn't potty train at age one we'll be benefiting. If he does, well then, that is worth any difference in cost for sure!!

Also, if I could convince the daycare to use cloth... using the same numbers... I know my day care has to change him (by law) at least once every two hours. So let's assume (conservatively) 5 diapers during the day. 25 per week. So that's 55 diapers changes per week total (combined with those above), minimum. If you were willing to do laundry every other day... you could have, what? 12? 18? in the queue? Even if you bought 24, they would pay themselves off in a year! If you could get by with fewer (which if we say yes, we'll start on the low side, and add more as needed), then even sooner!

Now I say "excluding" prefolds, because at this point, my husband still thinks they are going to be kind of tough. However, they are definitely the least expensive, so if I can change his mind on them, those will be the best decision fiscally!

Additional items - other things to consider include wetbags (one for the nursery and one for the diaper bag, at a minimum... maybe a spare while washing?), snappi's (if you go with prefolds), and you can even go the cloth wipe route! Now that's advanced. Also, cloth diaper-ers recommend certain diaper creams when pairing with cloth to prevent affecting the absorbency of the diapers.

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