Cloth Diaper Series: #1 (Mixed styes)

This is the first post in the cloth diaper series that features several cloth diapering families sharing about their cloth diaper stash and experience using cloth diapers.

As we prepare to adopt our first child, we’ve had such varied reactions when I tell friends and family our intent to cloth diaper.  Responses range from “Oh, that’s awesome!” to “Gross, why would you want to do that?”  We’ve even had some family members make bets on how long we’ll last with cloth diapers. 🙂  For us, the cost savings, health benefits for the baby, environmental impact, and cuteness factor all played into our decision to use cloth diapers. And, honestly, we’re excited to do this! On average, it costs $1600 to use disposable diapers on one child.  Cloth diapers typically cost 1/3 or less of that, plus they can be re-used on multiple children.

Modern cloth diapers have a long way from the days of prefolds and rubber pull-on pants!  These days, options range from the most cost effective option of flats & modern covers, DIY, or even all-in-one options similar to disposables.  The variety and ingenuity of these diapers is staggering!  I’ve asked some guests to share their experiences with cloth diapers.  Stashes and cloth diapering experiences can vary widely so this will give you a chance to peek into several options.


Above: Bumgenius AIO diapers in newborn size.

Stash #1: Vanessa S.  She’s a mother of two and has been cloth diapering for six months.

Me: why did you decide to cloth diaper?
Vanessa: We tossed around the idea of cloth diapering but became convinced to use cloth once we saw the ingredients used in disposables. And also the cost effectiveness appealed to us.

Me: what cloth diaper system or styles do you use?
Vanessa: We have a majority of All-In-Ones (AIO) but also some pockets, fitteds, and wool covers/longies.   Our AIO diapers are Bumgenius Freetimes and Simplex.  Our pocket diapers are Bumgenius 4.0’s.  My fitted diapers and wool covers are all by Sustainablebabyish (also called Sloomb or Sbish).

Me: how does it work for you?
Vanessa: We use All-In-One diapers (AIO) during the day and pocket diapers double stuffed with hemp inserts at night. Hemp is extremely absorbent and trim. It’s also slow to absorb so it lasts through out the night. AIO’s during the day are great for me because I don’t have the time or patience to stuff a bunch of pocket diapers. I suffer from arthritis and carpel tunnel so AIO’s are perfect. And the few pockets we stuff with inserts to use for overnight are much easier than stuffing 15 diapers!  Occasionally we swap out pockets at night for a wool system – wool longies + fitted diaper.  (Note from Rebecca – I’ll have someone else talking about wool in a future post so we’re not going into it much here!)

Me: how do you store them?
Vanessa: Funny story of how our diaper changing area came to be… we bought our kitchen table off Craigslist.  When we went to pick it up I was about 7 months pregnant and the sellers threw in their old changing table for free because they didn’t need it anymore. It’s become diaper central and works great for us!

Vanessa sent a photo of her “stash” and storage… check it out!

Me: what is your washing system?
Vanessa: We just bought a new GE top loading traditional washer because of all the problems we were having with our Ge Infusor. The Infusor doesn’t have an agitator and diapers weren’t getting clean (I even washed 4x in a row once!). It’s notorious for being a crappy washer, especially for cloth diapering. Our wash routine now is a prewash followed by a heavy duty wash. And I recently fell in love with Purex detergent. We set the dryer on low for 60 minutes and diapers come out smelling great and dry! Wool dryer balls have amazed us as well. We dry all our items on low heat for barely 60 minutes and things dry so fast now and I definitely think it helps keep clothes softer. We haven’t touched fabric softener in months as it’s not cloth diaper friendly.

Me: Lastly, can you give me an idea of cost for your stash (either total or per child)
Vanessa: Ideally you can cloth diaper for well below what you’d spend on disposables. You could spend $500 and be done or even less if you use prefolds and covers. I, however, have an addiction and probably spent a little more than intended because cloth is SO adorable! Disposables (even cheaper brands) will run you about $1,500-$2,000 by the time your child potty trains.  I’ve spent about $600-ish and will be able to sell our used diapers when we’re done, bringing our cost down quite a bit!

Me: Any last thoughts?
Vanessa: I honestly love everything about cloth diapering. It works well for our family and our beliefs in sustainability. We use cloth for every situation where other families probably use a disposable option. I don’t feel right when I use a disposable (so I don’t haha).

Above: Bumgenius Freetime diapers.  These are one-size diapers that are also AIO.  Shown in the smallest setting (snapped) and largest setting (unsnapped).  AIO diapers are very similar to a disposable in how you put them on and wear them… except you throw them in the wash rather than the garbage.

Above: Bumgenius pocket diapers, outside view. Shown snapped and unsnapped to give an idea of size range.  This diaper has a waterproof layer so it needs only this diaper plus an absorbent stuffing.

Below: Bumgenius pocket diapers, inside view.  You can choose whatever absorbent material you wish for the inside, then stuff it in the “pocket” of the diaper.  To wash, remove the stuffing and wash the whole thing.  The benefit is customizing the amount of absorbency that you need.

Below: samples of absorbent inserts and prefold diapers that can be used with a pocket diaper.  Shown are: hemp insert (green stitching), cotton prefold diaper (blue stitching), cotton doubler (yellow stitching) to add extra absorbency with another insert, and a diaper flat (a thin piece of cotton fabric that is folded into shape).  The diaper flat is similar to a flour sack towel. Other common inserts for pocket diapers are microfiber, but I’m not a fan of synthetic materials AND microfiber can’t touch baby’s skin.


Interested in learning more about the diapers mentioned in this post? These are the diapers Vanessa uses (affiliate links):

Bumgenius Freetime

Simplex AIO by Blueberry

Bumgenius 4.0 Pockets

Wool – more info in a future post of the cloth diaper series!

Stay tuned for more in this cloth diaper series!  If you have questions about cloth diapers, please email me at  Sometime in February I’ll do a Q&A post that covers the types of diapers a little more in-depth, as well as trying to answer any questions you might have.  Thanks!

P.S. All photos in this post are by me, except for Vanessa’s stash shot. 🙂

January 29, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Agi - $1600 sounds like a very high estimate! Also if use some disposable, for on the go and such, Target brand is chlorine free!

January 29, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Rebecca - I’ve seen a pretty wide range of estimates for the cost of cloth. This seems to be a fairly conservative breakdown of some of the different systems and factors in the cost of laundry. Some of the stashes later in the series were built for less than $200 so they would save even more! 🙂

Great suggestion for Target brand!

January 29, 2014 - 8:20 pm

Vanessa - We cloth diaper 24/7. It doesn’t seem cost effective for us to do it part-time or when on the go. Or evironmentally friendly! Our beliefs of sustainability are to preserve our land for current and future generations. 🙂 But if one still want to do a ‘healthier’ disposable, it’s Bambo brand. But better made disposables that are biodegradable start adding up quick $$$! The cost of disposables for approx 3 yrs comes up to about $1,500-$2,00 and that was guesstimating with Luvs (a cheaper brand) and also not factoring in that the price of the bag/box stays the same but the amt of diapers decreases as diaper size increases. That’s also not factoring in disposable wipes which probably adds up to $200 or so, again depending on brand. Believe me, cloth diapering mamas do their math. Over and over and over. Plus cloth dipes retain their resale value. Can’t resell a used disposable, know can ya?! Ew! Haha!

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