For me cloth diapering (nappies) was a financial decision for me but it's inadvertently an environmental one! You don't use much extra water and think of all the landfill/pollution you save! Plus the resale value on the diapers and equipment is great. If you buy new all your equipment can set you back an upfront cost of around $300+ but that's it and you can get around half or more back when you sell. As you can see below, I only spent around $250. Disposable diapers will set you back up to $1000 a year, and that's if you're NOT buying the eco-friendly ones, (which most of us would prefer)! Disposables might be necessary in the first few weeks before the baby reaches a weight that fits into the cloth diapers but even so it's a huge saving to you and the planet! Cloth didn't fit my baby till around the 3rd month. I bought most of my baby stuff secondhand (except the crib and car seat which are recommended to buy new) because of the cost difference and the environmental impact. If you're still on the fence and want to do the math there are some calculators out there to help you! Click here or here :)
If cloth diapering seems a little too much work then disposables are obviously fine! Cloth does tend to leak more and I find doesn't hold as much liquid as disposables. From around 10 months I found a disposable at nighttime was much easier in terms of leakage. With cloth I have to change around every hour but with disposable you can leave for two hours +. I use disposables on longer car trips or outings when I know I'll be gone longer than an hour. Try The Honest Company eco-friendly diapers! For diaper rash I use Lucas' Paw Paw Ointment and for the bath time I used to use my own homemade soap! The Honest Company also has a Soothing Bottom Wash and Diaper Rash Cream.
There is great information on all aspects of cloth diapering (including what laundry soaps to use) on Fluff Love & CD Science. Apparently a lot depends on your washing machine, the diapers you use, you're routine and the hardness & iron level of your water so do your research! Stripping your diapers is a pain so getting it right from day one is key - believe me I learned the hard way LOL!
More on the correct routine here & here.
I made my own wipes which cost around $10. I bought 2 yards of white flannel (washed the fabric first) and cut it up into squares. I rounded off the edges and just sewed a serge stitch around the edges. So easy!!!
I bought the Munchkin wipes warmer from a thrift store for $5. Again you don't need this, especially if you are planning to use disposable wipes.
I bought some PUL fabric on sale for $15 and made 2 diaper pail liners, 4 different size wet bags and still had 1/2 yard left over from 2.5 yards. I had left over material to make a baby laundry bag that hangs on the end of the change table.
I bought my toilet spray/hose on eBay for $15 thinking I was getting a great bargain (most of the cloth diaper brands are around $50) but then I had to spend $20 getting attachments from the hardware so it costs around $30+ dollars for this addition. If you have a sink in your laundry already you may not even worry about it! I installed it myself using YouTube videos. The guy at Lowes kindly put the parts together for me when I bought it so I wouldn't have to figure that out ;)
I got a diaper pail on eBay for $30 (incl shipping). It came with a bunch of the plastic bags which are handy when you're using disposable diapers in the beginning.
Guide to Cloth Diapering
- If soiled, knock off solids into the toilet then spray the diaper and wipes till look clean (I do this part in a bucket as the toilet is a hard target with a spray).
- Add to your diaper pail.
- Once diaper pail is full remove all inserts before washing and spray any stains.
- Wash on hot using special detergent. It's recommended to wash twice.
- Air dry in sun for bleaching effect or put in cloths drier on low heat. I find I have to wash every 1-2 days.
- Once dry replace the inserts and fold wipes.