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Originally published October 5 2010

Baby Diapering: Consider the Cost Savings of Cloth vs. Disposable

by Aaron Turpen

(NaturalNews) Any parent with an eco-conscious mind has already considered the benefits of cloth diapers over disposables for the environment. What about those who aren`t swayed by these arguments and are convinced that they really need the convenience of disposables over the "hassle" of cloth? Well, economics might change their mind.

Plenty has been said here on NaturalNews about all of the bad things associated with disposable diapers. Yet 84% of American babies are diapered with disposables and the average baby goes through about 6,000 disposables before being potty trained. Most of those diapers end up in a landfill where they do not degrade.1 This likely means that in a few thousand years when our descendants dig up our fossil remains to see how we lived, they`ll think we must have really, really, really wanted our diapers to last..

Sitting down and doing the math, anyone can see that over the 6,000 diaper lifetime of a baby, the money spent could be equal to a car payment, a large mortgage payment, or more. Let`s break it down.

In the first six months, a baby will go through about 1,200 diapers. From newborn through the first thirty days or so, baby averages 10 diapers per day (conservatively) and from one month to six months will average about 6 diapers per day (again, conservatively).

In the store, diapers for 0-6 months cost about $40 per 180 diapers (0.23/diaper). If you`re a club member, then you might get them for 0.20 per diaper. That means $240-$276 in diapers in that first six months. Over the entire diapering period, those disposables cost your family from $1,200 to $1,380. Remember, these are conservative estimates.

Cloth diapers, on the other hand, range in price depending on your choice. The homemade cloth diapers your mom made might have run thirty cents each in today`s money. For convenience, however, the better, higher-cost cloth diapers with snaps or velcro, cloth inserts, etc. run about $18 each. Sounds like a lot of money, right? If you buy the brands of cloth diapering systems that expand with your baby (through adjustable velcro or snaps), these diapers are a one-time purchase. A dozen of them will cost you $216 or so.

So, for less than you`d spend on disposables for the first six months, you can have a full set (12) of a good cloth diapering system. Spend the rest on extra inserts and you`re even better off.

This means that instead of spending $1,380 on diapers, you could spend only $216. That`s over a thousand bucks in savings over 3 years. That`s a couple of car payments, a house payment.. with cash left over.

Most of these diapering systems work the same basic way. An outer waterproof shell (this is the visible portion, with the velcro/snaps) might have a removable waterproof liner inside. Inside that is the actual cloth diaper, which can easily be removed from the shell. This means you only wash the inside unless the little one has a "blowout," and you can use the same outer shell most of the day. So most parents get by with about 12 of these on hand, four to six of the smallest size (for newborns) and six or eight of the larger size for 6+ months. The liners usually work in both and can be bought separately at very low cost. Most systems come with at least two per already. There are even flushable paper inserts.

All of this means that these modern cloth diapers are much more convenient and require a lot less washing (there is less to wash). All at less than a quarter of the cost of buying disposables.

1 - The Sustainable Baby, Diapers by Aaron Turpen,

2 - The Sustainable Baby, Diapers II by Aaron Turpen,

3 - Lessen Your Baby`s Toxic Load (Part 1): Diapers by Patty Donovan, NaturalNews

4 - How Green Are Disposable Diapers? by Brian T. Horowitz, Fox News

5 - Diapers: Cloth vs. Disposables in Cost by Aaron Turpen, and Diapering: How the New Generation of Cloth Diapers Work by Aaron Turpen,

About the author

Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming in the USA. His blogs cover organic/sustainable living and environmental considerations ( and the science debunking mainstream medical and proving alternatives (

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