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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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Newborn Diaper: Bang for your Buck

My four-month old just outgrew the diapers I bought for her newborn phase. It's time to see how they stack up and which brand brought the most bang for the buck. I’m comparing the price of the three systems to each other and to disposables. Overall, cloth diapering has been a huge cost savings during the early months. Looking back, I don’t even regret the purchases that weren’t cost effective because they helped me learn more about cloth diapering and what to use in the future.

System #1: Thirsties Duo Wrap and prefolds
Initial investment: $104
Covers: 4 x $13
Prefolds: 24 x $2
Snappi: $4

+ no leaks when used correctly
+ easy to prep
+ quick drying
- super bulky!
- two-part system is a little more complicated

We didn't start using cloth until she was over 8 pounds because we thought the prefolds were too big. Had we known they were just bulky we could have started earlier and saved even more. These ultimately became our go-to diaper.

Times Worn: Approximately 2000
Compare to Disposables: $490

Wow! These got the most bang for the buck by far at 5.2 cents per wear! To stretch the savings even farther we'll save these for any future babies and just invest in additional covers as needed.

System #2: Fuzzibunz Perfect Size XS
Initial investment: $48
Diapers: 4 x $12

+ Cute Fluff
+ Trim Fit
- Prep work
- Leaks
- Stuffing/Unstuffing

Some people swear by these diapers and I can see why. They are adorable! I didn’t have much luck with them because I made a few mistakes with the prep work and I couldn’t wrap my head around the fit until my baby grew out of them. She still wore them a few times and they were fun to show all our friends and family as an example of a modern cloth diaper.

Times Worn: Approximately 40
Compare to Disposables: $9.99

These Fuzzibunz ended up costing more than $1 per wear because we didn’t use them very often. The investment wasn’t a total loss though; I’m re purposing the microfiber inserts as reusable “Swiffers” to clean around the house.

System #3: bumGenius Elemental
Initial investment: $48
Diapers: 2 x $24

+ Easiest to put on
+ Still Fits
+ Very Absorbent
- Bulky
- Did not fit until 10 pounds

Sticker shock kept me from buying more of these in the beginning and I’m glad I held off since they were too big for several months. Plus, they’ve added some cute new prints to the lineup this fall. I’m looking forward to purchasing more of these soon now that I know they work well on my baby.

Times Worn: Approximately 30 (and counting)
Compare to Disposables: $5.99

We didn’t get much wear out of the BG’s in the newborn phase, but these are in the daily rotation now. They have a nice, comfy fit and require no additional steps. Even though the Bang for the Buck is high right now (nearly $2), it will come way down through the rest of the diaper stages.

BIO: Jeannette is a budget-conscious mama with a degree in Design and Merchandising from Drexel University. She's transitioning to stay-at-home Mommyhood and loving it! Her blog,, is full of eco friendly household tips that are perfect for the suburban lifestyle.


Jackie said...

Hello, I bought 12 gently used FuzziBunz extra smalls and am wondering what "prep work" you're referring to that made them less desirable, so I can make them work for my family! Thanks!

Christina D said...

Great post!

Just out of curiosity how big was your daughter at 4 months?

I am expecting our 2nd son in March and I'm trying to decide what newborn diapers to buy. We didn't start cloth diapering with my older son until he was 5 months old, so we went right to one size diapers.

My older son was big, 9 lbs 2 oz at birth and by 4 months he was 16 lbs 9 oz. So, I have no idea if I should even bother buying newborn diapers for him or if I should just stick to one size.

Was your daughter on the smaller or bigger size?

MaryBeth said...

My 2.5 week old is in thirsties duo wrap with prefolds & I agree they are very bulky. I like flips a little more at his weight (9lb 5oz). We are also using Charlie Banana size small pockets which I like a lot but only have 5 of.

Definately looking forward to my LO bulking up a bit so his dipes aren't so awkward. Thanks for the great post!

Kelly said...

I love this post. Especially since it addresses the Newborn time in cloth. I was a Prefold & cover girl for my 1st child all through CDing him. It wasn't until #2 that I ventured out to the enorous world of CDs. But I will say that with #2 & #3, my go to diaper for the newborn stage was my infant prefolds and small wraps. The 1st 2 months babies go through so many diapers that they were just the easiest and most "fittable" diaper for me. good luck to everyone in the Newborn Stage.