I have been feeling deliciously guilty about the rather decadent (in my opinion) diaper stash I've accumulated for boy #3. I totally splurged on one-size bamboo fitteds, a few snazzy Gen-Y covers and a variety of pockets -- some new, some clearance, some like-new or gently-used. I also bought a handful of bamboo and hemp inserts to replace the microfibre inserts in the pocket diapers. I knit several pairs of wool shorties and soakers, something that would have cost me a fair amount to purchase but only cost me $$ in yarn to make. Yes, I was feeling almost naughty about the amount of money invested in the diaper stash, at least until I read this: Battle For Baby's Bottom. I've always known that cloth is cheaper in the long run -- I work in a cloth diaper shop, for crying out loud! I deal with the numbers every time I'm at work. I know that a child can be cloth diapered from birth to toilet training for an outlay of around $400, including the "extras" needed (wet pail, travel bag, Snappis, etc). I am also intimately aware with the resale value of cloth diapers that have been well cared for over their lifespan, having bought and sold used diapers myself. For some reason, though, this article made me sit down and do the mental math on the true cost of our stash.
We started out with disposables in the beginning, but switched to cloth around the time Boy#1 was a month old. The initial bunch of diapers we had weren't very good, but quickly sold me on using cloth. Boy#1's stash cost us about $300... from birth to toilet training! I sold some (recouped about $75) and bought some smaller diapers to use with Boy#1 (newborn sized) as well as some extra-large diapers when he inflated like a Jack O'Lantern (maybe another $150).
The total "Stash" outlay was about $375 for a decent collection that saw two boys from birth to toilet training.
Admittedly, Boy#3's stash is the nicest of all. I sold a lot of diapers when the older boys were done in fear that the elastic wouldn't hold (recouped around $100) and I've probably added another $500 over the past year or so -- picking up "like new" and "gently used" items, snagging awesome clearance stuff at work, as well as some new-on-the-market diapers. I've also knit a number of wool soakers and shorties that would have cost big bucks to buy.
Still, if I add nothing more to the diaper stash (and I don't *need* to), I've only spent about $775 to diaper three(!) boys from birth to toilet training. And I'm not talking about boring (but practical! and awesome!) prefolds and plain velcro wraps (though we have those too) -- we've got some seriously bitchin' diapers here! They're cute, easy, convenient and best of all pretty much eliminate the dreaded "diaper blow-outs" parents of babies complain about!
The best part? If I take good care of our stash, I can probably sell it when we're done with it and recoup around $400, if not more.
So, it has cost us $375 (or less) at this point to diaper 3 boys from birth to toilet training in cute, environmentally friendly, diaper-rash-preventing cloth diapers from birth to toilet training -- roughly $125 a kid!
Much better than $2000 each!
Now for my disclaimer.
PLEASE NOTE: This by no means implies that I will not be buying anymore diapers for Boy#3. I like variety and I love trying all the new stuff on the market. In fact, I will probably spend another $300 or so adding to the stash before this guy toilet trains. I have a lot of trouble resisting the allure of cute prints, strong solids, or truly original designs. Still, I can expect to recoup about half of that cost when I sell them, leaving me with a total outlay of $525 -- or $175 per boy. Sweet!
You will have to excuse me if I bump into you near the disposable diapers at the store -- I will look smug. You have been warned!