Leading up to Baby Girl’s arrival, money’s been making a mass exodus from our wallets. And it may slow, but it ain’t gonna stop once baby arrives, either. One of our biggest new expenses in the upcoming months will be diapers. It’s bad enough knowing we’ll be changing about 7,000 diapers before our little girl is potty-trained. But finding out that we could be be paying upwards of $2,500 to do it? Nah, I’m good, thanks.
For a split second, Johnny and I had a discussion about cloth vs. disposable. Initially Johnny wanted me to consider cloth because cloth = hundreds of dollars saved. I say “initially” because I nipped that consideration in the bud real quick by saying I’d be washing dirty diapers in the same load as his dress shirts. I sometimes make threats to get my way.
The dress shirt threat aside, Johnny left the ultimate decision to me. So we’ve decided to spend the extra moolah on disposables. Once that was settled, my next task was to find the BEST diaper. “Best” is quite a relative term, I know. But for me, and most moms I think, it means two things: best bang for my buck while — in all but worst-case scenarios — still keeping everything that comes out of my baby inside of the diaper.
Like any mother-to-be, I asked around, and the word on the street came back with three favorite diaper brands:
- Pampers Swaddlers
- Huggies Little Snugglers
- Kirkland Signature Supreme Diapers
I’m sure there are other great ones I have yet to hear about (please share your favorites). But starting with those three brands and some other well-known generic store brands, I did some calculations, which is rather risky coming from me. This is what I found when it comes to monthly diaper costs:
Bulk vs. Non-Bulk
Another consideration is buying in bulk. By buying in bulk, we can save anywhere from $15 to $40 per month, or almost $500 per year. That’s some serious dough.
Some Other Considerations
Amazon Prime and Amazon Mom: I admit that I’m somewhat obsessed with Amazon. Great deals, delivered to my door, yatta yatta yatta. Amazon has recently combined their Prime (free 2-day shipping) and Mom (20% off diapers, wipes, and other family essentials) programs for $39/year. You can get all the deets for signing up here. The convenience and the money savings have made Prime a worthwhile subscription for us.
After running the numbers, we’ll definitely be buying generic diapers in bulk. And while the verdict is still out on the best brand for our buck (cost + quality), we’re currently leaning toward the Costco generics. Buying in bulk means we’ll soon have diapers and wipes bursting from every drawer and stored beneath every piece of furniture in our baby girl’s nursery. But we’ll be saving money so we don’t mind.
What about you? Are your wallets suffering from a diaper dilemma? Do you have diaper-buying tips and tricks you’d be willing to let us in on (pretty please)?
We use huggies mostly because there were the only ones in stock when he had to get him premmie diapers (pampers were always out of stock). Not that we are brand loyal, but they have been working and we are very much a if it isn’t broken don’t fix it kind of people.
We would use the Costco diapers, but worry they may not work as well and then we are stuck with a lot of them (not likely since Kirkland is a very good brand).
I know this isn’t in the conversation and I don’t judge either way, but if you are thinking about using baby formula sign up for Similac’s Strong Moms. The will send you free formula and $5 off coupons all the time (you can also sign your husband and your parents up). From what I have read on the internet, you can use the coupons at Costco since they are “checks”
Oh, thanks for the Similac tip! See this is what I love about blogging… getting useful info I wouldn’t know otherwise! I’m definitely signing up for that today.
We love the target brand diapers…ever since both of our girls got a little bit bigger and we were using them more for capacity reasons…the target i found were great…we bought the luvs ones…u know the diaper duty commercials…lol they didnt hold up….now our youngest is in size 5 target ones and it is so cheap…20 bucks for 95 i think of them….but once the older one started weaning her off diapers we went back to name brand pull ups…
so our journey started name brand swaddlers cuz they smell so good on the lil baby behinds…to target ones once they were a lil bigger…back to the huggies pull ups…
So far we’ve been given Pampers Swaddlers, so that’s what we’ll be using to start with our newborn. I’m all about good-smelling baby behinds!
That’s good, because you will be sticking your nose into their behinds more than you ever thought you would to investigate whether or not they pooped! Our son thinks it is hilarious when mommy or daddy smells his butt
Oh dear! I’m officially giving that job to Johnny. The more I learn about this whole parenting thing, the less sure I am of it… 😉
So do our daughters…them come at us now with their behinds sticking out…when we ask them if they did something….
So I can’t remember how I actually found your blog since I like to hop from link to link, but I’m loving it! I have a 16 month old daughter and have tried every single diaper out there. When she was about 3 months old I was changing her clothes at least 5 times a day because she would blow out of boh Huggies and Pampers. I finally bought Target’s brand and no more blow-outs! I have never looked back. Also, less laundry, major plus. She was quite a chubby baby and I think that matters with how the diapers fit around their legs and waist. I would say be prepared to try a few out before you commit. Maybe see if any mommy friends are willing to let you try 1 of their brands? Or buy a small pack of a few different ones. Cost savings goes out the window when you’re scrubbing poopy clothes with stain removers when you’re exhausted and sleep deprived 🙂 Good luck and congrats!!
Thanks! I’m glad you found us! And thanks for the great tips!! I was just talking to a friend last night, and she said the same as you: it depends on the baby’s body type. Haha, that is something I never even would have considered!
And that’s a great idea to buy some small “tester” packs before going all out on the bulk buys… I think that’s the route we’ll go!
It’s scary to think Johnny and I will become familiar with the term “blowout” in just a few short weeks! I can’t even imagine. I think that will have a big influence on what brand we end up choosing!
And lame about Target brand, but good to know!
Haha, well, we may give Target a try at some point then! Babies are so darn complicated.
And that blowout comment hahaha… Johnny and I have no clue what we’ve gotten ourselves into!
hahaha you sure will…nothing like a blowout in the worst time…they rarely happen at home when you are near a bath or have stuff to clean up with… 🙂
Oh joy!! It’s a good thing babies are cute!
We just had a little girl too. We’ve been using the Walmart brand for 6 weeks now and are satisfied with them. We even prefer them over the Pampers. The savings are real when you go with the Walmart brand.
Awesome! I hadn’t talked to anyone who had tried them out. If they’re good diapers, that’s some serious moolah saved!
My wife and I were just discussing this the other day. We have three in some sort of diapers right now. One is just in pull ups at night and one is potty training, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. I shudder to think of the money we’ve spent over the last five years, but what are you going to do? We looked at cloth but it’s just not us. With running our own business time is precious, so we’ll take the time savings of not having to clean the diapers. That said, we’ve found that each child does better wit different brands. We tend to buy in bulk to get some good per unit savings.
Three in diapers? You and your wife are saints!! I think that’s gonna be the biggest takeaway from these comments for me… the best diaper totally depends on the kid. I never would have known that otherwise!
Don’t stock up just yet! Wait to see if your baby girl is sensitive to certain brands.
My kids would break out with Pampers. A friend’s daughter broke out in Huggies. We traded our free diapers with each other!
Also store brands are usually similar to one of the big brands. For example Kroger’s are similar to Pampers. Albertsons are similar to Huggies Snug Dry. Find the store brand that works for your baby and go from there! But don’t buy a bunch until you test them out! Baby skin is sensitive!!
Oh, that’s an awesome tip! See, I didn’t even know a diaper could cause a baby to break out. I’ve got lots to learn!! Thank goodness for help from fellow mommies like you 🙂
If you’re doing amazon….they take returns on everything forever, don’t they? So if the little one breaks out you may be able to exchange or get your $ back.
We’ve found Luvs to be pretty great on the cost/benefit scale. Whatever you do, don’t get the Rite Aid brand. They’re horrible. And I don’t even know if they make them anymore, but Pampers DryMaxx have been notorious for giving babies and toddlers really strong chemical burns, though last I knew the company was still denying it.
Oh, I didn’t think about that!… Amazon’s return policy is pretty sweet. And I will stay far away from the Rite Aid brand! I’m gonna be the most prepared mommy-to-be on the block thanks to all these great tips 🙂
Nice job on swaying the conversation with the ‘washing dirty diapers in the same load as his dress shirts’ train! Wish I woulda thought of that back in the day. I did cloth diapers for my two boys, who were 13 mos. apart. Like 13 mos. + a newborn at the same time. Two in diapers. Washing the diapers, drying the diapers, wasting money and water. Took up a lot of my time too. Kinda like the ‘Time to Make the Donuts’ commercial Dunkin’ out out a while back. You have some good cost comparisons here. I pinned it on pinterest.com/thriftability. I’m new to your blog, but will check back often!
Two kids within 13 months?! That’s incredible. Every hat in the world off to you. I think I’m glad that Joanna talked me off the ledge of cloth diapers. Works for some people, but not with my dress shirts.
Thanks for the pin and stopping by!
My son is on his way any day now, so I know exactly what you are talking about when it comes to diapers. We were given a lot of pampers diapers, but I think we will be using target’s brand, especially with our red card. We also have a few cloth diapers to try out and see how we like it. Though you can save, if it makes more of a hassle, then I don’t know if I want to save that money! Good luck with everything!
Glad to hear we’re in good company in this having-a-baby-human department. Sounds like you’ve got your diaper testing program all ready to roll. I’ll be interested to hear your experience with cloth. I LOVE the idea of saving the dough, but Joanna brought her A-game to that debate.
Good luck to you, too!
Great post and I’m sure it helped you to sort out what you will be needing. I enjoy reading cost comparisons like this. We don’t have any kids yet but I’m sure this will help us along the way. Happy Holidays… before you know it your baby will be here! Cheers Mr.CBB
I’m pretty OCD when it comes to planning things, so this has been pretty therapeutic for us. And while we have our “favorite diaper” brand/deals, I’m sure our baby girl will have her own opinion. 🙂
Happy Holidays to you, too!
Great cost comparison! I love reading about the endless question. Different diapers worked for my daughter than my son, between rashes and leaks.
And here I was just assuming all babies came out of the box with the exact same instructions. IKEA’s done me wrong.
Love your business idea. Really clever, and based on this post’s comments, very practical.
i say pampers all the way. however some kids have a skin reaction with then so i wouldn’t buy too many of any one brand until you see what baby’s skin reacts to. also coupons are a new parent’s best friend, if you watch flyer and save your coupons, you can potentially save half price or more. also with walmart’s price matching may help you save an extra trip (gas money) to where ever the cheapest price is. i find most online places are WAY to expensive and you can’t use your coupons. i find huggies has the best wipes. they are thick and good for sensitive skin. i make my own wipes but buy some for daycare and traveling. my ‘recipe’ for the wipes that i use is -2 cups boiled water, 2 tbsp aveeno baby wash, 2 tbsp aveeno lotion, 2 tbsp sweet almond oil (baby oil works too) and 1 roll Bounty paper towels (bounty are best cause they are strong and coupons are often found for this brand). i like mine a little wetter so i add about another 1/2 cup of water. first prepare the paper towel however you prefer-cut roll in half and place in air tight containers or i fold the paper towels back and forth (it does take a little time i do it after kids go to bed while i’m watching tv) like the store bought ones are. (i also re-use the store bought wipe boxes for this.) boil water and let boil for 5 mins. stir together the lotion, oil and baby wash. add boiled water while still hot and mix well. poor over paper towels and close up immediately. they are ready to used as soon as they are cool to the touch. hope this helps, i found this ‘recipe’ was best for my little one’s sensitive skin since the sweet almond oil helps to heals wounds faster. it is usually found by the band aids and healing creams in stores. good luck with baby when he/she makes their appearance.
Brenda, it sounds like you are super-mom! Thanks for the awesome wipes recipe! I’ve just recently found out that DIY wipes are even a possibility. So cool! Thanks for the great tips!
Great post although I may be a bit of a buzz killer here- you may find that the generic ones don’t work as good (or you may find the name brand sucks for you). Don’t get me wrong I’m 100% for generic brands but in some kiddos the brand seems to make a difference. I would personally not buy huggies- I hate the way they fit around my daughters waist, I would only buy Pampers if I had to chose (although when time comes for us to buy diapers I want to try costco). I tried the drug store generic and it was a pee and poop mess everywhere they leaked SO bad. Now, when I nannied, the kids HATED the pampers brand and only liked Huggies so my buzz kill is that although you have a plan in advance it *may* not work in your favor, your babies sweet little bum may have other plans 😉 I think I saw that you were quite pregnant (?) so this may not work now, but what we did was have a co-ed shower/diaper party. The girls were upstairs doing girly-baby shower-esque things while the men were downstairs drinking beer and they brought hubby diapers- Our daughter is over 6 months now and I have only had to purchase 2 pks of Newborn size diapers b/c the size 1’s were WAY too big for her and we ran out of the newborn sizes people gave us after about a month. We scored big time! The advantage of store bands stuff is that if you’re not happy with the product you can return it for your money back! As for wipes, I only buy the sensitive type ones but the brand doesn’t seem to make much difference. You can get mass quantities of wipes for cheap…again I DIY anything and everything but my time is precious and there are certain things NOT worth time or effort IMO.
Yes, I am QUITE pregnant, haha… 2.5 weeks until D-day! That co-ed diaper shower is such a great idea!! Although I won’t be able to try it for myself, I hope I can throw one for one of my friends. And I’m really glad I didn’t stock up before this post because I realize now that it will just be trial and error (like everything else!) in the beginning until we find out what fits our baby best 🙂
We did disposables with our first child, and then found Bum Genius 4.0 cloth diapers before our second child. You are making a big mistake financially in my opinion by not going with the cloth diapers. Trust me, I spent about $300 on cloth diapers and after 2 years of use sold them on Craigslist for $180. So effectively I spent $120 on diapers over a 2 year span. You can spend that much in 2-3 months with disposables. Not to mention the amount of extra trash you will be throwing into a landfill.
We would have definitely kept the bum genius diapers for kid number 3 if we were going in that direction, but you can’t let them outnumber you. 😉
I’ve been hoping someone would comment about cloth diapers! I don’t know much about them. And after hearing your experience with them, I’ve got to try them out. I’ve got a friend who I think I could convince to lend me a few. Thanks for the tips!
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Cloth Diapering was not all the rage yet when my oldest was born and still I think I feel the same as you!
Initially, we used the Pampers Swaddlers mostly because that is what was given to us and it had the little cutout for the umbilical cord (yeah that’s a fun one). They worked fine for us because with in the beginning you are changing the baby quite often. My daughter did #2 with every nighttime feeding, so she got changed pretty much every 2-3 hours. With the first you are also super concerned about changing the baby anytime you have even a sense they piddled (that will change with time!). We pretty much coincided diaper changes with feedings and as time goes on the the change time goes from every 2 hours to about every 4. The pampers did fine during the day, but once baby got to about Size 4 she was sleeping through the night (or trying to) and the Pampers did not hold up. That is when we switched to Huggies and she did much better. I think it wicks away the moisture much faster and can hold a little more (important when you are out running errands and can’t stop to constantly change). When she got to about size 6 we stuck with Huggies, but moved to the overnight ones. With my youngest she would sleep through the night 12-14 hours so we had to use a size up and for the briefest time double up, because she would be soaked and never wake!
Luvs flat out sucked. I never tried the Kirklands brand although their wipes are very good quality. We never had a membership, but every so often my MIL would get them for us.
On the topic of wipes, try to stick to using them just for wiping the child. We used them for cleaning the baby ALL the time and now even though they are 5 and 3 we cannot live without them! They are useful when out and about but at home I wish we could get in the habit of using washcloths or something else. Hubby and I are germaphobes though and that grosses us out!
Every kid is different and as you can see if the same kid can go through different stages when they need different things!
Thanks for the great info and tips! We still have so much to learn and figure out, and we’re soaking up as much as we can until we get first-hand experience!
I bought Pampers Swaddlers earlier this week… now I just need a real baby to try them out on 🙂
I’m with Trevor – give cloth a second thought. We’ve used Bum Genius Elementals and Sprout Change with our now 16 month old from birth and could not be happier. Yes, there is an initial investment and there absolutely is a learning curve as far as getting the fit right and finding a cleaning routine that works for you, but in my opinion it is SO worth it. (Especially if folks decide to give you the diapers as gifts.)
Many cloth diapering sites sell trial packs where they’ll give you an assortment of brands so you can see which you like and which you don’t. I believe that Cotton Babies had one going where you could return them all of you decided they weren’t for you.
Last thing I’ll say is that even if you don’t want to do it at first (when babies pee and poop seemingly constantly) give it another serious thought in a few months when the number of diapers per day goes down.
Have fun and good luck with your new babe!!
I love hearing advocates for cloth diapering because it’s something I know so little about. I need to learn more about a cleaning routine because, once again, I’m totally clueless on how that would even work.
I think after a month or two I will give it a trial run! I’m due in three days, so I hope our girl shows up soon so that’s even a possibility! 🙂
Are you shopping at Costco? While I like the Kirkland brand diapers, they frequently have Huggies for even cheaper than their store brand. Also they commonly put out monthly coupons for Huggies or Kirkland brand. Also, in my humble opinion, the Kirkland wipes are the best, and they often retail about 2c per wipe in-store.
Yes, we are Costco shoppers! I think we’ll be making a big trip there shortly after the baby is born. I’ve heard good things about their wipes, so I’ll definitely be getting those. I’ve got a small pack of Huggies to try, and if they work for our baby, I’ll have to stock up! Nothing like buying in bulk! 🙂
We were concerned about the environmental impact of disposable diapers when we had our daughter almost 3 years ago. We considered cloth diapers – particularly the gdiapers, which are cloth covers with disposable inserts.
Ultimately, we went with an amazon subscription for Seventh Generation diapers. They don’t use chlorine bleach and use wood pulp for absorbency. They were good at containing blowouts and will break down more quickly in the landfill.
We also chose biodegradable bags for our dekor diaper pail, http://www.amazon.com/Diaper-Dekor-Plus-Biodegradeable-Refill/dp/B001I3JR5C/ref=sr_1_6?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1357519662&sr=1-6&keywords=refill+dekor
I like to think that’s lessening the environmental impact.
You could also consider a cloth diapering service. They handle the messy part and bring fresh diapers!
Check out the blog Young House Love for their take on Bum Genius cloth diapers: http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/08/the-much-requested-cloth-diaper-post/
I’m not a mother, but when the time comes, I plan on trying this route first. You could always do a mix of cloth and disposables.
Great site BTW, just found it randomly today. =)
That system of theirs looks INTENSE! But I love it!
I’m still arguing my case for at least trying disposable for a couple weeks. No dice… yet. 🙂
Thanks for the suggestion and comment!
My son is almost 2 and we used pampers until the coupons ran out. Then we started trying generic brands and found we didn’t like Walmart and we didn’t like target. We do love the Meijer brand and the Walgreens brand. I also work at Walgreens so that saves us a little bit with my discount. They have diapers on sale all the time! This month they are buy on get one half off but just last week they were buy one get one free. Every baby is different!
Thanks for the great tips, Brittany! I will have to try out Walgreens. So far I’ve only stuck with Pampers (aside from testing out Huggies for a bit and not liking it as much). It sounds like Walgreens has some screaming deals, which I could definitely go for right about now… the cost of diapers is nuts!
I’ve found CVS (of all places) to be the best bet. Their brand is much higher quality than most store brand diapers (including Target’s), and if you get them on sale, they end up costing the least and providing the best quality. Our son has very sensitive skin and daily blowouts, and he’s been fine in the CVS brand since he was about a month old and outgrew the initial supply of Swaddlers someone bought us for the shower. I hit a sale this weekend where the packs of 36 size 3’s were priced at $6.99, plus $3 back in “extra bucks” for each pack purchased. I combined that with another $3 I had in extra bucks, a $5 purchase of $15 or more coupon, and came away with 288 diapers for right around $32! I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve turned all of my girlfriends with babies onto CVS. They are absolutely the best deal I’ve found.
Interesting. We’ve never even considered (or heard) of the CVS brand. We actually just started using the Costco brand and have been pleasantly surprised. But we’ll definitely give the CVS ones a shot. Can’t go wrong with savings like that… well, I guess you can but it sounds like the quality is good, too.
Thanks for the suggestion!
Do you live near an Aldi? I am a diaper snob and will pay more for a better diaper just because. On a whim I decided to try the Aldi diapers, $5 for 36 a small pack (Can’t buy in bulk, but still cheaper than bulk) The remind me COMPLETLY of huggies diapers!! The absolute best!! I don’t even have a diaper budget anymore. I buy them with my gorcery money since its only $5 a week, then I don’t buy a grocery splurge item to make up for my diapers. Its a win win!
Hrmmm. Aldi doesn’t ring a bell. Joanna says she’s heard of it before, but she doesn’t think there’s any within a few hundred miles of us. Which is lame given your rave reviews.
We’ll have to stop in when we spot one on our next road trip. In the meantime, I’m sure a lot of readers will appreciate the tip. Thanks for the comment!
Although this is an old post, I thought that with number 2 on the way it might be worthwhile to offer an opinion/experience with cloth nappies. I’m going to keep this brief.
Cloth is amazing – the virtuous feelings you experience washing and reusing instead of buying and disposing (over and over and over again!!!) are so worthwhile. Less wasteful, less costly by FAR.
You will never be laundering your clothing with poop. With all diapers – disposable or cloth – you are meant to tip/scrape/shake the poop into the toilet. Then you chuck the cloth diaper into a bucket with a well-fitting lid. Once you have 2-3 days of diapers in the bucket, throw them in your washing machine and run a rinse-and-spin cycle. Then run a full cycle with just the diapers, or add other laundry too if you wish.
That is ALL. For best results and for maximum environmental virtue, wash in cold water and then hang in the sunshine to dry. This is sanitising too.
People will buy your used cloth diapers from you too – another cost saving.
I still use disposables overnight with my 2nd but otherwise it’s cloth all the way and I would feel so wasteful doing otherwise.
I must admit I used disposables 24/7 for the first couple of months of my 2nd’s life because with my first baby I had found it a hassle to deal with newborn poop and cloth whilst trying to do the (more important) tasks of establishing happy sleep and feeding routines.