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How much do disposable diapers and formula cost?

by Karen on December 20, 2010

Oh, hey. It’s a post about money!

This weekend, Judah turned three weeks old. For the first two weeks of life with a newborn, I tried to keep things as simple as possible. I was still recovering from the birth and getting used to taking care of a baby, so I was okay with using disposable diapers. We received a case of size 1s from a generous family member at the baby shower, so we have plenty to use up anyway.

Last week, though, I decided to switch to cloth diapers during the day. I’m thrilled with how well they’re working out, and they’re so much easier than I expected. I was committed to making it work from the start, but part of me was nervous that we might not be able to keep up with it. After a week, I can definitely say that we won’t be using disposables at least 95% of the time.

After three weeks of successful breastfeeding, I think it’s safe to say that we’re not going to be buying formula, either.

I’m curious about how much money we’re actually saving by using cloth diapers and breastfeeding. There are so many variables that it’s hard to come up with solid numbers. If I’d spent any time buying diapers or formula, I might be able to come up with some rough averages.

I know if you work really hard like Kacie at Sense to Save did before she had her first baby, you can stockpile a ton of diapers for as low as 5 cents each. I also know that if you buy the most expensive, fanciest brands at regular price, you’ll pay 25 to 30 cents a diaper.

As far as formula goes, I’ve read that generics will run you about $10 a can, which will last about a week for a baby Judah’s age. Or you can easily spend $30 a can on more expensive name brands.

Before I can really figure out how much I’m saving, I’ll need to see what all this laundry does to my water and electric bills after a full month of cloth diapering. I’m not looking forward to that increase, but I’m confident it will still be less than I’d pay for diapers.

I also need some rough averages on costs. I’m looking to all of you for your insight. If you’ve used disposable diapers or formula, how much did you spend per month in an average month?

Photo by chrisirmo

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{ 2 comments }

1 Jes December 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm

a little over 4 years ago before we made the switch to Cloth diapers we were spending around $40-50 a month on diapers. That was buying Luvs- the cheapest “name” brand out there. My sister in law used Huggies up until a few months ago when her son potty trained and they spent around $60 a month. And these are the costs of diapering an older child who uses way less diapers than a newborn. we’ve been using up the diapers we had around the house and I know Josiah was easily going through 8-10 a day, we bought one pack of newborn diapers, 36 diapers for $10.25, at 10 a day that’s $85 a month! we’ve never done the formula thing, so I have no clue about that. boy am I glad we use cloth… (and yes, I switched today, even though his cord is still hanging on by a thread! it’s so hard not to just pull it off. lol)
Jes´s last blog post ..Josiah’s first week home

2 Hannelene December 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Congrats again on your beautiful boy – babies are the best!

No idea on the formula – my son is nine months and we’re still nursing (and he is eating home cooked baby meals – no Gerber jars here, thankyouverymuch) Since I work, we had the expense of a pump, but it is $300 that has more than paid for itself.

However, we do use disposable diapers. He is in daycare and they do not do cloth. It didn’t make much sense to me to deal with one added complication on weekends when that is really the only time I have to play with the baby and get things done around the house. (You may call me a wimp now) We have been buying from Costco when there are coupons and sales, and have not paid more than 8 cents a diaper yet. You have to have the space to store the stock-up and buy larger sizes though… our guy grew so quick that I have had to exchange to a larger size a few times.

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