What I would Buy if Starting Cloth Diapering All Over Again.

My last diaper load, diapers all stuffed. 21 diapers ready to go. 

There are lots of pages out there that talk about the different systems of cloth diapers but thought I'd share what worked best for us. I'll start by going over what I have and what I like/dislike about them after 3 kids (and roughly 6 years cloth diapering) and what I would actually purchase if I was starting over again.

The main two systems I've used are flats and prefolds with covers and Pocket diapers.

Here are the flats (or prefolds) and covers , (there are a few videos on this site and this is the system I inherited for a friend for my 3rd. I had bought some second hand ones from a diaper service but the fell apart by the 2nd child and have become cleaning rags).

I had 23 pre-folds and about 14 covers. You can reuse the covers if only pee. Simply rinse and let dry out then use again. If poop throw the diaper into your wetbag. The main advantage of this is it is the easiest laundry method as you don't need to stuff any diapers. Simply wash, sort and you're good to go. I would simply make a pile of diapers (inserts) and a pile of covers in baskets in the change table.

Below I recommend Kawaii covers, but I did prefer the Bummis covers shown above. They are a bit more expensive and harder to find so that is why I went with the kawaiis. Here is a site though that shows many of their covers. I was also living in Montreal when I started with them and they used to have a store where I bought a bunch of seconds for about the same price as the Kawaiis. They go for about $12-16/cover regular price. I think they may be discontinuing the diapers as I had trouble finding links.

Come the 6 month mark though, when babies start solid foods, you need to start removing solids from the diapers before washing. During the transition stage this can get pretty messy and requires rinsing before dumping in the wetbag. This is where I liked to switch to pocket diapers. As the insert is on the inside you really only need to rinse the cover vs. rinsing the cover and inserts separately. When you have 2 inserts this triples the work. Rinsing the diapers isn't that bad, but I definitely prefer to reduce the number of items I'm rinsing and am happy when things are solid enough that no rinsing is required. Ok, hopefully I haven't put you off cloth diapers with that.


I've bought and tried out a few brands, and definitely spent too much money on my first! I likely spent about $600-700 starting out, spent another $50 or so with my second and about $100 with my 3rd replacing a few covers. Still roughly $1000 for diapering 3 kids in materials. Quickly googling laundry costs is giving me about $2/load so about $150/year or $900 over 6 years. I've also sold the diapers that I didn't love and will be able to get some money back selling these diapers when I'm done. So my guess is I've spent about $1900 on diapers, and I should be able to get about $200 back when I'm done so $1700 for diapering 3 kids. There are a bunch of sites out there to compare the costs. This one states disposables costing about $655/year, so would have been $3900 for my 3.

Full disclosure our daycares required disposables starting in year 2 so we had to comply and used cloth at nights and on weekends, so were spending about $40/month for those years (2).

So my total diaper costs have been roughly : $900 on disposables, $1700 for diapers and washing = $2600. A savings of over $1300. And even more had we had daycares that allowed cloth. Our current one does and I think more and more do now.

But knowledge is power. And if I was to go back, I could get my upfront costs down a lot!

I've tried and bought quite a few brands including bum genius, fuzibunz, bummis, applecheeks, kawaiis, I'm still using the bum genius diapers I bought with my first, but have had to replace all the elastics which were worn out after the first. Fuzzibunz have easy to replace elastics, but are hard to stuff. The Kawaiis and AppleCheeks are probably my favourites, but I only started with AppleCheeks with my 3rd when he got into the size 2 diapers. I still find them an expensive option if you buy the 2 sizes, but fortunately now have a one-size option.

The basic math to keep in mind is 2 inserts/diaper so each 10 pack of bamboo inserts = 5 diapers. Most sites recommend 18-24 diapers to get started and not have to do diaper laundry every day. With trial and error and buying a few more diapers here and there, I probably ended up with closer to 36-40 diapers but to start I'd say you are good with around 18-24. Newborns poop A LOT so you are changing with every feed so about 8 times a day. 24 diapers means you get 3 days worth before washing. You'll still want to wash about every 3-4 days at most so your diapers don't get too stinky. 

So with all that in mind, what I would actually buy if I was starting my stash over again? Mostly Kawaiis as they are a good cheap option that has held up reasonably well over 6 years of cloth diapering. 

This would be my kit:
6 covers ($20-48)

Any of these covers, velcro or snaps.


20-30 inserts ($72-108)


Bamboo inserts

9-12 of these pocket diapers with bamboo inserts ($90-120) or microfiber ($73-97) or combo of the two,




Source: Kawaii diapers 
So $178-244

This works out to 19 diapers worth of inserts on the low end (9 pocket diapers you could stuff or use as shells with the inserts on top, and 10 diapers worth that you'd simply lay the inserts on top and re-use if not soiled) to 27 on the high end. I'd definitely prioritize buying more inserts over shells/covers as you may find you like another brand better and decide to use those instead. The inserts are compatible with many systems so that will maintain the flexibility.

You'll notice I recommend the snaps over velcro. The snaps just tend to last longer and not lead to diaper chains in the wash. I do have velcro and tend to send those to daycare because it's just easier and takes a bit less time than snaps. Basically all of the diapers that they sell will work fine as covers or inserts. To lower the price a bit more when buying the pocket diapers you could select the microfiber inserts. These work well too, but only inside the diaper. They wick moisture quickly including all the moisture in skin if placed directly against it. Some people like to mix 1 micro-fiber insert with a bamboo as the microfiber will absorb quickly, but can lead to compression leaks when sitting down. The bamboo will help to keep it trapped in.

The above is the budget option which I like and works very well. However as I can find a good deal, I've added some apple cheek covers which I really like too. I was lucky enough to find a bunch of seconds and other liquidated diapers at $8 bought directly from their site. These generally retail for $20-25. So if you want to stalk their clearance section I'd add another 10-15 covers as the baby moves to solid poops and you move to stuffing all the diapers rather than using covers.  So $80-120 (at $8, I was lucky and picked up 12 or so from their clearance section) to $220 if regular price

So total price :$258-464

Plus wet bags: 1 large, 2 travel size and wipes likely another $100 or so.

Check your municipality to see if you are lucky enough to qualify for cloth diaper subsidies. A few cities and bouroughs on the Island of Montreal do. This could mean up to $200 savings for you! Always worth checking for your municipality. 

If you have another child you'll likely need to replace some of the kawaii diapers/covers, but will be able to continue to use the inserts in the new covers. The apple cheek ones might last 2+ kids, but elastics tend to go. It is possible to replace the elastics or hire someone to do so for about $3-6/diaper. I've tended to spend about $50-100 replacing and adding a few covers for each additional kid. Sometimes the cute prints are just too hard to resist.

So there you have it, my recommendations for cloth diapering costing about $360-$560 depending on the sales and numbers you end up with. Lower if you stuck only with the Kawaiis. 

I would just suggest staying away from these diapers on their site. They are super cute, but the edging doesn't have any waterproofing so wicks moisture to clothes, at least on my kidshttps://www.theluvyourbaby.com/products/kawaii-baby-one-size-bamboo-charcoal-pocket-cloth-diaper.html

Source: Kawaii diapers 









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