Apr 01 2009

Our diaper usage so far

Rachel wanted an update on my diaper stash. Happy to oblige! She asks: 

Just out of curiosity, how much do you budget for diapers? I know you built a stockpile before your baby came, which I’m working on. What do you budget for on a regular basis? Or did you decide to go cloth?

You can see my diaper spreadsheet here. Also, you can check out my post on stocking up on diapers before baby is born.

Johnny is a little over three months old (he’s 14 weeks) and I’m estimating that he now weighs about 13 pounds. Since he was so small at birth (6 lbs. 5 oz.) we had him in newborn-sized diapers for his first six weeks.

The hospital had him in size 1s (and that’s the package they sent us home with) but the newborn sized ones worked better for that time.

I didn’t buy any N-sized diapers in advance, since I didn’t know how big or small he would be. We went through two boxes and I think two jumbo packs before moving him up to size 1. I think. The first few weeks are sort of hazy, ya know? So let’s say we went through about 250 or so diapers in the first six weeks. 

I was in no mood to bargain hunt, so I didn’t get a super great deal on them. I used $2 off coupons for the boxes, and getting two boxes at Babies R Us gave us a $10 gift card. Still, we spent about $60 on newborn diapers, ugh. All but two were Pampers Swaddlers. The other two were Huggies that came as samples in the mail.

Size 1

Around six weeks, it was time to move him up to size 1s. We used about 450 diapers in that size! Good grief. I have three packs left over, plus about 20 diapers from an opened pack. I think I’ll try to exchange the unopened packs for a larger size. I don’t have the receipts anymore, so if that doesn’t work, I’ll hang on to them for #2 or donate them.

In all, we have an extra 250 or so size 1s. 

We used Pampers Swaddlers, Huggies Supreme, CVS, and Luvs. All but the Luvs were consistently fine, though I had some leaks/blowouts with all of them. For some reason, I had a lot more leaks with the Luvs. They didn’t seem as absorbant. I have 2 mega packs of Luvs left, and I’m going to try to trade them in for size 3s. Maybe they’ll work better when he’s bigger.

Size 2

At 13 weeks, we moved him to size 2s. He was probably ready to move up a size at 12 weeks, but I wanted to use up as many size 1s as I could. 

I have 416 in my size 2 stash. I think this might be a pack or two too many. I bought two packs of Huggies since I had the $5 off coupons that expired a few days ago and I have saved the receipt in case I need to exchange them. D’oh! Probably should have went with size 3s.

Note: If you still have that $5 off Huggies coupon, go to Rite Aid, as you can get a $3 single check rebate for them. 

I have some store-brand diapers in these sizes, and I plan to try to use them while Johnny is still on the low end of the weight range. As he gets closer to the upper limit and for overnights, I’ll use the Pampers or Huggies. Perhaps going about it this way will result in fewer leaks.

If Johnny continues to gain about a half pound per week, then he’ll hit 17 pounds at 21 weeks. The upper limit for size 2s is 18 pounds, but sometimes you have to move them up a size sooner than that.

Budgeting for dipes and wipes

Since I have stockpiled so much beforehand, I haven’t really bothered to budget for diapers or wipes yet. 

If you’re stockpiling diapers and wipes, I’d definitely encourage you to get as many wipes as you can handle. We’ve already gone through my stash plus an extra 600 or so. We’re using fewer wipes per change and per day now, but for awhile we were really going through them. 

My favorite wipes are Target brand. They’re cloth-like and less than $0.02 each, which is a pretty good deal.

It looks like I’ll have enough diapers to get me to his eighth month, give or take. This is assuming I won’t need any more size 2s, and I’ll be able to exchange my three packs of size 1s. 

It’s hard to say for sure, since his diaper habits change all the time. Once we introduce solids, I know we’ll be playing a whole different ballgame.

When my diaper stash starts to get low, I’ll evaluate where we are and I’ll continue to stockpile when I find a good deal. I’ll probably budget no more than $20 per month for diapers and wipes. 

A note on cloth:

Going through as many diapers as we do, I can certainly see the wisdom in using cloth diapers at least part-time. Since we still don’t have our own washer or dryer (and we have no plans to move anytime soon), I don’t think I can commit to using cloth right now. 

Pregnant first-time moms, if you want to use cloth, go for it. But don’t worry about it until your baby is at least a month old unless you’re using a diaper service or will have tons of help at home. You won’t believe how tired and busy you’ll be. You might find it a challenge to feed yourself or shower, let alone wash a load of laundry. It’ll get easier soon, I promise! 

14 Responses to “Our diaper usage so far”

  1. You’d actually be surprised how easy cloth is (if you have your own washer/dryer). I have 15 month old twins and I have never purchased ‘sposies. We cloth diapered from day 1 (at home, that is, not at the hospital.) We are saving a TON of money, keeping chemicals away from the girls’ bums, and saving Mother Earth! We have spent less than $1000 on diapers and we have enough to last until they weigh 35 pounds (they are around 20 and 21 now.) That could take us through til potty training. If we have another kid, we’ll have to buy some new covers since these have taken a beating, but we have all of the prefolds to reuse. It is also pretty easy to get your money back when selling them used. (:

  2. Holy cow. That is simply mind-blowing. I sure hope Dad helped to change a few of those diapers!

    Thanks for the info, it’s good to know. I don’t think anyone realizes how many diapers you go through until it happens. We’re thinking of starting our family soon and want to try out cloth diapers – but I agree that it would be a bit overwhelming the first month or so!

  3. I know! Lotsa diapers indeed.

    My husband did all of the diaper changes while we were in the hospital (except for like 1-2 that a nurse did) and all the meconium diapers at home as well! I was not feeling up to it, heh.

    He does his fair share when he’s home.

    Diapering isn’t as gross as I thought it would be. I guess when it’s your own baby, you don’t mind as much.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve kept up with what I’ve spent but not what I’ve bought in each size. I’ve been easing into using cloth ever since she was 2 weeks and it’s only gotten easier. It’s made my stash last a lot longer than I hoped it would! And I just stocked up on ‘sposies with those awesome coupons so I think I’m good for a while. I would totally recommend using cloth at least part time for anyone (as long as they own a W/D!!). We do use disposables at night but I’m thinking I’ll start using cloth even then as well. Oh and I have never had a blow-out with cloth! Maybe because I think about changing more often? Or they can fit tighter? Who knows, anyway, thanks for the stocking up advice, that paid off for us!

  5. I’d really like to know if there are any mom’s of boys out there that have used and liked Luvs. I have two girls and when we buy sposies for vacations I always buy luvs, I luv them he he. I have to admit if I was given diapers I’d rather have pampers, but to spend money luvs are the best value.

    But… I love my cloth diapers way more than sposies. Even though sometimes I miss the easiness of just throwing away a diaper and not having to wash it. :)

    I don’t even want to THINK about how many diapers I’ve changed! That’s so crazy that you have kept track like that. you’re so organized!

  6. Jes, I had my spreadsheet all put together BEFORE he was born, so that’s why it was so easy to be organized :) Now, anything goes.

    I just was able to mark off the packages I used since I know which ones I have left. That made it much easier.

    So, do moms of boys generally dislike Luvs? I hadn’t heard either way.

    I really want to like them. Maybe in size 3 they’ll be ok.

    I’ve had Johnny in Walgreen’s brand all day and I like them. They’re a little longer than my Pampers!

    Whoops, he’s even in a Walgreen’s one and he’s sleeping for the night (though likely not through the night). I’m not waking him to change him to a Pampers, though. Hope this ends well!

  7. I love the wetness indicator in some of the Pampers. (The hospital’s “Pamper’s Swaddlers” had the wetness indicator, but the retail ones didn’t: we started buying “Pamper’s Swaddlers Sensitive” to get the wetness indicator again.) Just being able to peek and see if the strip on the front is green or not rocks. Though I suspect it also makes Pampers some extra money, as I wind up changing them as often as cloth (not like I can’t tell when they’re wet!)

    Also, for new moms, there’s a first time buyer’s discount code for diapers.com (there’s always one around, try looking at retailmenot.com) so don’t purchase from them your first time without it! (like I did…sigh) And they sell some of the popular cloth diapers, too.

    Kacie, are the Walgreen’s ones sort of cottony like the swaddlers?

    Erin’s last blog post..Rolling Onward

  8. It’s funny my kids are out of diapers now and I never really tracked but I started by just buying them everytime I went grocery shopping, multi couponing and more. Good luck keeping up with them. BTW we did do cloth for a while but if you need to use childcare it becomes incredibly complicated.

    Aftercancer’s last blog post..Doctor completes surgery before his own

  9. I can’t even imagine tracking all the diapers we’re going through. It would depress me. Alex is 4 weeks old and I feel like I’ve changed about a thousand dipes already!

    I too like the pampers swaddlers for the wetness indicator on the front. It takes the guess work out. We were tracking Alex’s wet diapers for a while as per the doctor and were unable to tell sometimes if it was wet or not since apparently the diapers these days are soooo good at pulling the wetness away from the surface of the diaper.

    I have also heard that the costco kirkland brand are good beyond size two and fairly cheap, but haven’t tried them yet myself.

    Alex’s dad’s last blog post..Help prevent SIDs with a movement sensor

  10. Wow! A diaper spreadsheet!! lol…. fyi–if you do donate them many food pantries give “hygeine” items like diapers, pads, etc. Or women’s shelters. In either case it may be tax deductible. Or save them for a blog give-a-way!

    LIsa’s last blog post..Give Away at a blog I just found

  11. We just had our baby in January, and so far we haven’t had to buy any diapers since we’d been surviving on all the diapers one of our friends gave to us in the form of a diaper cake!!

    We did just buy a pack of night time diapers though since the baby is sleeping longer through the night, and we want to make sure the diapers don’t leak on her!

    Soon we’ll have to start buying diapers though…I’m hoping it’ll be not much more than $30 a month. Sam’s Club stores seem to have a good buy on diapers.

  12. I agree with you on using disposables in the beginning even if you plan on using cloth. I tried cloth the moment Kate came home and ended up not being able to do laundry for almost 5 days.

    We got some really stinky diapers even after they were washed. The stink only went away after 2 additional washes and line drying them under the sun for a whole day.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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