Can you answer this question for me? I’m baffled by baby registries that include requests for designer diaper bags. Like this Kate Spade Diaper Bag, below that costs $418 dollars. That’s more than I spent (total) on cloth diapering both my babies!
Important disclaimer: I live in Eugene, Oregon where Birkenstocks, yoga pants, and french braids are considered high fashion. Maybe if I did live in a more urban area, I would feel the pressure to have a top of the line diaper bag. But really, when I think of the conditions that a diaper bag has to endure (without giving specifics, but mentioning the word “blow-out”), I can’t imagine investing so much in a bag. (Especially when it can’t be thrown in the washer!)
If you enjoy changing diapers while wearing a vintage western jacket with leather fringe, I think the above Timi and Leslie Diaper Bag is just perfect for you. And at just $159, it’s a fraction of the price of the first option!
The Skip Hop Duo Double Diaper bag is infinitely more practical, and costs just $59.99.
We opted for a beach bag with pockets, like the one above, that will cost you $4.99. That left us plenty of money to buy a few wet bags for cloth diapers(below) and a changing pad. Total cost, far, far less than any of the above options! (and washable!)
Did you find a diaper bag that was worth the investment? Did you use a backpack or some bag that you already had? Thanks for your diaper bag tips!
Jillian’s Drawers offers a terrific cloth diaper trial program for families who want to give it a go without the risk. You pay $154.54 for a pack that includes new prefolds, fitted diapers, one size diapers, and all in ones (12 pieces in all!) and use the diapers for 21 days from the day they arrive. Then, if you don’t like any or all of the diapers, send them back at the end of the trial, stains and all, for a refund of $134.54. That means your total risk is just $10, although you will also spend $10 on shipping. Many of our readers have recommended the Jillian’s Drawers Changing Diapers, Changing Minds Program as way to get started since the company provides excellent phone support every day of the week for cloth diapering questions.
It’s tricky to recommend to anyone which type of diaper will work for their baby without actually having the chance to try them out. Since you can try all types of cloth diapers and send some of them back, you have the option of investing money in the diapers that work best for your family.
Have you tried the Jillian’s Drawers Diaper Trial program? How did you get started on cloth diapers?
What do I say to new moms who have an interest in cloth diapering but don’t know if they’re up for the switch? Buy a few cloth diapers (new or gently used) and try it out! You don’t need to make sophisticated choices about pre-folds or all-in-ones. It’s not necessary to use just one type of cloth diaper for your baby. Talk to some cloth diapering friends (and if you don’t have any, please write us!). If you have a baby boutique that carries cloth diapers in town, go see what your options are. It truly is incredibly easy–and you don’t ever need pins or plastic pants!
You will easily recoup the investment you make in a cloth diaper, simply because unlike disposables, it will have a resale value! Also, the more you use those cloth diapers, the more your savings will add up. You save over $1000 for each child that you diaper with cloth, and if you even use cloth diapers part of the time, you’ll be saving a few hundred dollars each year.
If you’d like more in-depth information on cloth, our website has dozens of posts on cloth diapering and our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, is loaded with information on everything from how to select diapers to how to care for them. For those trying to master diaper vocabulary, there are plenty of charts explaining the variety of cloth diapers on the market.
Are you diapering full time with cloth or just wanting to give them a try? Next week’s post will have some great info on how you can try cloth diapering for 21 days with very little financial risk and lots of diapering options!
What do you get the woman who is transitioning into motherhood? Should you focus on pampering her or welcoming that new baby into the family? Maybe you can do a little of both!
The Earth Mama, Angel Baby “A Little Something for Mama-to-be” is a terrific gift set for a new mom at a great price! (It’s currently on sale for $15.99.) The company is based right here in Oregon and the products are naturally luxurious. The kit includes organic wellness tea, happy mama-to-be hand to toe wash, happy mama spray, earth mama body butter, and natural stretch oil.
For baby, you might want to buy a Christmas Polka-Dots Small Fitted Diaper by DaMory Diapers. This adorable little number is just $8.00, with a print that is fun enough to wear throughout the year.
Have we mentioned that we wrote a fantastic book entitled, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, about going green on a budget? With an emphasis on buying quality, buying used, and repurposing what you already have, this book can save families thousands of dollars. It’s also funny, humble, and packed with anecdotes from green moms from around the nation.
If you’re wanting to buy a bigger gift for that mom-to-be, an Ergo Carrier is a great investment. Compared to other carriers, my back was far happier toting my babe in the Ergo. It also allowed me to breast feed (hands-free!) while I wheeled the card up and down the grocery aisle. Ergos have a high resale value too,..and if you can find one used to give as a gift, that’s even better!
The best gifts I received as a new mom were all direct acts of support such as meals, babysitting, and offers to clean my bathroom. Did you welcome those offers into your house in the early days of parenthood or would you rather have gotten a few more supplies for baby?
I’ve been seeing babies around town sporting floral and sailboat prints–and it’s well after Labor Day. That’s just embarrassing. Everyone knows that October is the month to dress your little monster in orange and black. Let’s get started:
Planetwise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag Orange Woods ($29.99). It’s orange and festooned with cute little trees.
Planetwise Wet/Dry Bag with Carnival Skulls ($24.95) Spooky!
Rockabilly Mom Punk Rock Skull Tattoo Design Diaper Bag ($39.99). Most diaper bags just aren’t cool enough, amirite? You definitely need the Rockabilly Punkrock diaper bag.
Dadgear Backpack Diaper Bag (on sale for $88). I’m not sure this qualifies as an eco-friendly product, but how could I exclude an orange and black diaper bag in this round-up?
Belvah Quilted Damask Diaper Bag ($19.95). It’s one of the most affordable Halloween-themed diaper bags I found—yet so fancy!
JJ Cole Diapers and Wipes Pod ($34.49). This BPA-free, phthalate-free tote attaches to your stroller or car seat.
Ghost onesie ($21.00). Your baby really needs this organic ghost onesie.
Green pirate princess design baby one piece bodysuit ($10.99). Printed with “eco-friendly ink”!
Happy Heinys one for all one size cloth diaper black ($18.95). Basic black diaper, suitable for Halloween and black tie formal events.
Blueberry by Swaddlebees 6 piece baby cloth wipes orange ($12.95). If you don’t have orange cloth wipes, you won’t match your new Halloween-themed diaper bags!
Motherease duo all-in-two cloth diaper cover ($18.75). Not a Halloween print, but it is orange. Close enough!
Now you and your little goblin are ready to parade around town with pride. Happy haunting!
I don’t remember a whole lot from my first pregnancy, other than the strong feeling that if I read every parenting book and somehow finished every household project, it would be a smooth transition to motherhood. Ha! That was the beginning of the humbling process of parenting that continues to this day. Here are just a few tidbits of wisdom I wish I could send back to myself when I was pregnant with my first child.
1. Progress not perfection. There will be days when your greatest achievement will be a shower. In those first few weeks of parenthood you will give up all things you have been really good at like sleeping, cooking, napping, and doing whatever you please. It’s o.k. It will get easier. In the meantime, give up trying to excel. Let the laundry pile up, let the garden sprout a few weeds, and let yourself do the best you can. Survival will do just fine for now.
2. This stage will end. Fast. Believe it or not, you will sleep again. When you do, the colors will regain their vibrance and the world will seem a far better place. You will get beyond diapers, breastfeeding, and pureed peas. Someday you will leave the house without the diaper bag. In the meantime, try to savor this fleeting (but sometimes brutal) time. Before you know it, you won’t even remember the size of those tiny fingers or exactly how the top of your baby’s head smells. (People actually did tell me this and I didn’t quite believe them. I was utterly mistaken.)
3. Support sustains. In order to be able to be a good parent, let alone a green parent, you need help. Seek out friendships, family and networks of support to get you through this challenging time. It may provide you with a nap here and there, or a reality check with others who are surviving the same challenges, but the support you receive will ultimately benefit your baby. One of the highest compliments you can give a friend is to ask for help.
What sage advice would you give to yourself or other mothers on the brink of welcoming their babies? What have you learned from early parenting? Thanks for sharing!
Besides saving a ton of waste from the landfill and about a thousand bucks in one year of use, cloth diapers beat out disposables simply because they have a resale value. It’s not so likely that anyone would ever purchase a used disposable…Eew…
But how much should you pay for a gently used cloth diaper? It utterly depends on where you purchase it and the shape it’s in. The most convenient and more expensive route will be consignment shops and online sites such as craigslist and Ebay. Garage sales are typically incredibly cheap, but require a lot of legwork and driving.
Why would you buy used cloth diapers? Diapers depreciate about 50-90% after being used even one time. If you buy them used, treat them well, and resell them, you’ll recoup more of your original cost since they don’t depreciate much between the second and third owner.
What is the ideal situation for buying secondhand cloth diapers? The best option is to find someone who intended on using cloth, but only tried for a short while and then wants to sell their whole batch of diapers. Or sometimes you’ll find a person who just bought too many diapers and didn’t end up using them very much. In general, if you’re buying a huge lot of diapers, you’ll save money.
What type or brand of cloth diaper should I look for? My biggest mistake with cloth diapers is that I thought I had to have all the same brand and type of diaper. As friends gave me their secondhand diapers I realized that I preferred some types (pocket diapers) for travel and others (prefolds and covers) for nap times. In general, I do think that snaps are a better choice for used diapers simply because velcro tends to give up far sooner than snaps. (And your children can’t pull off their diapers as easily!)
What advice would you give for finding good deals on secondhand diapers? Did you buy your baby’s diaper collection new or find most of it used?
The journey from pregnancy to parenting is so intense that I love giving items to friends and family that will support them through that transition. What are my go-to gifts for green-minded new parents?
Cloth Diapers. By helping out a bit with the up-front cost of cloth diapering, I know that I’m giving something that will last from infancy to potty training-and beyond! Families that plan on having multiple children can save about a thousand dollars per child on diapering. Plus with all the fun colors and patterns available in lines like Charlie Banana or Fuzzibunz, it can be a lovely gift instead of being purely practical.
The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. The book helps break down how to reduce the amount of baby gear you buy, how to find the best used gear, and how to repurpose what you already have to help you save thousands of dollars. Plus, you’ll find a green directory of the best values on eco-friendly gear at every price point. Did I mention that I co-wrote this book? Still, I have to say that it’s the book I wish I would have had in the early months of my pregnancy as I scrambled to prepare for baby.
A Maya Wrap or The Ergo Baby Carrier. Luckily a friend of ours made me try a sling when we visited with our colicky infant. Once we slipped him into the A Maya Wrap, he immediately went to sleep. Plus baby carriers are hands-free devices that allow you to actually do stuff besides hold your baby! We also used an The Ergo Baby Carrier and I found it was far easier on my back once my children were older.
Home cooked meals. I cannot express the gratitude I felt for each and every meal that friends and family delivered in those first few months. Because of the rigorous schedule of breastfeeding and staying up with an infant all night, I was eating constantly but couldn’t find even five minutes to heat up a burrito in the microwave. Having hot meals on my doorstep nourished me, body and soul.
Free babysitting. Again, I think this was of more value to me than any material gift. Getting to go the movies with my husband or just take a nap once in awhile was a tremendous support. I would have traded all the adorable onesies I ever received for a dozen hours of babysitting. Am I the only one who feels this way?
What were your favorite gifts as a new parent? Is there anything you do for friends and family that might inspire some of our readers. Thanks for your ideas!
Back when I began cloth diapering, new fangled products like Go Green Diapers, Rumparooz, and Lil Joey Diapers didn’t even exist. Now I find myself in green baby boutiques, playing with the velcro closures and almost wishing that I was back in the glory days of diapering.
Have you fallen in love with any new cloth diapering brands? Are you loyal to old favorites like Bummis, Charlie Banana, or Fuzzibunz? Or are you perfectly happy with prefold diapers and plastic pants?
We have nearly fifty thousand readers hitting our site on a monthly basis and many of them are new to cloth diapering. Please share your insights on which cloth diapers have worked best for your family!
I should disclose that I started with Bummis and prefolds and then fell deeply in love with Fuzzibunz and Charlie Banana. The snap diapers held up much better, especially with my second child and they were incredibly easy to get on and off.
After two years of research, editing, and writing (with spit-up on our shoulders and cloth diapers in the dryer) The Eco-nomical Baby Guide hit bookstore shelves in the spring of 2010. We packed the book with practical tips to help families save thousands of dollars by going green. The insider secrets we’d learned in the trenches of early motherhood and from hundreds of Green Baby Guide readers were finally organized into the book that we wished we’d had as new parents.
Since then thousands of copies of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide have ended up at baby showers and green boutiques across the nation––and even the world! In December my cousin wrote me from Seoul where he and his wife are on a temporary teaching contract. Their South Korean birth coach had a copy of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide prominently displayed on her shelf. I have no idea how it made it that far, but it’s a thrill to know that our down-to-earth message is resonating with readers.
More than anything, Rebecca and I want to get copies into the hands of new and expectant parents. The Eco-nomical Baby Guide has been selling for under $10 on amazon lately, which is a great value for the amount of money it can help you save! If you’d like to read it before you buy, check it out at your local library. We have hundreds of copies in media centers across the country. If yours doesn’t have one yet, just make a request! We’re also happy to add that our publisher has just released a Kindle version of the book.
Thanks so much for your enthusiastic support of our exploration of green baby rearing on a budget. Who knew that whirling up sweet potatoes, finding secondhand strollers, and getting the best value on green goods could be such fun?