Cloth diapering 101- How I cloth diaper-ed on a budget

When baby V was about 3 months old and was outgrowing the langot stage, was when I seriously explored and considered buying cloth diapers. Once I was sure I wanted to go the cloth diaper way, I was shocked at the prices of cloth diapers. One cloth diaper costs more than 60 disposable diapers! The horror!  While the benefits of modern CDs are undeniable, the budget for buying a complete stash immediately was not feasible for me. Well, cloth diapering need not necessarily be expensive.  I’ve jotted down how we made the transition easy and, well, cheap.
cloth diapering on a budget


1. DIY

Although I am more of an Amazon prime mom, I did Pinterest some DIY hacks to get through CD-ing. Right from stitching a few thick cotton strips to make inserts to simply using a t-shirt as a diaper, a mum like me does quite a few jugaads. Do a simple search, and one would find that fitteds, inserts, flats and prefolds are pretty easy to make at home. All patterns are available online.

2. Transition slowly

I was apprehensive about spending big on cloth diapers all of a sudden when I wasn’t sure of their magic. What I did was, cut on disposables, and buy one cloth diaper a month with the money saved. In just a few months, as my stash grew, I found I was hardly buying disposables 🙂

3. Consider pre-loved

There is no harm or shame in buying pre-loved diapers, especially expensive imported ones, as long as they are stripped and cleaned before use.

4. Support groups

Those support groups I spoke about in my previous post? Well they’re a godsend. Not only are you updated on all the Black Friday and Environment Day sales and giveaways ( which are amazing, I won a couple of diapers in my stash in giveaways), you are also abreast of all the hacks you need to maintain your stash.

5. Consider cheaper options

AIOs are slightly more expensive than pockets. We found covers
 and home made flats a very cheap option (except when the baby pooped often). Solid colored diapers are usually more expensive than printed ones.
Also, some brands are more expensive-possibly because of the fit/prints or trimness. Choose your priorities and make your peace with it.
cloth diaper with a minimal stash

6. Minimal stash

While most websites I read, suggested that one needs about 7-8 diapers a day, which meant a stash of at-least 20-24, I owe it to my luck (and slightly systematical planning) to have been able to manage exclusive CD-ing with a minimal stash of diapers. As long as you are regular in laundry, and plan well, a small stash of about 14 diapers are enough for exclusive cloth diapering.

7. Upcycle

Once you are done with CD-ing, there is always scope to up-cycle your products. One can sell them off, donate or just reuse. For example, did you know microfiber inserts make the most amazing dusters for the kitchen slab?

8. Accessories

Not all accessories are a necessity. We made do without a wetbag for the longest possible time. Use replacements wherever possible.
Cloth wipes are another sustainable and affordable option to skip baby wipes.

9. Water

When I shifted from my parents place to Chennai, I had to consider water shortage too. By then I had gained confidence in maintaining my stash. I didn’t mind washing laundry once in two days if my load wasn’t full enough. I had no issues throwing in soiled (rinsed) diapers with the rest of the clothes.

10. Kindness

Lastly, but definitely not in the least, kindness has gone a long way in saving my sanity. Those kind NRI cousins who agreed to transport diapers in them, the kind friends who gifted cloth diapers; and me going easy on myself, when building my stash took time. One need not immediately make the big switch to exclusive cloth diaper-ing. Every disposable diaper that one stops reaching out for is a win. 🙂
This blog post is a part of ‘Conscious Diapering and Sustainable Living’. A blog train sponsored by Bumberry (link) hosted by Genevieve from Life.of.Gen & Rashmi of NotJustMommying . Here 18 Supermoms have joined hands to share their perspective on cloth diapering and living an eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle.
  1. To read more posts on the blog train, do check out this post by TalesbyTammy or this post by CheniAdukia.


  1. Tamanna says:

    Wow, love these pointers V. I, for one, had bought my first stash of 10 CDs preloved. Those lasted me for a good 10 months and then I rebuild my stash of 15 today.
    I have not bought any accessories and all the small size inserts are not kitchen wipes.
    Lovely write up.

  2. Mahak says:

    I think I did almost all except DIY. I’m not really a very crafty person but I wish I had done some DIY too, especially after reading all your ideas here

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