Fluff in Numbers

If you know a few moms, you likely know at least one who uses cloth diapers on her kids. The practice really has become normalized these days. Still, when I tell people that we use cloth diapers, I get strange looks and questions. Some people still picture an off white cloth with safety pins wrapped awkwardly around a baby’s bottom. Others can’t imagine how much work they must be compared to disposable diapers.

Last month, I explained why I was drawn to cloth diapers. For me, I was mostly concerned with the health of my kids and the financial strain of using disposables. Still, even when I explain my choices for cloth diapering, the questions come. “Is it really better financially to cloth diaper? What about all that water you use to wash them? What about the money spent on electricity?”

Truthfully, I understand the naysayers. When people make environmental or health choices, they do so because they believe one option is better than the other. And by doing so, they create an unsaid value dichotomy. What I am doing is right therefore what you are doing is wrong. I don’t believe that most cloth diapering mamas are actually making this statement. Instead they are exploring why this choice works for their family. But mommy wars start for something as simple as this.

By explaining my choice to cloth diapers, other Moms feel the need to defend their choice not to. That’s great. Let me be clear. We all need to make choices that work best for our family. No judgement. Ever. Seriously. So, let’s step away from personal reasons for a moment. And let’s answer that question that I always hear.

Are cloth diapers REALLY any better than disposables?

Let’s look first at the cost. Thankfully there are some handy dandy infographics to make all this easier to figure out.

Diaper Comparison Chart Canadian Version

What stands out for me is the cost. After buying disposables for my first born for two and a half years, I am without a doubt sick of spending $40ish dollars every few weeks. For the amount of money I spend on PullUps in two months, I could have 12 cloth diapers (priced from Hipkiddo) instead. I can’t imagine that the amount of money I spend washing those diapers could possibly come close to the amount I have spent on disposables. But again, we’re talking about the greater good here, not my own personal hatred towards needing to purchase new disposables all the time. So let’s delve a little deeper into the numbers, shall we? Cloth Diapers Infographic

So, all else being equal, cloth diapers do have a leg up on disposables when it comes to cost and environmental impact. If long term financial savings and helping out the environment are important, cloth is likely the way to go. But let’s all remember that there are more things to take into consideration. So no judging, okay? On either side.

Here’s to making informed decisions that are best for our family!

My family chose to cloth diaper.

The small print: I use Hipkiddo cloth diapers on Gavin. They’re an awesome cloth diaper choice if you’re looking for green, affordable diaper options. Be sure to Like Hipkiddo on Facebook and follow on Twitter to hear about chances to save and win. Hipkiddo provided cloth diapers for the purposes of this blog series but all opinions are my own.

HipKiddo Banner

Photo: You Do the Math
Infographic: Are Cloth Diapers Really Better Than Throwaways?
Infographic: Why You Should Switch to Cloth Diapers 

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About Laura O'Rourke

Laura is a Mom of three who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Currently on maternity leave, she blogs about life at home with her husband Dan and three sons Cameron (age 5), Gavin (age 3), and Logan (not yet 1). When she has time, she can be found reading, writing, snapping photos, or awkwardly running. Laura has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 10 Mom Bloggers by multiple publications, including Reader's Digest. Keep up with the fun by following @LauraORourke on Twitter or liking Mommy Miracles on Facebook. Like what you see? Have something to add? Be sure to leave a comment!


  1. We chose to cloth diaper the Mogrunt as well – thankfully, I have a lot of friends who do the same and a batch my friend’s fabulous handmade fitted diapers as well as all of our store bought covers have made the rounds among all of us. let’s see here, Um, I think at least 4 babies have worn them, if not more? I used a combo of pre-fold, fitted, pocket and all-in-ones and saw value in each kind. The pre-folds (i.e. the kind my mom put on me when I was a baby), are great in that you can easily make your own. I have a whole bunch of them made from my husband’s old tshirts. They worked just fine. And they have cool designs on them!

    Many people said to me, “You’re going to cloth diaper? ew, good luck with that.” and I would remind them that you are meant to dispose of the poop in disposable diapers as well – so the only step that was different for me was the washing. Oh, and the never having to race to the store because you used the last diaper.

    While cloth diapering is becoming more commonplace, I’m glad that you posted this – people still need to know the facts.
    Steph VW recently posted..Summer – GardeningMy Profile

    • Thanks Steph! So great to hear your experience. I know LOTS of Mamas who use a whole bunch of different types of diapers. Honestly, I have a few different brands, but I much prefer to use just one type. It makes sorting after a wash SO much easier!

      I love how your cloth diapers were shared. I bet that would make some people turn up their noses, but it really speaks to how friendly this option is.
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile

      • Thankfully, the types of diapers changed with sizes and we mostly used preforlds when he got bigger. When the Mogrunt went into daycare we bought him 18 fuzzy bunz diapers to make life easier for his caregivers. We packed him off with a little wet bag each day and brought it home at night. Easy peasy.
        Steph VW recently posted..Summer – GardeningMy Profile

  2. Jane Weiler says:

    Hi Laura my niece uses cloth diapers and has been really pleased with them.
    Enjoyed your blog.
    Jane Weiler

    • Hi Jane! Really glad you are enjoying my blog! It is nice to hear how more and more people are using cloth diapers. I must say, once people try them, they tend to really like them.
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile

  3. Great blog! Hubby and I have made the choice to cloth diaper when our little one arrives for various reasons. We have just started to collect cloth diapers from the classic prefold cloth diapers ( no safety pins needed! Fun little Diaper Snappis are used) to pocket all in one diapers. Already I have had to defend our choice to family members- mother in law included and some friends. It is very frustrating! I am not against disposables what so ever- it is just mine and my husbands personal choice to use cloth. Hopefully people who are close to us will stop the judgemental questions.

    • Isn’t it funny how parents/in-laws take your parenting choices as personal attacks against theirs? Maybe that’s not what is happening, but a lot of times I hear “well, WE never did that. Everything turned out fine”. It is true but it doesn’t mean we are going to do everything like our parents.

      I hope as family/friends actually see you in cloth diaper action (and how cute your little bub will look with a big fluffy butt), they will start to support you.

      (and Happy Birthday!)
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile

  4. Amen Sister!! I started using cloth with my first 22 years ago & LOVED it so much I ended up using cloth on all 4 of my boys. Can I tell you that my boys NEVER got a rash either?? I honestly did it more for their comfort. To me, diapers were just one big ole scratchy pad on their delicate skin. I knew I’d rather be in a soft cotton diaper if I had the choice! I too believe that is MY personal choice & in NO WAY did I or do I judge people who use disposables. I’m just THRILLED to see someone giving cloth diapers a shout out as they are becoming more rare!!
    Kim B. recently posted..Clean Up On Aisle 7My Profile

    • It doesn’t make sense to me why rashes are rarer with cloth diapers than disposables. I mean, you’d think the baby would be wetter for longer without all that fancy technology that keeps the wetness away from baby’s skin while they wear disposables. But, seriously? What chemicals are we introducing our kids to when we put that technological disposable diaper against their delicate skin every day for their entire life?

      I’ve been doing a lot of travelling lately and have been using disposables for that, and with my baby, there is a direct correlation between rashes and disposable diapers.
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile

  5. Julie-Ann says:

    Thank you for posting this. I decided to use cloth to do my little part for the environment. My little sweet heart is comfortable in them and I for one find them much easier to put on than disposables. She moves around so much now that the cloth always seem to go on the right way and stay in place! They really don’t take that much more effort at all. When I feel grumpy about having to clean them I remember all the things my mother did for me and my siblings growing up and realize that I really am not too busy after all to throw a load in the wash and hang them to dry.

    • I love hearing your experience with cloth! I find it interesting that you find them a better fit. I think my biggest frustration with cloth is how FAST my baby is growing. I know how to tell when you’ve outgrown a specific disposable diaper size. You just move up to the next one. But when my baby outgrows the current snap-setting I have on my diapers, I have to figure out what new snap-setting will fit him right and not cause leaks. But once I figure it all out? Perfection!
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile

  6. There are only a few things in my parenthood that I would like to have done differently. This is one of them. I wish I could have a do-over so that I could use cloth diapers instead of disposables.

    • Don’t be discouraged! Cloth are a great thing to do but it doesn’t make you any less of a good mom to use disposables. I used (still use since I am using pullups) disposables with my first born and the only thing I regret is that I haven’t potty trained him yet!
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile

  7. I love cloth diapering! On my new son I have waited until his cord fell off to use them but just in 2 weeks I went through like 120 disposables…um that is crazy talk! So glad I use cloth!
    Natalie recently posted..Lately…My Profile

    • I used SO MANY disposables to start. I knew the cloth diapers were coming but we didn’t have them right away when Gavin was born. Then, we were given SO MANY disposables by people that I used those up too. Seriously though? Taking out the garbage bag with all the diapers in it is SO heavy!
      Laura recently posted..One StepMy Profile


  1. […] Fluff in Numbers Leave a Comment About LauraLaura is a wife to Dan and a mama to Cameron (age 2) and Gavin (4 months) who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When she is not juggling poopy diapers or stepping over toy cars or nursing her newborn, she can be found snapping photos, reading, writing, or running. Keep up with the fun by following @LauraORourke on Twitter or liking Mommy Miracles on Facebook. Like what you see? Have something to add? Be sure to leave a comment! […]

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