Diaper Expenses – know what you are going to spend

A baby blue piggy bank with a dollar bill stands in front of a tall pile of diapers against a baby blue background

An average girl child gets potty trained by the age of 35 months and the average boy child takes 39 months to get trained in using the potty seat. This could of course vary, depending on the personality of the child and the willingness of the parent to put in concerted effort to initiate potty training. So it is totally safe to assume that a child will be using diapers for at least the first three years of his or her life. This is the assumption that we will be using in our calculations. The next important variable that determines the expense is the type of diaper – cloth or disposable. The merits and demerits of the two types will be explored in the next section; here we will merely crunch the numbers.



Image result for disposable diaper

The expenses obviously depend of the number of diapers used by the child in the first few years. There are many ways of arriving at the right number. Let us look at two approaches.

  1. Assume that the child uses an average of 6 diapers every day for the first three years. Please note that this is the average and might vary from 7-8 in the first year to around 4-5 in the third year. The consumption might be more during travel and when the child is unwell, however 6 is a safe number.

This translates into 3*365*6 = 6570 diapers in total.

  1. Another more conservative estimate floating around on the web is as follows

1-3 months old uses around 7 diapers a day for 92 days = 644 diapers

4-5 month old uses around 6 diapers a day for 60 days = 360 diapers

6-12 month old uses around 5 diapers a day for 182 days = 910 diapers

12-24 month old uses around 4 diapers a day for 365 days = 1,460 diapers

24 +months uses around 3 diapers a day for 365 days = 1,095 diapers

Grand Total = 4,469

This is obviously a a very conservative estimate and depends on frugal usage of diapers. From my personal experience the first method seems more accurate. My twin boys still run through 5 diapers a day and they are already 2.5 years old. During the first year we changed so many diapers that it seemed like that’s all we were doing. I am going to use the first calculation for the purpose of arriving at a reasonable expense number.

Depending on the choice of diaper the cost will vary from 0.15 per diaper to 0.4 per diaper. This translates to around $985 – $2628 in expenses over the three years depending on whether you choose the cheapest store brand diaper or an expensive eco-friendly diaper. If you choose Huggies or Pampers the cost per diaper comes to around 0.25 and the total expense translates to around $1650 or around $550 per year. Again this cost per diaper estimate assumes that you choose the cheaper channels. A lot of the time you run out and will end up going to the grocery store and buying at a higher price. So your expense could be higher than these numbers by around a couple of hundred dollars.


Image result for cloth  diaper

Cloth diapers do not require you to buy diapers on an ongoing basis but there are a lot of hidden costs that need to be accounted for. Basic cloth diapers will cost about a hundred dollars whereas the more expensive all in one cloth diapers will set you back by upto 300 dollars in a year. Even for basic cloth diapers you need to account another hundred dollars for diaper covers. There are some more facts that you need to know

  1. Your frequency of laundering will determine the costs. If you are laundering every three days the above costs are accurate. If you are laundering every day or every two days the expenses will obviously be lower. It is not advisable to wait for more than 3 days before laundering for hygiene reasons.
  1. Your expenses will depend on how you intend to launder these diapers. Home laundering is obviously the cheapest but it is also time intensive. If you launder at home, you could be spending 100-200 dollars in electricity and gas, depending on whether you are using the high temperature settings or not. A better option would be to use cloth diaper service which would cost an average of $800 for a year including diapers that will be provided by them. You would still have to spend an extra 100 dollars for diaper covers. In many cases these services do not provide enough diapers to last through their pickup schedule forcing you to keep extras and having to wash them. All in all a thousand dollars is par for the course.

No matter how you look at it, this is a big expense purely for effective poop disposal of your loved one. Cloth diapers are obviously cheaper than disposable ones, but if you are using a cloth diapering service then the costs overshoot the cost of using normal disposable diapers. However if you are using high end earth friendly disposable diapers the cost would be higher. From these calculations it is also clear that a few steps here and there can end up saving hundreds of dollars.

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