Cloth diapering is expensive.
Even more so when you live in Canada.
Cloth diapering is very affordable.
Disclosure: In 2017, I worked with a closed cloth diaper retailer to create this series on budget friendly options in town. This post contains affiliate links to open cloth diaper retailers. This post was updated in 2020 because of availability and closures.
Creating a Budget Stash
Cloth diapers are an amazing way to save money on monthly baby and toddler expense. For many families, disposable diapers cost upwards of $1000 CDN per year, while a budget-friendly stash of cloth diapers will last from birth to potty training for under $300 CDN.
There are other costs associated with cloth diapering including a change in your water, laundry detergent, and electricity consumption. If you want to read some numbers, check out The Monarch Mommy – she crunched the numbers for the REAL cost of cloth diaper laundry.
Buying New on a Budget
Buying used cloth diapers and repurposing things might not be your style, or what you’re looking for. And that’s okay, I get it. Maybe you do have some money to buy new diapers, but just a few hundred, not more hundreds.
One of the most frequent ways people purchase diapers cheaply is through co-ops or directly from China. These diapers are not always worthy of a reputation that a blogger can stand behind. They seldom hold the proper certification, warranties, and product protection that they should. And as the key importer of these products you are responsible for ensuring they meet child safety policies.
With the exchange rate, a stash of 24 Alva’s will cost about $175 CDN plus the risk of duties and taxes upwards of 20%. This doesn’t include the warranty and customer care of Canadian retailers.
Co-op diapers might not be the best choice cost-wise in Canada. Canadians are still susceptible to duties, taxes, and shipping. The exchange rate on these products might not be worth the cost compared to the budget brands already available on the market. Also be cautious about wait times for product to be manufactured, and shipped.
I recommend the brands below because they have compliance in place, offer transparency in manufacturing, and at available at Canadian Cloth Diaper Retailers. These are products that I have tried and feel like recommending to you as a Cloth Diaper enthusiast, podcast host, and advocate.
Canadian Budget Cloth Diapers
These numbers are based off a stash of 10 diapers because this is an average for one day of cloth diapering during babyhood. A parent who changes a diaper every 2 hours, plus night, and during washing needs about 10 diapers (3 covers and 10 inserts). In my upcoming book on Cloth Diapering, available at the Cloth Diaper Podcast, I advocate for a day-to-day stash estimate because some families need one day, and others need a weeks worth of stash. Check out this video on how many diapers do you really need?
Take this single day of diapers and multiple it by the days you need.
Keep in mind the diaper you use during the day might not be sufficient for overnight cloth diapering. You might need to get additional boosters, fitted diapers, or use disposables.
The cheapest systems are covers and inserts. This is not always practical for families who need childcare providers to be on board.
Osocozy One Size Cloth Diaper Cover – $93/day
This one size cloth diaper system takes a sturdy, wipeable cover and pairs it with PREFOLDS. Featuring a double waist snap and double gusset this diaper is everything I love in one package. The Osocozy prefold is 100% cotton and diaper service quality. They will be easy to wash and dry, and hold up for most kids through potty-training. Simply fold the prefold into thirds and lay in the middle of this diaper. With each diaper change swap out the prefold for a new one. A cover can be re-used three times on average or until soiled.
The Cost: Purchase a starter kit of 2 OS covers and 12 Prefolds for $77.99 Canadian, each additional cover is $14.95. This is a complete days worth of diapers for only $92.94 at LagoonBaby.
Buttons Diapers – $94/day
Buttons Diapers makes a knock off of the Best Bottom design with a few minor variations. The Buttons diaper system is a all in two style system where you can purchase a variety of inserts to be used with this diaper including snap in inserts, prefold diapers and flats. The Buttons cover comes in Newborn, OS and Super, but the cheapest choice is the OS diaper cover for birth to potty training cloth diapering.
The Cost: Each cover will cost you $15.95 Candian, and a days worth of Buttons cotton prefold diapers (2 packages of 6) is $22.95 Canadian. This is a total daily cost of $94 Canadian, available at Lagoon Baby.
GroVia Hybrid – $123/day
GroVia makes an exceptional product from their budget friendly covers to their incredibly trim organic cotton AIO, you have options with GroVia. The best budget-friendly GroVia system is to use the GroVia Hybrid covers and prefold. The GroVia prefold is a higher priced item, but it is a bamboo/cotton blend and very absorbent. The prices listed include 3 covers and 9 prefold diapers because they are sold in a three pack. I recommend the size 2 prefold diaper as a solid choice for newborns and toddlers. Continue to use it pad folded into the cover well past 15lbs. We upgraded to a larger prefold at around 30 pounds because we needed the absorbency, but you can also DIY your absorbency using something like a receiving blanket or t-shirt for heavy wetters and budgets.
The Cost: A single GroVia shell costs $22.95 each, and a package of 3 prefold diapers in size 2 is $17.95. A days worth of diapers is $123 Canadian at Canadian Retailer, Cloth Diaper Kids.
Check out the GroVia Economy Diaper Package at Lagoon Baby where you can get 3 covers, 12 prefold diapers in a size 2 for $130.
Get the best in natural baby products at The Natural Baby Company
La Petite Ourse OS Pocket Cloth Diaper – $160/day
La Petite Ourse is a Canadian cloth diaper company manufacturing overseas with transparency in mind. Read about it on Lindsay’s blog, The Truth About LPO Pocket Diapers. This is a simple pocket style diaper featuring a double waist snap with cross over, in a variety of simple solids and prints. Bonus this budget friendly cloth diaper comes with bamboo inserts. No longer do you need microfibre just to be cheap.
The Cost: because this is a pocket cloth diaper you will need one diaper per diaper change. The LPO diaper is $15.99 Canadian each, for a total of $160 per day. Or buy the 12 pack at Lagoon Baby for only $181.95!
Elemental Joy – $190/day
$140 + inserts
Elemental Joy is a budget line produced by CottonBabies the makers of bumGenius and HempBabies. This budget line is available at Walmart in the United States in a cheap ~$65 bin of goodies. But in Canada, it’s a little different. The Elemental Joy is sold a pocket diaper, and inserts sold separately. This means you can pair it with whatever you want from cheap flats, to refolds, to repurposed goodies.
The Cost: this is a pocket diaper and you will need a new one per diaper change. Elemental Joy is $13.95 Canadian plus inserts at Cloth Diaper Kids. That is $140 + 2 packages of AMP organic cotton refolds for an additional $50.
If you can repurpose or find inserts for cheaper that would bring the cost down and make this $140
Imagine Baby Bamboo AIO Diaper – $210/day
AIO diapers are notoriously expensive starting at $30/each in the Canadian marketplace until I found the Imagine Baby OS Bamboo AIO Diaper. Featuring everything people love about the Imagine Baby pocket diaper but with a 5 layer bamboo insert to snap in.
The Cost: this AIO diaper is only $20.95 at Lagoon Baby. A stash of 10 will cost you about $210.
Lil Helper Diaper – $220
Lil Helper is a Canadian cloth diaper company with diapers designed by a couple of Dads. I interviewed Mohammed on the Cloth Diaper Podcast and these are the type of people who have a story that woes you and makes you want to rally around them. The Lil Helper diaper is an All in Two style diaper featuring a cover with snap in inserts. This system allows you to swap or interchange inserts, but lilalso keeps everything together for the people in your life.
The Cost: If you keep it simple, solids are only $21.95. This means 10 diapers will cost $220. The bonus, Lil Helper.ca has a ton of great promotional packaging to help you save on the cost. A day pack of 6 diapers is $150, which when added with a few overnight choices will you bring you into a days worth of cloth diapering for less than $200.
Thirsties OS AIO Diaper – $280/day
The Thirsties AIO diaper is Made in the USA cloth diaper and a well built and designed diaper. It does it come in two variations and the standard microfibre model is a low-cost AIO diaper for families. The natural fibre variation is more expensive. The Thirsties cloth diaper is something you might consider for daycare, or to incorporate into your lifestyle. The prints are always classic and the fit on point.
The Cost: The natural variation runs you at $35 Canadian (there are cheaper natural fibre diapers in Canada) but the standard microfibre is only $27.50. A full days worth stash for $280.
Don’t forget to check out the 12-pack for only $313 at Lagoon Baby for a great steal of a deal on diapers available in snaps and/or hook&uloop
Keep it Budget, Skip the Extras
Don’t get carried away with the extras. These little things can easily add up and make cloth diaper more expensive. But there are a few hacks to make it work.
- Not everyone needs a night time diaper. My youngest did. My second pees fairy dust at night.
- Skip the wet bag, most days I just use a laundry hamper anyways.
- Leaving the house, grocery bags work just as good as a fancy double pocket wet bag
- Dunk & Swish gets your hands dirty but saves $50 in buying a sprayer or liners.
- I can’t remember the last time I used a diaper rash cream; don’t buy it unless you need it.
- Boosters, Doublers, Inserts and more? Don’t get fancy unless you have a problem. Check in with your local retailer about what options might work best for you.
- Looking for a list of absorbency test results? Check out my absorbency list.
How do you cloth diaper on a budget?
I know I’m missing out on many other affordable ways to cloth diaper
Leave me a comment with your best tips and suggestions because cloth diapering is a personal experience.
What works for me and my family, might not work for you and yours.
Diapers Previously on this list but no longer available because the businesses have closed or the products are discontinued: Bummis AIO, Sweet Pea Pocket Diaper, Sweet Pea Cover, Bummis Prefolds, Omaiki Cabrio.