It’s 2023 and I wrote this blog post over six years ago. In that time the industry has changed so much. So many of the recommendations I used to have I don’t have. The USD has drastically increased meaning that cloth diaper retailers are buying at an extra 20-30% than they used to. Add increased freight and local shipping – cloth diapers are one of the most expensive products in my shop for me to carry and sell.
I’m not going to update this post with too many things because I don’t have a fresh new take on it. I do think that sticking with simple products like flats will help you win in the long term.
Cloth diapering can be expensive.
Even more so when you live in Canada.
Cloth diapering is can also be 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 and now again in 2021 because again the world changes. We’ve seen an increase in MSRP coming this fall with big brands.
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. I’d estimate the average stash of cloth diapers costs about $500 Canadian, but there are numerous resources including Cloth for A Cause to access diapers through diaper banks.
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.
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 (10 changes)
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.
You can get a similar low cost brand new budget system by mix and matching your favourite cloth diaper covers that are sold for about $10-14 each with other prefolds, flats or repurposed materialsEverything Flat Cloth Diapers
Rig ‘n Gig Pocket Diapers – $149.99/day (10 Diapers)
Rig ‘n’ Gig is a low-cost diapering brand in Canada that is bringing quality diapers with low margins to support families in accessing the right product to do the job. These diapers are available in many different shapes, sizes, and prints to give you everything you love about cloth diapers. Diapers are sold with natural fibre inserts to ensure you succeed at cloth diapering.
La Petite Ourse OS Pocket Cloth Diaper – $179/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 $17.99 Canadian each, for a total of $160 per day. Or buy the 12 pack at Lagoon Baby
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
MME & Co – Low Cost All In One Diaper – $20.99/each
AIO diapers are notoriously expensive starting at $30/each in the Canadian marketplace until I found MME & CO. This Canadian cloth diaper brand manufactures a high quality natural fibre diaper with TWO inserts, double gussets, and a shape that every baby will love.
Cutie Patootie Flexi Nappy – $299 for 12 Diapers
This diaper might not be on your budget spend, but it is a very versatile and robust diaper that is sold with two inserts. Many of the diapers listed above become budget because the scale back on different things. But with Cutie Patootie you can purchase a full days worth of diapers (plus some) for $300 Canadian. That’s a solid deal for me.
Other Budget Diapers Available in Canada
Here’s a few other low-cost cloth diaper solutions for Canadian families for you to consider and explore when finding the best diaper for your family
- Earth & Pebble: beautiful modern cloth diapers
- Thirsties Baby is available at most cloth diaper retailers and offers a reasonably priced product. They are high quality design and build and create stashes at all different price points, including mix and match their essentials into your stash.
Available on Amazon Canada Cloth Diaper Recommendations
Access to cloth diapers in Canada is the not the same as our American counterparts. You’ll notice the selection on Amazon Canada is lacking and in many situations the pricing is not always advantageous. It’s really awesome to check with local baby boutiques and Canadian cloth diaper retailers to secure the best selection of cloth diapers in Canada at the best prices.
Bambino Mio Sets on Amazon
Bambino Mix is a great entry level diapers for most families – Bambino Mio Review of the Mioduo Cover
Planet Baby All In Two System
This is very similar to the Cutie Patootie or the LPO Systems. This brand creates a classic natural fibre diaper that might be a great fit for your family and sets are available at a reduced cost via Amazon or shop directly at PlanetBaby
Budget Diapers I No Longer Recommend
Why? Because sometimes I just want to make sure you find products that work.
- Affordable Cloth Diapers: Imagine Baby Pocket Diaper – At $17.50 each, this diaper is now outpaced by other diapers that offer natural fibres with features that preform better. Consider La Petite Ourse instead.
- Elemental Joy by Cotton Babies (A Review) – Now priced at $15.95 Canadian at Cloth Diaper Kids, this diaper is another example of not recognizing that you’ve fallen behind. It’s over priced, provides no insert, and lacks features. Consider buying a Rig N Gig Diaper instead.
- I removed the GroVia Hybrid because changes to the MSRP pricing made me less confident this would be a viable solution for many families. It is a very popular diaper, and something that would be worth a recommendation.
- Alva Baby is a very popular cloth diaper recommendation. These diapers are available on Amazon for a very low price. Why don’t I include them on this list because of the number of consults I’ve had with Diaper Banks, Servies & retailers who have experienced frustrated customers. Sometimes you just say no to the deals because of the experiences you’ve heard.
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.