The Real Cost of Diapers

While preparing for your child, or considering parenting decisions, the decision to select between diapers and other alternatives is an important one to make. Choosing a diaper for your baby, or toddler, is essential because his comfort level needs to be kept in mind, along with your budget and life choices.

Although parenting classes may teach you how to put a diaper on a baby, they will not teach you how to evaluate the alternatives. Therefore, we bring to you this guide, helping you evaluate the various alternatives available, and which of these alternatives may be the best for you to buy for your baby.


Types of Diapers

When looking at diapers and their alternatives, we find three most common types of diapers that are widely available in the market. These may have various sub-categories and classification, but we can broadly classify them into these categories.

  1. Disposable diapers: These are the normal, one time use, diapers you can buy from any drug store. Many people now buy diapers online as well.
  2. Cloth diapers: These are the reusable cloth diapers, which are usually washed with regular laundry and reused over and over again.
  3. Hybrid diapers: These diapers are now becoming more widely available. These have the outside of a regular disposable diaper, with changeable liners.


An average baby goes through approximately 8000 to 10,000 diapers, before being potty trained. Therefore, the decision to choose the right type of diapers, needs to be carefully evaluated. We next take a look at the evaluation criteria for it.


How to choose Diapers

The evaluation criteria for assessing the diaper are fairly simple. The comfort level of the baby is given the highest priority, taking into account how well it fits the baby, and how absorbent the diaper is. These considerations are important because, compromising on either means compromising on the baby’s health. If a product or brand with low level of comfort is used, the baby may end up getting rashes, and may cry a lot due to discomfort.

Similarly, using a low quality diaper may result in the baby being unable to sleep and highly irritable. Due to a lack of sleep or bacteria due to moisture, the baby may fall sick frequently. Another outcome of this is the potentially high number of leaks.

Other considerations in the process include the elasticity of the diaper, its sustainability and ability to be reused, and the cost of the diaper. These considerations are usually specific to the parents, and some may compromise on these in the name of quality. In many cases, parents spend a little extra just so they can give their baby a peaceful night’s sleep.

Considering these criteria for evaluating diapers, let’s evaluate these diapers and analyse which of these will fit your needs best.


Hybrid vs Disposable vs Cloth diapers

When looking at the cost of each type of diaper, we see that cloth diapers cost very little. Unlike disposables or hybrids, they are a one-time purchase, and do not require special washing, thus making them very effective in terms of cost.

Even though people can buy very cheap diapers online, the net cost of these is greater than buying cloth diapers, and reusing them. However, the monetary cost consideration, compared to the real cost, in terms of the baby’s health and ease, as well as ease for the parents, is very small. However, for smaller children, the cloth diapers will require sterilization, to be germ free.

For the baby’s health, it is mostly recommended that the parents use disposable diapers or hybrid ones. The reason for this is that these diapers are much more absorbent, and do not leave the baby’s skin wet. They offer high comfort, since these diapers make the skin feel dry, thus preventing any possible rashes that may be common in babies using cloth diapers. The high level of comfort keeps the baby asleep for longer, and less irritable, resulting in a happier, healthier baby.


Comfort of Parents plays a Part too

As far as the parent’s comfort is concerned, disposable diapers can be ranked as number one. While hybrid diapers require washing and changing, disposable diapers only need to be replaced 2-4 times a day, depending on the baby’s age, health and habits. Under this consideration, cloth diapers are least likely to be recommended, primarily because, although they are washable with regular laundry, they may need to be washed twice, and may even need to be disinfected and sterilized, in many cases.

The comfort of the parents is also a very important consideration, because, in the first few months of a child’s birth, the parents have to face many sleepless nights, and rigorous daily routines. It is especially under these circumstances that parents will choose to opt for disposable alternatives, although they may switch to a hybrid or a cloth alternative when the baby grows up.

The choice of the diaper can also be impacted by the lifestyle choice of the parents. Those who have a more sustainable and a “greener” approach prefer to opt for the cloth diaper alternatives, primarily because there are cruelty free, and contain little plastic, in some cases. However, this approach has been affected by the introduction of biodegradable plastic in disposable diapers. This makes convenience of the parents more environmental friendly.


The Ultimate Buying Decision

After analysing the different types of diapers, with respect to different criteria, other than cost of the alternative, we come to the buying decision. Since the foremost priority of any parent is the child’s health and comfort, disposable diapers or hybrid diapers are easily the first choice.

However, looking at the comfort of the parents, alongside that of the baby, the disposable diaper easily becomes the first choice. However, if the cost of the diaper is more important than the parents comfort, the hybrid or the cloth alternative may be chosen.

The final decision lies on the priorities of the parents, where convenience is also an important factor. In many cases, parents can choose to switch to disposable diapers since they are widely available in different sizes, and buying these newborn diapers in bulk can considerably lower costs.

Anna C

Anna is the main author of this website. Like many of you, she is a mother who is continuously searching for the best parenting tips in order to learn more about child development.