When I am not panicking, I’ve been doing calculations about the cost of cloth diapers. The cloth diaper movement is rather small in Singapore and when I mention cloth diapers, people think I am talking about nappies that need to be held up by pins. Rather, I am referring to modern cloth diapers that look like disposables, except they use inserts and liners, and are reusable and washable. These days they even have cloth diapers with disposable inserts for outdoor use (nobody likes bringing a smelly nappy home). They also grow with the baby, so you only need to buy one to last through until they are toilet-trained (usually around 2.5-3 years of age).
We cloth diapered Livia from the start but we interchanged cloth diapers with disposables the last 20 months. As she got older, we cloth diapered more and used less disposables simply because she was pooping less. If you cloth diaper, you need to scrap poo off the cloth diaper before it can be washed, so its an additional workload. But for normal peed-on cloth diapers, those can just be tossed in the washer. I bought a 12 piece cloth diaper set from Bumgenius when I was in USA and although I never tried other brands, Bumgenius is excellent. They rarely leaked and is very easy to use. On hindsight, I wished I bought Bumgenius Freetime than Bumgenius 4.0 simply because the former doesn’t require the removal and insertion of liners. However, I discovered you only truly save money with cloth diapers if you had multiple children to pass on cloth diapers too, or had several kids needing diapering. Otherwise, including electricity and water from laundering and drying the cost works out to the same as disposables if you had the one and only child.
With triplets, there is just no way I can sustain the cost of disposable diapers for 2-3 years. They would easily go through 1 packet of disposables in a day and half, and even when they get older, maybe a packet will last 5 days at best. Considering that we are already laundering once every two or three days, adding cloth diapers to the mix doesn’t add more to our electricity and water costs. We decided to get a dryer rather than drying out our clothes in the sun like most households do for those days that we need laundry done immediately, which I predict will be very often. Dryers used to be a luxury item in Singapore, used only by fancy expats but these days they are pretty affordable and a lot more Singaporean households are using them. I told my husband whatever we can get automated we should get it!
The only catch is the starting cost for cloth diapers is expensive. A set of 12 sets one back about $300 Singapore dollars. Since I already have 12, I need about 20 more. My friend LC kindly bought me a set of 6 Charlie Banana cloth diapers as a gift which to me was a tremendous gift because they are not cheap. Charlie Banana is great because it allows for both reusable and disposable inserts. I’ve been asking everyone to gift me cloth diapers but I usually tell them they just need to get me one. I figured just from my friends alone, I can get about 10 diapers and then I only need to buy 10 more. I know buying diapers is so not glamorous but thats all I really want. Only one retailer sells Bumgenius and I contacted them and their stock was extremely limited. Other well-known cloth diaper brands in Singapore include Bumwear, Grovia and MooMooKow. My friends who are still clueless about cloth diapers are getting me disposables which is fine as well except the disposables are going to go real fast!