Diaper Expenses

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As with many things baby related, it’s easy to go overboard in the diaper expenses category. While you definitely want to be prepared for all the bodily fluids that you’ll be dealing with, a lot of the frills aren’t really necessary (I’m looking at you, pee pee tents). When my husband and I were shopping for baby furniture, we were caught off guard by the steep cost of some of the changing tables out there. We ultimately decided not to get one, both because we thought we might not need the extra piece of furniture and because we wanted to save the space. What we ended up doing was putting an old blanket over a table in the spare bedroom and putting a changing pad on it. Next to that we have a basket filled with washcloths, diaper rash cream, and diapers. We use the extra space next to that for the bathtub. This works well for us and saved us probably hundreds of dollars.

Let’s go through what we have on the table. To start with, a changing pad and a changing pad cover. The changing pad cover is the softest material I’ve ever felt, and was definitely a good purchase. Some people buy a few of these and change them out as they get dirty, but as you can see, we opted to use disposable changing pad liners on top of the fabric cover, instead. I originally bought these liners just to put in our diaper bags for any diaper changes that occurred out of the house, but we quickly started using them at home, as well. We switch out the liner when it gets really wet from water or diaper grossness–usually every three days or so. I also put them under the fitted sheet in the crib so that we don’t have to keep cleaning the mattress pad when nighttime diaper leaks occur, and that has worked out great. Although this does add to our expenses, it’s worth it to me because it’s two fewer things to launder (every bit counts!).

The majority of the items we need for diaper changes can be found in a little bin in the middle of the table. We have quite a few washcloths, as we use them as a pee guard when changing diapers. I’ve purchased a few different brands, but I especially love these bamboo cloth ones because they are so soft! We also have a tub of Aquaphor (when my son was first born, we were using the tubes, but the tub is much more convenient– no squeezing!–and makes for a faster diaper change). Another item we keep in the basket are latex gloves. These are reserved for those really bad blowouts. Luckily those don’t happen very often, so the box of gloves lasts us a few months! The final item (except for the diapers, of course!) are baby wipes. We actually don’t use these very often. After my son’s first diaper rash at only one week old, we stopped to wonder why we were washing his bum with chemicals, when we don’t even do that as adults. So we started using cotton balls or cotton rounds dipped in water for most of the cleaning. If it is a really bad mess, we’ll use a wipe or two to get most of the gunk off, but then will follow up with water to wipe away the chemicals. It seems to be working, as he hasn’t had a diaper rash since!

We keep a few diapers on the table and store the rest under the table. After shopping around in Kroger, Walmart, and Target, I found that the best price for diapers around where I live is Amazon. We use Pampers because that’s what we started using at the hospital and we haven’t had any problems with them. We buy the big boxes and hope that he uses all of them before needing to move up to the next size. I’ve started to keep track of what we use for each size so that I’ll be able to predict the number we need.

Another part of the diaper expense comes from our diaper pail. After a lot of research, I bought the Dekor mini, mainly because we have a small bathroom and didn’t want anything with too large of a footprint. Although we empty the trash every one or two days, there is enough room in there to probably go three days before it gets full. The Dekor mini only works with their Dekor mini bags, so that is a recurring expense that we have every few months.

Finally, there is the diaper bag. We decided not to buy a new bag for this and simply use an old tote bag that was in our closet. I think that one of the appeals of a true diaper bag, if you are going to purchase one, is the many compartments it has. We got our fix buy using this portable changing pad that has a lot of pockets. There are three compartments, and in them we are able to store one extra outfit, a pair of gloves, a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer, three diapers, one travel pack of baby wipes, and two disposable changing pad liners. Not bad! On a side note, we also carry an empty gallon size Ziploc bag in our diaper bag to store any blowout-stained clothes until we get home, and also a plastic grocery bag to help dispose of any dirty diapers while we’re outside.

Here is a summary of items in the diaper expenses category:

  • changing pad: $15
  • changing pad fabric cover: $10
  • bamboo washcloths (x2): $28
  • portable changing pad: $20
  • diaper rash cream: $10.50
  • diaper pail: $41
  • trash bags for diaper pail* (x3): $36
  • disposable changing pad liners* (x3): $12.72
  • latex gloves* (x3): $16.50
  • cotton balls*: $14
  • cotton rounds*: $9.04
  • wet wipes* (x2): $23.28
  • diapers*
    • Size 0: $54
    • Size 1: $60
    • Size 2 (180 diapers): $50.10

* These are recurring expenses and will be updated as new boxes are bought.
**I did not include the Ziploc bags because I would have bought these even without the baby.


Things that might increase your expenses in this category include purchasing a changing table or diaper bag, buying a bigger diaper pail, and buying smaller quantities of diapers at a time (greater unit price).

Things that might decrease your expenses in this category include not using disposable liners at home (although this would increase the amount of laundry), and not using gloves, cotton balls, or cotton rounds.

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