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Buying Diapers

At an average of 25 cents per diaper for brand-name disposables and about 3,000 diapers, you can expect to spend around $750 during your first year of diapering—and that’s not even factoring in wipes, diaper creams, and all the other diapering paraphernalia. With those figures in mind, we thought it would be useful to point out several potential ways you can save yourself some money in the diapering department.

  • Start small. Start out buying diapers in smaller quantities. You’ll want to make sure you’ve found a good match, but keep in mind that your newborn will be growing very quickly in the months to come. If at first you happen to settle on a more expensive brand, remember that as your baby gets older (and has less sensitive skin, less leaky poop, and pees less frequently), you may want to experiment with less expensive brands.
  • Divide and conquer. Calculate your cost per diaper. This may sound obvious, but by simply dividing the cost of a pack of diapers by the number of diapers in the pack, you can figure out if what you’re getting is really a good deal, or if it is just being advertised as one. You’ll find that mega-jumbo packs aren’t always the best bargain, and that one store’s sale price doesn’t beat the everyday price at another.
  • Cut coupons. By checking such places as the newspaper and the Web, you can often find enough diaper coupons to make it well worth your while, especially at stores that double manufacturers’ coupons or offer buy one, get one free deals.
  • Think big. When you do find a sale or have coupons, buy extra diapers in advance to spare yourself a middle of the night run to the grocery store because you’ve used your last one. You might want to consider having your reserve supply be a size up from the one your baby’s currently wearing so that you won’t wind up with leftover diapers that don’t fit.
  • Join the club. Take note of frequent buyers’ clubs. You know you’re going to be in the market for diapers for a long time to come, and by simply collecting proofs of purchase (or “diaper points”) many companies will reward you with baby clothes, toys, music, and other products. Similarly, some grocery and drugstore chains now tally up dollars spent on baby items and offer rebates or coupons each time you reach a certain total (eg, get a $10 store coupon every time you spend $100 on baby items at that store).
  • Consider your options. Consider using cloth diapers and washing them yourself. While some people estimate that using a diaper service only lets you break even compared to paying for disposable diapers, washing cloth diapers yourself can cut your diaper costs by as much as half.
Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
Heading Home With Your Newborn, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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