The Cost of Disposable Diapers for a Newborn: A Case Study

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Written by The LeafScore Team


The LeafScore Team

This article was written as a collaboration by the LeafScore editorial team.


Depending on which style of diaper you choose, a good range to estimate for a monthly disposable diaper budget is between $150-275 per month.

Table of Contents
  1. How much do disposable diapers cost per month?
  2. Will we keep paying for disposable diapers?
  3. Why we will use cloth diapers 60% of the time
  4. The bottom line

To say my wife and I have been thrilled to welcome our baby daughter, Sola, into our lives would be an understatement.

Although babies are undeniably a ton of work, and parenting is certainly not for everyone, we have had a blast navigating baby life thus far.

However, it’s no secret – newborns pee and poo, a lot. A ton actually.

At the 4 month mark, it seems we are always changing diapers, and it’s not uncommon for our baby to immediately “let er rip” into a just changed fresh diaper. We initially opted for eco-friendly disposable diapers after reading Leigh’s excellent piece on why disposable diapers are better for the planet than many assume, but as the used diapers pile up in the trash, and as our household waste increases exponentially, we are taking a hard look at reusable diapers.

Not to mention the cost. We have found that, on average, our newborn runs through between 15-20 diapers a day, which causes the diaper bills to add up, fast.

How much do disposable diapers cost per month?

So how many diapers are we using on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and how much does it cost?

Well, for starters, we should point out that we are using diapers that have been chosen by our editorial team as good for the planet. Like many items that are made with the planet in mind, these diapers cost a bit more than some other brands, but we are willing to pay extra for diapers that are non-toxic and compostable. It was also important for us that the diapers we used were free of fragrance, chlorine, parabens, phthalates, and lotions.

Our favorite brand, Nest, costs $64.99 for a 120 count pack of diapers, size 3, which is Sola’s current size. That’s about $0.54 per diaper.

By contrast, Huggies brand diapers cost $48.80 for a 156 count pack, or $0.31 per diaper.

Our baby is going through about 15-20 diapers a day, so going with an average day of 17 diapers used, our daily diaper bill comes to a whopping $9.18.

Multiply that number over the course of a month, and you’re paying $275.40 per month, just for diapers.

By contrast, at a less expensive cost per diaper of $0.31, and assuming the same 17 diaper a day usage, Huggies brand will still cost family’s $5.27 per day in diapers, and $158.10 per month.

So, depending on which style of diaper you choose, a good range to estimate for a monthly disposable diaper budget is between $150-275 per month.

This means the annual cost of diapers can add up to between $1,800 and $3,300 per year!

Will we keep paying for disposable diapers?

Yes, but we don’t plan to use them exclusively.

Instead, moving forward we are going to use a “hybrid” approach to diapering which incorporates both cloth and disposable diapers.

Why not abandon disposable altogether?

We have learned that disposable diapers have utility in 4 core areas:

  1. If you plan to send your child to daycare, daycare facilities use disposable diapers almost exclusively
  2. When traveling disposable diapers are a much better option to have on hand
  3. At night, when most new parents are sleep deprived, using disposable diapers can be far more convenient, and time efficient
  4. The indicators built into disposable diapers are a big help for busy new parents and can actually save them from mistakenly changing a diaper when it’s still clean

Why we will use cloth diapers 60% of the time

Before the baby, we used to throw out maybe one trash bag of household waste per week.

After using disposable diapers, we have been shocked to watch our trash can fill up to unprecedented levels, mostly with used diapers.

And while many eco-friendly diapers are compostable, and some even biodegradable, when they get thrown out with the normal trash they are headed to a landfill all the same. The amount of waste generated by disposable diapers is truly staggering. That, and they smell terrible as they pile up during the week.

Yes, cloth diapers require laundering, which uses energy and water. But we already use those resources as part of the laundry we do on a regular basis, and the cost is baked into our existing utility bill.

We don’t anticipate using much more in the way of energy, or water, by adding cloth diapers to the laundry hamper.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that disposable diapers, at a cost range of between $150-275 per month, are expensive, and considering babies can use as many as 20 diapers a day at the newborn stage, terribly wasteful.

Many parents will feel guilty about the expense, and the waste, associated with disposable diapers.

However, there is a utility to using disposable diapers, and it’s likely not practical for most families to completely go without.

A hybrid approach, which incorporates both cloth and disposable diapers, could cut down on waste, while also making the family budget stretch a bit further.

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