Many cloth diapering parents did not start using cloth from the birth of their firstborn child. Like myself, many parents started out with using disposable, single-use diapers. This is because when we think "diaper", the first thing that comes to mind is generally a disposable diaper -- that is what is for sale in the supermarket or drug store, after all. Parents often do not learn about the advantages and benefits of cloth diapering until well after their first child is crawling or walking, or until they are onto their second or third child. And by the time they discover cloth, they sometimes wonder whether it is too late to make the switch.
If saving money is the motivation, transitioning to cloth can save your family some money even if the child is already one year old at the time of making the switch. A full set of new, quality cloth diapers start paying for themselves after only about 7 months or less (see here for our detailed cost comparison with disposable diapers). Your kid will be in diapers for about 2 years or more. Alternately, you can buy a set of cloth diapers second hand, for about half the price (or less) of a set of brand new diapers. In that case, the diapers will start paying for themselves in far less than 6 months, possibly as little as 3 months. And when your kid is out of diapers, if your cloth diapers have any life left, you can reuse them for subsequent children, or resell the diapers and recoup a portion of what you paid for them, further adding to your savings. Quality cloth diapers can withstand hundreds of washes and last for multiple children.
In addition to cost savings, there are other benefits to making the switch -- these include environmental and health benefits, as discussed on our "Why Cloth" page here. Disposable diapers contain dioxins (which have been linked to cancer, asthma, hormonal disorders and infertility) and sodium polyacrylate (which has been banned from use in tampons due to their link to toxic shock syndrome). Where your baby's health is concerned, it's never too late to do something about it -- especially if it's something that she is wearing and exposed to in close proximity, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.