How Many Diapers Do You Really Need?

by - February 13, 2018

Cloth diapers can be very overwhelming, but it's really very simple to build a beginner stash. The amount of diapers you need will vary based on the type of diaper you're choosing, how often you want to wash, and your baby's age.

How many times will you change your baby's diaper in a day?
When you have a newborn you'll find yourself changing their diaper as many as 12 times a day! As they get older they'll pee less often, and you'll also find nighttime changes fade off too. By the time they're a year old you will likely be down to 8 or less changes per day.

How often will you wash diapers?
Most people tend to wash every 2-3 days. I recommend having enough diapers to get you comfortably through 2 days with a couple of extra changes while the rest are being washed. There are benefits to having more diapers - you don't have to worry if you can't do laundry right away, your diapers have less wear and tear from being worn and washed less often, and you can maximize your efficiency by ensuring you're washing full loads of diapers instead of multiple smaller loads. - But realistically your washer (or bucket if you're hand washing like me) can only hold so many diapers, so you don't want to wait too long between laundry days.

What types of diapers give you the best bang for your buck? 
While pocket diapers may seem like the cheapest option I highly recommend covers that are PUL lined with no absorbent fabric/lining, so when you change the diaper you switch out the insert and can use the cover again. This means you can get multiple changes out of one cover.

There are also many choices of what absorbent material you can use inside your diapers. Anything except microfiber can be used in covers. I feel like flour sack towels have the best balance of absorbency for cost. I like to do a pad fold on my fsts, but when Vivi was smaller I often used a snappi and did other flat folds. 

So how many diapers do you need?
My recommendation is for 8-12 changes per day. With pockets that means that you need 8-12 individual diapers and inserts. You can often find multi-packs on Amazon that offer better deals than buying that many diapers individually. 

If you decide to go the covers route I recommend 4 covers per day, along with 10-12 fsts. If your baby is still a newborn and pooping at most changes you'll need to add a few covers since that will need to be changed every time. Another benefit of covers, though, is that they are so easy to hand wash, and they hang dry really quickly as well, so if you're ever running low it's simple to make sure you don't run out. 

To get started on a budget you can definitely make cloth work with a very small stash. You'll be washing more often, but as you add to your collection that will quickly slow down. 
How many diapers did you start out with? Let me know what your must-haves are for small beginner stashes! 

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  1. Great recommendations. I think 8-12 is solid too. My first was a non stop pooper so we needed a full 4 covers and 12 changes, but number two doesn't poop or pee as mcuh. It's a hard guessing game but theres always some strategies to make things work.