How Many Diapers Do I Need?

How Many Diapers Do I Need for Baby's First Year?

May 28, 2019

How Many Diapers Do I Need for Baby's First Year?

How Many Diapers Do I Need for Baby's First Year?
How Many Diapers Do I Need for Baby's First Year?

New parents focus a lot on getting the right bouncer and cute crib sheets for their baby. And while those are nice to have, there’s one thing you’ll rely on more than anything else as a new parent: diapers.

How Many Newborn Diapers Do You Need?

In the first month of life, newborns average up to 8 to 10 diaper changes per day. And over the first three months (the newborn stage), babies go through about 700 diapers.

The good news? A baby’s bladder grows with age, so you’ll change fewer diapers as they get older—think five to six diapers a day after six months of age. So the days of changing diapers every two hours won’t last forever. We promise!

How Many Diapers Do You Need in the First Year?

A baby can go through an average of 2,200 diapers in the first year. That’s a lot of wet bums. Your baby shower is a great time to start a diaper stockpile, if you have the space.

How Many Cloth Diapers Do You Need?

If you want to do cloth diapering, you’ll probably still need diapers on reserve, even if you plan on running the wash cycle every day. Some parents who use cloth diapers choose to use disposables for the first month, simply because newborns go through so many per day.

But if you do want to invest in newborn cloth sizes, have at least 20 on hand (trust us, it’s not too many!). Keep in mind, your baby may not fit into these for long.

How often you plan on doing laundry influences the amount of cloth diapers you’ll need to have on hand. Most families like to have 24 cloth diapers total, but you could get away with as few as 14 if you absolutely needed to (and don’t mind washing them every day).

How to Stockpile Disposable Diapers

To help you build up a big diaper stash before your due date, we’ve collected great tips from parents on everything from what to register for to how to figure out what size diapers you’ll need for each stage.

Tip #1: Don’t focus on newborn sizes

On average, a newborn diaper fits babies up to 10 pounds. Take into account that a newborn will often gain up to three pounds in their first month of life. And most hospitals will send you home with an armful of newborn diapers, so you probably won’t need to buy a lot.

Although newborn diapers are the most common size people typically gift at showers, you really don’t need to register for more than one giant pack of newborn diapers (120-240 count). It’s possible your baby will outgrow them within the first few weeks or even skip them entirely and go straight into Size 1 after birth. What might be a better option? Ask for sizes your little one will quickly grow into.

Remember: Diaper sizes are based on the weight, not the age of the baby. Here’s a look at diaper sizes for Pampers Swaddlers, for example:

  • Preemie: Up to 6 lbs
  • Newborn: Up to 10 lbs
  • Size 1: 8 - 14 lbs
  • Size 2: 12 - 18 lbs
  • Size 3: 16 - 28 lbs
  • Size 4: 22 - 37 lbs

Tip #2: Consider baby’s growth rate

The bulk of your diaper collection should be for sizes 1 and 2. These diapers generally fit babies from 12 to 28 pounds, depending on the brand.

We recommend two jumbo packs of each (a jumbo pack of Size 1 has around 222 diapers, while Size 2 has about 204 diapers). If you have the storage, register for some extras in Size 1, which babies tend to stay in longer.

Here’s a quick guide of what to register for:

  • 2 boxes of Newborn Size
  • 4 - 6 boxes of Size 1
  • 2 boxes of Size 2

Tip #3: Diapers for girls and boys

Gender can play a part in how soon you need to size up. Average-size baby boys usually move into Size 1 diapers around four weeks old and Size 2 diapers at about three to four months.

Average-size baby girls reach the same milestones later, transitioning into Size 1 diapers around six weeks and Size 2 diapers between four or five months.

Also, baby boys tend to have more “accidents” on the changing table. Many parents who’ve had both boys and girls swear baby boys go through more diapers, but it all depends on who you ask.

If you’re worried about wasting diapers when changing your baby boy, keep a cloth or wipe over your little guy in case of an accidental squirt. This will help cut down on diaper waste—and keep you dry too.

Tip #4: Boxes vs. bags of diapers

Bags of diapers contain fewer diapers than boxes, so many parents go the bag route for the newborn size to prevent over-ordering.

For babies graduating into a new size, a box is usually the more affordable option because the per-diaper cost is less. Like this:

  • A bag of Size 3 Pampers Swaddlers (27 count) averages $.34 per diaper
  • A box of Size 3 Pampers Swaddlers (124 count) averages $.29 a diaper.

Tip #5: Save money on diapers later

Keep in mind that online retailers like Amazon and Target have subscribe-and-save options, where you can save money (like 5 percent) when you have diapers delivered on a regular schedule.

Don’t have enough space to store lots of diaper boxes ahead of time? Register for gift cards and use them to buy diapers later on.

Whether you opt for disposable or cloth diapers, you might not know what works best on your baby right away. And that’s OK: You’ll figure it out through a bit of trial and error. Get a feel for what you and your baby like by adding a variety of diaper brands and sizes to your registry and then experimenting once your little one arrives.

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