Baby diapers are 100% essential for babies. They go through A LOT of diapers per day, and they grow up pretty fast in their first year too. A size 1 diaper could already be too small in a blink of an eye!
This is why a lot of new parents ask: “How many newborn diapers do I need?” or “how many baby diapers do I need to stock up on?”
The answer to those questions isn’t straightforward because every baby is different. Some babies go through more diapers per day than others!
However, we can make things clearer for you by answering a bunch of frequently asked questions about diapers, diaper sizes, and cloth diapers.
Keep reading to finally find out the answer to your question of “How many newborn/baby diapers do I need exactly?”.
Background on Baby Diapers
Before getting into the details of how many diapers you’ll need, there are a couple of things you should know first.
Diaper sizes are based on the weight of your baby, not their age. Not all 1-month-old newborns are the same size, so it would only make sense to use weight as the basis for diaper sizes.
Male babies also usually weigh more than female babies of the same age.
A male newborn could be around 10 lbs by the time they’re 4 weeks old, while it could take a female newborn 6 weeks to reach 10 lbs.
Keep these in mind before buying newborn diapers for the first time. Different diaper brands also have different size guides, so make sure to follow their guide to have the right size for your little one!
How Do Diapers Work?
What makes your baby’s diaper so effective?
Diapers use a compound called sodium polyacrylate. This compound is often used as a food thickening agent, but baby brands use them for diapers too.
When sodium polyacrylate comes in contact with urine, it turns it into a gel. This is what keeps your baby’s sensitive areas as dry as possible!
This is why it’s also important to get the right size for your little one. A loose diaper could sag off and lead to spills and other messes, making the drying technology useless.
On the other hand, a super tight diaper could be uncomfortable for your child. It won’t give enough room for the best absorption.
Once you find the right sizes for your baby’s diaper, it’s time to figure out how many you’ll need for every step of the way!
How Many Newborn Diapers Do I Need?
A newborn (0-2 months old) goes through about 10-12 diaper changes a day. This number could be higher or lower depending on your newborn.
Using this estimate, your baby would need about 600-720 newborn diapers for two months during their newborn stage. So basically, many diapers.
On the plus side, babies have fewer bowel movements as they grow older. The older your newborn gets, the fewer diapers they’ll need!
Infants (2-12 months old) usually go through about 8-10 diapers per day, while toddlers (12 months+) would only need around 6-8.
As your baby grows older, you’ll have to change your game plan for how many you’ll need for each stage.
How Many Diapers Do I Need in the First Year?
So, how many diapers do you need exactly?
Using the same estimate above, and also considering that babies need fewer and fewer diapers as they grow older, you’ll need around 3000-3720 diapers in the first year.
Having a good estimate of how many you’ll need in the first year should give you a clearer picture of how you want to play things out.
To save money, it would be a good idea to register or buy them in bulk. It would be best to start a diaper stockpile as soon as you can, preferably before or during your baby shower.
Don’t forget to include the different size diapers you’ll need on your baby registry! You should also list down other diaper-related products like baby wipes and a changing table.
Baby wipes will be your best friend when it comes to diaper changing, so make sure you have the right amount of baby wipes stocked up as well.
How Many Size-1 Diapers Do I Need?
After newborn diapers, the next size you need to get would be size 1 diapers.
This size is for babies between 8-14 lbs.
Although this weight range could vary for different brands of diapers, so make sure to double-check before buying.
It’s difficult to determine how many size-1 diapers you’ll need since newborn babies grow quickly. However, babies between 8-14 lbs usually go through 8-10 diaper changes a day.
We recommend getting around 240-300 Size 1 diapers each month for 1-2 months. You could go for the lower range if you think your baby will outgrow them faster.
How Many Size-2 Diapers Do I Need?
Size 2 diapers are usually for babies between 12-18 lbs.
Babies in this weight class would typically go through around 8 diaper changes a day.
We recommend getting at most 240 size-2 diapers each month. Expect to need this size for 2-3 months!
Keep in mind that size 2 diapers often overlap with size 3 ones. If you want to play it safe, you could buy fewer of them to avoid wasting money.
How Many Size-3 Diapers Do I Need?
Size 3 diapers are for infants between 16-28 lbs. This range is wider than the smaller sizes, so you can probably settle for these size diapers for a few months!
By the time your baby reaches this weight class, their growth will start to slow down by a bit. They’ll also need fewer diaper changes (around 6-8 per day).
By the time they reach the higher ranges of 24-28 lbs, your baby could even start potty training!
These factors can affect how many size 3 diapers you should get. However, a safe estimate would be around 180-240 diapers every month for 4-5 months.
How Many Size-4 Diapers Do I Need?
Size 4 diapers are for babies between 22-37 lbs. Your child will probably be a toddler by this time.
The toddler stage is when your baby will start to explore and absorb a lot of information. They’ll probably start potty training too.
At this point, your toddler would go through around 6 diapers a day. That would mean 180 diapers should be good for a month.
Some babies stop using diapers after size 4 because of potty training.
However, if you have a large baby that’s yet to turn 2 years old but already weighs over 35 lbs, you’ll probably need to buy size 5 (27-35 pounds), size 6 (35 pounds and over), and maybe even size 7 (41 pounds+) diapers.
How to Stockpile Disposable Diapers
Registering and stockpiling diaper boxes before your due date is a convenient way to save money in the long run.
Before you stockpile and find the best deals when registering, you should first figure out what diaper brand to go for.
We recommend these best natural diapers!
Once you settle for a brand, check the number of diapers they offer per box. That should help you figure out how many boxes you should buy per size.
When you stockpile and buy diapers in advance, we recommend getting the newborn size, size 1, size 2, size 3, and size 4.
Anything larger than size 4 might go to waste since your baby would probably be potty trained by the time they’ve outgrown them. It would be safest to buy size 5 and above when the time comes!
Now you know what sizes to prioritize, here’s the summary of how many diapers you’ll need per size:
- Newborn Diapers – 600-720 newborn diapers for the first two months
- Size 1 – 240-300 diapers each month for 1-2 months
- Size 2 – at most 240 diapers per month for 2-3 months
- Size 3 – 180-240 diapers every month for 4-5 months
- Size 4 – at most 180 diapers for 3+ months
Babies go through a lot of diapers every day, and it’s unpredictable to pinpoint how many diapers they go through in their first year.
However, these estimates are a safe range that can help save you money in the long run and prevent you from wasting unused diapers!
These estimates should also help parents plan out their baby shower registry much better!
Disposable Diapers vs. Cloth Diapers
Most parents feel intimidated seeing how many diapers they need to buy for just one baby.
The money you’ll have to spend per diaper doesn’t seem a lot, but adding them all up can make any parent think twice about their family planning!
If you want to save money on diapers, you can opt for cloth diapers instead.
However, both disposable and cloth diapers have their pros and cons, so we’ll discuss both to help you decide which one is best for you.
What makes disposable diapers great is that they’re easily accessible, and you can buy them almost anywhere. In terms of face value, they’re the most affordable too.
They’re also the most convenient because you just have to dispose of them whenever your baby needs changing. They’re also convenient to bring along for traveling!
On the downside, they aren’t the best for saving long-term
You’ll come to realize that newborn babies go through A LOT of diapers every day. Of course, baby hygiene comes first.
But if you’ll have to spend on a lot of packs to get through an entire year, this could hurt your wallet in the long run!
On the other hand, cloth diapers are great because they’re reusable, eco-friendly, and safer for newborn babies because they can be made of organic and natural materials.
However, this type of diaper is more expensive upfront because of the high-quality materials used. Cloth diapers are built to last for a couple of years too.
This is why they can save you money compared to disposable diapers. You won’t need to buy hundreds of diapers if you use a cloth one because you can just reuse it.
Although, you should keep in mind that its reusability also means more inconvenience. You’ll have to clean dirty cloth diapers every time your baby poops.
This is usually the main reason why some parents prefer a disposable diaper over a cloth diaper.
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
So how many diapers do you need? We recommend buying 24-36 cloth diapers throughout your baby’s entire diaper journey.
You can experiment first with the newborn size, but once they get older, you can also try out one-size cloth diapers to get the best value for your money.
Buying diapers isn’t as simple as you think. We’re sure all parents ask themselves: “how many diapers do I need?” at some point in their early parenthood.
Considering how newborns use fewer diapers as they grow older, you’ll need about 3000-3720 newborn diapers for one year.
Seeing the bigger picture of how many diapers you’ll need for a whole year should make your family planning much easier!
While you’re at it, get a non-toxic diaper bag so you can bring them along outside without any hassle!
August 8, 2022 – minor content edits
July 23, 2021 – updated article links