One of the biggest questions to consider when building your cloth diaper stash is "How many diapers do I need?"
The number of diapers you should have will depend on the age of your baby and how often you want to do diaper laundry. A newborn baby will require more frequent changes than an older baby or toddler.
Number of changes per day x Days between washing = Total number of diapers needed
Every baby is different. Some babies pee a small amount frequently, and others pee more at one time, but less often. So it is also good to factor in a few extra diapers to have on hand just in case you do go through more diapers than you estimated.
- A newborn baby ages 0-3 months can be expected to need 10-12 diaper changes in a day.
- Older babies up to 18 months can be expected to need 6-10 diaper changes in a day.
- A toddler can be expected to need 6-8 diaper changes in a day. The frequency of changes will decrease as you approach potty training time.
When figuring out your magic number for stash size, keep in mind that while more isn't always better, having a few more diapers than your bare minimum can help minimize the risk of running out of clean diaper on the off chance that you don't stay on top of your laundry schedule. Having a larger number of diapers in your rotation will also reduce the wear and tear on each individual diaper.And babies may also go through more diapers on days they do not feel well.
When you first start out with cloth diapers, you don't have to go big or go home. A small stash can grow into a larger one over time. And it is always better to try out a few styles, brands and fiber options before committing to your purchases. Sometimes the initial cost of buying diapers can be a deterrent for parents considering cloth as an option. Start with a few diapers and go from there! Even if you only use cloth diapers part-time, every cloth diaper changed is one less diaper going into a landfill. And that is something we can all feel good about!
A Personal Note: When I started using cloth diapers, my baby was 5-6 months old and was using about 7 or 8 disposable diapers during the day, and would 1 or 2 diapers overnight. I started with a small stash of 10 diapers and would wash/dry every evening. I was able to cloth 90% of the time and slowly added diapers to my stash until I had about 25 diapers and I washed every third day.