How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
When parents first take to the idea of cloth diapering their baby, they easily overwhelm themselves with both the choices and variety of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories available. "How many diapers should I buy?" is the most common question, but the answer is not the same for everyone.
Building a cloth diaper system isn't some type of deep mystery; simply put, no family is the same, and therefore, no cloth diapering system will be exactly the same, but there are some pretty striking patterns we've seen in the last decade. Our cloth diaper stash recommendations are based on the purchases and feedback from parents and caregivers just like you.
The most agreed upon number of cloth diapers preferred in a full-time cloth diaper stash is a minimum of 18 (one and 1/2 dozen cloth diapers). With 18 cloth diapers, you can develop a washing system of every other day. If you desire to wash your diapers less frequently than every 2nd day, you will obviously need a larger stash. Some parents initially purchase MORE cloth diapers for this reason, but please know that cloth diapers are not intended to sit in a pail for more than 3 days without being washed; the longer a soiled diaper remains in a cloth diaper pail unwashed, the longer you will work to treat any stains, not to mention the stink.
Full-Time Cloth Diapering
For the first year and 1/2, full-time cloth diapering requires a minimum of 18 diapers cloth diapers. As your baby grows to toddlerhood, he or she will wet less frequently, and won't need to be changed as often; at this point you will need fewer cloth diapers overall.
NEWBORNS - Newborns need the largest cloth diaper stash. With newborns, especially those breastfeeding, every meal is liquid - as a result, they have more explosive bowel movements and urinate more frequently. As newborns develop and solid meals are added into their diet, these patterns change to allow for less diaper usage overall.
6 - 18 MONTHS - Once baby begins to roll, crawl, pull-up on furniture, and sit up on their own, their wetting patterns typically decrease and their cloth diaper needs change. Whereas before, baby was just lying around, now baby is dynamic and needs a cloth diaper that can move along with them. This is often a time when parents will modify their cloth diaper stash to accommodate more flexibility in the thigh and waist for baby's added comfort. If your newborn stash was made up primarily of prefolds, you can re-purpose them as burp rags, changing pads, or diaper doublers. At this point, 18 cloth diapers are still recommended for a washing cycle of every other day.
18 MONTHS - POTTY LEARNING - When your Toddler begins to gain interest in using the 'big potty', your cloth diaper base can be reduced significantly. Even 12 (a dozen) cloth diapers may be more than enough, because your Toddler will no longer be considered a full-time cloth diapered baby. To assist with 'Diaper Independence' many parents will switch over to the pull-on style of cloth diaper Training Pants during the day and use their regular stash for night-time diapering.
As you can tell, there is really no need to become overwhelmed with the question "How many diapers should I buy?" Though it might alter slightly, overall you can count on needing 18-20 cloth diapers for a full-time cloth diapering system from birth to 18 Months. If you are cloth diapering your baby part-time, you can cut that number in half.
Still have questions? Contact us for more information.