Poop. Before you became a parent, you probably never thought your days would be so consumed with this topic (go ahead, we dare you to think of a day since your baby was born that you haven’t talked about it…).
These are just some of the questions every parent wonders, and in an effort to make your life easier, we’ve compiled the answers you want in chart form!
Note: This chart is designed to offer a general overview. If you have a particular brand that you prefer, you should check their specific sizing directions for a most accurate match.
While disposable diaper manufacturers follow a uniform sizing, cloth and hybrid diapers do not.
Many cloth brands may use the terms small, medium, and large, but the actual sizing and intended ages can be vastly different. As a result, it’s very important to make sure to follow their specific measurement and weight guidelines!
It’s important to note that there are also a variety of different types of cloth diapers. Some are specifically designed for different ages and stages, but there are also one-size-fits-all cloth diapers. These are designed to grow with your child and fit them at different stages.
While investing in some one-size-fits-all cloth diapers is appealing, these may not be a perfect fit at every stage for your child. You’ll likely need to buy specifically sized diapers at some point.
Many factors can go into determining how many cloth diapers you’ll stock. For example, you’ll want to consider:
- your baby’s age and growth patterns
- how frequently you plan to wash cloth diapers
- the amount of storage space you have
Generally, you’ll want to have 2 to 3 days’ worth of cloth diapers, which for most newborns means somewhere around 24 to 40! (This number should decrease as they get a little older and go through fewer diapers in a day!)
Check for proper fit
When you change your baby’s diaper, check to see if the fit is too small by looking for red marks where the elastic was fastened. You also want to make sure it’s not too big, which might lead to leakage.
The top of the diaper should fit right under the belly button, give your baby’s bum full coverage, and when fastened, the tabs should not overlap nor cause redness around the waist.
Check the cuffs
When using disposable diapers, make sure the cuffs around the leg openings are out, and not tucked in. Tucked in cuffs can cause leakage down the leg.
Use swim diapers
Regular disposable diapers are not designed to be worn while swimming. When submerged, these diapers will become water logged leaving them unable to absorb additional liquids and falling off your baby with the extra water weight.
For the health and safety of fellow swimmers (as well as to avoid an embarrassing situation) make sure that your little one is in a swim diaper in the pool, lake, or ocean.
Consider diaper booster pads
While many diaper brands do not begin offering overnight diapers until size 3, you can purchase overnight diaper booster pads to place inside your child’s diaper if they’re sleeping long chunks of time and peeing through their diaper before they wake and aren’t yet ready for size 3.
That way you won’t have to decide between the equally awful choices of waking a sleeping baby to change their diaper or washing piles of urine soaked pajamas and bedding!
You may want to begin with only a small amount of diapers. As you get a feel for how quickly your child is growing and going through diapers, you’ll be able to better determine how many diapers in a particular size you’ll need.
If your baby has a penis, make sure it’s pointed downward into the new diaper when you are fastening it. This will help prevent urine from leaking up and out of the diaper. Pro tip: You’ll probably want to cover the penis when performing diaper changes, too!
Plan for the newborn stage
Some people choose to use disposable diapers on their newborn because of the extra work in cleaning cloth diapers so frequently. However, for some newborns, cloth diapers can actually fit better. Since they are able to adjust more specifically around the legs, it can mean fewer leaks and wet clothing.
Consider the environment
Regular disposable diapers are not biodegradable, since they include certain plastic and synthetic fibers. If you choose to use special compostable diapers, you can’t just add them to your normal compost pile! Make sure to follow directions for appropriate disposal.
Donate extra diapers
If you think you’re going to have another child, go ahead and hang onto any extra diapers. Disposable diapers (open and unopened) have no expiration date. However, manufacturers do suggest using up diapers within 2 years of purchase though as the coloring, absorption, and elasticity may suffer over time.
Otherwise, it would be great to donate any extra diapers to a friend, church, food bank, child care center, or other nonprofit organization taking diaper donations versus throwing them out in a landfill.
Figuring out how many diapers your baby needs can seem like an unanswerable calculus question! Averages can give you a great place to start, but it’s important to remember that every baby and situation is unique.
Funds you have on hand to buy diapers, space to store diapers, how fast your child grows, and the actual number of diapers your child goes through can all play a role in the number of diapers you should have on hand.
Your best bet it is to watch your baby’s patterns closely so you’ll know exactly how many diapers you need going forward.