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How Many Cloth Diapers

How Many Cloth Diapers to Buy - How Many Cloth Diapers do I Need

How Many Cloth Diapers Question

You've decided to use cloth diapers, learned about the types of cloth diapers and decided on a cloth diaper system. Now there's just one more burning question to answer: How many cloth diapers do I need?

How many cloth diapers to buy depends on a number of factors and will vary from family to family. But don't worry; we've got all the information you need to find out how many cloth diapers YOU need!

How Many Cloth Diapers Depends on Laundry

Cloth diapers get dirty and need to be washed - frequently. How many cloth diapers you need will depend on how often you plan to wash them. Although many cloth diapering families do cloth diaper laundry every day, most wash their cloth diapers every two to three days. If you plan to wash your diapers less often you will obviously need a larger stash, but never let your diapers sit in the diaper pail for more than three days because they'll end up stinky and stained. To determine how many cloth diapers to buy, take the number of diapers your child needs per day and multiply that by the number of days you plan to go between washes. Then add a couple extras to have on hand for emergencies because many children will wait until all of their diapers are in the washer to have a major blow-out. How do they know?

How Many Cloth Diapers Depends on Schedule

How many cloth diapers you need to buy depends on whether you use cloth diapers full time or part time. Most cloth diapering families use cloth diapers exclusively, although some choose to use disposables at night. If you're not able to use cloth diapers all the time because of child care or other reasons, you may choose to cloth diaper part time and fill in with disposables the rest of the time. In this case, how many cloth diapers you need will depend on how much of the time you use cloth and how much you use disposables.

How Many Cloth Diapers Needed for Full Time

Most cloth diaper experts agree that the preferred number of cloth diapers in a full-time stash is 18 - 20 diapers and 5 - 6 covers. These numbers will vary a little depending on your child's age and how often you plan to wash.

How Many Cloth Diapers Needed for Part Time

Starting out with 9-10 cloth diapers and 3 covers will allow for cloth diapering about 50% of the time. You can adjust up or down from there as needed for your own particular schedule. Keep in mind that although your diaper pail may not fill up completely your cloth diapers still need to be washed at least every three days.

How Many Cloth Diapers Depends on Age

How many cloth diapers you need to buy will depend on the age of your child. Newborns need to be changed very frequently, but as they grow and slowly become toddlers they gradually require fewer diaper changes and a smaller cloth diaper stash. The numbers suggested here assume that you will be washing about every other day; if you plan to wash more or less often you will need to adjust the numbers. How Many Cloth Diapers for Newborn

How Many Cloth Diapers Needed for Newborns

Newborns need the most cloth diapers, about 10 - 12 each 24 hour period. Since newborns are on a completely liquid diet they wet very often and have more "blowouts" than older babies. Breastfeeding newborns are especially prone to blowouts due to the soft consistency of their poop. Fortunately as newborns grow older their digestive tract develops, and as solids are added to their diet they will need fewer diaper changes and a smaller cloth diaper stash. A newborn stash containing 24-30 diapers will allow for two days of changes plus a couple extra diapers "just in case". If you're using fitteds or prefolds you'll need at least 7 - 8 diaper covers.

How Many Cloth Diapers Needed for Six to Eighteen Months

How Many Cloth Diapers for Infants By six months of age most babies begin to wet less frequently and may even develop a recognizable pattern of pooping. Some babies are also sleeping through the night and don't need middle-of-the-night changes, so 6- 8 diapers per 24 hours are generally enough. At the same time older babies are becoming more active and the cloth diaper system that worked so well up to this point may not work as well. An active child needs a diaper that is flexible, contains leaks, and can be changed quickly. If your newborn stash was mostly prefolds you may want to consider switching to fitted diapers, and use the prefolds as burp cloths, puddle pads or changing pads. A stash of about 18 diapers should be adequate. Remember that if you're using fitteds or prefolds you won't need as many covers as diapers; 5-6 covers is probably enough.

How Many Cloth Diapers Needed for Eighteen Months through Potty Learning

How Many Cloth Diapers for Toddlers As promised, the number of diapers your child needs diminishes as your child grows older. Around this time you may find that 5 - 6 diapers are enough for a 24 hour period. Once your toddler begins using the toilet your stash can be reduced even more if you replace diapers with training pants during the day and only use cloth diapers at night. At this point a stash of 12 cloth diapers will probably be big enough, however until your child masters potty learning you may find your training pant stash growing!

Keep in mind that you can always collect a stash larger than those listed here! In fact, having a larger stash means that you will have more diapers in rotation and may help keep your cloth diapers in better condition than if they were being used and washed several times a week. But be careful that your stash doesn't get so big that your diapers are sitting in the diaper pail longer because the urine will break down your diapers fibers - and they'll stink.

What do I Need Besides Cloth Diapers?

You've figured out how many cloth diapers you need, but you're not done yet! There are still numerous additional cloth diapering products to make using cloth diapers easier and more fun. Check these out and consider adding them to your shopping list:

  • Doublers: If your child is a heavy wetter you'll want at least one doubler for every diaper in your stash.
  • Diaper Pail: You can use one made for diapers or any container with a lid. You'll also have to decide if you want to use it wet or dry.
  • Pail Liner: Lining your diaper pail keeps it from smelling and makes transporting dirty diapers to the washer much easier. Some families hang a liner from a doorknob by its hanging strap and skip the diaper pail.
  • Cloth Wipes: Two to three dozen cloth wipes will be enough for diapering, but they're so handy you may want double that number!
  • Microfleece Liners: These provide a dry feeling for your child's bottom, and since solid poop won't stick to it so clean-up is easier. You can purchase some, buy doublers with a microfleece top, or make your own from microfleece you find in a local fabric shop. The edges won't ravel so you don't need to know how to sew; just cut into the right size and you're done! They can be washed with your cloth diapers.

How Many Cloth Diapers do Others Recommend?

Check out how many cloth diapers other experts say you'll need:


Happy Cloth Diapering!

Amy Sue

Amy S. Nogar - Owner Zany Zebra Designs, LLC
Cloth Diapering Expert and Advocate

How Many Cloth Diapers

How Many Cloth Diapers to Buy - How Many Cloth Diapers do I Need

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