How Many Diapers Do I Need? A New Parent’s Guide to How Many Diapers and Their Cost

It is a given that your baby will go through a lot of diapers in their lifetime, but you may be asking yourself just how many?

The average baby will use over 2000 diapers in their first year and most will use some form of diaper until their 3rd year.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The links below may be affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.

As you get to know your baby and get used to your daily routine, you will soon get to know how many diapers you need to buy each week.

If, however, you are unsure how to get started, this handy guide will give you insight into how many diapers your baby will need, what type of diapers you may want to buy, and the cost of diapers. 

What type of diaper should I buy? 

Before you head to the grocery store and buy a lot of diapers it is important to research what type of diaper to buy. You will find there are different sizes of diapers made from different materials and for very different prices.

This means that if you do not do your research you may end up with a stockpile of diapers that are of no use when your baby arrives. 

To ensure you don’t have a surplus you can just buy a few of the first size of diapers and tell friends and family who may buy you diapers as part of a baby shower gift to buy in different sizes too.

If you are planning on adding diapers to your registry make sure you plan for a plan to buy a range of sizes and be sure to check out the actual diaper you will be adding to your list so you know what they look and feel like.

If you feel undecided it is best to wait and see what type of diaper works best for you in practice.

Common brands of diapers include Huggies, Pampers, Mum and You, and Yoona.

Babi Our, Little Lamb, and Green Cheeks are all popular brands of cloth diapers if you are thinking of using them instead of disposable diapers. 

Size

The first thing that you are likely to have thought about when it comes to disposable diapers is what size to buy first.

Follow this guide:

Premature—for babies under 5 lbs

Newborn—this diaper size will fit babies up to 9 lbs

Size 1—up to 14 lbs

Size 2—up to 18 lbs

Size 3—up to 27 lbs

Size 4—up to 38 lbs

After this stage, you may move on to training pants/Pull-Ups so the weight will vary. 

Material

There are two main types of diapers to consider: disposable and cloth. The average baby will go through 700 diapers in the first 3 months of life, which means a lot of diapers go into the trash.

While disposable diapers are easy to use and can be more hygienic, as they are quickly thrown away, they are not necessarily good for the environment.

Buying cloth diapers means that you can re-use your diapers which can save money in the long run but the initial cost may be more.

While you will use money and power when cleaning and drying cloth diapers, studies show that they are more eco-friendly.

If your baby suffers from diaper rash, cloth diapers can be kinder on the skin.

Many people who want to try cloth diapers will do so in the first month and then move on to disposable diapers as they plan more days away from home and the number of diapers required per day reduces.

If you do choose cloth diapers you will want to keep a reserve of cloth diapers in case of emergency. 

Price

Depending on what size and material you buy the cost of diapers will vary. There are diapers to suit all budgets and you may find that the most expensive brand on the market is not necessarily the best for your baby.

Premium diapers are often made from organic materials and are eco-friendly.

If you can afford the most environmentally friendly brand it is a bonus but it is not always an option for some parents.

You can generally save money by buying diapers in bulk from the grocery store.

When you first try a new brand you should buy a small packet in case they are not a good fit but once you and your baby are happy with them you can buy in larger boxes. 

How often do I change my baby’s diaper?

Your newborn baby will go through between 8 and 10 diapers per day in the first few weeks of life. The reason for the frequent change is that they have a very small bladder and will feed often.

As your baby gets older and their bladder grows they will gradually need to change less often—around 5-6 times per day in the first six months.

After 6 months, you may reduce the number of diapers that your baby uses even further. 

The numbers are an estimate and you will find that some babies urinate and poo less or more often. On average you will change your baby’s diaper every 2-3 hours.

It is important to carry out regular checks as you may not necessarily smell a wet diaper and your baby may not cry every time they poo.

You should not be tempted to leave a slightly wet diaper but you may risk causing dry and chapped skin on your baby’s bum and diaper rash is not something your baby wants to experience. 

When should I change diaper sizes?

Just as you will get into a routine of how many diapers to buy for your baby, you will soon realize that you need to buy the next diaper size.

You will be regularly weighing your baby at a clinic or your doctor’s surgery so will know when your baby is growing and may need to move up to the next diaper size.

You can look at how the diaper fits and if there are any marks on your baby where there are signs that the diaper size you have is now too small.

Babies come in all shapes and sizes but, as a rough guide, your baby will stay in each size of diaper for the below length of time:

Premature—until they reach 5 lbs or over

Newborn—1 month or less

Size 1—3 months

Size 2—3 months

Size 3—3 months or more

Size 4—up until your baby is ready to potty train

Training pants—until wet day and night

It is worth noting that if you have a boy then they may move up the size table more quickly than their female counterparts.

Parents of boys believe that they go through more diapers than when they have had girls due to the number of natural accidents when changing diapers.

You can try to cut down on waste by covering your baby when changing to catch any accident spraying. 

How many diapers do I need for each stage?

Taking everything into account with size, material, and cost, you will need roughly the following number of diapers for your baby:

Premature—8-12 changes per day—totaling 120-160 diapers per month

Newborn—8-12 changes per day—totaling 240-320 diapers per month

Size 1—6—8 changes per day—totaling 230-270 per day

Size 2—6—8 changes per day—totaling 230-270 per day

Size 3—4-6 changes per day—totaling 120-170 per day

Size 4—3-5 changes per day—totaling 80-100 per month

Potty training—approximately 80 diapers per month 

If you are using cloth diapers having approximately 24 diapers so that you can wash and dry easily.

You can limit yourself to fewer diapers if you can wash and dry quickly, which will save on your initial cost.

Once you move out of each stage of cloth diaper you can donate to friends or a local diaper library so they will never go to waste. 

While each baby varies in terms of how many diapers they will need during their early years, this guide will give you an idea of how many you will need at each stage.

You can use the guide to stockpile early on if you know for certain that you will like a certain brand or you can add boxes of each size to your gift registry.

Diaper SizeWeightNumber per dayLength of time in this sizeTotal number of diaper 
PrematureUp to 5 lbs12Up until due date160
NewbornUp to 9 lbs121 month320
Size 1Up to 18 lbs83 months270
Size 2Up to 27 lbs83 months270
Size 3Up to 38 lbs63+ months170
Size 4No limit51 year+100
Training pantsToddler/pre-school2-36 months+80

Sharing is caring!