How many cloth diapers you need isn’t a simple math problem. There isn’t one right answer. The amount varies by parent and what works best for each family. But some things you should consider are your baby and their needs, how much you like doing laundry, what type of cloth diapers you use, as well as how much convenience and budget factor in.
The first thing to note when deciding how many cloth diapers you need is how old your child is. Newborns can pee anywhere from every hour to 4-6 times a day. They go through a lot of diapers, commonly 10-15 diapers a day. Infants (6-12 months old) can go through 6-10 diapers a day, while toddlers (12-24 months) may only need their diaper changed 4-7 times a day.
These numbers are just an average guideline. Not every child is the same, and every day won’t be the same either. Some days your baby will go through more cloth diapers than the average baby his age, and some days he’ll go through fewer.
Newborn Min: 36
Infants (6-12 months) Min: 24
Toddlers (12-24 months) Min: 20
Building a cloth diaper stash is a necessity. It may be costly upfront, but you’ll immediately be grateful you have enough cloth diapers to last between washings and to regularly rotate through your stash. This means not having to do a load of cloth diapers every day, which means less wear and tear on your diapers, which extends the life of your cloth diapers. Your cloth diaper stash size can save your sanity during the diaper-wearing days, and it will save you money in the long run.
So how many do you need? If you’re using a one-size diapering system, you want to have 40-50 diapers. Your cloth diapers will last through at least one child’s diapered years at that size. With a large enough stash and the ability to rotate, you should even be able to use your cloth diapers for more than one kid! But if you have a smaller stash, you can expect wear to show sooner (especially in Organic Cotton styles), and excessive wear may necessitate repairing or replacing diapers.
One-Size: 40-50 Diapers
One-Size: 16-20 Diapers
How often you plan on washing your cloth diapers can really be the ultimate determining factor in how many cloth diapers you need. We recommend washing your cloth diapers every two days. That means you want to have enough on hand for two normal days plus any bathroom emergencies. If you have a newborn, you may want to have 25 cloth diapers (10 per day x 2 days + 5 extra emergency diapers), so you’re not washing a load of cloth diapers each day.
This number could also change based on the type of cloth diapers you use. Some cloth diaper systems, like our Hybrid system, require only the absorbent peice to be washed after a single use, so you would need fewer covers than the recommended number of diaper changes we have listed. But having a bigger stockpile means less time spent doing laundry, and you can rotate the cloth diapers so they receive less wear and tear.
Every 2 Days
Newborn: Recommended to have 36 diapers .
So how many cloth diapers do I really need?
While there’s not a universally correct number of cloth diapers, it’s nice knowing roughly how many to get, especially when you don’t know where to start. Having 2-3 days’ worth of diapers is a good starting point. That total will vary on your baby’s age, your laundry habits, and the types of cloth diapers you use, but we recommend a minimum of 36 for newborns, 24 for infants, and 20 for toddlers.
Types of Cloth Diapers
Hybrid Cloth Diapers
Our simple, soft, flexible Hybrid Cloth Diapers are the best hybrid diapers out there. You have your choice of absorbency and closure, and they fit babies and toddlers 8-30+ lbs. If you plan on full-time cloth diapering with our Hybrid system, a bare minimum of 12 Hybrid diaper shells and 24 soaker pads should get you started. Within your child’s first year of life, we recommend increasing to 14-16 shells and 36-45 soaker pads.
Min.: 12 Shells, 24 Soaker Pads
Increase to 14-16 Shells, 36-45 Soaker
AIO & O.N.E. Cloth Diapers
Parents like all-in-one cloth diapers because they’re an easy, one-piece cloth diapering system. We currently have two different types: our organic one-size All In One Cloth Diaper and our one-of-a-kind O.N.E. Diaper. The two vary slightly in their fit, closure, absorbency, and price. But one thing that’s the same is the amount you need. For full-time cloth diapering with our All In One or O.N.E. cloth diapers, 24 is the minimum amount, with 36-45 being optimal.
Full-time AIO/ O.N.E.
If you’re new to cloth diapers, you may want to start out on the minimum end based on your child’s needs and your laundry habits. Then you can slowly start adding more to your supply as you find out what cloth diaper styles work best for your child and your budget.
*The cloth diaper numbers recommended for our Hybrid, AIO, and O.N.E. cloth diapers are based on a per child basis for 2+ years.