Guide on How to buy Baby Diapers 2023

How many diapers do you need? What size diapers should your child be wearing? Is your little one going through a normal amount of diapers in a day? 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.

How Many Diapers A Day Chart

how many diapers per day by age chart
How many diapers per day by age chart

Diaper Size Chart for Disposable Diapers

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.

Diaper Sizing for Cloth Diapers

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.

How Many Diapers Do You Need?

Babies go through a lot of wet and soiled diapers during those first few weeks.

To prepare for this phenomenon, most parents build a stockpile of diapers before baby arrives. This can be an overwhelming task for both seasoned and first-time parents, and there are many factors to consider when stocking up, such as baby’s weight, diaper fit, and finances.

It’s easy to get carried away while shopping for baby in pure pregnant bliss. But understanding what baby will actually need, versus purchasing a room-full of newborn diapers at the first sight of a sale, is essential.

You may be wondering: Should you add diapers to your registry, or purchase them yourself? How quickly do babies outgrow the smallest diaper size? What if you decide one style is better than another and experience stockpiler’s remorse? How many newborn diapers do you actually need? Should you stock up on larger diapers as well?

To discover the answers and more, read on.

Hopefully, you’ve already made the decisive disposable or cloth diaper choice. If you haven’t, you’ll need to plan for this. You simply cannot stockpile what you haven’t yet decided you’ll use. 

Parents who chose to use disposable diapers quickly understand how a baby can go through about 3,000 disposables in their first year alone. Experienced parents may already have loyalty to one brand, but for first-time parents, the many options are eye-opening. 

People will often give the gift of newborn diapers at baby showers, though most newborns gain about 3 pounds during the first month and babies born with a higher birth weight tend to skip this diaper size altogether.

Remember: You can register for different sizes, but make sure you have enough storage space to accommodate them. If your free space is limited, don’t stock up on more than two sizes at once, or ask for gift cards instead.

To stock up on disposable diapers, you can use the following chart as a guide. Keep in mind that all babies are different, and these numbers are just an estimate to help you prepare.

a. Starting out

You can always start small. Try stockpiling no larger than size 1, just in case you don’t like the first brand you try.

Once you get a feel for fit, cost, brand, and size, go ahead and purchase more — up to an entire year’s worth or more of diapers. Keep in mind your own baby’s weight and rate of gain when planning. Never pay full price for diapers unless it’s an emergency (more on saving on diapers below).

Keep in mind that different brands may work better or worse for different babies, so be open to trying a few different diapers before you decide on the right ones for you. Sometimes a diaper that costs a little more is a better fit and works better, making it worth the extra money.

b. Frequency of changes

You should change your baby’s diaper every time they urinate or have a bowel movement, or at least every 2 to 3 hours.

About 8 percent of parents report changing diapers less frequently to make their supply last longer, according to a 2013 survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, making those last few diapers last just a little longer can ultimately lead to diaper rashes and yeast infections.
Sizing up

If your baby’s weight overlaps two different diaper sizes, it’s generally best to go with the larger size diaper.

You’ll know it’s time for a larger size when you see baby’s skin is irritated, red, or marked due to the elastic leg openings digging into baby’s legs or waist and/or it becomes difficult to close the diaper over the stomach.

Ideally, two fingers should fit between the diaper waistband and baby’s stomach and one finger between baby’s leg and the diaper’s leg elastic. The top of the diaper’s waistband should be at least two inches below baby’s belly button. Diapers that sit too low on baby’s back will be more prone to “blowouts.”

Another indicator that a larger size is needed is leaking diapers. If the diaper can’t contain the moisture between changes your little one might be ready for the next size up.

c. Cloth diapers

Parents who chose the cloth diapering method should have at least 20 newborn diapers on hand. It may sound excessive and expensive (albeit, a one-and-done expense), but we promise it’s a reasonable number to stockpile.

One of the bonus features of cloth diapers is that many styles that fit newborns will also be adjustable to fit your baby as they grow — even up through the potty training years.

You should wash no more than 12 to 18 cloth diapers at a time. Some families have as many as 24, or as few as 14 cloth diapers in each size, depending on the amount of laundering they are prepared and willing to do.

There are also parents who ultimately use cloth diapers yet choose to use disposable diapers for the first month, due to the heightened number of diaper changes during that time, or for on-the-go or babysitter backup.

d. Wipes

Exactly how many wipes will you need per diaper change? That depends. A single change may take as few as 1 or as many as 10 wipes.

If we average it out to five wipes per change (generously speaking) and consider 3,000 diapers changed in the first year, you’re looking at about 15,000 total wipes. If there are 100 wipes in a package, you’ll purchase about 150 packs of wipes before your baby is potty trained. If one package is about $ 10, that’s $ 1,500 total, so buying in bulk may be a great way to cut costs.

If you have the space to stockpile wipes, go for it. Otherwise, you should always have at least two to three extra packs of wipes on hand. You will always find uses for wipes, even long after your diapering days. Nowadays, you may even want to consider a bigger stockpile of wipes in case of natural disasters and emergencies.

Alternatively, you can opt for reusable wipes, which can be used with water or a cleansing spray designed for diaper changing, and may cut down on costs.

Other diaper tips

a. 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.

b. 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.

c. 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.

d. 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!

e. Start small

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.

f. Prevent leaks

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!

g. 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.

h. Consider the environment

Regular disposable diapers are not biodegradable diapers, 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.

g. 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.

Wrapping It Up

All babies are different. When deciding which type of diaper and how many to purchase, ask other parents in your life which brands they prefer and why.

Whether you use disposable or cloth diapers, no matter diaper size or brand, having a smart stockpile on hand can save you money and stress and help you feel more at ease and prepared for your baby’s arrival.

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