Cloth Diapering: How Many Diapers to Buy

How many diapers?

How many diapers?

How many cloth diapers do you need? That’s a good question. We’re 8 months into cloth diapering, and I have some pearls of wisdom to share my personal experience as well as from all the other blogs and YouTube videos and webpages I’ve stumbled across.

If you’re doing diaper laundry every other day:

  • For a newborn: 24 diapers & 6 covers. Prefold diapers are the best! They are a really good, inexpensive place to start cloth diapering with a newborn. You just fold them in thirds and place them in a diaper cover. Don’t waste your money on cheap Gerber prefolds. Get Diaper Service Quality (DSQ), either OsoCosy brand Better Fit diapers or Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-eez brand. Remember that the more diapers you have, the longer they will last for your child. The fewer you have, the more quickly they will lose their fluffiness and start breaking down (the snaps, the velcro, the elastic, the stitching, the waterproofing, etc.). Change the diaper as soon as it is soiled or wet (at least every 2 hours). You’ll be changing diapers about 12 times a day at first for a newborn, so 24 diapers is a good stash. BumRite Diapers has a “Get Started in Cloth” package that is absolutely perfect and affordable for newborns (in my opinion). Thirsties Duo Wrap covers are my favorites.
  • For a older baby: 18 diapers & 4 covers. You’ll go through about 8 diapers changes a day and you’ll have fewer poop blow-outs when your baby adds solid foods to their diet, so you don’t need as many diapers or covers. Once your baby is around 11 pounds, the pocket diapers and fitted diapers will also fit them better. We have 12 GroVia hybrid covers with 24 cotton snap-in soakers as well as 12 OsoCozy prefolds and Thirsties Duo Wrap covers. I know, I know, that’s more than 18 diapers total. I have extra diapers for a few reasons. The first is that I have an extra stash of GroVia Hybrids at work for my childcare provider to use. I also have extra diapers in my diaper bag and in my husband’s diaper bag in our respective cars. The third reason is that my husband loves the GroVia Hybrids and I love the prefolds and covers, so we alternate between the two styles. Sometimes you just need extra diapers.
  • Get 3 nighttime diapers for your baby (either 3 pocket diapers with microfiber inserts and hemp doublers, or three fitted diapers with diaper covers). This way, you have 2 nights of diapers plus an extra diaper in case your baby poops in the middle of the night and you need to change the diaper. I have 7 nighttime diapers (because I’m a cloth diaper nerd), but 3 is really just fine. I have four BumGenius 4.0 diapers as well as two hand-me-down pocket diapers from CC Bums and 1 fitted diaper from SootheBaby. The CC Bums diapers are my absolute favorites. I stuff them with a microfiber insert plus a Joey Bunz doubler and put a Thirsties Duo Wrap size 2 over the top, and it’s a leakproof combo that doesn’t stink. The BumGenius 4.0 diapers are for my husband, and he does pretty well with them, though I dream about replacing them with Fuzzibunz Elite pocket diapers. I stuff them with the toddler microfiber insert that comes with the diaper and a Joey Bunz hemp doubler.

Other useful accessories that I love:

  • 24-36 GroVia cloth wipes (wet them with plain, old-fashioned water to wipe your baby’s bum and then just toss them in the wet bag and wash with your diapers)
  • 1 GroVia Magic Stick (it’s cloth diaper safe and is amazing for diaper rash)
  • 2 Snappis (used in place of diaper pins, and so each to use, even your partner can do it)
  • 2 hanging wet bags (KangaCare) or diaper pail liners (PlanetWise)
  • 1 smaller wet bag for your diaper bag (Bummis, PlanetWise, or GroVia)
  • 4 doublers for naps and nighttime (the OsoCozy Better Fit infant prefolds work great, and I also love the BabyKicks Joey Bunz hemp doublers)
  • BumGenius Diaper Sprayer for the toilet
  • Diaper pail with a lid(optional)

We live in a small house, so we literally didn’t have room for a diaper pail or a billion diapering accessories. The KangaCare wet bag hangs from the bedroom doorknob within easy reach of the dresser we use as a changing table, and I love it! It fits about 14 diapers, which is the perfect size for 1 load of diaper laundry. It’s also made from a material that is eventually compostable, which I thought was pretty responsible of them. I have one hanging to dry while I’m using the other one for the day’s diapers.

I bought most of my stash from BumRite Diapers, and filled in the blanks with stuff from Amazon.com. Now that Emily is 16 pounds, she’s going to the next size up, and I just ordered a dozen Cloth-eez organic prefolds (red border), 1 medium Imse Vimse wool cover, and 1 Babee Greens medium merino wool cover for her (I love wool covers!) from Green Mountain Diapers. The Thirsties Duo Wrap size 1 covers are going to be retired soon, but the GroVia Hybrids have fit her since she was 8 pounds, and should fit her through potty training! You can also buy used diapers from diaperswappers, craigslist, and eBay.