How Many Cloth Diaper Covers And Inserts Do I Need?

Let’s talk about how many cloth diaper covers and inserts do I need for my reusable diapers.

Switching from disposable diapers to reusable diapers is a big decision. And let’s be honest, when you are first staring out it is a big learning curve.

You may be wondering things like how many cloth diapers do I need and how to wash the diapers so that they don’t stink.

And for many parents choosing to use cloth diapers, it isn’t till they purchase their first box of reusable diapers, that they realized they are going to need more than just one set.

But then comes the part where you need to work out how many reusable diapers do I really need and better yet how many cloth diaper covers do I need?

And let’s not forget how many inserts do I need?

It can be confusing, especially if you are just starting out.

So, let us make your journey to reusable diapers that bit easier with our guide on how many reusable diapers, inserts, and covers that is right for you and your baby.

And if you love this guide on cloth diaper inserts and covers, then you’ll love these guides on best inserts for cloth diapers, types of cloth diapers, and what to do with old cloth diapers.


How Many Cloth Diaper Covers And Inserts Do I Need?

When you start using cloth diapers, you find many different types, such as covers, prefolds, or all-in-one diapers.

So before working out how many diaper covers and insert you need, first, you have to decide which cloth diapers you want to use – it’s okay to use more than one style.

Then, you need to figure out how many reusable diapers you need based on the age of your child and how frequently you want to wash.

Once you have decided on the style of cloth diapers you want to use and the amount you need then you can work out how many cloth diaper covers and inserts you will need.

A good rule of thumb is to plan on a 3:1 ratio of inserts to covers so you have 3 clean inserts to use with every cover.

Though please note that different styles of cloth diaper covers will dry-out quicker and/or can be used longer than others.

Here are some suggestions to help make this easier for you:

How Many Newborn Reusable Diapers, Covers, And Inserts Do I Need?

Newborn babies go through a lot of diapers.

Twelve diapers per day are the average, but any parent can tell you that there are days that their newborn poops six times.

So, when you decide how many reusable diapers you need for a newborn, the number is higher than the number of diapers you need for an older infant.

Let’s look at how many diapers you might need based on the type of diaper you select.

  • Prefolds or Inserts: 24-36 diapers
  • Reusable Covers: 8-12 covers
  • All-in-One or Pocket Diapers: 24-36 diapers

Something to remember is that reusable covers are reusable after your baby soils the inserts. Most parents rinse out the cover and let it dry before reusing it again. Unless your baby has a bad poop, reuse your covers two to three times each.


How Many One-Size Reusable Diapers Do I Need?

Most one-size diapers start around 10lbs, so it might take a month or two before your baby is ready to use this size. If you feel that your one-size reusable diapers don’t adequately fit your 10lb baby it might be worth waiting till your child is closer to the 13lb range before sizing them up.

Gaps around the legs are a no-no, and that happens if you size up too quickly.

By the time you start to use one-size diapers, your baby shouldn’t use the bathroom as often as a newborn, but you still expect plenty of diaper changes per day. Expect to change your baby between 8-10 times per day, and chances are you aren’t changing your baby at night anymore.

Here are how many one-size reusable diapers you need for your infant.

  • Prefolds or Inserts: 20-30 diapers
  • Reusable Covers: 7-10 covers
  • All-in-One or Pocket Diapers: 20-30 diapers

Using Reusable Diapers Full Time

Some parents decide that they want to use reusable diapers full-time, meaning that they use diapers all day at home, at night, at their daycare, and when they leave the house. Not all parents decide on this option; it has to be the right one for your family.

When you use cloth diapers full time, you naturally need more diapers.

We suggest keeping a minimum stash of between 24-36 diapers because you won’t always be able to wash diapers every other day. You might decide to add more diapers if you have a newborn or less if you start with an older infant.

Using Reusable Diapers Part-Time

Using reusable diapers part-time looks different for each family.

Finding daycare centers that allow cloth diapers is tricky, so many working families only use them at home and night. For other families, part-time use might look like disposable diapers while on the go and at night.

The key is to work out what diapering methods work best for you and your family.


What To Consider When Figuring Out How Many Reusable Diapers To Buy

How Often You Want to Wash

When deciding how many reusable diapers do I need, make sure you think about how often you want to wash diapers. Washing cloth diapers, inserts, and covers is far from complicated, but it takes time.

It’s recommended that parents wash diapers every two to three diapers. Never wait longer than three days to wash diapers because urine crystals build up in the diapers, leading to ammonia.

The longer that you want to wait between washing, the more diapers, covers, and inserts you need to have.

We do recommend making sure you have a few extra diapers for laundry day.

If You Use Daycare

Talk to your daycare center to see if they allow the use of cloth diapers. Some centers allow cloth diapers, but you need to discuss ahead of time if this is an important factor for you.

If you use cloth diapers in a daycare setting, you’ll need more diapers than if your center doesn’t allow them. Daycares have regulations about how often diapers need to be changed; it’s typically every two hours, no matter your child’s age. You’re responsible for sending the appropriate amount of diapers to the daycare, along with a few extras, because things happen!

How Often Your Baby Needs to Be Changed

Babies need different amounts of diapers based on how old they are because babies use the bathroom more when they’re younger. Newborn babies use the bathroom more frequently than a toddler.

Here are the minimum diaper changes per age:

  • Newborn: 8-12 diapers
  • 3-6 Months Old: 6-10 diapers
  • 6-12 Months Old: 6-8 diapers
  • 18+ Months Old: 4-6 diapers

Figuring Out How Many Reusable Diapers To Buy

It may take a little time to figure out exactly how many reusable diapers, covers, and inserts for your circumstances.

But a good starting point is between 24-36 diapers and if you find that you don’t have enough diapers to make it to your desired wash day, buy a few more!

Final Thoughts On Cloth Diaper Covers And Inserts

Knowing how many cloth diapers and inserts you need not only ensures that you’re not caught short, but also helps you from overspending on items you don’t need.

We hope this guide has been helpful in deciding how many inserts and cloth diaper covers you really need.

And if you’re looking for more great diapering guides, then check out these guides on best diaper cream for cloth diapers, best washing machines for cloth diapers, best detergents for cloth diapers, and best wet bag for cloth diapers.

how many cloth diaper covers and inserts do I need