How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need? Don’t Get Caught Short

Starting your cloth diaper journey is fun and exciting, but you’ll have tons of questions, such as how many cloth diapers do I need to have.

Cloth diapers save money and look adorable on your child; those fluffy butts are so cute!

It is common for parents to start with a smaller stash of diapers, till they quickly realized it isn’t enough for a young baby. Especially when you don’t want to wash every two days.

Adding more diapers to a total of 30-40 diapers works well for many families, but you have to figure out what works best for your child and family situation.

Figuring out how many cloth diapers do you need to start is tricky, but remember, you can always buy more if you feel like you don’t have enough.

Here is what you need to know to figure out the right number of cloth diapers to buy.

And while you’re here, don’t forget to also check out how many cloth diaper covers and inserts you’ll need and when to start buying diapers!

How Many Cloth Diapers Is Too Many

How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?

The number of cloth diapers you need varies based on each family, how frequently you wash, the different types of cloth diapers you have, and how old your baby is when you start using cloth diapers.

It varies because babies use a different number of diapers as they get older; how many times they use the bathroom changes as they get older.

Here is the general amount of diapers that a baby uses throughout the day.

  • Newborn: 8-12 diapers per day
  • 3-6 Months Old: 6-8 diapers per day
  • 6-12 Months Old: 4-6 diapers per day
  • 12-18 Months Old: 3-4 diapers per day
  • 18 Months or Older: 2-4 diapers per day

As you can see, if you started diapering a toddler, you’ll need fewer diapers than you would if you diaper a newborn baby. These numbers often can be higher; keep these numbers in mind as the lowest amount you want to have available.

In general, having a cloth diaper stash between 30-40 diapers works for most families but base your stash on how many times you want to wash your diapers and the age of your baby.

Here is a helpful ‘How Many Cloth Diapers Per Day By Age Chart’:

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Using Cloth Diapers Full Time

Using cloth diapers full-time means that even your daycare or babysitter agrees to use these diapers. Some daycares refuse to use cloth diapers, so if it’s important to you, make sure to ask this when you interview your daycare center.

We recommended having a minimum stash of 24 diapers to cloth diaper full time, but having up to 36 diapers will ensure you can skip a day of laundry and still have available diapers without worry.

Base your stash on the highest amount of diapers that your baby needs per day, and then add a few more to that number. Having to wash diapers when you have two left is stressful!

Using Cloth Diapers Part-Time

Some parents want to use cloth diapers part-time, and that can look different for everyone. For some parents, that means their daycare center won’t use them, and they don’t want to use cloth diapers at night or when they leave the house.

This isn’t wrong! It’s okay if you only want to use cloth diapers when you’re home. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about cloth diapering part-time.

In this case, a stash of 18-24 diapers should be sufficient. You might get away with having less if your child is older.

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How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need For Daytime Use?

Daytime use is when your baby goes through the most diapers. Most parents change their babies every two hours or more, and they change poop diapers as soon as they are noticed. Older babies urinate fewer times, but the amount is more, so you’ll need to change when you notice that they went to the bathroom.

Aim to have 10-12 diapers available per day for daytime use.

This is especially true if you breastfeed your baby because breastfed babies poop a lot. Some of my breastfed babies pooped after every feeding, so we used up the 12 diapers per day with ease.

How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need For Night-time Use?

Nighttime cloth diapers are a different thing. Newborns and small babies are typically still changed throughout the night so that you might need between 3-5 diapers at night per night. So, if you want to wash diapers every three days, you’ll need between 9-15 nighttime diapers.

As your baby gets older, you’ll start to use heavier diapers that can handle a full night’s use without changing, especially if your baby doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night. No one wants to wake a baby to change their diaper.

In this case, we suggest that you have 3-5 nighttime diapers total.

Other Factors To Consider When Deciding How Many Cloth Diapers You Need

Now that you know the generally recommended amount of cloth diapers you need to have, consider a few other factors that will influence your stash size.

How Often Should You Change Cloth Diapers

It’s best to change cloth diapers every two to three hours. Disposable diapers contain polymer beads that make absorption easier; they absorb 30x their weight in liquid. Cloth diapers aren’t the same and shouldn’t be treated as such.

That doesn’t mean that cloth diapers leak easier! Many parents experience fewer leaks in cloth diapers than disposable diapers, but regular changing prevents leaking and reduces the risk of any rashes or irritation that your baby might experience.

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How Often Do You Wash Cloth Diapers

It’s best to wash your cloth diapers every two to three days. Don’t go beyond three days because urine crystals build up in the cloth, leading to ammonia. Getting rid of ammonia out of diapers once it develops is difficult, and it requires a lengthy process of stripping.

Stripping diapers is no fun, so stick to washing every two to three days. Two days is the safest bet to keep your stash smelling fresh without any problems. Once your baby sleeps through the night, nighttime diapers are potent and shouldn’t sit for longer than two or three days.

That means you need to have three to four days’ worth of diapers available. If you wash every two days, you need to have diapers available for wash day.

How Many Cloth Diapers is Too Many?

Cloth diaper lovers will tell you that it’s impossible to have too many diapers, but they’re wrong. Why waste your money on diapers that you won’t use?

No one needs a week’s worth of cloth diapers – even you. There is little reason to have more than 48 diapers in your stash. That’s four days with the highest amount of diapers you would need for one child.

So, How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Really Need?

We recommend you keep a stash of cloth diapers between 30-40 diapers. For most babies, that is a sufficient amount that will keep everyone happy.

Remember, you can always buy a few more if needed!

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.

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