If you're thinking about cloth diapers, you might wonder how many cloth diapers do I need? We're going to cover all of that right now!
How many cloth diapers do I need?
First, you’ll have to decide what type of cloth diapering system you'll be using. If you don't know about the different types of cloth diapers, just read my post to compare and contrast your diapering options.
Next, you'll need to decide how often you want to do laundry. If you can wash every day then you don’t need as many cloth diapers. Most people (myself included) will tell you to wash every other day – this keeps the stink factor to a minimum. I wouldn’t ever try to push it past every 3 days unless it was really necessary.
If you are planning to start with a newborn you’ll probably need about 36 newborn cloth diapers (meaning pockets or all in ones, if you're choosing prefolds you'd need 36 prefolds and maybe 4 covers per day). Newborns pee and poop all. the. time. Most go through about 12 diapers per day so you’ll need at least 24 and then some to wear while the laundry is going. Most one-size cloth diapers (abbreviated as OS most times) don’t start to fit until 8 (more like 10) pounds so you’ll likely need specific diapers for the newborn stage unless you just want to use disposables until your baby fattens up a bit and fits in OS diapers.
Older babies go through about 6-10 diapers a day. Keep in mind that cloth diapers should be changed about every 2 hours during the day. There are heavy duty or pocket diapers that you can stuff with more absorbent materials (hemp doublers, etc) for naptime and overnight though. Another thing to think about - the smaller your stash of diapers is the more use each one will get. That means if you only have 20 diapers and they are washed every other day then each one will get washed over 150 times per year. So, don't be mad at anyone if your diaper doesn't last through 3 kids. I'd say 24 cloth diapers would get you through washing every other day or so.
What else do you need?
Depending on the cloth diapering system that you choose you may need things like:
Pins, Snappis, or Boingos: These are products that will hold the prefolds, flats, or fitteds on your baby.Wetbags: These are waterproof bags that come in a slew of different sizes – some that you can carry with you in your diaper bag, some that hang off a doorknob or your changing table. Basically, it’s a bag to hold your dirty diapers until wash day. And, on wash day turn it inside out and throw it in with your diapers.
Pail liners: These are waterproof bags that go inside your diaper pail to store your dirty diapers until wash day. On wash day, turn it inside out and wash it with your diapers. You’ll want 2 of these – that way when one is in the wash you’ll have the other to use.
Cloth Diaper Safe Creams: Regular diaper creams (i.e. Desitin, A&D, other zinc containing creams) are NOT cloth diaper safe. I repeat, these creams are NOT cloth diaper safe. The whole purpose of these creams is to create a moisture barrier, so if you slab that on your baby and then put him in a cloth diaper it will coat your diaper and make it repel (read: LEAK). There are cloth diaper safe creams available like That’s BALM! BABY, CJ’s BUTTer, and the Grovia Magic Stick, among others.
Cloth wipes: These are optional of course, but it makes good sense to use them. That way when you are done wiping up a mess you don’t have to fish the disposable wipe out and throw it in a separate trash can. You can cut up receiving blankets or use baby wash cloths as wipes if you'd like to save money.
Now that you know how many cloth diapers you'll need,
check out my other cloth diapering posts:
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