How Many Cloth Diapers You Need: The Answer!

Determining how many cloth diapers you will need to own depends on a number of factors.

  • How many kids you have or will have.
  • How often you want to do laundry.
  • What is your budget.
  • Will you be cloth diaper exclusive.

Let’s take a look at each factor.

How many kids do you have or will you have?

This may seem obvious, but the number of cloth nappies you need depends on how many kids you have. If your plan or intent is to only have one child in cloth diapers at a time, then you will need fewer diapers than if you have multiple kids in diapers at once.

If you are going to start your newborn in cloth diapers, keep in mind, you will need to also purchase one size diapers that fit from 8lbs and up.

  • Newborn: You should plan to have between 12- 14 diapers per day at this stage, plus 3-4 back ups.
  • Infant: Plan to have 10-12 diapers per day, plus 2-3 back ups.
  • Baby: For this stage you will want 8- 10 diapers per day, plus 1-2 extras for back up.
  • Toddler: Because potty training will occur at some point in this stage, you will need fewer diapers. It is recommended to have 6-8 diapers per day, plus 1-2 extras.

How often do you want to do laundry?

The more cloth diapers you have the less frequently you will need to do a load of laundry. Keep in mind that the more diapers you have in a load, the more wear and tear your washing machine may have.

If your plan is to wash diapers every other day, then you will want to double the numbers above to ensure you have at least a full day worth of diapers on hand each day.

If you want to wash every 3 days, you don’t necessarily need 3 times the number. You should have at least 2 and a half times. This will guarantee that you will have enough diapers to cover your babes bum while the others are washing or drying.

For a detailed guide on how to clean cloth diapers please see our post on Best Ways to Clean Cloth Diapers.

How many cloth diapers you need depends on your budget

Besides being good for the environment, one of the benefits to cloth diapers is that you only have to make the spend once. You don’t need to drop $25-$50 every few weeks to resupply. The cost upfront may cause a bit of sticker shock, but remember you may never have to buy another diaper again.

The amount you will spend depends on which diapers you buy, and how long you plan to go between washes. If you plan to wash every 2nd day, then you will want about 35 diapers. Prices range from $9 all the way to $25. Plan to spend no more than $700 on diapers, at the high end. If you choose to use all pockets you can buy 35 diapers for around $350. Keep in mind, this is your all in price. So while the number may shock you, this is the dollar amount to diaper all of your children because these diapers are reusable.

So the number of diapers you need, depends on how much you want to spend up front.

You do not need to be cloth diaper exclusive

You also do not need to be 100% cloth diapers all the time. There is no need to pick a side in the cloth diaper vs disposable diaper debate. Know when to use cloth diapers, and when to use disposables. The more you tilt towards cloth, the more cloth diapers you need to buy.

You may not need to own any!

If budget isn’t a concern, you may want to consider a diaper service where you rent the cloth diapers. This is an opportunity to ensure you never run out of diapers. You will have the amount you need at home while someone else is washing the dirties. New clean diapers will show up at you door, and the old dirty ones will disappear, bippity-boppity-poo!

How many cloth diaper accessories do you need

  • Wet dry bags: The number of wet dry bags you will need depends on how many days you plan to go between washes. If you plan to wash every 2 days, plan on a minimum of 3 wet dry bags. This will ensure that while the dirty bags are in the wash, you have one on hand for use. It’s not a bad idea to plan to have 2 extras, just in case. The nice things about wet dry bags is they are multi purpose use. Once you’ve ended your cloth diaper journey these bag are great for taking to the pool for wet swim wear. They’re also great for wet pants when potty training kiddos have misses. For more information in wet bags see our Cloth Diaper Wet Bag Complete Overview.
  • Inserts: The number of inserts you want to have on hand, will depend on 2 things: how many pocket and 2 in 1 style diapers you have, and how heavy of a wetter you little one is. If your little one is a heavy wetter, you may want to have extra inserts, and different types on hand.
  • Liners: You will need one insert per diaper. It’s estimated that each of your kids will use approximately 2100 diapers each year. With this number in mind, knowing most kids are in diapers for 2.5-3 years, expect to need around 6300 liners in all. This number will be less if you’re breastfeeding, as those diapers won’t require liners. See our Cloth Diaper Liners Guide for more information on cloth diaper liners.
  • Diaper pail and Diaper pail liners: If you live in a multi level home, it’s best to have one pail for each level. You don’t have to have to remember to take every dirty diaper to the pail on the other level. You’re always not always going to change diapers in the same place. You will want 2 pail liners for each pail you have. One for in the pail, and one will be in the wash. You won’t need extra pail liners though you may want them because of all the cute designs. For more information in cloth diaper pails see our Cloth Diaper Pail Buying Guide.

You only need to buy cloth diapers once

One of the greatest aspects to cloth diapering is you only have to think about the spend once. If you plan to have more than one child, you will be prepared for your second and any subsequent kiddos.

Bottom line: How many cloth diapers do you need depends on you

You can never have enough of these cute adorable printed booties. But you can get by with as few as 25 cloth diapers, or less if you’ll be using disposable diapers too. Owning 35-40 cloth diapers means you won’t stress about your cloth diaper wash routine, as often. But owning that many depends on you being comfortable spending more.

Hope that helps! Happy Fluffing.

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