How Many Diapers Do You Need For Your Newborn?

Although your baby may need many diapers, stocking up on too many may not be helpful.

Reviewed by Kay Lakka, MSc Kay Lakka Kay LakkaMSc facebook_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon Specialty: Perinatal psychotherapyExperience: 20 years
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A baby’s arrival brings along a ton of responsibilities and duties. One of them is changing diapers, which brings us to the question — how many diapers does a newborn need?

Babies may soil their diapers occasionally at first, but once you establish breastfeeding, the number of soiled diapers increases. According to statistics, babies may use up to 2,000 to 3,000 diapers a year. It makes knowing the number of diapers for you to be ready all the more important (1).

Read on to know about the baby’s diaper requirements, including how many you may need and tips for stocking diapers.

Factors That Affect The Number Of Diapers You Need

It is essential to know the factors that could affect the number of diapers your baby will need before deciding the number of diapers you will need in a day.

1. Frequency of diaper changes

The baby could soil only one to three diapers a day for the first four to five days of their life (2). It is because their digestive system is adjusting to the digestion of breast milk.  You will require at least six diaper changes from the fifth day, and the number of soiled diapers will increase gradually.

Once your baby is a week old, the frequency will increase to ten diapers a day, although some may soil up to 12 diapers per day (3). It is essential to know the likely frequency of soiled diapers, especially during the initial weeks and months, to determine the number of diapers you will need.

2. Baby’s diet

Formula-fed babies mostly have fewer soiled diapers in a day than breastfed infants (4). The reason is that formula takes longer to digest than breast milk, and breastfed babies need frequent feeds (5). Breastfeeding is the best choice since it has several benefits for the mother and the baby. Nevertheless, if you intend to formula-feed, you may cut down on a few diapers.

3. Diaper size and fit

You will need to pick the right diaper size and fit based on the baby’s age and weight. A diaper with an incorrect fit could require frequent changes. For instance, a diaper smaller than the one baby requires may not have adequate absorbency, leading to frequent diaper changes. Similarly, a larger diaper could leak from the sides, causing you to change it often.

Therefore, picking the right diaper size as per your baby’s age and weight ensures you buy the number of diapers you need and not in excess. You can learn about the right diaper size for your baby’s age and weight in our diaper size and weight chart guide.

4. Disposable diaper brand or type

Some disposable diaper brands or types offer better absorbency than others and may require you to change fewer diapers a day. You may pick a type or brand of disposable diapers based on your personal preferences or what works the best for your little one.

Beyond these significant factors, several other factors, such as baby’s health, fluid intake, and the type of solid food consumed in the case of older babies, could influence the number of diapers you will need in a day.

How Many Diapers Do You Need In A Day?

Below are the likely number of diapers you will need per day and month as per the baby’s age.

Baby’s AgeDiapers Per DayDiapers Per Month
Newborn to 1 month12360
1 to 5 months10300
5 to 9 months8240
9 to 12 months7210
12 to 18 months5150
18 to 24 months4120

Note: These are the approximate number of disposable diapers you may likely need per day and month. Each baby is different, and their diaper requirements could vary. 

Should You Use Cloth Diapers?

You may use cloth diapers as an alternative to disposable diapers or in conjunction with disposable diapers. Cloth diapers may offer the following key benefits and advantages for parents and the baby (6) (7).

  • Cloth diapers could be more breathable than disposable diapers and may reduce the risk of diaper rashes in some babies. Cloth diapers may also not contain any harsh chemicals.
  • Since cloth diapers are reusable after a wash, you generate less waste, making them environment-friendly.
  • There are several types of cloth diapers available at different prices. Even if you pick an expensive cloth diaper, you may save money in the long run since you do not have to buy diapers frequently.
  • Research indicates that cloth diapers may lead to earlier and better potty training since the baby can sense a soiled cloth diaper more easily than a soiled disposable diaper. Even if you do not have the time to potty train your baby, there is no need to rush. Waiting until a child is old enough to ask for or go to the potty by itself would suit you better as early potty training is usually a process called elimination training, where the baby is sat on the potty at regular intervals.

Cloth diapers could be an ideal choice when dressing the baby at home, while you may dress the baby in disposable diapers when going outdoors. You may learn more about the types, benefits, and usage of cloth diapers here.

How Many Cloth Diapers Do You Need?

You will ideally need the same number of cloth diapers a day as disposable diapers. However, cloth diapers may not offer the same absorbency as disposable diapers. It may cause you to change cloth diapers more frequently than disposable diapers, increasing the number of cloth diapers you need in a day. The following factors may influence how many extra cloth diapers you may need.

  • How absorbent are the diapers?
  • How frequently can you wash the diapers?
  • How quickly do they dry?

As a general rule, you may stock twice the number of cloth diapers than the number of disposable diapers. Thus, if your newborn needs ten disposable diapers a day, you may stock 20 cloth diapers for a day.

Tips On How To Stockpile Diapers

Below are some general suggestions that may help you stockpile diapers efficiently and save money (8).

  1. Don’t buy too many initially: Avoid stockpiling too many diapers before your baby is born or right when they arrive at home. Your baby requires very few diapers initially, and it could take a week for their diaper-soiling habits to stabilize. Also, your baby will put on about two pounds (907 grams) each month for the first three months (9). You may end up not using the diapers since they may not fit the baby. Therefore, wait for a month before stockpiling a large number of diapers to save money and prevent wastage.
  1. Purchase the most used diaper size in bulk: Once your baby’s soiling habits have stabilized or become predictable, purchase a diaper of a size that the baby is likely to use for a long time. Most babies need a size 1 diaper from the end of their first month to four months. The diaper size 2 may last a few months, and size 3 may fit for four to five months. Once your baby is 12 months old, the diaper may fit them until 18 months. Thus, purchase only those diaper sizes in bulk that will fit your baby for a long time. You may check the diaper manufacturer’s age recommendation for a diaper size and purchase accordingly.
  1. Pick cloth diapers that grow with the baby: There are cloth diapers that adjust to the baby as they grow older. You may prefer cloth diapers that can expand as your baby grows older. It saves you money and also prevents the hassle of purchasing new cloth diapers. Also learn how to fold the diaper to best fit either a boy or girl. There are different ways of folding the diaper to fit.
  1. Do not hesitate to experiment with brands: Each disposable and cloth diaper brand could offer different absorbency levels and cleaning options. Experiment with them to find the one that works the best for you and your baby. You may read more about the best diaper brands here.
  1. Look for sales or subscriptions: Since you will buy disposable diapers for several months now, plan your purchases to find the best deals or discounts during sales. Several stores and online websites offer subscription options to receive a monthly refill at a discounted rate. Considering you may need up to 3,000 diapers a year, you could save substantial money by choosing a subscription-based purchase model.
  1. Check coupons and brand reward programs: Picking discount coupons and enrolling in brand reward programs are great ways of saving money on disposable diapers. You may learn more about any existing reward program on the brand’s website.
  1. Exchange unused ones: Several exclusive maternity stores or online portals may exchange sealed and unused diapers for new ones. You may buy diapers from these places to prevent wastage of diapers and money. In most cases, you may exchange the diaper for a new size for your baby.
  1. Check diaper banks in your region: Diaper banks provide diapers for free or discounted prices for families who may be unable to afford disposable diapers. You may find out about diaper banks in your region, their diaper programs, and eligibility criteria to get diapers at a lower price or free.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long should I use newborn diapers?

How long a baby wears newborn diapers is determined by their weight. In general, babies can wear newborn diapers until they weigh 10 pounds, which can be a few weeks for some babies or one to three months for others.

2. Can size 1 diapers be used on a newborn?

Yes. If your baby weighs around 8–14 lbs at birth, they can start wearing size 1 diapers immediately. Otherwise, babies usually move to size 1 diapers at around four weeks.

3. How do I tell when it’s time to change a diaper?

A baby may require 8–12 diaper changes per day (10), so check for wet or soiled diapers every one or two hours. Also, if you notice your baby is fussy or making faces or if you smell poop or ammonia, it could be time for a diaper change.

Diapers are a significant part of your baby care kit, at least for the first couple of years of the baby’s life. There are different types of diapers available, and you may pick the ones that work the best for you and your baby. As your baby grows older and their diet becomes varied, their toilet habits will become predictable, making it easier to determine how many diapers you need per day.

Infographic: A Guide On Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapers are environment-friendly, so many parents either use them with disposables or make a complete transition. If you are one of those parents who wants to explore the option of cloth diapering, keep this infographic handy to get valuable insights as you begin this journey.

how many diapers do you need for your newborn [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Studies have shown that newborns need around 10–12 diapers daily.
  • The frequency of diaper change and the baby’s diet affect the number of diapers required.
  • Cloth diapers can be reused, and they decrease the risk of skin rashes.
  • Tips on stockpiling diapers, such as picking adjustable cloth diapers, are given below.


1. Diaper Rash; Boston Children’s Hospital
2. Breastfeeding; John Hopkins Medicine
3. Baby’s Daily Needs: What to Expect; University of Michigan
4. Your Child’s Checkup: Newborn; Brenner Children’s Hospital
5. Feeding Your Newborn; Brenner Children’s Hospital
6. Diapers: Disposable or Cloth?; American Academy of Pediatrics
7. Cloth Diapers: Truth, Facts and Benefits for Infant and Family; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
8. Buying Diapers; American Academy of Pediatrics
9. The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months; Stanford Children’s Health
10. Changing Diapers; American Academy of Pediatrics
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Kay Lakka
Kay Lakka is the founder of Londontherapy, a busy psychological practice in the center of London. She holds a BSc (hons) in psychology and MSc in the psychodynamics of human development and has numerous post graduate diplomas including advanced psychotherapy, guidance through dreams, and psychosexual relationship counseling.

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