Getting Started with Cloth Diapers: How Many Do You Really Need?

Are you considering making the switch to cloth diapers but feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of figuring out how many you'll need to get started? Fear not! Transitioning to cloth diapers is easier than you might think, and determining the right quantity to begin with is simpler than it seems. Let's break it down step by step.

Understanding Your Needs

The number of cloth diapers you'll need depends on various factors, including:

1. Age of the Baby: Newborns typically require more frequent diaper changes compared to older babies. As babies grow, they tend to wet less frequently.

2. Washing Routine: How often do you plan to do laundry? This will influence the number of diapers you need to have on hand. 

3. Type of Cloth Diapers: Different types of cloth diapers (prefolds, all-in-ones, pocket diapers, covers, etc.) have varying absorbency levels and number of uses per wash, which can affect how many you need.

Basic Guidelines

While the specific number varies from baby to baby and family to family, you can generally take the number of diapers needed per age range and multiply it by the number of days you intend to go between washes. Here is a general guideline to get you started assuming you wash every 2-3 days:

1. Newborn Stage (0-3 months): During this stage, babies tend to go through 8-12 diapers per day. Considering this frequency, having around 24-36 cloth diapers is advisable to ensure you have enough to rotate between laundry days.

2. Infant Stage (3-12 months): As your baby grows, they may require fewer diaper changes, averaging around 6-10 diapers per day. Having approximately 18-24 cloth diapers should suffice for this stage.

3. Toddler Stage (12+ months): By this stage, your baby's bladder capacity increases, and they may need even fewer changes, around 4-8 diapers per day. Having around 12-18 cloth diapers should be adequate.

Additional Considerations

1. Overnight Diapers: You might want to consider investing in specific overnight cloth diapers or boosters for added absorbency during nighttime use.

2. Backup Diapers: It's always wise to have a few extra diapers on hand for emergencies, trips, or unexpected delays in laundry routines.

3. Doubling Up: If you opt for a two-part system (like prefolds with covers), you may need fewer covers than inserts, as covers can often be reused if not soiled.


Transitioning to cloth diapers is a fantastic choice for both your baby's well-being and the environment. While the initial investment might seem daunting, understanding how many cloth diapers you need to get started can ease the process. Remember, it's always better to start with a few and adjust as needed rather than overstocking from the beginning. Happy diapering!

Now that you have a clearer idea of how many cloth diapers you need to get started, it's time to embark on this eco-friendly journey with confidence!


Leave a comment