How long do you use newborn diapers?

Newborn diapers are designed for babies that weigh under 10 pounds. Most babies will use newborn diapers for the first month or two of life before transitioning to size 1 diapers. However, every baby is different, so the length of time in newborn diapers can vary.

When to Start Using Newborn Diapers

You’ll want to have newborn diapers ready before your baby arrives. Put together your diapering station with newborn diapers around your due date or a few weeks before. Most hospitals will provide newborn diapers while you’re there after giving birth.

For newborns, you’ll need diapers that have a snug fit around the legs and waist. This helps prevent messy leaks. Newborn diapers are the smallest size, meant to fit babies who weigh under 10 pounds.

Premature babies or those born weighing less than 5.5 pounds may need preemie diapers, which are even smaller than newborn sizes. You can ask the nurses at the hospital for preemie diapers.

When to Size Up from Newborn Diapers

Most babies outgrow newborn diapers by the time they are around 10-14 pounds. This is often around 6-8 weeks old, but could be a few weeks sooner or later. Here are some signs it’s time to size up from newborn diapers:

  • Diapers start to look or feel too tight
  • You notice gaps around the legs
  • Diaper leaks are happening more frequently
  • There are red marks around the waist or legs from diapers being too small

Go up a size whenever there are more than six wet diapers a day leaking or your baby’s skin shows red marks. Don’t wait until the current pack is empty. When in doubt, move up a size early. Diapers that are too small can cause discomfort or skin irritation.

Weight Guidelines for Diaper Sizing

Here are the general weight recommendations for what size diaper to use:

Diaper Size Weight Range
Newborn Up to 10 lbs
Size 1 8-14 lbs
Size 2 12-18 lbs
Size 3 16-28 lbs
Size 4 22-37 lbs
Size 5 Over 27 lbs
Size 6 Over 35 lbs

Keep in mind that brands vary slightly in sizing. Don’t go just by the weight ranges on the box. Check the fit regularly and size up at the first sign of tightness.

When to Stop Using Newborn Diapers

Most babies will need newborn diapers for around 6-10 weeks. However, some babies will outgrow newborn diapers sooner than that, while others may need them for closer to 3 months.

Watch for these signs it’s time to switch from newborn to size 1 diapers:

  • Diapers feel snug and leave marks on skin
  • Your baby weighs over 10 pounds
  • Diaper leaks are happening more frequently
  • There are gaps around legs with newborn diapers
  • The tabs don’t extend far enough for a secure fit

The average baby will use about 300 newborn diapers. Buy based on how quickly your baby is growing. Some parents find they only go through one pack of newborns before sizing up. It’s fine to only buy one small pack at first to avoid wasting boxes.

Tips for Newborn Diapering

Here are some pointers for diapering a newborn:

  • Change diapers every 1-3 hours, or more frequently with poop
  • Use diaper cream or coconut oil to prevent rashes
  • Gently clean with baby wipes or a warm, wet cloth
  • Change diapers after feedings and naps
  • Make sure diapers fit snugly, but not too tight
  • Consider chlorine-free and hypoallergenic options
  • Try different brands to find the best fit

Newborn skin is delicate, so be very gentle. Pat skin dry instead of rubbing. Apply diaper cream with each change to protect skin. Redness can be normal but keep an eye out for rashes.

Newborn Diapering Supplies

Here are the newborn diapering supplies you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Diapers in newborn size
  • Wipes or soft washcloths
  • Diaper cream or coconut oil
  • Changing pad
  • Diaper pail and refills
  • Changing table or portable pad
  • Diaper bag

Stock up on about 3-5 packs of newborn diapers to start. Buy different brands to find your favorite. You’ll go through 6-10 diapers per day. Get unscented wipes formulated for sensitive skin.

Newborn Diaper Brands

All major diaper brands make newborn sizes. Here are some top options to consider:

  • Pampers Swaddlers – Super soft and absorbent. Wetness indicator stripe.
  • Huggies Little Snugglers – Gentle for sensitive skin. Umbilical cord cutout.
  • The Honest Company – Eco-friendly materials. Cute prints.
  • Andy Pandy – Affordable and highly rated. Leak protection.
  • Seventh Generation – Free of dyes, chlorine, and fragrances.
  • Hello Bello – Organic cotton liner. Subscriptions available.

Try out a few options to see which best fits your baby. You may find you like certain brands better for nighttime vs. daytime. Most parents end up using 2-3 brands they like.

Cloth vs. Disposable Newborn Diapers

You’ll have to decide whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:

Cloth Diapers


  • Reusable and more eco-friendly
  • Soft natural fibers
  • Can be less expensive long-term
  • No chemicals touching skin


  • More laundry with leaks, blowouts, etc.
  • Need to change more frequently
  • Upfront cost of buying cloth diapers
  • Messier than disposables

Disposable Diapers


  • Convenient, especially when out
  • Hold more liquid vs. cloth
  • Leak protection features
  • Easy to use – just throw away


  • Contribute to landfill waste
  • Can contain harsh chemicals
  • More expensive long-term
  • May cause skin irritation

You don’t have to fully commit to one option. Many parents do a mix of both cloth and disposable diapers.

Newborn Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is common in newborns due to their delicate skin. Try these tips to prevent and treat rashes:

  • Change wet and soiled diapers ASAP
  • Let baby go diaper-free for a bit
  • Use thick diaper cream after changes
  • Gently clean the area
  • Use gentle, hypoallergenic diapers

If the rash persists for more than 3 days or seems infected, contact your pediatrician. Severe diaper rash may require prescription medication.

Special Considerations

Preemies or Small Babies

Tiny newborns under 5 pounds will need preemie diapers. Monitor their weight closely and move up to newborn size when they pass 5-7 pounds.

Allergies and Sensitive Skin

Use fragrance-free diapers for babies with allergies. Go for chlorine-free and hypoallergenic materials. Let them go diaper-free when possible.

Overnight Diapers

Use ultra-absorbent overnight diapers to prevent leaks during long stretches between changes. Or size up at night.

Daycare or Babysitters

Make sure caregivers know what size diapers to use and any preferences, like diaper cream. Provide extra changes of clothes.

When to Call the Doctor

Contact your pediatrician if you notice any of the following:

  • Persistent bright red rash
  • Rash with sore bumps or blisters
  • Spreading rash
  • Thrush – white patches in mouth
  • No stool for more than 2 days
  • Constant diarrhea
  • Fever over 100.4F with rash

Diaper rash is normal but other conditions can cause rashes too. When in doubt, have your pediatrician take a look.


Most babies use newborn diapers for the first 6-10 weeks of life before sizing up. But every baby grows at their own pace. To make the transition from newborn to size 1 diapers, watch for leaking, red marks, and other signs of tightness. Go up a size as soon as your baby seems uncomfortable or crosses 10 pounds. With frequent changes and diaper cream, you can help prevent rashes during the newborn phase.

Leave a Comment