How many diapers should I buy for my newborn?

Having a new baby is an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it can also be overwhelming to prepare for everything you will need as a new parent. One of the essential items you’ll go through quickly is diapers! Newborns require frequent diaper changes, going through 8-12 diapers per day on average. When preparing your baby registry or shopping list, a common question is: how many newborn diapers should I stock up on?

How many diapers do newborns use per day?

Newborns need to have their diapers changed 8-12 times per day, especially in the first few months. This number fluctuates slightly depending on your baby’s feeding schedule, how heavily they wet their diapers, and if they pass bowel movements regularly. However, on average most newborns will use about 10 diapers per day.

Here is a quick breakdown of how many diapers a newborn may use per day:

  • 8 diapers – For newborns that don’t pee or poop as frequently
  • 10 diapers – Average for most newborns
  • 12 diapers – For frequent pee-ers and poopers

As a general rule of thumb, plan for at least 10 diaper changes per day. If your baby ends up needing less, then you’ll have extras stocked up. It’s better to have too many than too few in those early months!

How quickly do newborns grow out of each diaper size?

Newborns grow so quickly, especially in the first few months of life. They will grow out of smaller diaper sizes rapidly, so you’ll go through more diapers in the newborn and size 1 range.

Here is a general timeline for how long most babies can fit into each diaper size:

  • Newborn size: 6-10 pounds, up to 2 months
  • Size 1: 8-14 pounds, up to 3 months
  • Size 2: 12-18 pounds, up to 5 months
  • Size 3: 16-28 pounds, up to 2 years

Keep in mind that premature or smaller newborns may need newborn sizes longer, while bigger babies may size up quicker. Every baby grows at their own pace! But most full term babies will outgrow the smaller sizes within the first couple months.

How many newborn diapers should I buy to start?

So with an average of 10 diaper changes per day, how many newborn diapers should you buy when prepping for baby’s arrival? Here are some recommendations:

  • Buy 100-120 newborn diapers to start
  • Stock up on about 80 size 1 diapers for when baby outgrows newborn
  • Slowly buy size 2 and 3 diapers after the first couple months

Having 100-120 newborn diapers will last you about 2 weeks, depending on exactly how many diaper changes your baby needs per day. When purchasing diapers, we recommend getting multiple smaller packs instead of one huge bulk pack. That way if your baby unexpectedly sizes up early, you won’t be stuck with hundreds of unused tiny diapers.

Diapering Tip

Purchase diapers in smaller packs first to make sure you have the right size as baby grows.

Factors that affect diaper usage

When estimating how many newborn diapers to buy, there are a few key factors that can affect how many diaper changes your baby will need:

  • Feeding method: Formula fed babies may use fewer diapers since their digestions moves through more quickly. Breastfed babies tend to need more changes.
  • Diaper brand: Some diaper brands are more absorbent requiring fewer changes. Try different brands to see what works best.
  • Baby’s bladder size: Some babies simply urinate more than others requiring more frequent changes.
  • Health and medical issues: GI problems, antibiotics or illness can all increase how often your baby soils diapers.

While the averages provide a good starting point, pay attention to your baby’s unique habits and adjust your diaper supply accordingly in those early months.

Ways to save money on diapers

Having a new baby comes with so many expenses, so finding ways to save on diapers can really help your budget. Here are some great tips for spending less on diapers:

  • Sign up for coupons from diaper brands you like
  • Buy generic store brand diapers
  • Purchase diapers in bulk packs when your baby’s size is established
  • Buy diapers in larger sizes ahead when they go on sale
  • Consider cloth diapers or diaper service to reduce waste
  • Join diaper reward programs from stores like Amazon or Target
  • Use cloth wipes to reduce other costs
  • Buy diapers in various sizes from discount websites

Choosing the right diapering strategy that fits your baby, lifestyle and budget will help you save. Stock up when you find great deals on sizes you know you’ll need down the road.

Money Saving Tip

Get coupons, buy store brands, purchase in bulk and join rewards programs to save on diapers.

When to size up your baby’s diapers

It’s an exciting milestone when your little one is ready to size up in diapers! There are a few signs it’s time to go up a size:

  • Your baby exceeds the weight limit for their current size
  • The tabs no longer reach to fasten the diaper snugly
  • You notice red marks from the diaper being too tight
  • Diapers leak frequently onto clothing
  • Your baby has outgrown the length of the diaper

Go up a size as soon as you notice these signs of improper fit. Keeping your baby comfortable and leak-free is key. Don’t go by the size guides on diaper packs alone. Every baby is shaped differently, so go by fit rather than weight.

Diapering Tip

Move up in diaper size when your baby exceeds the limits or experiences leaking, red marks and poor fit.

Stocking up on the next size

Once you get a sense of how quickly your newborn is growing, you can start stocking up on the next sizes before you fully make the switch. Here are some tips:

  • When your baby approaches the maximum weight for their current size, buy a small pack in the next size up to test it out.
  • Slowly purchase larger packs of the upcoming size when you find a good sale or deal.
  • Keep an eye on remaining inventory of the current size so you don’t run out before you fully switch.
  • Have enough of the next size on hand to get you through at least a week before purchasing more.
  • Don’t open packages too far in advance, as diapers have expiration dates you want to use by.

Streamlining the sizing up process will ensure you have a smooth transition without running out of diapers in either size too quickly.

Diapering Tip

Buy small packs of the next size when your baby approaches weight limits and slowly stock up at good prices.

Newborn diapering supplies checklist

In those early newborn weeks, you’ll want to have all your diapering supplies stocked up and organized for those frequent changes. Here is a handy checklist of newborn diapering essentials:

  • 100-120 newborn size diapers
  • 80 size 1 diapers for upcoming growth
  • Diaper pail and refills
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Unscented baby wipes or washcloths
  • Changing pad covers
  • Burp cloths to use as changing pads
  • Diaper bag
  • Portable changing pad for on-the-go

Having all your diapering supplies ready before baby arrives will give you peace of mind. You’ll save those midnight trips to the store when your newborn goes through diapers faster than expected!

Diapering Tip

Stock up on about 100 newborn diapers, 80 size 1 diapers and all essential diapering accessories/supplies.

How diaper needs change as baby ages

While newborns use 8-12 diapers per day, your baby’s diapering needs will evolve as they grow. Here is an overview of how diaper use changes:

Age Number of Diapers/Day
Newborn 8-12 diapers
3 months 8 diapers
6 months 6-8 diapers
9 months 6 diapers
12 months 4-6 diapers
18 months 4 diapers
2 years 3-4 diapers

As babies get older and transition to solids, their bowel movements become more regular. Potty training readiness begins around 2 years old. While diaper needs decrease from those early newborn days, you’ll likely need diapers or pull-ups at night into the preschool years.

Diapering Tip

Diaper use steadily decreases as baby ages, drops with solid food introduction, and potty training begins around 2 years.

Signs your baby is ready to potty train

Once your baby reaches toddlerhood, you can start looking for signs they are ready to transition out of diapers with potty training. Here are some signals to watch for:

  • Staying dry for 2 hours or longer
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Telling you when they are about to pee/poop or are wet/dirty
  • Showing interest in the potty and following parents to bathroom
  • Able to pull pants up and down
  • Wanting to wear “big kid” underwear

Typically girls show potty training readiness around 18-24 months, while boys are ready between 24-30 months. But every child meets these milestones at their own pace. With patience and consistency, potty training can be a smooth transition out of diapers when the time is right.

Potty Training Tip

Look for signs of readiness like staying dry 2+ hours, communicating urges, interest in potties and wanting big kid underwear.

Nighttime potty training

For nighttime dryness, children develop this milestone later than daytime potty skills. Night training may take several more months or years after mastering daytime potty use. Here are some tips for night training when the time comes:

  • Make evening bathroom trips before bedtime routine
  • Limit fluid intake in evenings
  • Use nightlights and potties that are easy to access
  • Go diaper free and use protective mattress covers
  • Wake child once during the night for potty until bladder develops
  • Use moisture alarms that alert child
  • Be patient and consistent with training techniques

The average age for nighttime dryness is around 3-4 years old. Avoid punishing accidents and praise successes to help motivate your child during this process.

Night Training Tip

Be patient and use nighttime protection during this learning process, trying frequent bathroom trips, limiting drinks at night and moisture alarms.

Choosing environmentally friendly diapering options

Along with choosing cost effective diapering strategies, many parents also want to make earth-friendly choices. Here are some tips for eco-friendly diapering:

  • Cloth diapers and reusable wipes
  • Biodegradable disposable brands like Seventh Generation
  • Chlorine free and minimal packaging options
  • Using recyclable diaper trash bags
  • Compostable diapers and wipes
  • Avoid fragrance and chlorine that contain chemicals
  • Limit plastic waste from diapering when possible

Speak to your child’s pediatrician to help select eco-friendly diapering options that will also be gentle on your baby’s skin.

Green Tip

Choose environmentally friendly diapering options like cloth diapers, chlorine free disposables, compostable materials and recyclable trash bags.

Diapering a newborn on a budget

The cost of diapers, wipes and accessories adds up quickly for new parents. If you’re diapering on a budget, here are great money-saving tips:

  • Use cloth diapers part-time to reduce disposable costs
  • Create homemade wipes with baby washcloths and water
  • Make your own diaper cream with coconut oil and zinc oxide powder
  • Purchase generic brand diapers at discount retailers
  • Buy in bulk once you know which sizes your prefer
  • Sign up for coupons from multiple diaper brands
  • Use rewards programs and cash-back apps to get deals

With a little creativity and deal hunting, you can keep diapering costs low while providing everything your newborn needs.

Budget Tip

Reduce diapering costs with cloth diapers, homemade wipes, generic brands bought in bulk, coupons and reward program savings.


Estimating your diapering needs for a newborn and stocking up appropriately will help you be prepared as a new parent without spending excess money. Plan for about 10 diaper changes per day, sizing up as your baby grows out of newborn and size 1 diapers. Purchase eco-friendly options kind to baby’s skin, and implement money-saving strategies like rewards programs, generic brands and cloth diapering. With the right diapering game plan tailored to your baby’s needs, you’ll be changing diapers like a pro in no time!

Leave a Comment