How many nappies do I need cloth?

Figuring out how many cloth nappies you need can be tricky, especially for first time parents. The number of nappies needed depends on several factors like how often you plan to wash, baby’s age, whether you use cloth at night, etc. This article provides a detailed guide on how to calculate the number of cloth nappies required based on your unique situation.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions on cloth nappy quantities:

  • Newborn (0-3 months): 24-36 nappies
  • Infant (3-12 months): 24-48 nappies
  • Toddler (12+ months): 24-36 nappies
  • For nighttime: 6-12 extra nappies
  • Minimum to start: 24 nappies
  • Ideal amount: 36-48 nappies

Factors That Determine How Many You Need

The number of cloth nappies you need depends on:

  • Baby’s age: Newborns need more changes than older babies. You’ll need more nappies in the initial months.
  • How often you laundry: The more infrequently you wash, the more nappies you need.
  • Type of diaper: All-in-ones require lesser nappies than pockets or prefolds.
  • Use at night: You may need extra nappies for overnight use.
  • Type of soaker: Hemp/bamboo inserts require more nappies than microfiber.
  • Daycare needs: Send extra nappies if your baby goes to daycare.

Nappy Needs By Age

Here’s a breakdown of how many cloth nappies you need based on your baby’s age:

Newborn (0-3 Months)

Newborns need around 12-16 nappy changes in a day. Here’s a rough estimate:

  • 12 nappies for 3 days = 36 nappies
  • 16 nappies for 3 days = 48 nappies

So for newborns, you’ll need 24-36 nappies as a minimum. The extra nappies will come handy till you get into a laundry routine.

Infant (3-12 Months)

At around 3 months, babies start soiling less as they begin solids. You’ll need around 8-12 nappy changes in a day. Here’s a rough calculation:

  • 8 nappies for 3 days = 24 nappies
  • 12 nappies for 3 days = 36 nappies

For infants between 3-12 months, 24-48 nappies should sufficient.

Toddler (12+ Months)

Toddlers need around 6-8 nappy changes in a day. Here’s an estimate:

  • 6 nappies for 3 days = 18 nappies
  • 8 nappies for 3 days = 24 nappies

For toddlers above 12 months, 24-36 nappies should be enough.

Night Time Nappies

You’ll need extra nappies for overnight use. Here are some tips:

  • Use extra absorbent nappies with doublers/inserts for nights.
  • Some babies need night nappies upto 18-24 months.
  • Stock 6-12 extra nappies if you cloth diaper at night.

Minimum and Ideal Amount

As a general guideline:

  • The bare minimum to start is 24 nappies.
  • An ideal amount is 36-48 nappies.

Start with two days worth of nappies (24) if you are unsure. You can always buy more later.

Consider Your Wash Routine

Your wash routine significantly impacts the nappy quantity needed. Here are some points to consider:

  • Washing every 2-3 days needs lesser nappies than weekly washing.
  • Don’t size your stash based on laundering once a week.
  • Daily laundry needs the least amount of diapers (24-36).
  • Washing every 4-5 days requires the most nappies.

Aim to wash cloth diapers every 2-3 days. Size your stash accordingly.

Impact of Diaper Types

The type of diapers you use also affects total quantities. Here’s a quick comparison:

Diaper Type Quantity Needed
All-in-ones (AIO) Lowest, around 24-36
Pocket diapers Medium, around 36-48
Prefolds + wraps Highest, around 48-60

All-in-ones require lesser nappies as they dry faster compared to other systems. Prefolds take longest to dry needing highest nappy quantities.

Impact of Inserts/Soakers

Your choice of inserts also influences total nappies required. Here are some key points:

  • Microfiber inserts dry the fastest needing lesser nappies.
  • Natural fiber inserts like hemp/bamboo take longer to dry.
  • Using multiple inserts leads to longer drying time.
  • Have extra nappies if using slow drying natural fibers.

Send Extra Nappies to Daycare

If your baby goes to daycare, you’ll need to send extra nappies. Here are some tips:

  • Send atleast 6 extra nappies for an 8 hour daycare.
  • Share your cloth routine with daycare staff.
  • Provide wetbags to store soiled nappies.
  • Keep a daycare nappy kit ready the night before.

Have Some One-Size Nappies

It’s wise to have some one-size nappies in your stash. One-size can be adjusted as your baby grows. Some benefits:

  • More cost-effective than buying multiple sizes.
  • Adjustable snaps or elastics provide better fit.
  • Can be used for multiple kids.
  • Need to buy lesser nappies overall.

Aim for atleast 6 one-size nappies in your newborn stash. You can buy more one-size as baby grows.

Have Multiples? Estimate Accordingly

For twins, triplets or multiple babies:

  • Buy double or triple the amount of nappies needed for one baby.
  • Launder more frequently for better nappy rotation.
  • Prefolds + wraps system is most cost-effective.
  • Invest in a bigger washer and dryer.

Don’t forget to factor in your unique situation when buying nappies for multiples.

Buy New or Pre-Loved

You can buy cloth nappies brand new or pre-loved. Here’s a quick comparison:

New Pre-loved
Cost Higher Lower
Quality Excellent Varies, inspect thoroughly
Availability Many options Limited options

Mix of new and used nappies helps save money. Buy high use nappies new and occasional use ones pre-loved.

Rental Nappies Are a Great Option

Nappy rental services are a convenient option. Here are some benefits:

  • Avoid large upfront investment.
  • Get to try multiple nappy types.
  • Nappies delivered to your doorstep.
  • Company handles laundry and replacements.
  • Upgrade sizes as baby grows.

Rental services are ideal for first time or occasional cloth users. However, they tend to be pricier than owning nappies.

Consider Part-Time Cloth Use

You don’t have to cloth diaper full-time. Part-time is a great way to start. Here are some part-time options:

  • Cloth during the day, disposables at night
  • Cloth at home, disposables when out
  • Cloth on weekdays, disposables on weekends

For part-time use, you’ll need lesser nappies. Start with 24-36 and increase stash gradually.

Continue Cloth Diapering While Traveling

You can cloth diaper while traveling too! Here are some tips:

  • Carry 2-3 days worth of nappies.
  • Take a portable wetbag for soiled nappies.
  • Use disposables if washing facilities unavailable.
  • Pack cloth-safe diaper rash cream.
  • Air dry clean nappies indoors if needed.

With some planning, cloth diapering while traveling is very doable. Don’t forget to pack extra nappies in your diaper bag.

Borrow From Friends Initially

If you are unsure about quantities, borrow some nappies first. Here are some tips:

  • Borrow 6-12 nappies from a cloth diapering friend.
  • Get different types like AIOs, pockets, prefolds to try out.
  • Figure out your preferences before investing.
  • Wash and return the borrowed nappies promptly.

Borrowing nappies helps you determine ideal stash size before spending money.


Determining cloth nappy quantities needed takes some planning. Factors like baby’s age, laundry routine, diaper types used, etc. impact the numbers. Start with the minimum of 24 nappies and increase stash as needed. Aim for an ideal amount of 36-48 nappies for ease of use. With the above tips, you can figure out the perfect nappy stash for your baby!

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