Saturday, 21 February 2015

How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?

How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?

When parents first take to the idea of cloth diapering their baby, they easily overwhelm themselves with both the choices and variety of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories available. "How many diapers should I buy?" is the most common question, but the answer is not the same for everyone.

If you are new to cloth diapering, we would always recommend trying out a few different things before investing in any one system. Best option is to buy one of each of the most popular diapers for you to “test the waters” and discover what will work best for your family. Keep in mind that usually the best systems involve using a little bit of everything. After all, each type of cloth diaper, diaper cover and cloth diapering combination can serve a very different purpose. What's best for overnight use, may not be the trimmest for day use. And what's you use for day use may not be the most convenient for trips out of the home.

The most agreed upon number of cloth diapers preferred in a full-time cloth diaper stash is a minimum of 18. With 18 cloth diapers, you can develop a washing system of every other day. If you desire to wash your diapers less frequently than every 2nd day, you will obviously need a larger stash. Some parents initially purchase MORE cloth diapers for this reason, but please know that cloth diapers are not intended to sit in a pail for more than 3 days without being washed; the longer a soiled diaper remains in a cloth diaper pail unwashed, the longer you will work to treat any stains, not to mention the stink. I do NOT recommend leaving your diapers for longer than 3 days between washing. Every 2 days is optimal for best cleaning results.

Full-Time Cloth Diapering

For the first year and 1/2, full-time cloth diapering requires a minimum of 18 diapers cloth diapers. As your baby grows to toddlerhood, he or she will wet less frequently, and won't need to be changed as often; at this point you will need fewer cloth diapers overall.

NEWBORNS – Newborns need the largest cloth diaper stash. With newborns, especially those breastfeeding, every meal is liquid - as a result, they have more explosive bowel movements and urinate more frequently. As newborns develop and solid meals are added into their diet, these patterns change to allow for less diaper usage overall. Newborns will generally go through 10-12 diapers in a 24 hour period. Since you don’t want to be doing laundry every single day (to reduce laundering costs and to avoid wearing out your diapers too quickly), we recommend that you have at least 24 diapers – enough for a non-stressful rotation. Typically, a set-up of 24-36 diapers would get you through 2-3 days.

6 – 18 MONTHS – Once your baby is a little older, at approximately 6 months, you won’t have to change diapers as frequently. At this point, you can have fewer diapers in your rotation and still not have to do laundry too often. A six months old & up requires about 6-10 diapers a day. Once baby begins to roll, crawl, pull-up on furniture, and sit up on their own, their wetting patterns typically decrease and their cloth diaper needs change. Whereas before, baby was just lying around, now baby is dynamic and needs a cloth diaper that can move along with them. This is often a time when parents will modify their cloth diaper stash to accommodate more flexibility in the thigh and waist for baby's added comfort. If your newborn stash was made up primarily of prefolds, you can re-purpose them as burp rags, changing pads, or diaper doublers. At this point, 16-18 cloth diapers are still recommended for a washing cycle of every other day.

18 MONTHS – POTTY TRAINING - When your Toddler begins to gain interest in using the 'big potty', your cloth diaper base can be reduced significantly. Even 12 (a dozen) cloth diapers may be more than enough, because your Toddler will no longer be considered a full-time cloth diapered baby. Many parents will switch over to the pull-on style of cloth diaper Training Pants during the day and use their regular stash for night-time diapering.

As you can tell, there is really no need to become overwhelmed with the question "How many diapers should I buy?" Though it might alter slightly, overall you can count on needing 18-20 cloth diapers for a full-time cloth diapering system from birth to 18 Months. If you are cloth diapering your baby part-time, you can cut that number in half.

So, in the nutshell, this answer depends on:
  • The age of your baby
  • If you have more than one child in cloth diapers
  • If you use cloth diapers exclusively
  • How often you want to wash your cloth diapers
  • What style you choose
A good rule of thumb is 8-10 diapers per day for the amount of days you won’t be washing.

Basically, the more diapers you have in your cloth diaper rotation means each diaper is getting used less and washed less. This results in a lot less wear and tear on your diapers and they remain in better shape in order for you to be able to sell them, give them away, or save them for use on future babies.

Requirement of Cloth Diapers based on your washing schedule:

Number of Cloth Diapers
This will work best for….
8 – 10
Using Cloth Diapers Part-time
10 - 12
Washing every day
16 – 18
Washing every other day
18 – 24
Approximate 2 days between washing. 24 diapers is recommended as a bare minimum for the average parent and to improve the longevity of your diapers, reducing wear and tear.
24 – 36
Washing 2 times a week (every 2-3 days between washing).
36 – 48+
Enough cloth diapers to pass on to siblings

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