One of the top questions new and expecting parents ask is, “How many diapers do I need?” This post shares the averages in every size you can be prepared!
Diapers are a topic that all new parents have to navigate. If you’ve chosen to use disposable diapers and you are hoping to stock up, we did a survey of hundreds of parents to figure out the average number of diapers they used in each size.
While cloth diapering is on the rise with popularity, for many of us…it’s not the choice we make for our family. It can save you money though!
I surveyed a couple hundred parents about their children’s diaper usage, so those results are guiding my recommendations. I distributed this survey across Facebook – and not to any particular demographic, so the respondents had babies that were preemies, large at birth, and everything in between.
I was actually quite surprised with the results, which confirmed my suspicion that there is no cut and dry rule when it comes to diaper sizes and how long your kids are in them.
- How many diapers do I need the first year?
- When should you start stocking up on diapers?
- Diaper Size Guide
- How many newborn diapers do I need?
- How many diapers do I need in Size One?
- How many diapers do I need in Size Two?
- How many diapers do I need in Size Three?
- How many diapers to I need in Size Four?
- How many diapers do I need in Size Five?
- How many diapers do I need in Size Six?
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How many diapers do I need the first year?
From almost every article I’ve read, the average is between 2500 and 3000 disposable ones a year.
Using some of my calculations from my survey, it’s right around 3000 disposable diapers in a year. This will obviously vary on the quality of the diaper, how often you change it, if you have a baby who seems to poop more than others, etc.
When should you start stocking up on diapers?
This is the one question I hear a lot - when should you start stocking up?
I hesitate to give a one size fits all answer for this. When you are pregnant, you may see a great deal that you just can't pass up. I know I did a few times! Because we knew which brand we liked with Jack, it was a little easier for me to justify stocking up before Oliver was born.
I don't think I would stock up on sizes beyond one before your baby is born, just in case the kind you get don't work with your baby (either the fit, skin sensitivities, etc).
After your baby is born though and you get a good idea of how they seem to be growing, their body type, etc., I would say go at it! No trouble in stocking up.
When it comes to wipes...start stocking up as soon as you see an amazing deal once you find out you are pregnant. The thing with wipes is that you can use them whatever size your baby is.
Do keep in mind that some babies are more sensitive than others, so I would lean toward stocking up on wipes that don't have any scent/geared toward sensitive skin until you know for sure how your kiddo reacts.
How many diapers a day?
Let's go with an average of 2750 disposable diapers used in one year, which equates to about 7.5 per day (let's round that up to 8).
Of course, that will vary depending on the baby, and as baby gets older, that number per day will decrease slightly. Some people change their baby's diaper more frequently than others, so if you are the type that changes your baby's diaper as soon as there is a drop of urine, well, you'll probably use more.
However, here are the averages I came up with:
0-1 Months: 10-12 per day - 300
1-5 Months: 8-10 per day - 240
5-9 Months: 7-8 per day - 210
9-12 Month: 6-8 per day - 180
Diaper Size Guide
This is where it gets tricky. So much of this depends on your baby's size!
I had people tell me I only needed one box of newborns, and I'd be set.
Both of my boys were in newborns for several months each.
However, I know plenty of people who jumped straight to size ones and were even in size threes by a month of age.
So, this is where I'm going to share the bulk of my survey that I did. Hopefully, it will give you some good insight into how long you might be able to expect your child to stay in a certain size so you can determine how many diapers to stock up on.
How many newborn diapers do I need?
About 40% of respondents said their babies were in newborn size for one month - the next closest number was two months at 22%, and then it was 11% for two weeks.
Unless you are expecting a big baby, I think it's safe to say you'll have your baby in newborns for several weeks. I would definitely buy at least one large box of newborns - perhaps two boxes of 88 count, so you can return one easier if you don't need it.
Based on the numbers - and an average of about 10 diapers a day - you may need around 300 newborn diapers. I have found that Pampers Swaddlers run bigger than other brands of newborn diapers, so that is something to keep in mind. You will probably go home with 1-2 packages of diapers that have about 20 in them.
I was most surprised by these numbers because I always read so many articles saying not to get very many newborns. But based on my experience, we definitely used them for a few months.
How many diapers do I need in Size One?
33% of respondents said their babies were in size one for two months, and the next closest was one month and three months. I would say stock up on two months of size one would be adequate.
Most babies in size one will be three months or younger, so I would go with an average of about nine diapers a day. For a two month supply, you will need 540 size one.
How many diapers do I need in Size Two?
The majority of respondents said they used size two for 2-3 months, though there was a good number of people who used them for between four and six months. I would recommend getting at least a two month stock of size twos.
I would go with an average of eight diapers a day when your baby is in size two, so around 480 size two.
How many diapers do I need in Size Three?
Just about everyone who responded had their kids in size three for at least three months - and some for as long as a year. My boys were in size three for about five months I would guess. But I'll stick with the three-month range here.
I would say count on an average of six diapers a day around this point, so 540 size three.
How many diapers to I need in Size Four?
Size four seems to be the size many people had their babies in for around six months to a year - based on my experience with my boys, I would have to agree. I think Jack was in them for at least a year, maybe longer, and Oliver has been for about six months.
I don't think I'd recommend having a year supply though, but let's go with the six-month number. At the point where my boys were in size four, they were probably having 4-5 diapers a day. I think starting with a supply of 720 size four is a good idea.
How many diapers do I need in Size Five?
Size five is where people in my survey started to drop off and say their kids weren't ever in them before they were potty trained.
If your child is over the age of two, though, I would imagine they would be in size five at some point.
I don't know that I'd worry about stocking up on these too much at first unless you are starting to feel like size four are getting tight and potty training is not on the horizon, you can start looking for deals.
For the people who did use them, it was typically for 6-12 months (so obviously you need them if you need them!). I would say 3-4 a day at this point, so maybe 540 for a six month supply of size five.
How many diapers do I need in Size Six?
Very few respondents even said they made it to size six with their kids. Jack was potty trained at the age of three, and I think he was in size five for a few months before that. I honestly wouldn't try to stock up on size six unless you are about to reach that point!
And, if all else fails, many stores will take back an unopened box of diapers if you end up with too many...and if they don't? Well, that's what Facebook marketplace is for.
How many diapers did you use in each size? Comment below!
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Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.