Whether you are newly pregnant or have an older baby and just starting to get into cloth nappies you are probably wondering how many you need.
The magic number you need depends on multiple factors, including
Age of your baby
Cloth nappy type you choose to use
How frequently you will wash dirty nappies
Whether you want to do cloth Full-time or Part-time
Whether you have a heavy wetter or not.
Let's look at each one in turn.
Newborns go through far more nappies than older babies and require changing approximately every 2 hours or when the poo and let's face it that's quite a lot!
So clearly you will need more cloth nappies if you plan to start from birth than if you are starting later.
From 3 - 6 months your baby will start to poo less frequently and you will be changing nappies roughly 6 - 8 times a day especially as they start to sleep longer stretches.
This is when you will also want to look at a reliable OVERNIGHTS solution, most of us don't want to be changing a nappy in the middle of the night!
As baby starts to eat solids around 6 months their liquid intake decreases and the frequency in which you change will also start to decrease. Whilst we still recommend you change every 3 hours or immediately if poo, you will require 4 - 6 nappies a day including an OVERNIGHTS.
For babies older than one we still recommend changing every 3 hours and assuming your OVERNIGHTS lasts 10 - 12 hours you will need around 5 -6 nappies a day.
Summary by AGE per DAY
- o – 3 months: 10 - 12 nappies
- 3 – 6 months: 6 - 8 nappies
- 6 – 12 months: 5 - 6 nappies
- 1 year to toileting: 5 - 6 nappies
Cloth Nappy Type
PULOVERS can be used as a snap and wipe system as they are PUL lined and can be wiped down between changes or some people have two covers alternating between changes each day.
PULOVERS can also be paired with flats, prefolds and FITTEDS.
Generally, you will use a PULOVER thrice before needing to wash it unless of course it is soiled.
Wool covers are another great option and can be used 10 - 12 times before needing to be washed, also a fantastic budget-conscious option. Pair your wool cover with flats, prefolds or FITTEDS.
POCKETS or AIO you will need to wash the cover and inserts after each use.
Summary by TYPE per day
||0 - 3 MTHS
||3 - 6 MTHS
||6 - 12 MTHS
|| 1 YR +
|Flats / Prefolds
Ideally, you should be washing nappies every 2 – 3 days.
The total cloth nappies required will vary depending on whether you wash every day or every 3 days. Some people even wash once a week, which is completely fine but make sure you are still doing a pre-wash every 1 - 2 days.
You can use the numbers in the above table to calculate how many nappies you would need to buy depending on when you wash.
If you are willing to wash every day, multiply the above numbers by 2.5. If you will wash every 2 days, multiply the numbers by 3.5. For washing every 3 days, multiply by 4.5.
This is to make sure that you have enough nappies before the washed nappies dry and to take care of other emergencies. In winter you may require additional nappies due to increased drying times especially with AIOs
Full-time or Part-time
This will depend on your definition of part-time which may be
- full-time cloth days but disposables at night
- cloth at home with disposables for daycare or travel
- cloth one day, disposables the next
These are all great options to help get you started and build your stash so we suggest starting with the minimum that would have you covered. If just disposables at night the deduct one nappy per day.
Heavy Wetter or Not
Some babies are quite a little fire truck! They will out wet a nappy in under 2 hours every time, you have the option to change the nappy more frequently or to boost the nappy with good quality natural fibre inserts like hemp, bamboo or cotton.
Depending on which way you go will change the number of cloth nappies required.
So... How Many Cloth Nappies Do You NEED?
One thing to consider when choosing your stash size is the more washing required the more wear on your nappies. Smaller stashes may end up having a nappy washed over 200 times a year, consider how you would expect your favourite t-shirt to look after that much washing!
It's always best to have enough to cover you for at least 2.5 days to 3 days so when life gets busy there's not stress about clean nappies.