How Many Diapers Do I Need? For Newborns & Stockpiling

Last Updated On: 

February 9, 2019

When you first get the news, you’re probably filled with excitement, hope, joy, and maybe even a little bit of fear. After a long wait during pregnancy, adoption proceedings, or fostering, you finally get to hold your little one! At the time, the farthest thing from your mind is: “do I have enough diapers at home?”.

It may take some time to settle into a routine, but you probably won’t enjoy having to run to the store to pick up more diapers in the middle of the night, just because you ran out of ones at home.

By preparing ahead of time, you can ensure nighttime changes go as smoothly as possible, and that everyone can get back to sleep ASAP!

Predicting how many diapers you need at each stage of babyhood can be challenging, and can depend on several factors, such as:

  • How many babies you have (surprise, surprise!)
  • How old they are
  • If you’re potty training yet
  • If there are any medical issues involved

The good news? It’s not as difficult as it may seem now. We’re here to help you take the guesswork out of  all of that, and more.

So, read on!

What Happens If You Run Out Of Diapers?

If you’ve “been there and done that”, you know exactly what it’s like to run out of diapers in the middle of the night.

If your child is still a newborn, you can be almost guaranteed the next soiled diaper will occur in about two or three hours.

When you have the potty clock ticking against you, the last thing you want to do is try to find a store open at one in the morning. However, when you do run out of diapers, it will probably be at the worst time imaginable! (Speaking from experience here, so – trust me on this one).

So, save yourself some grief and be sure not to run too low by having enough in stock in the first place.

It may be tempting to try to stretch out a diaper or not change it immediately after your child has soiled it, but this isn’t a good idea at all because it can lead to UTIs and diaper dermatitis.

If you’re struggling to keep up with your child’s diaper needs, resources such as diaper banks are available, and there’s certainly nothing wrong in seeking help that way.

How Many Diapers Is Too Many?

One important thing to note is that there is such a thing as having too many diapers, because your kids are going to grow quickly.

You don’t want to stockpile too many of a certain size, only to find out they no longer fit after a while.

According to a report by Huggies, a typical baby uses anywhere between 6-10 diapers a day (or up to 3000 or so a year!), but you can’t tell ahead of time how many of each size you’ll need.

Some Factors To Think About Before Stockpiling Include

Before you start out stockpiling diapers for your baby’s needs, ask yourself the following questions.

  • How big is your baby expected to be?
  • Will you have more than one baby to care for (twins or multiples)?
  • If you are adopting or fostering, is your older child completely potty trained?
  • Does your child have any medical issues which may require diapers during certain times (at night, on trips, etc.)?
  • Is your child in the middle of a growth spurt?

When your baby’s born, you may think you automatically need newborn diapers—but not so fast. A rookie mistake is to buy too many in a small size. Don’t give in to the urge to use them anyway, as ones too small in size tend to cause blowouts – which are definitely not fun to clean up!

How Many Diapers Do I Need A Day?

Younger babies (less than a month or two of age) go often. So, expect to need 10 or more diaper changes per day. A two-week supply at this rate would entail at least 140 diapers.

Babies who are between 2-6 months old usually use eight per day, but you may use more if your baby is teething or not feeling well. A two-week supply would be around 112 units.

Older babies between 6 and 12 months old use even fewer diapers, something more around 6-7 per day. A two-week diaper stockpile means you need at least 98 units.

Even though every child is different, you can make an educated guess as to how many you need to have on hand. Buying in bulk and picking diapers up on sale can be a bargain, but do so only if you get the correct size.

Some rough guidelines are:

Preemie Sizes

If your child is very small, preemie diapers may be the only ones that fit well.

Typically made for babies under six pounds, these will keep even tiny little ones dry.

Micro-preemie diapers are also available, but these are typically used in the NICU for premature infants.

How Many Preemie Sizes Should I Stock?

If you’re bringing home a baby just under six pounds, you can probably get by with the ones you get from the hospital.

Unless there are any underlying medical conditions you need to cater to, your baby will grow quickly and be ready for newborn sizes soon.

If your baby is very small and preemie diapers fit best, you should probably have a small stash on hand.

Remember, newborns can use 10 (or even a few more) diapers a day, so try to keep at least one weeks’ worth at a time (which makes for around 70-80 units).

It’s probably a good idea to keep a stash of newborn diapers, too (at least 70-80). Newborn sizes can often be folded to use on smaller babies as well.

Newborn Size

Newborn diapers vary by manufacturer, but they are typically made for babies under ten pounds.

If your baby shot past that number at birth, all the newborn diapers you have will need to be returned or donated.

How Many Newborn Sizes Should I Stock?

Unless your baby is very small, you probably want a minimal amount of newborn diapers. Most babies will be ready to size up at around nine or ten pounds (you’ll see more blowouts when these get tight).

If you have an average-sized baby that’s just over seven pounds, you’ll want at least two weeks’ worth of newborn diapers (which makes for around a total of 140).

You may not even need to buy all of these, though, because you’ll likely get some from the hospital. Don’t be afraid to ask if there are any extras you can take, too!

If your baby is larger, you may just want to use what you get from the hospital and then skip to size 1. Squishing your child into the wrong size will lead to messes and can contribute to diaper rash.

Size 1

Size one’s usually range from 8-14 pounds, give or take a pound or two depending on the brand.

You’ll probably use quite a few in this range, no matter how big your baby was at birth. Most babies take 3-4 months to top 14 pounds.

How Many Size 1’s Should I Stock?

Your baby will probably spend at least a few months in size one diapers, unless he or she started out fairly large.

Keeping at least two weeks’ worth on hand is ideal. Two weeks of size one, considering an average of 8 a day, means you’ll need 112 units.

If your baby has just started wearing size one, or weighs around 11 pounds, you can probably get a month’s supply.

To stay on the safe side, keep these stored and unopened until you need to use them, so that you can return them if needed. And as always, don’t forget to scale up if you have twins or multiples!

Size 2

Usually ranging from 12-18 pounds, size two diapers last most parents until their child is five or six months old.

Once your child is getting close to the upper range for size ones, you might consider adding some size twos to your stash.

How Many Size 2’s Should I Stock?

Most babies spend at least a month or two in size two’s, and you can expect to change your baby 8-10 times a day at this point.

Keeping two weeks’ worth at a time is usually a safe investment (around 140 units).

By now, you’ve probably experimented and found a brand that fits well without irritation, so you can keep a few more on hand.

Larger Sizes For Bigger Kids

Diapers typically go up to size 6 or 7 (35 to 41 pounds and up). There are also specialty diapers for kids with disabilities.

It can be hard to predict how many any child will need, since there are many variables involved.

How Many Larger Sized Diapers Should I Stock?

Does your child only wear these at night? Is your child medically-fragile? Is your child working on potty training? Depending on the answers to these questions, you might need to adjust the number of diapers you keep on hand.

If you have regular access to a big-box store or reliable delivery options, it’s probably a good idea to keep at least a week’s worth on hand (around 50 units).

If you know your child will need these for some time (because of size, medical issues, maturity, etc.), keep 2-3 weeks’ worth on hand.

If you are a foster parent, you probably want to keep at least one package of each size (newborn to size 6). You may not have enough notice ahead of time to get more right away, but at least one pack of each will tide you over for a few days.

When Is The Right Time To Build A Diaper Stash?

It might be tempting to go to the store right when you find out you’re pregnant and buy ALL the diapers you can find, but that’s not the best of ideas. Resist this urge!

It’s tough to predict how many you’ll need until you know how big your baby is (even if it’s just a ballpark figure), and how many you’re having.

Some babies can’t wear all brands out there equally well. Different diapers are made by different manufacturers, using lots of different materials. If you find out your baby is sensitive to Pampers, for example, but not Huggies or Luvs, you don’t want to invest tons of money in the wrong brand.

Also, each baby is different, even if you have multiples. Boys grow at different rates than girls, and you can’t guess when a growth spurt is about to happen.

It can be tempting to get all the diapers you need up front, thinking you’re saving up on money and precious time that way, but you cannot predict exactly how many of each size you need.

The important thing is not to run out! Have that part covered, and you’ll be good to go.

Where Can You Get Diapers For Your Stash?

If you’re looking to save money (and you should be whenever the opportunity presents itself), many diaper companies offer discounts and coupons if you sign up on their websites.

You can also ask your doctor for coupons, and then check sales at stores near you.

Also, if you’re a member of a big warehouse store such as Costco or Sam’s Club, you can often get great deals.

Diaper delivery services can be super helpful to ensure you never run out. Many brands have their own services, or you can use other online sources as well.

Once you notice your baby needs to size up, you can easily change your order. You can usually send back unopened smaller sizes for credit, also.

Where Do The Diapers Go?

You want to store diapers in a clean, dry location. The closet is a great place to keep them stacked up.

Ideally, don’t unpack a box until you are ready to use it, as most stores won’t take opened boxes as returns.

Wherever you decide to store your diaper stockpile, keep it away from temperature extremes and moisture. If diapers get wet, they’re more than likely ruined and need to be disposed of.

Keeping them in their original box is another way to protect them from damage.

Remember: Not Running Out of Diapers Is The End Goal

Keeping just the right number of diapers on hand is not the easiest task in the world, but hopefully the help we offered throughout this article is enough to walk you through everything you need to know.

You don’t want to waste a bunch of them because they can be expensive, but you also don’t want to cram a large baby into a smaller size.

A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 1-2 weeks’ worth in whatever size your baby is currently wearing.

Of course, there are many factors to consider. If you have more than one baby, you will need lots more diapers. If you have some boys and some girls, they may not all grow at the same rate, meaning some will be in larger or smaller sizes. And the list goes on.

Delivery services can essentially “keep ‘em coming” at a steady rate, and you can easily adjust the sizing before each shipment. If your baby is just sizing up, you can be a little more confident and stash a few more.

Again, always remember NOT to open any box until you need it, so that you can quickly return it should you need to. Keep receipts taped to the box until you open it, too.

If worse comes to worst, you can always do good and donate opened diapers to your local shelter or diaper bank.

And, most importantly, always remember the goal is not to run out of diapers! No one is a perfect parent all the time, but you can help relieve some of the stress that comes with diapering if you’re confident you have enough on hand and won’t need to go out rushing for some at any given point in time.

Your baby will be running away from you before you know it, and all this diapering stress will soon be a thing of the past, so hang in there!

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