Baby diapers, yellow baby sneakers, a pacifier and a teddy bear
Baby Care

How Many Diapers Will My Newborn Need? A Complete Guide

How many diapers do I need for a newborn, and what size should they wear? Here are all the facts for brand new parents.

February 07, 2022

Potty training is challenging for new parents, but constantly changing diapers may seem even worse. 

But it’s no secret that newborn babies go to the bathroom a lot, and because of this, you’ll need to buy a lot of diapers. Very quickly, those costs will add up. 

How many diapers do I need for a newborn, you may wonder, and what are the best diapers for a baby? 

We’ve got the facts for you about how many diapers your baby will need, what size they need to wear, and how often you should change a baby’s diaper.

How many diapers do babies need in the first year?

Newborn babies go to the bathroom a lot, primarily because of their milk-heavy diets and small bladders. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the first year alone, you’ll change an average of 3,000 diapers.

On average, babies will go through a total of 8,000 diaper changes before potty training, so be prepared for a messy, expensive ride. Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for baby accessories and essentials is that as your little one grows, so do the size of their diapers. You can’t stockpile a single size and call it a day, so don’t overbuy.


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How many diapers per day?

  • Newborns to one-month-old babies will have a mixture of wet and soiled napkins. They need changing once every few hours. 

  • One month to five months olds will have less soiled diapers. Breast milk can cause frequent bowel movements, so as there’s a reduction in milk, you’ll see a reduction in dirty diapers. Your baby will soil 8-10 diapers during this phase. 

  • For five months old and older, they’ll poop less often as your little one transitions to solid food. At five months, you’ll be changing diapers eight times per day or as frequently as needed. By six months, this frequency will drop further.

What size of diapers do newborns wear?

Diaper sizes are based on weight, not age or height. Because of this, newborn napkins are specifically designed for babies of a certain size. You can often find diapers marked as “preemie” or “newborn” in your online shopping aisle. 

When sizing disposable diapers, make sure that you can slide a finger between your baby’s stomach and the waistband or the leg and the elastic leg entrance. This fit will protect from spills while allowing the baby’s skin to breathe.

For disposable and cloth diapers, make sure that your baby’s waistband is sitting high enough up to prevent blowouts of fecal matter. Simultaneously, newborn babies need the waistband to sit below their belly button to stop it from irritating their umbilical cord stump. 

If you see the waist sitting too high, you can roll down the top of the diaper so it doesn’t press against this sensitive area. 

Whatever your baby’s age, you should size up in the diaper department if they’re between sizes. A too-small diaper can cause a severe rash by rubbing against the skin or trapping too much moisture inside. 

Here’s a quick guide on what size of diaper your baby should wear, based upon their weight range and the most popular diaper brand sizes.


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How do I stockpile disposable diapers?

Buying a large number of diapers can be daunting, and with good reason:

  • It can be expensive.

  • Your baby grows fast.

  • There’s a risk you might stockpile too many diapers of the wrong size.

To avoid this scenario, you’ll want to buy diapers in several sizes before your baby is born, so you won’t be scrambling at the last minute. Here are a few tips for buying in bulk. 

1. Gender and growth rate will affect a newborn size diaper

These factors can play a huge role in your new baby’s growth. For example, a baby boy will typically move to the next diaper size at four weeks, then again at three to four months. Baby girls size up at six weeks, followed by four to five months.

2. Don’t focus on stockpiling newborn diapers

While buying a dozen boxes of diapers may seem prudent, you’ll only need them for the first several weeks after your baby is born. What’s more, you may already have a few on hand, given to you and your spouse as a baby shower gift. If you’re stll planning for your shower, make sure diapers are on your baby registry. 

Your baby may be heavier than average, too, in which case you can skip the newborn diapers entirely. The average newborn weighs 6-9lbs, depending on their gender and overall size. 

3. Consider the timing of your bulk buy 

If your baby is growing at an average pace for the first month, bulk buying diapers is great. You’ll have lots of supplies to make the switch to the next size category.

If your baby is at the heavy end of a diaper size, buying bulk for the bottoms they currently wear doesn’t make sense; you won’t use all the diapers before they outgrow them. 

4. If you’re overwhelmed, start small

Be careful with buying too baby things before birth, whether you’re purchasing one diaper size or from a single diaper brand. You may discover upon first use that your baby finds them uncomfortable or is allergic to the material. Your baby could also grow faster than the average, leaving you with diapers you can’t use. 

Once you find a brand you love, you can purchase a larger quantity. An added benefit to this approach is that it’ll help you save money.

How many cloth diapers do you need?

Cloth diapers are cheaper than disposables because they’re reusable: You require less by default. On average, you should have 20 absorbent napkins made of industrial cotton or another natural fiber ready for use. However, they need frequent washing, and with a newborn’s constant diaper changes, this process can become very tiring, fast. 

In comparison, disposable diapers are easy to change. They’re usually made of wood cellulose fiber, and polypropylene.

Some popular brands for disposable diapers and related products are:

All three have a reputation for excellence and will more than match your baby’s needs.


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How often should you change a baby’s diaper?

Always remember the golden rule: Swap out your baby’s bottom cover when it’s soiled, either through urine or bowel movements. For poopy diapers, change that contaminated surface right away, and use baby wipes to clean them up — even if your newborn is sleeping. You don’t want fecal matter resting against the skin to cause a diaper rash. 

Keep a few extras in your diaper bag at all times.

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