Following delivery costs, disposable diapers are one of the biggest purchases new parents will make in their baby's first year of life. The question is, how many diapers does a newborn use in a day? And how many diapers do they use in a year?
While the exact number depends on the weight and age of your baby, if you're hoping to stock up on some diapers when they go on sale, we break down how many diapers you will need for each stage and what to look for when buying these necessary items.
How Many Diapers Does a Newborn Use Per Day?
A newborn uses an average of eight to 12 diapers are used in a day and up to 84 diapers a week for the first month. While this many seem like a lot, many parents don't realize that after the first few days, newborns can have a bowel movement after every feeding. This is especially true of breastfed babies.
Thankfully, as your baby grows, you will notice larger windows of time in between diaper changes. Here is a breakdown of how many diapers you need per day by age on average.
|Diaper Size||Baby's Weight||Average Number of Diapers Used in a Day||How Long They Typically Fit||Potential Number of Diapers Needed|
|Newborn||Up to 10 lbs||8 - 12 diapers||A few weeks, at best||240 - 360 diapers|
|1||8 - 14 lbs||8 - 10 diapers||2 - 3 months||480 - 900 diapers|
|2||12 - 18 lbs||6 - 9 diapers||2 - 3 months||360 - 810 diapers|
|3||16 - 28 lbs||6 - 9 diapers||3 - 6 months||540 - 1620 diapers|
|4||22 - 37 lbs||5 - 7 diapers||3 - 6 months||450 - 1260 diapers|
|5||> 27 lbs||5 - 7 diapers||As needed||As needed|
|6||> 35 lbs||5 - 7 diapers||As needed||As needed|
When you see the actual numbers, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, it's not as bad as you may think, especially if you buy in bulk. This will get you the largest amount of savings. Here is some quick math for parents:
A box of Size 1 Huggies Diapers at Costco has 192 diapers per box. If you have a bigger baby, who only needs this size for two months, then you would need approximately 480 diapers. A quick calculation shows that three boxes would give you more than enough of this size. One box of this size would last around three weeks.
Planning Further Out: Diapers by Month Through Your Baby's First Birthday
For parents looking for some fast figures, we've done the calculations and determined the approximate maximum number of diapers you will need for each month and through your baby's first year. Just remember that the diaper sizes they will need will vary based on their specific measurements. Don't worry though, we have tips for that too!
How Many Diapers Does a Baby Use in a Month?
If we average 30 days in a month, then your baby will likely follow these averages of diaper use:
- Up to 360 diapers in their first four weeks
- 300 diapers in their second and third months of life
- Up to 270 diapers each month for the rest of the year
How Many Diapers Does a Baby Use in a Year?
The average parent will change between 2,500 to 3,000 diapers in their baby's first year. Sizing will vary based on their baby's weight and dimensions. Just like an adult, every baby's weight will be distributed in a slightly different way. This means that babies with bigger bellies and bottoms may need to upgrade to a bigger size sooner, which is why the weight ranges for each diaper size overlap.
Tips for Stockpiling Diapers for the First Year
For the parents who are looking to register for diapers or simply spread out some of their costs, here are some simple tips for stockpiling the right amount of diapers in each size.
1. Skip the Newborn Sizes
There is no telling how big or small your sweet baby will be when they arrive. The average birth weight in the United States is between 5.5 and 8.8 pounds, with most male babies measuring at 7 pounds 6 ounces. That's a huge range, and considering the fact that your baby can switch to size 1 diapers as early as their 8 pound weigh in, it is best to avoid having a bunch of tiny diapers that will not fit for very long.
Not only that, but most hospitals send you home with an arsenal of newborn sized diapers. If you do want to have a few, this is the one size we recommend buying in bags and not boxes. This will cost a bit extra, but it will ensure that nothing goes to waste.
2. Focus on Stocking Up on Diaper Sizes 1 - 3
The best sizes to stock up on are 1 through 3. As mentioned above, buying in bulk is the best way to maximize your savings when making this essential purchase. Costco is a great spot to shop, not only because they sell big name brands like Huggies in bulk, but they will also let you exchange unopened diapers for a different size if you find that your little one grows a little faster than expected.
Here is an analysis of the number of boxes by size that you would need to buy if you choose to purchase Huggies at Costco.
|Diaper Size||Number of Diapers per Huggies Box||Potential Number of Diapers Needed||Approximate Number of Boxes to Purchase|
|1||192||480 - 900 diapers||3 - 5 boxes|
|2||174||360 - 810 diapers||2 - 5 boxes|
|3||192||540 - 1620 diapers||3 - 8 boxes|
|4||174||450 - 1260 diapers||3 - 7 boxes|
If you are a proactive person and are researching this information early, consider buying one box of diapers during each month of your pregnancy. This will get you a solid stockpile and spread out the cost. Also, don't forget that Costco has a special sale on diapers every few months that gives customers over $10 off each box! This is an ideal time for parents-to-be to snag some deals.
To ensure that you don't get too many in one size, we recommend purchasing the low end of these size ranges. If you are registering for diapers or doing a diaper raffle at your baby shower or baby sprinkle, make sure to specify that you would prefer bigger sizes and that everyone attach a receipt to the box.
3. Leave Wiggle Room for Nighttime Diapers
While it is nice to have everything you need before your baby arrives, it is important to remember that your baby may need a diaper or two with some extra absorption in the overnight hours. This is especially true as they begin sleeping through the night. Unfortunately, there is no set time when this milestone occurs, so it is hard to pinpoint exactly when they will require these products. Thus, it is best to stock up on some of the diapers you will need and then leave some wiggle room for adjustment.
4. Consider the Sex of Your Baby
On average, boys weigh four ounces more at birth than girls. They also tend to gain weight more quickly throughout their first year. This means that they will likely graduate from one diaper size to the next sooner than girls do. Don't forget that new parents may also waste a few extra diapers with boys since sprinkler style accidents happen often in the first few weeks.
Parents of boys should expect to go through more diapers and to need larger sizes sooner. So, invest in lower quantities of the smaller sizes when stocking up in advance.
After Year One: 1,800 to 2,550 Disposables Will Be Used Yearly
If your older baby is sleeping through the night in a single diaper and you are changing him or her every two to three hours during the day, you can expect to use about five to seven diapers per day, which is 35 to 49 diapers per week. This is the same whether they are wearing size 3, 4, 5, or 6. This translates to approximately 1,800 to 2,550 diapers that are used in a year.
Diaper usage will slow down as your little one begins potty training. On average, most children are potty trained by around 35 to 39 months of age.
Number of Diapers a Baby Will Use in a Lifetime
If you take all this information and add it together, the average child will use about 7,100 diapers in their lifetime, before they are potty trained. The actual number of diapers your child uses in their life depends on many factors. It is impossible to make sure you have the exact number of diapers your child will need in their life, but you can prepare by stocking up on the low-end estimated number of diapers the average baby uses at each age.
Disposable Wipe Usage: First Year
With diaper changes, you'll only be using one diaper per change. But, you'll likely use several wipes for each diaper change if it is a "number 2." This means you'll use exponentially more wipes than diapers. Parents can expect to use two wipes per wet diaper and up to 10 wipes per poopy diaper.
Depending on your child's potty regularity, the quality of the wipes, and whether you have a boy or a girl, your wipe usage can vary from as little as 7,000 to as many as 12,000 wipes in the first year.
However, before you start stockpiling thousands of these essential items, it is best to figure out if your baby's bottom is sensitive or not. This can save you from having to make a lot of returns after they arrive.
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
With cloth diapering, you wash and re-use the diapers between changes, so the number of diapers you need for the first year will depend a great deal on how often you want to (or be able to) do laundry. You'll be changing the diapers at the same rate as with disposables, but the number you need to buy is much, much lower. However, it is recommended that parents get 24 cloth diapers. Why this very specific number?
Newborns normally require up to 12 diaper changes a day. By having 24 cloth diapers, you have a stockpile for two days. This allows you to go at least 24 hours before having to start your wash cycle. As your child grows, you can decrease the number of diapers in your rotation since they will require fewer diaper changes throughout the day.
Keep Your Little One Clean and Comfortable
Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, babies require a lot of diaper changes. Knowing how many diapers you'll need can help you stock up in advance and allow you to get the most out of sales that occur throughout the year. This can also ensure that you keep your little one clean and comfortable at all times.