My Isabella is now 3 years old! How time flies. I originally wrote this post before she was born. I am happy to say that I had ONE extra size 1 package and 2 extra size 2 packages. I am also lucky that I was able to “hand them down” to my sister who was expecting twins! Now my other sister has had her THIRD son – so I’ve updated this post and am happy to say she’s done an amazing job stocking up! She’s been rocking the deals!
*This post has been updated from it’s original version.
With my oldest, I was able to stock up on diapers as low as 99¢ a jumbo pack when a local drug store went out of business and was being turned into a different store. All of their store brand products went as low as 90% off. I had all of my family members visit every store in their area to buy me diapers! I didn’t buy any diapers for about 3 years! Then we started potty training so I really did well with stocking up on diapers with her. Then we had twins and while I stocked up, we still found ourselves having to buy more diapers of certain sizes.
Disclaimer: This stock up guide is a best guess estimate. It’s a starting point. It is based on average weights, changes, etc. You might have a big baby or a small baby or a wet baby or a super dry one. Your baby might potty train at 18 months and never need sizes 4 or 5. So take this for what it is – a little getting started guide.
I am lucky that my stock pile is large enough of diapers that I haven’t HAD to buy diapers and Isabella is 2 and we’re about to potty train! I’ve just been picking them up as deals come along. So I did research (and buying diapers of course!) This is what my research has turned up:
- Not every diaper will work for every baby. I’ve been lucky my babies are not picky.
- As the sizes go up, the number of diapers in each pack goes down. Hopefully as the baby needs the bigger sizes, the number of diapers you need a day will also go down.
- Unless you expect a very small or premature baby (My twins were preemies and only weighed a little over 2 lbs at birth so we used several packs of Newborn size)- you shouldn’t go crazy buying Newborn sized diapers.
How many of each size are you getting?
Just as each of us is an individual, so will the baby. What will work for my family will not work for yours so please don’t expect this to be a perfect guide for your baby. It is just a general guideline of a plan. (Note: My Sister used this plan for her twins (doubling everything of course) and had a few extra size 1 and size 2. She was able to sell them to my other sister who is expecting at the stock up price per diaper and she used that money to buy sizes 3 and 4!)
Newborns will use 8-10 diapers a day (some more, some less). As they get older and begin sleeping through the night, it will go down to 5-8 diapers a day. Since formula fed babies are expected to gain weight faster than breast-fed babies, we will use that as the basis for our plan. (Note:we are not promoting one way over another we just need to choose one to use as our baseline numbers. The method that works for you & your baby is the correct method.)
Babies grow fastest during the first four months, often 2 lbs a month. Assuming a starting weight of 6 lbs they will be in Size 1 diapers for 4 months.
4 months x 30 days x 10 diapers a day= 1,200 diapers of Size 1. Assuming that there are an average of 40 diapers per jumbo pack that is 30 jumbo packs.
Size 2 overlaps size 3 by several pounds. Originally I skipped size 2’s because of that overlap and then I realized HEY there are more diapers in size 2 than 3! So I moved 10 of the size 3 pks to the size 2 column.
Growth slows to about 1-1.5 lbs a month generally. So size 3s could last from 8- 12 months. Diaper usage often decreases to 5-8 diapers a day. We’re going middle of the road with using 6 diapers a day and estimating using size 3 for 8 months.
8 months x 30 days x 6 diapers a day= 1,440 diapers. Assuming an average of 36 diapers in a jumbo pack that is 40 packs.
Based on average baby sizes- we’re basing size 4 being used from 12 – 18 months and 6 diaper changes a day. That means for the 6 months they are in this size that they will go through 1,080 diapers. With an average of 23 diapers that is 46 pks of diapers.
Based on an average of babies being in this size from 18 – 24 months and an average of 5 diapers a day that is 900 diapers. With an average of 20 diapers per jumbo pack that means we’ll use 45 pks of diapers.
This is my updated plan. All packs refer to jumbo packs
Newborn: 2-3 packs
Size 1: 30 packs
Size 2: 15 packs
Size 3: 30 packs
Size 4: 46 packs
Size 5: 45 packs
Ok you are thinking: that is over 175 jumbo packs of diapers at $10 a pop that is $1750! OUCH.
But we aren’t going to pay full price right? Nope- we are aiming for 10¢ or less a diaper. Is that always possible- no but that is the goal. A few things to consider:
- How much storage room do you have? Having 80 packs of diapers can take up a lot of room! Start with size 1 and work your way up. That baby will be needing diapers continuously so don’t try to get all the diapers before the baby is even born!
- Do you have a plan for extra diapers you don’t need? I never advocate wasting money but the chances are you may have an extra pack or two you never opened and the baby has outgrown. I see that as a trade off of never running out of diapers. I will happily pass on the unused diapers to someone else. You could sell unused packs on Craigslist or to a friend to recoup your money and buy the next size you need.
- If you keep the receipts you can see if the store will allow you to trade for a different size.
How do I stock up on diapers at the best price?
The drug stores are going to be your friend for diapers. Sometimes, rarely, we see amazing deals at the grocery stores but drug stores are going to be where you find the best deals. You are going to want to look for a deal where you buy diapers, use a coupon and get a reward back (ECB, Up+, Register Reward). On these types of deals, I beg my family to use their store cards to buy the deals too and I reimburse them. This allows you to get the great deal without breaking store rules and being within their deal limits.
Won’t it be cheaper to buy diapers in the big boxes?
Not usually. If you buy (1) big box you can use (1) coupon. If you buy the same number of diapers in (3) smaller packs you can use (3) coupons. As with anything coupon-related. You will need to run some math. There is no across the board answer- use your cell phone calculator and figure out the “per diaper” price for the package you are considering.
What about wipes?
With diapers you need baby wipes. Let’s assume 5 wipes per change (I’d rather over estimate wipes than under-estimate). Let’s assume (and round) it to 5,000 wipes to last as long as those diapers. It may be more & may be less. As long as I have 2-3 extra packs at any time I won’t stress about having a years worth of wipes stocked up.
Let’s round it down to 50 wipes per package that is 100 packs of wipes (small packs). At $2.99 regular price that is about $300 in wipes! Let’s get that down too! Just like diapers we are looking at unit prices here. We’re looking to spend 1¢ or less per wipe. Looking for small packs and using coupons on them is again going to be the best way to get the best deal on wipes. Look to stock up on 5 packs of wipes per month on average. You might use less wipes on the behind as they get older…but you’ll use more on the face, hands, arms, feet…. those kids get DIRTY!
I need diapers NOW and I don’t have time to look for a coupon deal…Seriously I have one diaper left!
If you are in desperate need for diapers and no amazing deal jumps out at you- head to the local discount store and grab their store brand. Get a pack to last you until the anxiety disperses and you can calmly look for a better deal.