Expecting a baby? One of your thoughts after it settles in is…. How many diapers do I need for a baby?
My Isabella is now 7 years old! How time flies. I originally wrote this post before she was born and 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! And now my sister with twins is pregnant with her THIRD child. (We tend to have big families 🙂 I have 4, my sisters have 3,3 and 2!)
*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. Every baby is different.“`
Keep in mind:
- 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 diaper do I need?
Just as each of us is an uniqueness 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.)
How many size 1 diapers do I need?
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 of size 1 diapers.
How many size 2 diapers do I need?
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.
How many size 3 diapers do I need?
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.
How many size 4 diapers do I need?
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.
How many size 5 diapers do I need?
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 diapers: 30 packs
Size 2 diapers : 15 packs
Size 3 diapers: 30 packs
Size 4 diapers: 46 packs
Size 5 diapers: 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. It’s a trade off of never running out of diapers and 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 many diapers do I need for twins?
As a mom (and Aunt) of twins….you really will need to double these quantities. It seems daunting I know but diapers aren’t like toys- each twin really needs their own.
How do I stock up on diapers at the best price?
The drug stores are going to be your friend for diapers. Sometimes, 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. You can see all the current baby deals here.
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. Aldi and Lidl both have good prices on their store brands.
I have been buying diapers for my sister who is due this summer as well. I think your advice is all good, and your estimates are close to what she has calculated as well, although she assumes more size 2’s and fewer size 1’s.
Just wanted to pass along a particular deal to watch for. In Rite Aid’s just completed 50th anniversary promotion, Pampers diapers counted as qualifying items. As long as you hit the total dollar purchases requirements, that resulted in an extra 20% off (in the form of an +UP).
The good news is that Rite Aid is running another 50th anniversary promotion from 2/3 to 3/2. While Pampers diapers are NOT (except for super paks) on the qualifying list this time, Huggies diapers are. So if you combine them with coupons and a weekly deal, you may be able to find some good deals on Huggies throughout February.
gg burkhardt says
Just wanted to add that although our little one(petite) was still in size one at 12 pounds but she was eating and drinking enough to be leaking out of the size one so we put her into size 2. This stopped the leaks but weren’t bulky. The 3s were too big and bunched in the legs. We only use Pampers, Huggies or Luvs.
When harris teeter had overlapping promos for pg (I can’t remember but it was spend $30 and get something) and pampers (spend $45 and get $15 off your next purchase) + coupons I super stocked up on wipes. I haven’t had to buy any for a year and I still have plenty left. I wish we could stock up on diapers but we didn’t really start couponing until after our third so we catch sales whenever we can. I love CVS cause the pampers cruisers are the best and they always have pampers deals. Diapers are so strange, it seems like the thinner huggies and pampers varieties are better than the bulky dry bottoms variety and need changing much less often.
amy courchesne says
Just fyi Walmart is selling their brand wipes in 720 count for $11.47 so around 1.5 cent…not bad! I’ve found great deals at babies r us on diapers.
Angel Howard says
I will only buy diapers (pull-ups now) at the drugstores when they have them on sale. I thought Sam’s had a good deal with the big packs and in-store savings of $6, but they figured out to be like .36 cents a pull-up, so I passed. Went to CVS and got a big pack of Pull-ups for much less.
With my second child, I actually kept a tally of how many jumbo packs of diapers she used in each size throughout her whole diaper-wearing life. She was born at ~8 lbs. and she has turned out to be about 50% for height and 25% for weight…so about average size but on the slim side. She potty-trained at age 2.5 but kept wearing diapers at night and naptime almost until age 4. I used all different brands of diapers (whatever I could get for $4/jumbo pack or less) and I moved her up to the next size once she consistently began soaking and leaking out of the size diaper she was wearing (which was usually before she had reached the “weight limit” on the diaper). Hopefully some of you may find this helpful for planning, here is the count of how many jumbo packs she went through in each size: (I used this info to stockpile for my third child and it was just about right!)
size 1- 7
size 2- 11
size 3- 12
size 4- 25
size 5- 76
That is AMAZING thank you soooo much!
gg burkhardt says
That ia awesome!!!
I’ve had two boys so far and my youngest right now is 13 months old and in size 3. My 2 year old I had him potty trained two months before his 2nd birthday so that helped a lot with the diapers. Currently Im 19 weeks pregnant and due July, so now its time to plan ahead and buy some diapers.
sc- Your list of how many diapers you used is amazing and after thinking about it this sounds very close to what my first went through. I breastfed both until they were a year old. My oldest wasn’t in size 5s for that long since I trained him early. Overall great list you have there. I see it as a great guideline. Thank you.
Heather R. says
Just to be devils advocate here: because i have not seen it mentioned. IF you really want to save $$ (and the environment!) cloth diapers are the way to go. I did disposables with my first, but with the second i decided to try cloth. I spent $300 to get my stash going (including a diaper sprayer, all the diapers ( some gently used) detergent, etc) and i am still going strong 18 months later. And in the triad if you are interested there is a great store with education classes in GSO called All About Baby Boutique. Here is page with the $ break down: http://www.allaboutbabyboutique.com/pages/whychoosecloth.php
No pressure, just something to chew on 🙂
😉 That is the next post- since I have no experience with cloth diapers a friend is writing me a post 🙂 Complete honesty here: there is no way cloth diapers would work for my family…I can barely keep up with my older kids’ underwear …dirty diapers being washed just won’t happen 🙁
Great topic! I just stocked up for our new baby, due in August, this past week. The huggies deal at shoprite was amazing! Went based off what our 15 mo. old and what worked for her. I have to disagree with not needing size 2’s. mine basically wore them for most of her first year… Granted she is on the small side. I did read a great piece of advice about taping the receipt to the pack for easy exchanging for bigger or smaller sizes.
I buy my diapers at Family Dollar and Dollar General. These stores offer ($3off a $15 or more purchase Family Dollar) & ($5 off a $25 dollar purchase Dollar General) on Saturdays with coupon, which can be found on receipts and online. I usually just take a portion of my grocery budget and get my staple items here. The prices are the same if not cheaper in most cases and you can use manufactures coupons here as well. I really get the most bang for my buck when i do this because I was going to spend this money on groceries anyways, then just add a pack of diapers to my pile and it’s like I’m getting them for just pennies. Example: $10 pack of huggies sz 1 snug and dry 50ct minus $1.50 manufactures coupon minus $5.00 dollar general= $3.50 pack or .07 cents a diaper! Even if you don’t want to set aside a budget to grocery shop here you will still find great savings on buying your diapers here. A $16 box of sz 3 luvs diapers 86 ct. minus 1.00 manufactures coupon minus $3 family dollar coupon = $12.00 box or 14 cents a diaper. Which i think is still a good deal, finding diapers .10 cents per diaper is hard in my experience with couponing. This is the only way I’ve been able to get diapers under .10cents.
Isabelle Cheridant says
.10 a diaper is very easy. SHOPRITE Sale, Catalinas, Digital Coupon and your all set but you do have to track it. When i was stocking up for my daughter’s first year of diapering, I got 3 pack of diapers for $5, those times were great, I havent seen any $3 huggies coupon in awhile , it might be because i’m not so attentive anymore.
Thanks ladies, my daughter is due at the end of May. I started purchasing diaper back in January. We are off to a good start. I can’t say thank you enough for ALL THE tips. I know that I will have to assist her due to the father saying he’s not going to be there. Another idea I saw some where was to have a diaper raffle at the shower and we are doing that. I did request no newborn. Again thanks so much.
way off on packs. i have 5 kids. my kids used more newborn diapers like 15-20, 1s 10-15, 2s 5-10, 3s 5 than was potty trained at 17 months for all my kids. my kids were full term and all weight from 5lb 6oz-7lbs 8 oz.
Jessie @MoolaSavingMom says
As I said- every child is different 🙂 I have 4 children and never used 15 – 20 pks of newborn diaper not even on my preemies. Every child will be different but I’ve had many people say they have used this as a guide and it’s been a good resource to have (including my sister whose twins just turned 1).
Isabelle Cheridant says
that’s a lot newborn diapers. i use like 3-4. Im sure you could have gone to size 1 which starts at 10lb.
I have a 5 1/2 month old, and I definitely used this and another site as a guide to stock up during my pregnancy. I found your suggestions to be very helpful.
I like that you added to the size 2 column. That was how I had tweaked your original plan.
FYI – if you have extra sizes as your little one grows your local women’s shelter probably needs them. Sadly pregnant women are at high risk of domestic violence.
Best website ever! Thank you! The helped me with my first child, and now it’s a nice refresher course for my second baby.
Nancy Thomas says
Being a mom is not an easy job, especially when for a new mom. There are a number of things that need to be kept in mind. You have given very useful information. After reading your post I am able to know where we can stock our baby diaper. I am using both AlvaBaby and Pampers diaper for my little sweetheart. I am waiting for your next post.
When you say packs do you mean the 30-48 ct packs of diapers? or the boxes of 100+?
Jessie @MoolaSavingMom says
The plastic packs- 20-40 ct depending on size.
thanks so much for your tips! i see the word jumbo used a lot. How many diapers are included in a “jumbo” pack? unfortunately, i cant really use any tips on here without knowing that.
Jessie @MoolaSavingMom says
each brand and size will have different counts in what they consider jumbo packs – this is just a guide it won’t be perfect for every baby but even if you are off a pack or two it’s better than paying full price!
Back 4 years ago when this article was written, size 1 jumbo packs had about 50 diapers, nowadays there is less in a pack and they differ from different brands.
What did you end up spending on 2 years of diapers?
I have questions about quality and best diapers. I’ve hadn’t used diapers in 30 something years and need to be educated as I start to purchase diapers for my first grandbaby.
Which diapers are currently best?
How do store brands compare, including Costo and Sam’s?
Does it really matter if you purchase male or female?
Thank you for this much-needed information. We are planning to buy a pack or two a week and store them away.
Jessie @MoolaSavingMom says
-My kids were never picky with diapers so we used any and all brands. For some families- it’s trial and error.
-I never had an issue with store brands.
-Having a boy and 3 girls- we never did gender specific diapers.
Isabelle Cheridant says
This was so helpful and i send a lot of my friends to this site and it works for them. I’m already a couponer but i really didn’t know how much of what i would need and this was on point. My daughter is now 14 months and i’m about to finish stocking up on all the 5’s.
I see that most of the comments were left around 2013 … so maybe it’s changed since then. Or maybe it’s a Michigan thing? Idk. But my daughter was born in Feb 2016 and we have always exchanged diapers at any store without a receipt. As long as the pack/box is unopened, you can exchange for a different size at any store. This was great because we had packs and packs of newborn diapers from the baby shower and she came out in a size 1. Before even leaving the hospital, we had exchanged up for size 1’s. When she moved to 2’s, we exchanged again.
Also nice to note is that Target has a great policy. My LO is super sensitive. Super. Sensitive. She cannot use anything but The Honest Company. We originally started her out in Pampers and then tried moving to off brands, then to Huggies, then to anything that was made by the same manufacturer that did Pampers (like Luvs). She got horrible rashes from every single one of them. Pampers worked best, by far, but until we switched to THC I never realized she was still suffering. Long story short, I bought an enormous box of Target brand diapers before realizing everything I knew later. She broke out terribly, obviously (hindsight is 20/20). So I took the OPENED box to Target and explained the situation to customer service who allowed me to do an even trade for a box of Pampers and gave me a $10 gift card on top of it!