As an authority in the baby space, people always ask me about diapers. How many diapers per day do you need to use? How often should you change diapers? What kind of diapers are best for a boy/girl/newborn/toddler.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of options out there. A labor nurse gets ALL the questions, at work and and home. Even online!
Well mama, look no further, because I’m here to bring you on a diaper-changing journey that will wipe those pooey questions away and leave you feeling prepared for the ultimate blowout.
Dramatic, maybe. Serious? ABSOLUTELY.
Let’s take an in-depth look at how many diapers you need from premie to size four, and what that looks like in terms of QUANTITY. Hopefully you’ve got room in your nappy, because the numbers are unfortunately staggering!
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How many diapers do I need?
Everyone comes to the place where it’s necessary to wonder. At least everyone who has a baby that pees and poops. Hopefully that’s everyone who has a baby, but science is weird man. Who knows, right?
Regardless, we’re here to talk about babies that DO in fact POOP. If that’s your baby, hurray! If not, um, patent it? QUICKLY?! (Actually go see your pediatrician ASAP)!
How many diapers per day that you’ll need throughout your little one’s pre-potty lifetime will vary, depending on a few things. Frequency changes over life, and some babies are more regular than others.
Constipation and dehydration are definitely huge factors in how often you need to change a diaper, so if you’re on the higher end of frequency, you are probably on the higher end of healthy, too. To a POINT, obviously.
Because there is such variation, I’ll provide information that assumes your baby is in the 50th percentile for weight by age.
Pare that down to regular human speech and I mean let’s say your baby is the perfectly average weight for their size. Not too big, not too small. Not even too hot or cold. JUST RIGHT.
With all of that said, we’ll take a look at frequency at a deeper level later.
For now, let’s get to the nitty and the gritty with your little itty bitty.
How many diapers per day do you need?
If you’ve found yourself asking or wondering “How many diapers do I need in the first year“, ask no further.
Newborns stay in the newborn diaper size for a ridiculously small amount of time, all things considered. If you were unfortunate enough to have to work with premature birth, you’ll probably be working with the hospital’s supply for most of that time.
When littles is healthy and heavy enough to bring home, you’ll probably be into the newborn range.
If you give birth to a baby of any sufficient average in terms of weight, you’ll be in size 1 diapers real quick. Maybe even week 1.
Regardless, let’s take a look at what you’ll need for wrapping up that little newbie, shall we?
Number of changes per day + diaper size chart for baby boys
|Little Boys||Pees Per |
|Birth – 5 weeks||Newborn||7 lbs – 9 lbs||12||420|
|6 weeks – 13 weeks||Size 1||10 lbs – 13 lbs||13||728|
|14 weeks – 21 weeks||Size 2||14 lbs – 15 lbs||15||735|
|22 weeks – 45 weeks||Size 3||16.8 lbs – 21 lbs||15||2415|
|46 weeks – 52 weeks||Size 4||22.5 lbs – 37 lbs||17||952|
Number of changes per day + diaper size chart for baby girls
|Little Girls||Pees Per |
|Birth – 5 weeks||Newborn||7 lbs – 9 lbs||12||420|
|6 weeks – 13 weeks||Size 1||10 lbs – 13 lbs||13||728|
|14 weeks – 25 weeks||Size 2||14 lbs – 15 lbs||15||1155|
|22 weeks – 52 weeks||Size 3||16.8 lbs – 21 lbs||15||2730|
So, crazy enough, how many diapers per day ends up being the least amount of diapers per size in the newborn range, at 420 diapers in total.
How many diapers per day in the one to five months old bracket ends up being a hodgepodge of sizes 1 and 2, and that’s where boys and girls really start to differ. After that, there’s not a lot of what those sciencey types call “correlation” between the sexes.
Once your baby is older than five months, how many diapers per day becomes split between size 2 for ladies and size 3 for the big boys. Well, the middling boys, who are generally bigger than the girls, at least. Silly averages.
So zoom that out, mama! You’re looking at about 5200 diapers in the first year. Ouch. How many diapers does a baby use in a lifetime? Well, I’m not even prepared to ask that question, let alone do the math. At least not yet…
How many diapers per day: dialing into the specifics
Specifically, how the heck did I arrive at these numbers!? How in the world did we decide a baby will need 12-15 a DAY?
I’m glad you asked!
Ok..well how many wet diapers for a newborn?
Per the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, an infant can and typically will have a wet diaper as often as once an hour or only two or three times a day, right out of the canal.
That’s a lot of variation, obviously.
A pretty typical expectation is one pee every 1-3 hours if you live in anything short of a bone-dry desert. If your air is very dry and hot, you can probably expect your little one to be more in the range of one pee every 4-6 hours.
What if you’re not seeing that kind of output?
If you’re seeing anything less than that, I would definitely have your little one seen, as that could be a cause for concern. In fact, you should still probably check with your pediatrician if you’re only seeing a wet diaper every 4-6 hours to be safe.
The very best recommendation for changing baby is to try to get a fresh diaper with every single urination. This is important because pee can be incredibly irritating, especially if baby is DEHYDRATED.
Constant contact with the urine can result in a rash, which ain’t nobody got time for, especially in the first month or two.
For this reason, definitely try to work out a system that allows you to react quickly to baby’s needs, mama. The very best method is to use diapers that have a wetness strip (which most do now). Otherwise, prodding the diaper gently will show you how puffy it is.
Not very scientific, but it works.
How many dirty diapers for a newborn?
Pee is all well and good. No really. When it comes to legit dirty diaper’s that’s where it gets messy.
And black. And green. SERIOUSLY.
Your baby will start out with meconium, which is basically digested amniotic fluid swallowed during birth. While this thick black substance is a horror to behold, it’s actually NOT very smelly. One of life’s small gifts of grace right there.
Fortunately/unfortunately meconium should clear by the first or second day’s worth of poops. If you’re a visual person, yay! If you’re more about smells, boo!
Breastfed vs formula fed and baby poop
After that, baby’s stools will depend on diet. A breastfed baby will usually poop MORE than a formula-fed baby. How many diapers per day for a breastfed baby will naturally be more than that of a formula-fed baby, because of this alone.
A breastfed baby should begin to poop once for every day they’ve been out of the womb (1 on the first day, 2 on the second day, etc.) until they hit 5 a day. After that, they’ll likely sustain that volume until around week 5 or 6.
A formula-fed baby might go a little lighter than, with maybe one or two fewer rounds for every 5 a breastfed baby takes.
What about how many newborn diapers do you need?
It’s likely your baby’s poop will coincide with one of those diapers, given the frequency of urination. How many diapers per day you use will fluctuate after this.
For newborns, though, that’s at least 8 diapers a day for the first 30 days, bringing us to roughly 240 DIAPERS during baby’s first month.
To be clear, that’s not to say that you’ll use 240 of the newborn diaper size. Diapers go on baby WEIGHT, so you could be using size 1 or 2 the MOMENT your littles pops out. Refer to my diaper size by weight chart below for specifics!
How many diapers does a baby use by size
I wish I could totally show you a “how many diapers does a baby use by age” chart. A lot of parents ask me this, and I even get questions about it in-patient.
Unfortunately, age and weight are not congruent or parallel. There are definitely averages to follow, but babies are born anywhere from 6 lbs (awww, so tiny!) to 12 lbs (what has that kid been EATING!?).
When it comes down to it, if we could chart by age, you would have to stuff two 6 lb babies into one diaper meant for that big boy, just because they happen to be the same age.
What we CAN do is look at how many diapers a baby needs by WEIGHT. That’s an easier comparison to make, and it is totally how your diaper manufacturer produces and markets their product.
Per Huggies, here’s how size compares to weight according to their diaper size chart.
Diaper size to weight
|Diaper Size||Baby Weight|
|Premie||Up to 6 lbs|
|Newborn||Up to 10 lbs|
|Size 1||8 – 14 lbs|
|Size 2||12 – 18 lbs|
|Size 3||16 – 28 lbs|
|Size 4||22 – 37 lbs|
Luckily, babies certainly do follow averages some of the time. Once your little one is on the scale, which will happen at every wellness check, you’ll have a better idea of how soon you’ll need to start stocking up on that next size up.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m looking at it through the lens of median averages and in the same manner that your doctor will read out on baby’s weight.
This is called the percentile, which compares your baby at any given time to the averages of all the other babies that ever happened to anyone anywhere.
Well, sort of.
Here’s what age to weight looks like at the median, according to the CDC:
Weight to age averages
|Age||Baby Boys||Baby Girls|
|Birth (0 months)||7.8 lbs. (3.5 kg)||7.5 lbs. (3.4 kg)|
|2 weeks (0.5 months)||8.8 lbs. (4.0 kg)||8.4 lbs. (3.8 kg)|
|6 weeks (1.5 months)||10.8 lbs. (4.9 kg)||9.9 lbs. (4.5 kg)|
|10 weeks (2.5 months)||12.6 lbs. (5.7 kg)||11.5 lbs. (5.2 kg)|
|14 weeks (3.5 months)||14.1 lbs. (6.4 kg)||13 lbs. (5.9 kg)|
|18 weeks (4.5 months)||15.4 lbs. (7.0 kg)||14.1 lbs. (6.4 kg)|
|22 weeks (5.5 months)||16.8 lbs. (7.6 kg)||15.4 lbs. (7.0 kg)|
|26 weeks (6.5 months)||18 lbs. (8.2 kg)||16.5 lbs. (7.5 kg)|
|30 weeks (7.5 months)||19 lbs. (8.6 kg)||17.4 lbs. (7.9 kg)|
|34 weeks (8.5 months)||20.1 lbs. (9.1 kg)||18.3 lbs. (8.3 kg)|
|38 weeks (9.5 months)||20.9 lbs. (9.5 kg)||19.2 lbs. (8.7 kg)|
|42 weeks (10.5 months)||21.6 lbs. (9.8 kg)||19.8 lbs. (9.0 kg)|
|46 weeks (11.5 months)||22.5 lbs. (10.2 kg)||20.7 lbs. (9.4 kg)|
|50 weeks (12.5 months)||23.1 lbs. (10.5 kg)||21.4 lbs. (9.7 kg)|
Couple this with some cold hard science. Or warm, squishy science in this case. If your baby follows the 50th percentile in size, you can expect the following details to be generally true about the little munchkin’s diaper usage and how many diapers per day they will be using.
There is an awful lot of hunger out there for something like a “How many diapers per day by age” chart, and that’s really where the Internet is failing us, ladies. But fear you NOT! I’ve taken some time to do the math for all of us!
Details about the chart
This following table assumes you’re changing your little one after EVERY urination (which can be a little excessive but minimizes the potential for diaper rash). I’ve also factored out those wets that happen during the night, since you’re probably taking care of those (hopefully!) with the first change in the morning.
Note: Because this information is really not readily available, I took some time to do a little research for you, mama. I’ve had to estimate a little in the math because not all babies are created equally, so be sure to take these numbers as what they are: estimates!
I’ve blown the data out to age and weight compared to pees per day, and how many diapers you’ll expect for that to equal in total. This information’s based on a urination study that can be found here.
The other great news is that I’ve included how many diapers you will need in each size! Well, it’s good news because now you know. It’s bad news because… JEEZ! 2400 DIAPERS!? in JUST ONE DIAPER SIZE?
How many diapers per day by age chart
Stocking up on diapers
So what’s a mama to do? How can we ever survive diaper-buying process?
Well, there’s great news here! You have plenty of options when it comes to accessing discounts and services to get diapers at a DISCOUNT. Woop woop.
One of my personal favorites is plain old Amazon! If you have Prime, lady, you’re set for a nice discount on almost every diaper you can find.
Here are my favorites:
How many diapers in a pack
The number of diapers that you get in a pack varies, typically reducing as the size gets bigger. It makes it a little more expensive as littles gets bigger and bigger, so if you’re concerned about how many diapers come in a pack, I’d probably just shop around.
The reality is that you have multiple sizes of diaper, multiple different packs and significant variation by packaging. They range anywhere from 44 diapers to 270+ PER PACK!
Because of this, I would worry more about finding the right diaper instead of the right count. Naturally, the larger the box you buy the less you have to pay.
Tell me – how do you know when it’s time to change a diaper?
I mentioned it before, mama, but sometimes it’s hard to know when you SHOULD change the diaper.
Some diapers come with that little color-changing strip, which is vital if you want to change your baby every time they pee. Sometimes you just can’t tell by touch or sight, but that blue strip is AMAZING for detecting even the slightest moisture.
Otherwise, the silica inside of the diaper fluffs up as it absorbs urine, so you can feel a significant bulge in the material once there’s pee on board. A gentle prod or even the process of picking up or holding your baby across the hips is usually enough to know how full the diaper is.
How often should you change baby’s diaper?
So how often should you change baby’s diaper? With their first, a colleague of mine literally tried to keep up the momentum and changed their littles’ diaper EVERY pee.
You can imagine that gets a little exhausting. The fact of the matter (and this is literally out of the mouth of a pediatrician) is that diapers are made to absorb a significant amount of fluid.
Is it safest for your baby’s skin to change their diaper EVERY PEE? Why yes, yes it is.
Is it realistic and/or sane to do so?
Well, I’ll leave that up to you, babe. You’re an amazing lady and I know you’ll do the right thing by your conscience and your little baby’s butt.
Whenever in doubt, ask your pediatrician! How many diapers per day is really a question of convenience, style, and preference!
Happy bum-changing, mama!