Babies can be very expensive. As a lot of people say, babies don’t need all that much – a safe place to sleep, something to wear, something to eat, and diapers. But that last category can get pricey very fast when you’re using disposable diapers. So if you’re expecting a baby, consider whether or not you want to stock up on diapers.
How Many Diapers Will I Need?
Babies go through around 2500 diapers in their first year. That is a lot of diapers! So when you see a sale, it’s logical to want to stock up on diapers. But it’s not like they’re one size fits all. In fact, diapers come in a lot of different sizes, depending on the weight of your child. Here’s how one brand fits:
- Newborn – under 10 lbs
- Size 1 – 8-14 lbs
- Size 2 – 12-18 lbs
- Size 3 – 16-28 lbs
- Size 4 – 22-37 lbs
Generally speaking, you will likely only need into size 3 for your baby’s first year, though some babies are adorable little chunks who round out faster than others. But how many of each size will you need? When I did some research, different websites offered wildly different estimates. One suggested buying approximately 150 newborn diapers, another suggested close to 500!
If your baby’s already here, or you’ve had a growth estimate close to your due date, you can use that birth weight on the Diaper Planner website to get an idea of how many diapers you might need in each size. If nothing else, it’s definitely eye-opening.
One thing that calculator showed me though is that if I have a seven-pound baby or a 10-pound baby, I’ll still likely need somewhere between 600 and 700 Size 1 diapers and somewhere under 600 Size 2. That’s a good start and an easy size to stock up on as sales happen.
We also made a point to check out return policies – after all, we didn’t want to stock up and then not even need to open a particular box. For example, Target lets you return within 90 days. So we decided to pick up a second box of newborn diapers right before baby arrived because we knew we would be able to return them if he grew out of them quickly.
Now that’s not to say you should try to stock up on a full year’s worth of diapers all at once. I know plenty of people recommend this, but that assumes you know what brand you will like and have room for all of those diapers!
What Brand Should I Choose?
This is the big question! There are a lot of brands of diapers out there, and they all have their own following. But the important thing to note is that different diapers work differently for every baby. There is no right brand, though you may be able to narrow it down by what features you want. If you’re looking for eco-friendly or compostable, you narrow your choices (but increase your cost).
This is actually why I recommend against creating a huge diaper stash. You may find out that a particular brand just doesn’t work for you. You may discover that you like different brands in different sizes because they all fit a little differently. This doesn’t mean you can’t start a stockpile. Pick up a box or two of diapers in each size as sales happen. Ask around and find out what kinds of wipes people like and consider adding those to your stockpile. Baby wipes have so many uses!
What About Cloth Diapers?
Cloth diapers will certainly save you money in the long run, but the initial outlay is much larger and you also have to factor in the time considerations – and whether or not your daycare will use them, should you be sending your baby to daycare. And as you’re looking at the cost estimates, don’t forget about the expense to wash them as well. We will go into the cost comparisons between disposables and cloth in the coming weeks.
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Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.