Cloth Nappies, Green Living

Cloth Nappies: How Many Do You Really Need?

Stack of modern cloth nappies

Are you thinking about diving into the world of cloth nappies? Good on you! Cloth nappies are not only good for the environment, but since they’re reusable, they will save you significant $$ from your weekly household budget (oh, and they’re super cute!) But there’s one question we always get asked when people consider making the switch: How many do I need?

We wish we could give you a simple answer, but unfortunately, there’s a little more to it than a straightforward number. So we’ve detailed all the considerations you will need to take into account before working out how many nappies you will need for your household.

Before you begin: Things to Think About

1. How Old’s Your Little One?

Newborns go through a lot of nappies, usually about 10-12 changes per day. Once your baby gets a bit older (think 4 to 10 months), you’ll probably need around 6-9 changes a day and about 4-7 changes for toddlers.

Depending on your newborn’s birth weight you may need to choose to use the ‘newborn hack’ for ‘one-size’fits-most’ (OSFM) nappies, otherwise you will need to invest in newborn-sized nappies (in which case this will be in addition to your OSFM nappies).

2. How Often Do You Want to Do Washing?

It’s recommended not to leave your main nappy wash for more than three days to prevent ammonia build-up, stains and to protect the nappy’s long term. While you can technically do a nappy wash every three days, if you choose to do this, we will need to invest in a bigger stash than if you plan on doing a main wash daily or on Day 2. You’ll also need to remember the size of your washing machine and if it can fit three days’ worth of nappies. Likewise, if you want to wash daily, you will need to be able to bulk up the load so that it’s at least ¾ full (this ensures an optimal wash). Many people decide main washing on day three is a ‘happy medium’ for them.

3. Full-time or part-time?

Are you planning to go all in and use cloth nappies full-time? You’ll need more. But you won’t need as many if you think you’ll use cloth at home and disposables when you’re out and about or at night.

Let’s Crunch Some Numbers

Alright, let’s get to the main question. If you’ve got a newborn and plan to use cloth nappies full time, you’ll need around 20-25 nappies if you wash daily. If you’re washing every two days, that number jumps to 26-32 nappies; if you’re washing every three days, you’ll need about 36-45 nappies.

When your baby gets older, and you don’t need to change them as often, you might need about 18-24 nappies for washing every two days or 27-36 for washing every three days.

Of course, these are just rough estimates. You might need more or less depending on your baby and your routine.

Final Thoughts

Buying a bunch of cloth nappies might seem like a big investment, but the money you save in the long run makes it worth it. Plus, you’re helping protect the planet that your children will be growing up in.

Many families like to start small with a small nappy stash, then gradually add once they’ve found their feet. But, at the end of the day, how many cloth nappies you need or want is totally up to you.

Good luck with your cloth nappy adventure! You’ve got this!

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