How Many Nappies Do I Need In The First Year?

how many nappies baby sleeping

When preparing for the new baby, there are many items that parents focus on. 

While it’s key to have a safe sleeping place and plenty of clothes for your little one, you’ll find you spend time looking for the right swing, bouncer, and other toys as well. 

It can be fun to shop for all of these things for a new baby, but there’s one thing that is going to be more important than all the rest and is certainly no fun at all: nappies!

Newborn Nappies

Babies go through a lot of nappies, especially at the very beginning of life.

In the first month of your little one’s life, you can expect to be changing nappies every couple of hours, as newborn babies tend to need a change as often as 10 times a day!

As your baby grows, so does their bladder. Over time, you’ll need to change fewer nappies throughout the day. By the time your little bundle of joy is rounding the 6-month mark, they should only need changing around 5 times a day. Less cost, less hassle.

So How Many Nappies Do I Need?

how many nappies toddler standing

The answer to this question depends on your answer to another question: do you plan on using disposable nappies or reusable cloth ones?

If you’re using disposables, the number of nappies you’ll need can vary greatly from child to child and brand to brand. On average, a baby can mess their way through nearly 3,000 nappies in the first year of life. While you should never let your little one sit in a wet nappy for too long, some brands of nappies are better than others when it comes to absorbency. Kids’ bowel habits change as they grow in the first few years, and poop is different depending on diet and other factors. 

If you intend to go the cloth route, the number of nappies you’ll need depends to a large extent on how often you plan on laundering them. You’ll likely want to have a dozen or so on hand, particularly in the first few months of your baby’s life. The more cloth nappies you have on standby, the less often you’ll need to do laundry. Many families keep around 20 cloth nappies ready to roll although you could easily get away with fewer.

Because newborn babies go through so many nappies in the first 3 months of life, many parents opt to use disposable nappies with the intention of switching to cloth nappies as their child begins to grow. 

Cost Of Nappies

Whether disposable or cloth, nappies can definitely have a painful impact on the chequebook. 

Disposable nappies can be found quite cheaply but they can only be used once and then they’re consigned to the rubbish bin.

When opting for cloth nappies, there’s more upfront investment to secure the nappies and all necessary supplies. Since they’re reusable, you can make savings from that point forth. Also, when using cloth nappies, you need to decide if you’re going to pay someone to launder them for you or if you’re going to brave the dirty work yourself. When considering cost, be sure to account for a laundering service if you plan to use one.

Size Considerations

When purchasing nappies, be sure you get a variety of sizes. 

Nappy sizes are based on the weight of your child rather than age. In addition to preemie and newborn sizes, the following are the most common nappy sizings and corresponding weight range:

  • Size 1 – Up to 5kg
  • Size 2 – 4kg to 8kg
  • Size 3 – 6kg to 11kg
  • Size 4 – 10kg to 15kg
  • Size 5 – 13kg to 18kg
  • Size 6 – 16kg and up

These are merely guidelines, however, since all babies are different depending on their build, size, and shape. 

Some babies will never even need newborn-sized nappies and instead, go straight into a size 1 nappy. Also, babies grow so quickly that you might barely touch the smaller sized nappies. If you’ve got a closet full of newborn nappies, this can be incredibly frustrating.

Nappies are a popular baby shower gift, and people will probably gift you plenty of newborn-sized nappies. It’s also highly likely you’ll return home from hospital with an armful of newborn nappies. Because of this, we suggest buying a broad spread of sizings without undue focus on newborn variants.



Kids, chai latte's, blueberry muffins, and reading way too many books... That pretty much sums up Louise. She's also passionate about giving back to the community, in this case through this site, finding and answering questions about parenting.
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