How many cloth nappies do you need?

How many cloth nappies you need depends on 3 things:

  1. How old your baby is
  2. How often you want to wash
  3. How you are drying them

Start with just one nappy!

If you haven't yet started using reusable nappies then it is absolutely possible to start with just one nappy! This is a good way to dip your toes in, see if you like it and build your stash from there.

You don't need a washing routine when it comes to using 1 or 2 nappies. Just give them a good hand-wash in hot water with detergent and then add to a load of other general laundry.

Full time cloth use

If you would like to use reusable cloth nappies full time than how many you need really depends on:

How old your baby is:
Newborn babies need a lot more changes in a day then a 6 month old or toddler.

How often you want to wash:
The less you want to wash the more nappies you will need. 

How you are drying them:
If you have a dryer then your nappies (or inserts) will take less time to dry meaning your turn around time will be quciker and you can get away with less nappies. If you do not have a dryer and prefer line drying and you live in a colder climate your nappies may have a longer turn around time which will mean you need more.

Prefolds, flats and trifolds are great when you live in colder climates as they take less time to dry.


Birth to 3 months

Newborns can go through 12+ changes in a day so based on a routine of washing every second day then may need approx. 30 - 36 nappies for full time use.
This ensures a full days stash while the rest are washing/drying.

Prefolds and flats are great for the newborn stage as they dry very quickly, which means you can get away with even less nappies or washing less frequently.

Read: Using Prefolds and Flats on a Newborn

Some people like to start with less nappies and wash daily during this stage.

3 - 6 months

After the newborn stage your baby will start to need less changes, this means if you are washing every two days you will only need around 24 - 30 nappies.

At this stage your babies output can increase so now is the time to add more absorbency.

6 months +

From 6 months + you will need around

18 - 24 nappies if you are washing every 2nd day.


If you have more nappies in your stash you can wash every 3 days instead!

What is the average stash size?

Many people choose to keep an average stash of 24 - 30 nappies and wash daily during the newborn stage, reducing their washes down to every 3-4 days once their babies get older and need less changes during the day.


Quick Guide

Here is a quick guide to figuring out how many nappies you may need. Please note this is just an approximate guide and is based on FULL TIME USE so allows for a full days use whilst the other nappies are in the wash.


Approx. changes per day Day 2 wash Day 3 wash
Birth to 3 months 10 - 12 30 - 36 40 - 48
3 - 6 months 8 - 10 24 - 30 32 - 40
6 months + 6 - 8 18 - 24  24 - 32

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