Thursday, February 3, 2011

Listen to Leslie: How do I know how many diapers I will need?

We'd like to introduce you to our new blog series "Listen to Leslie" where the wise and wonderful Leslie will answer reader asked questions and give tips and advice on solving the many diaper dilemmas.

Question:  I am so confused!  How many diapers do I need if I want to cloth diaper full time?

Leslie's Answer:  Hi!  Great question!  This is a commonly asked question and one that has many answers that can depend upon many different varieties of factors.  Many experienced and cloth diaper addicted moms will tell you that you can never have enough diapers in your stash!  That's because cloth diapering is not just a necessity, it becomes more like a hobby and sort of addiction.  Moms become cloth diaper collectors and users all at the same time.  Plus there's nothing cuter than seeing your little ones bum in their newest tie dye print or velour diaper, side-snapping or aplix, fitted, cover, etc. so what reason would you have to ever stop buying them! Right? lol

Seriously though, while you can never have too many, according to some, how many do you really NEED? It's one of the most basic questions and one that must be answered in order for anyone to successfully convert to cloth diapers full time.

First off, how many you need depends a lot on how often you plan to do diaper laundry, how many children  you have in diapers, and their ages.

Newborns needs their diaper changed a very frequently, pretty much ALL THE TIME!  I wouldn't hesitate to say that you could change a newborn or small baby's diaper up to 12 times a day, maybe more. They might not be filling their diaper at each diaper change but instead are doing a little squirt here or there, enough to warrant a change of diapers every time you turn your back and often as soon as you've finished snapping their onesie back on!

Older babies and toddlers who are gaining more control over their bowel movements seem to begin to hold it more and go less often but in larger quantities than small babies. This means less diaper changes. At the very minimum I'd say you'd still need to count on having at least 6-8 diapers per day to be on the safe side.

So now you're thinking "Multiply the number per day by how many days before washing and...tada! You've found the magic number!" Well it's not always that simple.

One thing you want to keep in mind is that for most, cloth diapering is affordable and desirable because you want to have your stash of diapers to last through potty training and for future children.

If you have exactly the number of diapers that you need to get you through a day then you need to think about the fact that those diapers will be being laundered almost 365 days a year!  Cloth diapers are not unlike your clothing, take your favorite shirt for example, a nice and quality made one, and wash it every day or so for 1,2,3 years and it's going to get worn out, there's no way around it.  So much so that you probably won't want to wear it anymore, even if it didn't have holes in it.

Basically, the more diapers you have in your cloth diaper rotation means each diaper is getting used less and washed less. This results in a lot less wear and tear on your diapers and they remain in better shape in order for you to be able to sell them, give them away, or save them for use on future babies.

Personally I think it's a good rule of thumb to figure out how many you need to get you through a day or two without washing and then double it. This will ensure that you're diapers won't be getting overused and worn out and you'll have plenty for emergencies like if your washer breaks or you or the baby get sick and you can't tend to your laundry like you normally would.

So have any of you figured out your perfect number of diapers? How many diapers do you have and what are your thoughts on this topic? We'd love to hear from you!

*Would you like Leslie to answer some of your questions?  Comment here or on our FaceBook Page and we'll feature your question in an upcoming post!

1 comment:

  1. We only currently have 3 Grovia Shells, 4 snap-in inserts and several prefolds that we also use with the shells. We're new to cloth diapering though. We intend to grow our stash to at least 8 shells for our son (and 9 snap-ins, the prefolds are working well enough that they dont need to be replaced)
    However, with a newborn on the way - I'd imagine in the next couple months we'll grow our stash to 20 shells or so and at least two inserts for each.
    We're also experimenting with other cloth diapers to see what we like!
    Another good topic is how many cloth wipes! I have 20 or so made up for diapering our son, but we'll need plenty more for our daughters arrival!!

    Check out my blog (and latest giveaways) at Ms. Michalek