How many cloth diapers do I need?
You’ll see a range of advice out there, and it depends on how often you’re willing and able to do laundry as well as the age of your child. You’ll need different amounts depending on whether you’re starting with a newborn or throwing in the towel on disposable with your 6-month-old. For a newborn, assuming you can do laundry every 2-3 days, you’ll need anywhere between 20 and 36 cloth diapers for full-time cloth diapering. You’ll probably want to err on the side of 36 to have plenty to be safe. They’re not something you want to run out of!
Does that sound like a lot? It is! But newborn babies go through 10-12 diapers per day, whether disposable or cloth, so you’d be buying and throwing away just as many disposable diapers. With a stash of 36, you have enough for 3 days with some wiggle room for extra blowouts. (You can always have one box of disposables on hand for emergencies.)
With cloth, diapers means both inserts and covers. In the picture above, you can see the rectangle inserts. The item in the middle is the cover. Typically, the inserts go into the diaper cover. You may choose to place 1-2 inserts into the cover.
How often do you change cloth diapers?
You change cloth diapers as often as you change disposable diapers–whenever the baby goes pee or poop in the diaper. You’ll want to keep the baby dry so they don’t get diaper rash or cry from discomfort. Because disposable diapers are more absorbent and can wick away moisture, you may be able to get away with not changing them for a few pees. But you do need to change a baby in a cloth diaper after every pee.
You’ll need a place to keep the soiled liners (just like you would have a diaper pail for dirty disposable diapers). For cleanup, you’ll just put the poop in the toilet and keep the dirty liners in the hamper. Put a load of the dirty ones through the laundry on the hot or the sanitize setting every other day. If you wait longer, not only will smell be an issue, but so could staining.