As a first-time parent, you probably are already trying to understand how diapering works. Babies have to wear diapers, which means you have to know which diapers to buy. You also should budget for diapering costs. Between diapers and wipes, this will account for a sizable chunk of your baby budget.
The first time you stand in the diaper aisle at your local store, you may feel overwhelmed. There are so many different sizes and types, it is confusing for first time parents. Knowing what size your baby needs and when to change diaper size is not as hard as it seems though. I’m here to help you learn all the in’s and out’s about your baby’s diaper needs.
How Many Diapers Does a Baby Use?
The number of diapers a baby uses a day will change as your baby grows. In the beginning, newborns use approximately eight to ten diapers a day. So, ten diapers times thirty days in a month equals three hundred diapers a month for a newborn. Your baby will likely wear over four thousand diapers in his/her lifetime. That is a lot of diapers!
However, babies stay in different sized diapers for different amounts of time. For example, your baby will not be in size 1 diapers as long as he/she is in size 3 diapers. This is because babies grow rapidly and then their growth slows a little.
According to Consumer Reports, “You can expect to spend around $2,500 or more by the time your baby is potty-trained. If you use ‘eco-friendly’ disposable diapers, which are biodegradable and/or not bleached with chlorine, you'll pay about $1,000 more depending on the number of diaper changes per day and the brand you use.”
Should You Stock Up on Diapers Before Your Baby is Born?
Since diapers are a necessary part of your baby budget, many parents consider stocking up on diapers prior to their little one’s arrival. Stockpiling diapers is a wonderful way to prepare ahead and to save money.
When you purchase diapers ahead of time, you can buy them when they are on sale. If you are considering stocking up, you should use websites like How Many Diapers to help you calculate.
However, there are some things you need to consider before you begin stockpiling diapers. For example, you must have adequate space to store these extra diaper boxes.
In addition, you need to keep in mind that some babies do have sensitive skin. There is a possibility your baby may have a reaction to the diapers you previously purchased. Make sure you can return or exchange the diapers you buy.
Presenting the Diaper Size Chart
One of the most confusing things about diapers is the sizing. Wondering what age do babies change diaper size is a common question. As I mentioned earlier, babies are in different sizes for different amounts of time. Here is a helpful guide to understanding the diaper size chart:
Newborn: These diapers will be worn for the least amount of time. Generally, this will be less than a month. They fit babies up to ten pounds.
Size 1: These diapers are worn for more than a month typically. They are designed for babies between eight to fourteen pounds.
Size 2: These diapers are worn longer than the previous sizes. They fit babies between twelve and eighteen pounds.
Size 3: Expect your baby to be in size 3 diapers for a while. Babies sixteen to twenty-eight pounds wear them.
Size 4: Another size your baby will be in for a lengthy amount of time. This size fits babies twenty-two to thirty-seven pounds.
Size 5: These fit babies who weigh twenty-seven pounds and higher.
Size 6: These fit babies who weigh thirty-five pounds and higher.
Some babies do not wear all the diaper sizes. For instance, they may start potty training before they wear the larger diaper sizes.
How to Know When to Change Diaper Size?
While the diaper size chart is helpful, you must be flexible using it. Babies grow at different rates, so your baby may stay in one size longer than the chart suggests or move on to the larger size sooner.
In addition to making sure your baby is in the right size according to his/her weight, you should also pay attention to the diaper’s effectiveness.
If your baby is experiencing more leaks, this is a small sign the diaper is too small. Unfortunately, one of ways to know when to go up a diaper size is when your baby has frequent “blowouts.”
A blowout means your baby’s bowel movement “escapes” the diaper and goes up your baby’s back. It is gross, but it also means it is time to go up a size.
Additionally, check the tightness. As the experts at Huggies explain, “If your baby has red marks along their thighs, that's a telltale sign that the diapers are too snug. The elastic around the leg should have some stretch, but if the diaper is too small, it won't fit properly and will create these red marks.”
What is the Diaper Size for Newborns?
Newborn diaper size is tricky. The newborn size diaper only fits babies up to ten pounds. Some babies are born and are already too big for newborn size diapers.
This happened to me! One of my babies was too big for newborn diapers and had to immediately start wearing size 1 diapers. Size 1 diapers can be worn by babies who are eight pounds, so you may have to skip the newborn size as well.
A general rule to follow is to purchase one small pack of newborn diapers, but purchase more size 1 diapers. This way if your little one can fit in the newborn diapers you have some on hand, but if your newborn is a little heftier, then you will not have bought too many diapers you cannot use.
How Long Are Babies in Size 1 Diapers?
You should expect your baby to wear size 1 diapers longer than the newborn size as we previously discussed; however, your baby will most likely not wear size 1 diapers longer than two months. He/she may possibly only wear them a month.
However, babies in size 1 diapers still need between eight to ten diaper changes a day, so your baby will go through several size 1 diapers.
Unfortunately, you should not get too comfortable with one diaper size because your baby will grow and you will need to move on to the next size before you know it!
What is the Difference Between Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers?
In addition to the sizing between confusing, parents also have to learn about the different brands and types of diapers. For example, Pampers are an extremely popular diaper brand with various types of diapers.
One of the most commonly asked questions about Pampers is what the difference is between Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers.
The experts at Pampers explain, “Swaddlers, with a cloth-like, breathable backsheet, provide a soft, blanket-like diaper to wrap your infant in comfort and security.” Whereas, “Cruisers, featuring a breathable, cloth-like backsheet, have stretchy sides to give your baby freedom to move and flex!”
Basically, you should switch to cruisers when your baby becomes mobile.
Do You Need Night Time Diapers?
You do not have to own night time diapers, but they may help your baby (and you) get more sleep at night. This is because night time or overnight diapers are made to be more absorbent and to be worn for longer hours. Thankfully, we have already done the research to let you know which overnight diapers are the best.
Is a Diaper Pail a Necessity?
While you are budgeting for diapers and wipes, another item you may want to add to your baby registry is a diaper pail. This is another item that is not a necessity, but it will likely make your life easier. Diaper pails are great because they hid the stinky smell of diapers and make it more trash runs more convenient.
Let’s put it this way. You do not want to put a poopy diaper in your everyday trashcan. The smell will be overwhelming. And, you do not want to run outside to the trash can each time you change a diaper. This is why diaper pails are so popular.
To Wrap Up…
Babies have that wonderful fresh baby smell…until they don’t. By the time your baby has been potty trained, you will have used thousands of disposable diapers and spent thousands of dollars on the cost of keeping him/her clean.
If you choose to save money by stockpiling, use the diaper size chart and planning tools. Once your baby arrives, pay careful attention to your little one’s weight, as well as how well the diaper fits.
If the diaper leaves red marks or is no longer effective at keeping the bowel movements inside, it is time to move up to the next size.