One of the first questions new or interested cloth diapering families ask is:
How many diapers will I need?
While the number may vary depending on your individual situation, most families will do well with 24-30 diapers.
Babies will go through 8-12 diapers per day depending on their age. Seriously though they will go through that many diapers in a day! Which means that you will be washing your diapers every 2-3 days.
Don't panic. You will be doing laundry often enough anyways with a new baby - receiving blankets, extra clothes (especially if you are using disposable diapers since they leak WAY more than cloth diapers), sheets, your own clothing that has been spit up on. You will wonder how such a small human being can cause so much extra laundry.
Most families using cloth diapers find that they are not doing many more loads of laundry per week than those who use disposables because they are experiencing less blow outs with cloth diapers! Less clothing laundry, and less sheet laundry.
24 is a comfortable and safe number of diapers to get you through those 2 days but if you want to be extra safe and have additional diapers on hand in case of emergencies (aka, you are too tired to do laundry) 30 will leave you in a safer zone.
Living in an apartment or home without your own laundry facilities? You may want between 30-40 diapers to save you time waiting around in the laundry room or laundry mat.
Staying home and doing laundry each day? You could get by with 12-18 diapers.
Not wanting to use diapers at night or when you go out in public? 12-18 diapers may be all you need.
Only using diapers at night? You will want 6-10 diapers for younger babies and 4-8 for older children.
There are always options with cloth diapering so try not to let the # of diapers be a barrier for you wanting to cloth diaper. You can have as little as 6 diapers to as many as 300 (I just heard of a mom who passed on all 300 of her diapers to her friend...eek! Talk about a diaper stash. She has a diaper for almost every day of the year).
1 cloth diaper used per day is 6-8 disposables diapers saved from the landfill - consider that a win!
Naturally as an eco conscious family that is careful about our purchases we recommend sticking to only what you need. You will save your wallet and the planet at the same time! But hey, if you have a diaper addiction who are we to judge ;)
ps. Don't forget, if you purchase high quality diapers your first time around you will save yourself from having to buy two sets of diapers. We see many families who purchase low quality or used diapers in poor condition that end up having to repurchase all their diapers because they are leaking and not holding up. This is one area where it pays to purchase quality & new the first time around!