EDIT MARCH 2013: So ah…2 potty-trained kids later, and I wanted to mention that diaper math is NOT a science. Disposable diapers largely depend on the build and growth rate of your baby. That “4-7 oz/week” I mention later in this post? What a joke. Vivienne grew a full pound in her first week. She was off the charts at 6 months, and in a size 6 diaper because of her chub. It was incredible. She slimmed down to eventually a size 4 when she potty-trained, but still. I had no way of knowing that ahead of time.
Johnny was 6 lbs. 5 oz at birth and way skinnier for awhile. I had no newborn diapers for him, and that was a mistake. I think he needed them for what, 6 weeks? (didn’t need any for Vivie, though).
My advice now is to just not worry about it. Get a jumbo of newborns. A jumbo of 1s, and a jumbo of 2s and a box of 3s if you want. Then wait and see what happens. Your child may blaze through a size almost faster than you can use up your stash. Or you might need to buy more after the baby is born. That is ok! I know it can be stressful to shop with a new baby, but that’s what daddy/grandma/diapers.com/Amazon.com is for. Or, just take a quick trip to the store, either solo or with your baby. It will be ok!
Y’all know how much I really wanted to try using cloth diapers with our baby. After hearing a bunch of nay-sayers tell me I’d be nuts to try it without a washer/dryer in our apartment, and folks telling me I can get disposables for cheap by combining coupons with sales at drugstores, I’ve decided to throw in the towel on the issue.
Yes, cloth diapers are better for the environment, and are better for my baby’s tush. Yes, they can be cheaper than regular-priced diapers.
But for pete’s sake, this is my first baby. We’ll be 400 miles from family, and while I’m sure the grandparents will visit–it’s going to be me and Shane doing most of the diaper duty.
I guess the most reasonable thing for me to do is to find great deals on disposables and stock up when I can, and try cloth when we move to a new place (whenever that might be).
I’m keeping track of my inventory by using a spreadsheet, which you can view here. So far, I have 439 diapers and paid $25.83 out of pocket for them. That averages out to about $0.058 cents per diaper! I don’t know if I can keep going at that pace, but I’m certainly going to try.
Drawbacks of having a huge stash of diapers before the baby is born:
– Not all brands work on all babies. Some might be more prone to leaks. Some might not fit securely around Baby’s legs or waist.
– Some diapers might irritate Baby’s skin more than others.
– Baby might outgrow a size much faster than anticipated. Might have diapers go unused (though if this happens, I’ll try to exchange unopened packs for the correct size. Or, I’ll take opened packs to the church nursery for another baby to use).
– We might not have enough of a particular size and still need to brave the frozen tundra to get diapers.
Perks of having a huge stash of diapers before the baby is born:
– I can shop at a more leisurely pace, buying diapers at incredible prices, thus saving me a ton of money.
– If a store is out of one particular size but I still need diapers in another size, I can get it without bothering to ask for a raincheck.
– We won’t have to go diaper shopping in the winter. No dealing with icy roads or a fussy baby in public if we don’t want to.
– We won’t have to bargain hunt when we’d rather spend our “free” time sleeping.
What size to get? And how many?
I’ve scoured the internet looking for blog posts and message board forums on how many diapers a baby uses, and how long they’re in a particular size.
I’ve had a hard time coming up with numbers because each baby is born at a different size, grows at a different pace, and is shaped differently. Some 9-lb. babies have chunky legs; others might be skinny. It makes sense that the specific type of diapers and those sizes will vary for each baby.
Still, I feel like there has to be at least a vague guideline of how long babies are in particular sizes.
The best info I’ve been able to find so far suggests that you need to buy “a few” packs of newborn size (some babies skip this size entirely), “a few” packs of size 1s and size 2s, and “a lot” of size 3s.
Um, can ya be more specific? How many is “a few?” Is that two packs or ten? Again, it will vary.
I consulted an infant growth chart to look at averages of how many pounds a baby might gain in a given period.
“Infants generally gain 4 to 7 ounces a week during the first month. After the first month, they gain an average of 1 to 2 pounds a month for the first six months. From six months to 1 year, they gain about 1 pound a month,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
If that data holds true, if my baby is about seven pounds at birth, then I might expect:
by the end of 1 month: 8-9 lbs.
by the end of 2 months: 9-11 lbs.
by the end of 3 months 10-13 lbs.
by the end of 4 months 11-15 lbs.
by the end of 5 months 12-17 lbs.
by the end of 6 months 13-19 lbs.
by the end of 7 months: 14-20 lb.s
by the end of 8 months: 15-21 lbs.
by the end of 9 months: 16-22 lbs.
by the end of 10 months: 17-23 lbs.
by the end of 11 months: 18-24 lbs.
by the end of 12 months: 19-25 lbs.
Of course, these are only estimates, since each baby grows differently. I get that, I promise. But now that I have a general guideline, I can surmise that Baby will probably wear sizes N-3 for the first year, maybe reaching size 4 during the last month or two before its first birthday.
By the way, size 1s = 8-14 lbs., size 2s= 12-18 lbs., and size 3s = 16-28 lbs.
That means that Baby might be in size 1s for the first two to three months of life. At 10-12 diaper changes per day, that’s 602 to 1,083 diapers. Sheesh that’s a lot! Sounds more than “a few” to me.
Baby might be in size 2s from the third month through the end of the fifth month or longer if I have a small, slow-growing baby. Keeping with that 10-12 diaper changes/day guideline, I might expect to go through 602 to 722 diapers or more in that size.
Baby might be in size 3s from five months through one year. At 10 diaper changes per day, that’s 2,107 diapers.
I’m going to buy…
I’m probably going to try to have a few hundred diapers each in size 1 and 2, and then more in size 3. This will depend on the deals I’m able to find and the bargain-hunting I can do between now and December.
If I can get a great deal on Pampers or Huggies, I’ll get them. I’ll probably stick to store brands for larger-sized diapers, and use premium brand diapers for newborn-size 1 in general. And, if store brand diapers prove to be a problem during the night, well then we’ll just use those during the day, and premiums at night.