How Many Diapers Does a Baby Need Per Day? Find Out Here!
As new parents, you quickly get used to changing diapers. But how many diapers does a newborn actually need? And how often should you change them? In this article, I'll dive deep into these questions so that you can better understand what to expect in the first weeks and months with your new arrival.
How many diapers do babies need per day?
On average, newborns need 8-10 diapers per day. This means you'll have to change your newborn's diaper 8 to 10 times over a 24-hour period. Naturally, every baby is different, and some may need to be changed more or less frequently than others. It's also important to note that this number increases as your baby grows and starts eating solid foods. As they get older, the number will decrease again.
How often does a baby have a bowel movement?
Firstly, newborns expel meconium (a tar-like substance), which is greenish to black in color. Afterwards, the bowel movements of your (healthy) child will tend to be more yellowish to ocher.
The frequency of bowel movements varies from child to child. It also depends on how your baby is fed. Is it exclusively breastfed or formula-fed? For breastfed babies, there's a rule of thumb: "Five times a day or once every five days!" My own daughter, when exclusively breastfed, sometimes went 10 days without a bowel movement (considered safe by the pediatrician). Once your baby starts eating solid foods, the color, consistency, and frequency of the bowel movements will change.
Therefore, no one can tell you exactly how many diapers (with stool) your baby will go through per day.
How many wet diapers do babies have per day?
Your newborn should urinate for the first time within the first 24 hours of life. For breastfed infants, there aren’t as many wet diapers before the milk comes in. Afterwards, it's about 7 wet diapers per day (see here). A wet diaper is considered to have about 6 tablespoons of fluid.
How many diapers do babies need in the first week?
In the first week of your baby's life, you can expect to need about 60 diapers: approximately 50 diapers for the 7 wet diapers per day over the course of a week. Plus additional diapers for bowel movements. This number gradually decreases as your baby produces fewer eliminations and longer periods occur between diaper changes. It's hard to say exactly when the number of diapers will decrease, as it varies from child to child and depends on the baby's diet. By about 6 months, babies typically only need about 5 diapers a day.
How often should a baby's diapers be changed?
Ideally, you should change your baby's diaper every 2-3 hours or as needed. This is true for both disposable and cloth diapers. Frequent changes help prevent diaper rash and ensure that your baby feels comfortable. However, it's important to pay attention to your baby's cues and change the diaper more frequently if they seem uncomfortable or are producing more eliminations than usual.
How often do you need to change the diaper when the baby is sick?
When your child is ill, their elimination patterns can change, of course. For instance, if they have diarrhea, you'll need to change your child's diaper much more frequently. Your baby may also need more fluids and therefore produce more wet diapers, which also increases diaper usage. It's best to try and pay attention to your child's signals.
Signs that your baby needs a diaper change
There are several signs that indicate when it's time to change your baby's diaper. These include:
your baby is restless or crying
your baby's diaper is wet
your baby's diaper smells of stool
your baby makes certain sounds or words before they need to go
the gestures and facial expressions of your baby, such as eye contact, fussing, stretching, or straining
Additionally, many children have bowel movements at individual times that are repetitive (for example, after breastfeeding or sleeping). If you notice one or more of these signs, it's time to change your baby's diaper. Parents often recognize a pattern in their newborn's elimination times after a short while. These patterns may change over time but can continue to be recognized and anticipated.
How to use Judes diapers - a guide
The goal of Judes is to provide the world's easiest cloth diaper. We believe Judes Family has done a great job (see here). Judes do not conform to the usual cloth diaper stereotypes. They are beneficial to your child's health and score points for their sustainability.
More and more parents are choosing Judes for diapering their children. That's why our guide is focused on Judes cloth diapers.
Changing a newborn's diaper may seem daunting at first glance, but it's really quite simple. Here are the steps you should follow:
Get everything you need, including a clean diaper, wipes, and a changing pad or towel.
Lay your baby on their back on the changing pad or towel.
Open the used diaper and remove it from your baby.
Dispose of the stool easily with the help of Judes Poo Papers.
(Breastmilk stool doesn't require Poo Paper, as it is water-soluble and can simply be washed out).
The used inner diaper goes into the diaper bag, and the outer diaper (if it's clean) can be hung out to air.
Clean your baby's bottom with warm water and Judes washcloths or a washcloth.
Place the clean inner diaper under your baby and fasten the hook-and-loop closure. (Insert a Poo Paper beforehand if necessary)
Now place a clean outer diaper under your baby and also fasten the hook-and-loop closure.
The used diapers go into the Judes diaper bag, which, when full, goes into the washing machine along with the diapers.
What type of diaper is best for a baby?
There are many different types of diapers on the market. Ultimately, you as parents decide which diapers you use. However, I can help with your decision by passing on information.
I also recommend you read our articles on the sustainability of cloth diapers compared to disposable diapers and the health benefits of cloth diapers to aid in your decision-making process.
Conventional disposable diapers are mostly made of plastic. They contain a chemical core (superabsorber) that's supposed to keep the diaper always dry. You can find a list of ingredients at the Federal Environment Agency.
Disposable diapers are to be disposed of in the residual waste. In the EU, an estimated 33 billion disposable diapers are used each year, resulting in about 6.7 million tonnes of waste annually, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
Apart from sustainability concerns, disposable diapers are also quite cost-intensive. You can expect to spend around €2,995 over three years of diapering. You can read how I arrived at this number here.
Unlike conventional disposable diapers, eco-friendly diapers are made with more compostable materials. Instead of traditional plastic, bioplastic is used. However, studies show that bioplastics also contain chemicals just like conventional plastics. The absorbent core in most eco-friendly diapers consists of the same superabsorber as in regular disposable diapers.
Even though the partially compostable contents might suggest otherwise, eco-friendly diapers must also be disposed of in the residual waste. So, unfortunately, the amount of waste does not change with the choice of eco-friendly diapers. However, the cost of eco-friendly diapers is higher than that of other disposable diapers.
There are many different types of cloth diapers. Their advantage over disposable diapers is that they are made from natural materials. In our experience report, you can read all about the differences between Judes and other cloth diaper systems. I will only tell you about Judes here.
Judes diapers strive to be the simplest cloth diapers in the world. The startup aims to offer a sustainable diaper with Judes, that is as easy to use as disposable diapers. They consist of an outer diaper (made of 100% recycled polyester) and an inner diaper (made of organic cotton) that can be put on just like a disposable diaper.
To catch your baby's stool and make it easier for you to remove it, Judes Family has developed its own Poo Paper (made of paper). So, the stool is thrown away with the Poo Paper just like it is with disposable diapers. For nighttime, you simply need to add a Booster insert into the diaper, and it will stay leak-free all night. For "heavy wetters" (as it was in our case), we recommend using two Booster inserts at night.
With Judes, you buy only 2 sizes and they are sufficient from birth until potty training. Disposable diapers of all kinds offer far more sizes, which leads to leftover diapers and even more waste. Cloth diapers are definitely more sustainable and also financially preferable to disposable diapers (as you can also read here).
Used Cloth Diapers
When cloth diapers are no longer needed, parents often sell them on. However, when buying second-hand diapers, it's particularly important to pay attention to their quality.
Photo by @kerstinbrigitteposch
On average, you will be changing about 8-10 diapers per day in the first year and approximately 5-8 times per day from the age of one, but this also depends on the individual needs of the baby. The basic rule of thumb is: Pay attention to your baby's cues and change the diaper as often as necessary.
It's important to frequently change your newborn's diapers in order to prevent diaper rash and ensure that your child feels comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: My baby seems to need changing more often than other babies I know. Is that normal?
Answer: Every baby is unique, and some require their diapers to be changed more frequently than others. If you're changing your baby's diaper every 2 to 3 hours and they're still crying or fussing, it's okay to change them more often.
Question: My baby currently has red skin on their bottom. What could be causing this?
Answer: Redness in the diaper area can have various causes. Some reasons might be teething or the introduction of solid foods. If there's an intolerance, your child's skin may react. This can be the case with foods, but also detergents, like laundry detergents. Many children react to the ingredients in disposable diapers, as you can read here. Other reasons for a reddish bottom can be wearing a diaper for too long or diaper rash. You can find a detailed article on diaper rash here.
Tips for New Parents
Make sure you have all you need for the diaper change within reach before you begin. This includes a clean diaper, washcloths, and a changing pad or towel. Here you can find 8 tips for the perfect changing table setup.
Pay attention to your baby's cues and change the diaper as often as necessary, even if it's more frequent than the average.
Keep used Judes until they are washed in the diaper bag.
Stains from breast milk can be removed by laying the diapers in the sun.
How were your first days with a baby? We'd love to hear about it in the comments.
For more tips, you can also visit our Instagram account.