It doesn’t matter if you’re debating whether or not to add nappies to your baby registry, staring down the expansive nappy aisle at your local big box store, or sending your panicked partner out for nappies the second you feel a contraction—making nappy decisions is not easy! There are so many baby nappy questions to answer, like How many nappies do I need? How do I know what size nappy to buy? Is there any difference between nappy brands? Gah! Before you buy too many nappies (or too little), let us help you zero in on the number of nappies you’ll truly need.

How many nappies per day does a newborn use a day?

If you’re breastfeeding your newborn, there’s a good chance your little one will poop after every nursing session. (Since newborns have teeny bellies, they may breastfeed every one to three hours, or between eight to 12 times a day.) At the same time, some breastfed newborns will only poop three to four times a day. (By the time your baby reaches 1 to 2 months old, their poop will thicken and occur once a day or less.) And we haven’t even mentioned pee yet! Your little one may pee as often as every one to three hours—or as infrequently as four to six times a day. So…what does that nappy math shake out to? You should plan on up to 12 nappies a day during the first month, knowing that nappy math is not an exact science!

How many nappies does a baby use per day?

While every baby is different, research shows that the average baby goes through six to 10 nappies a day. The kicker? The five-nappy-a-day number is an average over three years of nappies—and the nappy habits of a 2-month-old is different from, say, a 12-month-old. When it comes to the real nappy number crunch, most parents will go through nearly 3,000 nappies during their baby’s first year! Here’s the general month-by-month breakdown of how many nappies your baby will need:

  • Babies 2 to 4 months old use up to 10 nappies per day (or 300 a month)

  • Babies 5 to 8 months old use up to 9 nappies per day (or 270 a month)

  • Babies 9 to 12 months old use up to 7 nappies per day (or 210 a month)

How many cloth nappies does a baby use a day?

In general, babies go through 8 to 10 cloth nappies a day. It’s often recommended that you have between 20 and 24 cloth nappies in total—regardless of the style you choose. This allows you a little breathing room to wash your cloth nappies every other day. With cloth nappies, you’ll need to change poopy nappies as soon as possible and you’ll want to change wet nappies…

  • Newborns: Every 2 hours and before or after every night feed

  • Babies under 6 months: Every 2.5 hours and as needed at night

  • Babies 6 to 12 months: Every 3 hours during the day and as needed at night

How many baby wipes does a baby use a day depending on their nappy use?

While it all depends on your baby’s poop situation, you’ll generally need three to four wipes per dirty nappy change. BUT wet nappies are a totally different story. You don’t need to use a baby wipe after every nappy change! (Mind-blowing, right?) The reason: Pee that hasn’t been sitting long is rarely irritating to Baby and today’s ultra-absorbent disposable nappies does a fantastic job of limiting the amount of urine your baby’s skin is ever exposed to. Their advice: Save wipes for cleaning up poopy nappies. Also, know that a moist tissue, a wet washcloth—or even a quick tub-rinse all do the same job as a baby wipe.

What size of nappies does my baby need?

Need breakdown of baby nappy sizes by age and weight? Here’s a handy nappy size and weight chart: 

Nappy Size: Premature

Weight: Less than 3 kilograms
Age range: Premature

Nappy Size: Newborn

Weight: Up to 4.5 kilograms
Age range: First few weeks only

Nappy Size: Size 1

Weight: 3.5 to 6.5 kilograms
Age range: Birth to 4 months

Nappy Size: Size 2

Weight: 5.5 to 8 kilograms
Age range: 3 to 8 months

Nappy Size: Size 3

Weight: 7 to 13 kilograms
Age range: 5 to 24 months

Nappy Size: Size 4

Weight: 10 to 17 kilograms
Age range: 18 to 36 months

Nappy Size: Size 5

Weight: Over 12 kilograms
Age range: Older than 3 years

If your baby’s weight straddles two nappy sizes, it’s often best to size up. (Too-tight nappies can cause chafing and nappy rash.)

How do I know if my baby’s nappy fits?

Unsure if your little one’s nappy fits properly? Check their belly button. A properly fitting nappy should sit just under the navel. When Baby’s nappy is fastened, you should be able to slide two fingers around the nappy's waistband and your little one’s tummy. The nappy should look straight and proportioned on your baby. Finally, it's a good idea to check the nappy's leg elastic, making sure that there are no gaps. (Run your finger under the cuff to ensure its laying properly.)

Should I stock up on nappies?

Yes and no. Yes, it’s good to be prepared and have a stash of nappies on hand as soon as your baby makes their arrival. But you don’t want to over buy for a few reasons: You might wind up with 300 nappies that you—or your baby—don't love. (Leaks! Rash! Wrong size!) Or you could have a nappy stash in the wrong size. The best way to stock up:

  • Consider your baby’s weight: Nappies are sized by weight, with newborn nappies being for babies who weigh up to 4 kilograms or less. (Premature nappies are for little ones under 2.5 kilograms.) If your baby is close to the average birth weight, which is between 2.5 and 4.5 kilograms, you can—in theory—stock up on a month’s worth of newborn nappies, which is up to 300 nappies. BUT a couple weeks’ worth might be a smarter move since newborns often gain up to 1 kilo during their first month. (Huggies, Pampers, and All Good Newborn nappies are sold in packs of up to 128,140, and 100 respectively.)

  • Focus more on Size 1 nappies: It’s a very real possibility that your baby will outgrow those Newborn nappies in just a few weeks—or simply dive right into Size 1 nappies, skipping the Newborn nappy phase entirely. Since Size 1 nappies are for babies 3.5 to 6.5 kilograms, it’s a wise move to put more of these on your baby registry than Newborn nappies. In general, Size 1 nappies are for babies up to 4 months old. (Huggies, Pampers, and All Good Size 1 nappies are sold in packs of up to 198, 164, and 198 respectively.)

  • Try various brands. After several nappy changes—and maybe some messy nappy leaks—some parents begin to gravitate toward a particular napy brand. For example, a nappy brand that works like a charm for one baby, might be a tad too big for yours. Because figuring out which nappy is best for your baby can take some trial and error, think about testing a few different brands out before you buy too many.

  • Use your storage! If you have the space to store nappies, it’s helpful to know that for the majority of your bub’s nappy days, they’ll be in Size 3 and Size 4 nappies. Oftentimes, Size 3 nappies can take you from 5 to 25 months (7 to 13 kilograms). Meanwhile Size 4 nappies accommodate kiddo’s who are between 18 and 36 months, weighing 10 to 17 kilograms.

How often should I change my baby’s nappy?

Dr. Harvey Karp recommends that you change your baby’s nappy roughly every two to three hours—and whenever you notice your little one has pooped. This is important because pee and poo irritate Baby’s sensitive nappy areas and cause nappy rash. Baby poop is especially acidic—especially in the first weeks. And when urine sits too long in a baby’s nappy, it turns into ammonia, which is very irritating.

How often should I change my baby’s overnight nappy?

If your baby is sound asleep, there’s no real need to wake them to change their nappy—unless, of course, their nappy is leaking and making a big, ol mess. If you are offering Baby a dream feed, know that there’s no need to automatically change your baby’s nappy beforehand. But if your baby’s nappy is dirty, change it before feeding.

To help keep Baby dry and nappy rash-free overnight, follow these tips:

  • Use the most absorbent nappy you can find for overnights. Many nappy companies sell overnight nappies made from extra-absorbent materials and leak guards, specifically designed to keep your baby dry for longer stretches of time.

  • Make sure your baby’s nappies (and bodysuits) aren’t too tight, which can cause chafing and rashes.

  • Apply a thick layer of zinc oxide-containing barrier cream to your baby’s rash-prone areas to help prevent nappy rash. Petroleum jelly works well, too. (You don’t have to wash nappy cream off between nappy changes unless it’s gotten poopy. Just layer cream on as needed.)

  • If you’re using cloth nappies, adding doublers or extra inserts to increase absorbency.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.