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Cloth Nappies - What’s the Magic Number?

Posted by Micaela Owen on

If you are asking yourself how many modern cloth nappies you really need, then take a look at this short video that I have created to give you some guidance.


Speaking from experience there is no set number of nappies you will need or must have as it depends on:
  • you and what you want for your baby’s comfort
  • whether you are going to use cloth full-time or part-time
  • how often you want to wash
  • where you live and;
  • if you plan to or even want to tumble dry.

More often than not, you will find that however many nappies you initially decide to buy you will either make it work or purchase some more later on.
My sister, for whatever reason (maybe slightly delusional) had a total of 10 newborn nappies for the first 2 months. I only recently found this out and I don’t know how she did it using cloth full-time with only 10 nappies, but she did. Truth be told, she used disposables as back up. Now, I don’t recommend you starting with 10 nappies as a full-time user because this could cause unnecessary stress.  Keeping things very realistic I have come up with 3 options that may help you in deciding on a number to begin with. You can always add to your collection – never feel like the number you decide will be the final call! Here it goes …

1.   Use cloth full-time, wash everyday and dry on the clothes lineI

  • I recommend that you have minimum of 12 nappies and hope that your child isn’t an excessive nappy user or a crying mess (I tend to change nappies more frequently when bub is upset so at least I can eliminate a wet nappy as an issue).
    It most definitely can be done with 12 nappies, but you may need a back-up plan if your washing day doesn’t go to plan or at least be open minded to giving your baby some nappy-free time.
  • 16-18 nappies would most definitely be sufficient and allow you peace of mind that you won’t run out, especially if you are a little late getting to the washing machine.

Bottom line … a wonderful starting point is anywhere between 12-18 nappies.

2.   Use cloth full-time, wash every 2nd day and dry on the clothes line

  • For this option you will need between 24 – 30 nappies. On average a newborn needs 8-12 nappy changes in a day but realistically from experience I can change up to 16 nappies in 24hrs for a newborn.
  • As your child gets older they generally tend to have more habitual toilet experiences and so less nappies will be required. Let’s say 16 – 20 nappies.

Bottom line … double the number of nappies that you think you will need for one day.

3.   Use cloth part-time and wash every 1 – 2 days

  • If part time means using cloth nappies for half the time then you may need anything from 6 – 16 nappies.When I say part time you may be thinking that you will use both cloth and disposable nappies. You may decide this particularly if your child goes to day care as most day care centers will only use disposable nappies but you would like to use cloth at home.

What I use … I use cloth nappies full-time, wash everyday and dry on the line. As a mother of 3 I wash everyday without fail and it is usually not just the 1 load of washing. My first 2 children are girls and every time I blink a different outfit is on – hoping Ollie does not take after his sisters though nothing is a guarantee with kids!
Anyway, I had 18 Newborn nappies with Ollie and found that this was enough nappies for me. I then had 16 Infant nappies, 14 Crawler nappies and now 14 Multi Fit nappies. I do live in QLD which means that my nappies dry faster on the clothes line then say people in Victoria. So taking into account weather conditions and the fact that I have my nappies on the clothes line either late at night or early in the morning 14 nappies works great for me.For all those who already use cloth nappies, how many nappies would you recommend?

Feel free to share as this may help someone you know with their decision.

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