How many nappies do you need when starting?

The big question every pregnant or new cloth mum asks... 

How many nappies am I going to need?

Let's dive into this but you can also skip to the bottom to see why Real Nappies are a cost-effective option compared to other types of cloth nappies.


How many nappies you need will be affected by:

  • your drying situation
  • how many days apart you want to do your main wash of nappies (refer to our Care Instructions for more info on what we mean there!)
  • how old the child is.




Ok, let’s start at the beginning, a tiny newborn. Yes, these babies are small, but boy do they go a lot!!  With their teeny tiny bladders and immature digestive systems, stuff just shoots through...and many more times a day compared to when they are even a few months older. Compare this to a toddler, at that age their primary food is solids, so there is less often liquid output but larger pees.

So, you're probably looking at anything between 8-12 nappy changes a day!  Which means you are wanting about 20-30 nappies for a newborn if you are going to do a main wash every 2 days and your nappies can dry pretty quickly like Real Nappies.

Because the Real Nappies Snug Wraps can be re-used if they are not soiled, you need a number of prefolds in that range but the number of Snug Wraps required is lower than that as the same cover will be able to be used more than once!


We recommend a minimum of 24 prefolds in newborn size and 6-7 covers 



At about 3-4 months your child will probably move into infant size nappies, but they are still being fed liquids only. And liquid in = liquid out.  You will still need a similar number of nappies although you could get away with slightly less.


We recommend 18-24 prefolds in infant size and 6-7 covers.


The newborn and infant stage lasts for about 7 months and basically while they are being breastfed/bottle-fed.

During this time is when you may need to look at starting to boost your nappies at night time. Your baby may start to wake less often, is drinking quite a bit more (may still be feeding during the night) and therefore more absorbency is needed overnight.

We recommend starting to boost nappies with small items like a face cloth. Or if more absorbency is needed, our Booster Pads are the go-to with their 10 layers of absorbency.



When babies start to move into solids, they are starting to hold on for longer and go less often. The poo starts getting more solid and condensed.  Now, I know talking about or even thinking about poo isn’t what usually excites people, but once that poo starts condensing and becoming more solid, it actually means poo less often, which is great because it also means less nappies!

Nappy changes are reduced to about 6-9 a day, so you’ll want to have about 12-18 nappies at this point.


We recommend 12-18 prefolds in crawler size and 6-7 covers.


If extra absorbency is needed for night-time, the Booster Pads are ideal but the smaller size prefolds that you may already have work well too.

Top tip: Use the newborn or infant prefolds as boosters.



While your baby moves from crawling to standing and then running, the bladder gets bigger. They can hold for longer and their poo comes down to 1-2 a day you probably only change about 4-5 times a day and at this point you really only need about 8-12 nappies in your nappy stash.


We recommend 12 prefolds and 5 covers at toddler size.


table of nappies


Other things to consider

How often you wash

We have based the above number on washing your nappies every second day, but if you plan to wash every day you could reduce the numbers.  Or if you want to wash less often, then increase the numbers.

How quick they dry

If you live in a hot climate then you can get away with less nappies, but if you are in a cold or damp climate then this is where prefolds really do win the nappy drying race compared to other types of nappies as they are the quickest drying nappy option after flats.

Mixing it up with disposables

Want to use disposables at night or while out and about? You can definitely reduce the number of nappies from above (possibly even half the number).



Are Real Nappies cost-effective to buy vs others?

After all that you might be thinking...

Well if I buy all these different sizes to go from birth to toilet training is it worth it compared to OSFM (One Size Fits Most) nappies??


Based on the number of changes per day above, for a main wash every 2 days and allowing another day of nappies while the wash dries - you would need 36 nappies.

OSFM nappies costing an average of $25 - $30 per nappy = $900 - $1080.

Our Birth to Potty Pack is yours for $700.

And it does not just include nappies but also a wet bag, 8 rolls of nappy liners, 2x booster pads, Snappi nappy fasteners and a swim nappy!

Have a look 


Another thing to consider is that OSFM nappies typically do not fit newborns as snuggly as you would like. And for toddlers, they often struggle to allow enough absorbency and also struggle to be used as night nappies.


Real Nappies are great value, easy to use for new cloth parents, quick to dry and the Snug Wrap covers can be used multiple times if not soiled.


Top tips:

  • Consider your individual situation to refine the numbers above.
  • You don't have to buy all the nappies at once, start with our Starter Packs and go from there.
  • Use the Newborn or Infant prefolds as boosters in the larger nappy sizes like Crawler and Toddler.
  • Prefolds are some of the quickest drying types of inserts after flat nappies so are great to keep a smaller stash or to try in cold or humid climates.


Leave me a comment:

When did you start your cloth nappy journey?

Do you wish you had started sooner/later or what made it the perfect time for you?

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