We’re sorry to break the news, but if you’re expecting, prepare yourself: you’re going to be changing a lot of nappies in the years ahead! Most new parents are shocked at the number of nappies their baby goes through in a day, never mind a month.
Of course, how many nappies you’ll go through will depend on your baby’s weight and age, and whether you decide to use cloth or disposable nappies. So, if you’re planning ahead or hoping to stockpile some nappies on special, the following guide and tips should help you get a head start.
Nappy size guide for disposable nappies
The following is a general overview only! If you prefer a particular brand, you should check their specific sizing directions for the most accurate match.
If your baby is born premature, and weighs less than 2.5kg, you’ll need to buy nappies specifically designed for preemie babies. Our advice is to just buy one pack in advance (just in case baby surprises you before your due date) and stock up as you need. Trust us, before you know it, your baby will fit into the newborn size.
Nappies for this age group are suited for small babies weighing up to 4.5kg. Your baby will typically use this size for the first few weeks and will probably go through 8-12 nappies a day.
Nappy size 1
This nappy size will fit babies weighing between 3kg and 6kg. Typically, this means your baby will wear this size from birth through to 4 months of age. Expect to change 8-10 nappies a day at this stage.
Nappy size 2
Babies between 5 and 8kg will best fit in this size nappy. Typically, you can expect baby to use this size between 3 and 8 months of age, and you can expect to change 8-9 nappies a day.
Nappy size 3
If your baby is weighing between 7 and 13kg, you’ll want to graduate to this size. Normally, your baby will wear this size between the ages of 5 and 24 months. By this stage, you can expect to change an average of 6-7 nappies a day.
Nappy size guide for cloth nappies
While disposable nappy manufacturers follow uniform sizing, you’ll find that cloth nappies can vary a lot. Most will come in small, medium and large , but the actual sizing, and the age and weight of the baby it’s been designed for, can be very different.
Remember, there are a variety of different types of cloth nappies on the market. Some are specifically designed for different ages and stages, but others are one-size-fit-all nappies that are meant to grow with your baby and fit them at different stages.
Many factors will determine how many cloth nappies you’ll need to stock up on, including your baby’s age and how much he weighs and how often you plan to wash your cloth nappies.
General advice from moms is to have 2-3 days’ worth of cloth nappies. For a newborn, this translates to around 24-36 nappies.
Choosing the right nappy for you
There’s no right or wrong to which type of nappy you should buy, and you’ll be quick to find out that every mom has her own preference. Suffice to say, you need to settle on the type of nappy that works best for your lifestyle, needs, and of course, budget. Also, it doesn’t have to be an either/or decision. Many parents, including myself, settled on a combination of cloth and disposable nappies. Some parents also choose cloth nappies for during the day when they can provide more frequent changes, and disposable nappies at night to prevent leaks and keep baby comfortable. Other parents choose to use cloth nappies at home, and disposable nappies when going out to maximise convenience. But it really is up to you!
4 tips for expecting parents:
- Best advice is not to stockpile nappies until you get a feel for how quickly your baby is growing and going through nappies. This way, you’ll be able to make a better decision on how many nappies in a particular size you need.
- Always check that your baby’s nappy fits properly. You’ll know that it’s to small for him if you see red marks where you’ve fastened his nappy and around his legs. You also want to check that it’s not too big, which will result in leaking.
- The top of the nappy should fit under your baby’s belly button, and the nappy should fit snuggly around your baby’s bottom.
- When using a disposable nappy, make sure the cuffs around the leg openings are out, and not tucked in to avoid leaks.
Content editor and writer on Living & Loving, Sonya has over 25 years experience in the media industry. She edited Living & Loving magazine for six-and-a-half years and is the former editor of Longevity magazine. She’s won numerous media industry awards and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of moms and children.
Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.
Learn more about Sonya Naudé.