Quite possibly the most-asked question from moms considering cloth diapering is: how many and what kind of diapers do I need?? Great question. And probably every experienced cloth diapering mom out there would give them a different answer.
Like a lot of things with cloth diapers, the answer really is: it depends (helpful, right?). It depends on the body type and shape of your baby, how heavily they wet and what works for your family’s laundry routine.
My daughter is a light to moderate wetter (i.e. in two hours, she rarely fills a diaper so much that it leaks) and we don’t use cloth at night all the time. We have 27 diapers that are in regular rotation and I do laundry every 2-3 days. Here’s a rundown of our stash and how we use them:
- 12 FuzziBunz One-Size Originals. For normal days, under normal clothes when we will be out and about for a while or at nap time.
- 1 FuzziBunz One-Size Elite (my favorite!!). Same use as above.
- 5 FuzziBunz Perfect Size (Small). A little trimmer for pants that fit slimmer. Also for times we are just staying around the house because they tend to soak quicker.
- 2 FuzziBunz Perfect Size (Medium). Same use as above, however, we do have the room to double them if needed.
- 7 random other brands – all pocket diapers. Usually use them while I am doing laundry.
I’ve tried a couple of other types of cloth diapers when we were first starting out and pockets were definitely our favorite, so we went with it and haven’t looked back. I like that the pockets allow you to customize the absorbency and use the same outer shell for several different purposes.
With 12 of them, our FuzziBunz One-Sizes are the workhorse of our stash and they have literally grown with my daughter. I reach for those guys first. Truth be told, I reach for our one lonely pink One-size Elite first whenever it’s clean. It’s our newest diaper and I love how the buttons don’t ever irritate my daughter’s skin (because they are on the inside), the absorbency is better, diaper lays smooth and I just love it. But once “Pinkie” is dirty, I go for the other one-sizes (Maybe I should just get another Elite, huh?).
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know that I actually prefer the fit of the Perfect Size diapers, but my daughter is currently between sizes so the smalls are too small and the mediums are still a touch too big. Soon, I’ll need to retire the smalls completely and get a couple more mediums because when those mediums start fitting perfectly, Perfects will again be my fave!
For inserts, I generally use the ones that come with the diapers. The One-Size diapers come with two sizes of inserts, we use the longer ones now that my daughter is a little bigger (I keep the shorter ones handy to double up). But, several months ago when I was battling stinkies, I started stuffing the pocket diapers with a good quality prefold instead of the typical insert hoping it would help with the irritation and smell. They are a little bulkier, but are fantastic absorbers, so even though we don’t have stinkies to speak of, I keep a couple prefold-stuffed diapers in the regular rotation. I usually stuff the Watermelon One-size and the Mint Perfect Size with them just to have a little more absorbency available in case I need it.
Like I said, I try to wash every other or every third day. Especially now that she gets changed less often, these 20-something diapers are enough for us, though there are weeks that I have to dip into our basket of “others” (the ones not in regular rotation because they don’t fit exactly right or just don’t work for some reason). I know many people have waaay more and some make do with a lot fewer, but this number works for us. I should note that when my daughter was younger and we were changing her more frequently, we had several other diapers – newborn AIOs, Extra-Smalls, prefolds with covers and some that were lent to us – in the mix and were probably up to about 35 useable diapers.
Finally, the colors. You can see that I am not afraid of color and I definitely didn’t go with only “girl colors.” I actually love the blues and greens because they contrast nicely with a lot of the pinks and purples my daughter wears. I believe we now own almost every color FuzziBunz with some duplicates (Cotton Candy, Green Apple and White) and some exceptions (Spearmint and Buttercream – odd to me that I don’t have this perfect little yellow color, but that’s just how it worked out!).
So there’s a little breakdown of our cloth diaper stash. I consider all of the diapers in our stash necessary and don’t feel like we have too many luxuries. I keep wondering if I should buy a few more, but I feel like we are on the wrong end of our diapering years to start buying up a bunch more (but after this post, I’m thinking we need a Buttercream Elite, don’t you?!). If you’re just starting out, I hope this helps you and if you’re an experienced cloth diaperer and something different works for you, we’d love to hear about it!
What do you think makes up a good cloth diaper stash? What are the necessities? The luxuries?
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every week.