How Many Cloth Nappies Do I Need?
When looking into buying your first cloth nappies, one question quickly arises - how many nappies do I actually need?! The most common answer you'll get from other parents is 15-25 nappies, and we agree that most families can cloth a baby full time within this range. But remember that this is really just a good starter point and there is no set answer that we can give you, most parents build on their initial stash of 15 or so until they are happy.
In reality, where you fall in that range depends on a number of factors:
- How often you'll be washing them
- How quickly you can dry them
- How frequently you change your child (this will vary by age too)
- The type of nappy you will be using
Washing: We recommend a wash every 2-3 days, this should be sufficient time to build up a full washing machine load. Any longer (4+ days) and ammonia crystals can form and damage the nappies, shorter is also fine but there's really no need for all of the extra effort involved in washing daily! Recommended: Wash Guide For Cloth Nappies.
Drying: Times will depend on the nappies/materials being used and whether you have access to a heated airer/tumble dryer. You can find more info on how to dry your nappies here. Typically most nappies are dried within a day either outdoors on the washing line or indoors near a heat source. But can take anywhere from an hour (for tumble dryable flats) to two days (for thicker AIO nappies with no heating in winter) in some circumstances.
Frequency: How often you change your child will depend on a number of factors but it is mainly down to age. For example a newborn can need changing 10-12 times a day, whilst a toddler may need just 5 or 6 changes.
Nappy Type: Whilst this won't hugely affect the number of changes being done, it will affect how many of each nappy part you need. For example an AIO nappy will need fully changing each time, whereas if using two-part nappies you can just change out the inner flat and reuse the wrap for 3 or 4 nappy changes or until soiled. When using 2-part nappies (and some AI2's) a good rule of thumb is to have one wrap for every three inner nappies/flats. Recommended: Cloth Nappy Types.
Using this information you can get a good idea of how many you might need, by working out how many will likely be used in between washes (and drying). It's always good to start off with a basic stash which is affordable to you, whether that's 2 or 15 nappies, and then build on it slowly. There's a huge selection of reusable nappies to choose from nowadays so use the opportunity to try something new and test what you like before investing in more. There's no need to dive straight into full-time cloth, particularly if your budget doesn't allow, just start off part time and top those nappy washes up with clothes!