How many cloth nappies do I need?

How Many Cloth Nappies do I need?

Setting up a modern cloth nappy system can be a bit daunting when you first start. There are all different types and styles and not every system will suit everyone. I usually suggest for those starting out to try a few different types and styles to see what works for them before making a large purchase. The following is a checklist of what you will need for those starting out in cloth.


The number of nappies and style you choose is an individual decision and I can only give you some things to consider before you make a decision. Generally a newborn baby will require 10-12 changes per day, after 3 months this will go down to 8-10 changes per day then after 6 months will settle down to 6-8 changes per day. Of course every baby is different and you may find you do more or less changes.

Consider how often you want to wash, for example if you were to wash every second day with 8 changes per day you would need 24 nappies. That is you would be washing 16 nappies on the second day with another 8 available for use on drying day. In those early months where you use more nappies you may want to consider purchasing some prefolds or newborn or small sized nappies. These will fit your baby well for those initial few months but they will be outgrown within a few months. Of course they can be used again on subsequent babies. The other alternative in those early months is to wash more often.


If you choose a fitted nappy system you will also require covers. I usually recommend 4-6 covers. These are normally sized and I would recommend getting well fitting covers for the early months as well as some larger sizes. The best defence against leakage is a well fitting nappy under a well fitting cover! A combination of fleece and PUL covers work well with many modern cloth nappy users also choosing wool as a natural and very functional alternative. Wool is particularly good for overnight.


I suggest using fleece liners as they are easy to use, keep bottoms dry and you can reuse them. You will need a fleece liner for each nappy although some nappies may already come with fleece sewn in the nappy or on the booster.

Cloth Wipes

If you are going to use cloth nappies it is just as easy to use cloth wipes, they can simply be put through the wash with your nappies and can save you hundreds of dollars. In most cases you only need 1 per nappy change, although in the messiest of cases it may be easier with 2. I also like to use a fleece and flannel combination for wiping dirty hands and faces. As a rough guide 20-30 wipes would be sufficient.

Nappy Bucket

I usually have 2 nappy buckets on the go, however some people use a large bin from a hardware store. Any bucket or bin with a lid to contain smells will work as a nappy bucket.

Optional Extras

The Little Squirt is a hose attachment for your toilet for easy removal of poo. Another alternative is to have a spatula or knife to scrape off dirty nappies, best not to keep it in the kitchen!

Modern cloth nappies can be tumble dried and a tumble dryer certainly helps out in the winter months. You may find if you live in a cold climate and do not have a dryer you will need a few extra nappies to cope with the extra drying time.