I get asked this question a lot: How many diapers should I stockpile for my unborn baby?
I’ve been hesitant to answer this question for a long time because every baby grows differently and has different diaper needs. I do, however, understand that I can provide some guidance and then let you make the final decision on what you’d like to buy.
Here are some basic diaper stockpiling guidelines to help you in the process:
- Figure out your maximum “price per diaper.” When I was diaper shopping starting three years ago, my max price for diaper was $.10 each. I think that dedicated coupon shoppers can still achieve this if you have several drugstores in your area and time before baby comes. If you don’t like coupon shopping or if you don’t live in an area flush with drugstores (and the accompanying diaper deals), you might want to set your maximum price a bit higher. I do recommend that you never pay more than $.22 per diaper, period. Even the most inexperienced bargain shopper can get diapers for this price almost any day of the week if you shop carefully.
- Learn how many diapers are in each pack. It’s much easier to look at the weekly diaper deals and figure out your cost per diaper if you have an idea of how many diapers are in each pack.
- Assess your stockpile space. If you’re ready to clip coupons and shop around, the last thing holding you back may be your storage space. I literally had a full set of shelving in my basement dedicated to storing diapers and wipes. I know I’m lucky, and not everyone has that much free space. Just be sure you’re using all available areas if you’re intent on saving money. Here are some creative ideas:
- Under the crib
- Unused baby closet space
- Under other beds
- In the garage
- In the attic
- Under bedroom or living room furniture (if you can keep them hidden, or if you don’t mind showing off your diaper stash!)
- Decide how many of each size you want to buy. This is different for everyone, and it definitely varies with the baby. Generally, most babies spend the longest amount of time in size 2s and 3s. If you’re in doubt, buy more of those! See below for are my personal recommendations on diaper sizes.
Recommended Number of Diapers per Size to Stockpile:
Newborn Diapers: 1 jumbo pack, if any. Take the extra newborn diapers from the hospital. In my experience, size one diapers my look big on a tiny baby but they usually don’t leak. In fact, sometimes they’re better at containing those messy early diaper disasters!
- Size 1 Diapers: 10 jumbo packs
- Size 2 Diapers: 15 jumbo packs
- Size 3 Diapers: 35 jumbo packs
- Size 4 Diapers: 35 jumbo packs
- Size 5 and 6: 0-5 jumbo packs, or as needed.
We didn’t use any size 5 diapers with Haiden, and we ended Piper’s diaper use while she was still in size 4s. Those bigger sizes depend on your baby’s size and when you potty train.
Update: We decided to start potty training at 18 months with Piper, so we used up all the size 3 packages in our stockpile and just a few size 4s before giving away the rest.
So, there’s my initial recommendation. If you’re still at a loss, you can always start small and build your stockpile after baby arrives. Remember, there are diaper deals almost every week!
Your turn: Did you stockpile diapers? How many diapers did you stockpile with your babies? How did you decide what you wanted to buy?
i started to stockpile for our newest addition, then we desided to cloth diaper. i returned all but 3 packs of diapers and bought my cloth diapers that will go from 7 lbs to 40 lbs. so for apx 5 months of diapers, i got pretty close to all the diapers ill need till potty training…
Marybeth Hamilton says
Emmy, that’s fabulous! I have a ton of admiration for cloth-diapering mamas!
I stockpiled a little differently- I bought just one size ahead of their current size. So, when the baby was in size 1, I was buying size 1 and 2 diapers when the prices were right. When he moved into size 2, I was buying 2s and 3s and so on. I figured that way I was less likely to end up with extra diapers that were too small.
My oldest wore 5s for a long time, and 6s from age 2 1/2 until he was potty trained at 3. My youngest is a few months shy of 2 and already wearing a 5- he is really tall for his age. So I have started stockpiling 6s for him as he seems to be following the same pattern as his brother!
Marybeth Hamilton says
Stephanie, I think that’s a great method! I think that, as long as you don’t get so low on your supply that you’re afraid of running out most people are in good shape for taking advantage of the best diaper deals. You also won’t get caught having to pay full price or run around to get the best possible deal when you desperately need diapers!
Thanks for taking the time to address this! It’s pretty overwhelming trying to comparison shop. I stockpiled some diapers before my little boy arrived, and have mixed views on it. Different diapers work better for different babies, so rather than stocking up on a brand that you later discover really isn’t the one that you would prefer to use, pick up a pack of the the different brands (on sale and with a coupon, of course!) in the small sizees so that you can experiment to see which one you prefer. That way you’re not stuck with a year’s supply of diapers in a brand that you can’t wait to be done with (like me …)
We have had GREAT success with Target brand diapers, and the price is such that even with coupons and a good drugstore deal, they are still way cheaper than the name brand This completely relieves the pressure of waiting and hunting for a sale, matching coupons, driving all over town, dragging your increasingly heavy infant carrier in and out of several different stops. In our area, things are so spread out it’s simply not cost effective to do that. So experiment with the store brands!
Marybeth Hamilton says
Heidi, I absolutely agree with trying out store brands. Here’s a little story:
Several months before my first was born I stumbled upon a deal where you could get 3 packs of Walgreens diapers and 2 packs of mascara (weird, I know :)) for free AND make $2 on the deal. The mascara deal used printable coupons were PDFs straight from the manufacturer’s website and the deal was a Register Rewards promo back when you could “roll” the rewards. I was VERY careful not to “clean out” any particular store, but I hit up EVERY Walgreens in my area for the week of the promotion…I think Piper’s on the last pack of diapers from that deal.
Needless to say, the Walgreens brand diapers worked beautifully for both kids, and I’m definitely a fan!
erin, maker of chimes says
Diapers were the #1 thing that we asked for at baby showers and our “meet the baby party”… and we’d gotten that suggestion from another 1st time mom. It truly is amazing how many diapers a baby uses… and they’re certainly not cheap!
We quickly found out that not all diapers are the same. For our little dude, the Huggies brand diapers leak but Pampers work perfectly. I’m not sure if it’s the cut or what, but it was enough of an issue that I ended up taking all the unopened boxes of that brand of diapers back to the store.
With the stockpiles, it’s also important to keep them organized so that you know what you have on hand. I think that Wipes are another great item to stockpile–and ask for as presents!
Marybeth Hamilton says
Erin, isn’t it funny how different diapers can be on different babies? I think I’ve used every brand available to me, including all brand names and generics without issues (for both of my little ones), but I’ve definitely heard how some brands just work better for some families. It’s something important to keep in mind, but it’s hard to plan that until after baby comes 🙂
Ashley - Embracing Beauty says
Bless you for this!
What a great article! I’ve never really stockpiled diapers but you definitely should if you come across a good deal. My 2 1/2 year-old is in size 5 diapers but I am going to try to potty train her soon. And I’m expecting my second in January so need to start thinking about tiny diapers again…
I love this! And it is never too early to stock up on pull-ups sometimes they are a deal so just save them for later! I put diapers on a pallet in the basement when I used to stock them!
Marybeth Hamilton says
That’s so true. I had 3 packs of Pull-Ups and two boxes of them when I first started potty training. It helps that Haiden only wears them during naptime and nighttime. I only have about a month’s worth left, so I’ll be looking for a deal to make sure I have enough for him. At least I don’t need to worry about buying too many–Piper can use the leftovers soon enough!
Yes, I am a huge stockpiler. Luckily, we have lots of storage space in our laundry room, but I am happily say that I have never paid more than 14 cents per diaper for our diapers (and that was only for larger sizes 3 & 4), and most of the time it’s been 10 cents or under. We have only ever used Pampers Swaddlers or Cruisers, and this is all I buy. When I find a deal (9 cents/diaper or less), I JUMP on it and buy massive quantities. About 5 months before my daughter was born in 2009, I came across an awesome deal at our local grocery store (combo of in store blinkie coupon and $15 back on $25 purchase that rolled) bought 60 jumbo packs over the course of the week (5 newborn packs, 15 packs of size 1, 15 packs of size 2, 15 packs of size 3, and 10 packs of size 4), spending right around $150 for all, and we did not buy diapers for the first 9 months of our daughters life. In retrospect, I wish I would have bought more!
We had friends who gave us diapers from when their kids grew out of newborn, size 1 or 2 and they had odds and ends from opened packages. It allowed us to test out different brands without committing to an entire package. Then when we purchased diapers, we made sure to tape the receipts to the packages. I never had to hunt for receipts when it came time to take back extra packages of diapers.
thanks for this! I need serious help in this department. This may be a silly question, but what is considered a “jumbo” pack? How many diapers on average would be in a jumbo pack? I look at box sizes and there’s, “super packs”, “giant packs” etc.
how many diapers are usually in the jumbo packs that you are referring to here. I’ve seen 100 packs in stores, but recently groupon has lists 270 packs. I just want to have an idea of how many over all I should try for.
My kid must be a freak…I’m ok with that. She was born 8lb, 14 oz, 21″ and one week late. She lasted less than 2 weeks in newborns & got to size 2 by her 2.5 month mark. At 4.5 months we had to switch to 3s & now that she’s 6 months & 1 week, she’s growing out of 9 month clothes & “transitioning” into 4s. I just can’t bring myself to not use the few 3s we have left. We’ve only had time to go through a, yes 1, “Sam’s Club” case/big box of diapers, plus maybe a single pack from the grocery store then she’s moves on.
She is now 21.5 lbs, 27.5″… 99 percentile, healthy & STRONG with a head to match. So sayith the Dr. I have a brick house for a daughter!!! & I love it! A.k.a I’m short (5’5″). This runs in Daddy’s side of the family. He’s 6’1″, his brother’s 6’4″ and great grandpa was, close to if no, 7′. Needless to say, I’m luck I survived her birth.
Where in the world do I start looking for coupons, haha. It over whelms me so much! I am pregnant with my 2nd baby. I was extremely blessed to not have to buy many diapers for my first one, due to a huge diaper party a friend had for me. I’d love to start stocking up on cheap diapers since my hubs Is getting out of the army, before Bean is due, due to medical reasons! Any help would be appreciated 😀
I have one question about the article, how many diapers would you qualify as a jumbo pack?
My husband and I started a tradition of throwing the men a poker and diaper party several years ago when we were stationed out in San Diego with the military. While the woman where having the baby shower the guys would get together and play poker ($20 buy in for the game and each guy had to bring a box of diapers with them). So far all of the poker and diaper parties that we have thrown have not only provided diapers for the parents to be for the first full year, but most of the time, the person that won the poker game gave the Dad to be the money won from it. We are now the ones expecting and just had our party thrown for us and received more than enough diapers to get us through that first year parenthood.
How many diapers do you consider to be in a jumbo pack?