How Many Cloth Diaper Inserts Do You Need?

Posted by Jason Rector on

If you’ve been wondering how many cloth diaper inserts your little one is going to need, here’s your answer in two words: It depends. While you can always take guidance from the average numbers, it’s critical to gauge your and your baby’s needs to get your own “diaper math” right.


No two babies are the same. The number of inserts you need will depend on a variety of factors including your baby’s age, your laundry routine, your budget, your lifestyle, and more. Let’s walk through the things you’ll need to consider when deciding how many inserts your stash must include.


Let’s Do the Math: The Number of Inserts your Baby is Going to Need

Diaper inserts normally form a part of a two-in-one cloth diapering system that includes an outer waterproof cover and inner inserts. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your diaper insert stash:


Take Your Baby’s Age into Account

“How old is my little one?” is the first question to answer when determining the number of diaper inserts your baby is going to need.


Newborns, for instance, can pee every hour during the day and need between 10 to 15 inserts. Infants between 6 to 12 months may need 10 to 15 inserts every day. When your baby grows into a toddler (1 to 2 years old), they may need their diaper changed up to seven times a day. Keeping these figures in mind, here are the number of inserts a baby might need:

  • Newborn: 36 or more
  • Infant: 24 or more
  • Toddler: 20 or more


Although this math serves as a quick guideline, every baby has different needs. They might need more diaper inserts than average on some days. Or they might need fewer changes at other times. The best way to arrive at an accurate number would be to examine your baby’s needs for a week.


What’s Your Stash Size?

How many waterproof diaper covers are there in your stash? How often do you launder these covers?


When using a reusable disposable cover, keep the 3:1 ratio of inserts to covers in mind. Make sure you account for 3 clean inserts for every diaper cover.


Now, a big stash of diaper inserts will include between 40-50 inserts whereas a small one might have as little as 16-20 inserts.  Determine the number of diaper covers you have and include 3 inserts for each one of them to build a small, medium, or large stash.


Check Your Budget

Reusable waterproof diaper covers with inserts offer one of the most affordable ways of cloth diapering your baby. Because these covers don’t soil quickly, you can simply invest in inserts instead of having to buy multiple diapers.


Newborns typically need over 12 inserts and four diaper covers per day. The biggest advantage of using a two-in-one diaper system is that the outer cover can be easily hand-washed. These covers also dry very quickly. Simply attach the insert within, and your baby is good to go!


Align the Number with Laundry Cycle

Your cloth diaper laundry cycle is the greatest determining factor of the number of inserts you’ll need.


Most parents wash their babies’ diapers (and inserts) every two days. This means you’ll need enough inserts on standby to diaper your baby comfortably for two days. So, if you have a newborn, you may need an additional 24 inserts (10 per day for two days and 4 additional inserts for emergencies) to ensure you don’t end up washing the inserts every day. 


Having a bigger stash helps you spend less time washing them. It also ensures your baby’s diaper covers and inserts face less wear and tear. The goal of building a cloth diaper stash is to continue reusing it until your baby is potty trained. With enough inserts to rotate, you can boost the life and value of your baby’s diapers.


Heavy Wetters

If your baby is a heavy wetter, you can always use more than one diaper insert to maximize its efficiency on a daily basis. Remember, though, the best inserts are those made of 100% organic material, are highly absorbent, and dry very quickly. Throw in about 5 to 10 additional inserts in your stash to avoid any diaper emergencies.


For boys, we recommend including an additional insert that can be folded and placed along the front of the diaper. This will help avoid leaks throughout the day and at night.


Quick Tips for Parents Using Additional Inserts

Now that you know the number of diaper inserts you’re going to need for your little one, here are a few tips for a smoother diapering experience:

  • When adding additional inserts, make sure the diaper fits well – especially around the baby’s waist and thigh. You can double-check the fit by running the finger test: you should be able to fit no more than two fingers between the diaper and your baby’s tummy and no more than one finger between the diaper and your baby’s thigh.
  • Ensure a consistent laundry routine. Moreover, to maximize the life and value of your inserts, be sure to avoid hard water and harsh chemical detergents.
  • Always run a thorough absorbency test to avoid diaper leaks, build-up, and repelling. This is especially important if you struggle with leaks even after adding additional inserts.
  • Understand where to increase the absorbency of the diaper. For instance, baby boys often need an additional insert along the front to keep leaks at bay.
  • Invest in a good number of additional inserts to tackle emergencies.
  • Invest in inserts that are made of high-quality, 100% organic material such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo. This helps protect your baby’s little parts from rashes and discomfort.


Wrapping Up!

We get it, building a cloth diaper stash and deciding on how many inserts you’ll need may seem like a difficult task. But every time you begin to feel overwhelmed, just remind yourself that there really is no “right” number.


Think about your baby’s age. Sketch out your laundry schedule. Consider your budget. Don’t forget to account for emergencies. Eventually, you’ll arrive at a number that’s “perfect” for you and your little one!

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