Stockpiling Diapers

I have talked about my diaper stockpile so much, that I needed to just finally write a post about it. And I’m not entirely surprised that my long-overdue first post on my blog is about this subject.

So here is some background for those of you that don’t know me… I am actually a data analyst by trade and a couponer. When my husband and I were expecting our first child, the question of how many diapers I should stockpile, turned into a neverending quest of research, Excel spreadsheets, and growth charts.

There are a lot of disclosures with my numbers, so please read all this carefully before deciding how many diapers you need to stockpile. Every baby is obviously different, but I figured this is a good starting place for people.

That being said, here were my original “stockpile goals” for my baby’s first year (figuring average baby weight according to CDC growth charts):

Newborn: 50 (I was just going to take whatever I got at the hospital)
Size 1: 800
Size 2: 300
Size 3: 1,500
Total: 2,650

This is calculating an initial average of 10 diapers per day that is gradually decreased over time to 7 diapers/day by age 12 months. Now here is a biggie… my baby was not in daycare. I know some daycares provide diapers, so that would obviously skew the numbers a ton. Also, I didn’t want to plan much past size three because depending on when they are potty-trained and the size of the child, my Size 4 calculations said that they could use as few as 120 or as many as 1,770 diapers!

You will probably also notice, there are a lot more size 1 diapers than size 2. This is because of the weight ranges overlapping:

Newborn: < 10 lbs
Size 1: 8 – 14 lbs
Size 2: 12 – 18 lbs
Size 3: 16 – 28 lbs
Size 4: 22 – 37 lbs
Size 5: 27+

See how the max weight for Size 1 (14lbs) is only 2 pounds less than the minimum size of Size 3 (16lbs)? Because diapers are cheaper the smaller they are (newborn size being an exception!), I decided to keep the baby in size 1’s for as long as possible. By having the thought process of, “the baby will be in a size until she outgrows that size” instead of “she’ll be in a size until she hits the minimum weight for the next size” will really save you a lot of money! So my initial numbers were a flexible baseline. Then once you know you’re not having a Babyzilla, you can take advantage of some diaper deals and buy more Size 2’s (or even Size 1’s). But if you are having Babyzilla, you’ll just get to those Size 3’s faster and you won’t have a lot of leftover diapers. Clear as mud? 😉

Now, again my numbers above were my initial goals. And I think they are a fairly good and conservative first year baseline for the masses. But here are some important take-aways for customizing your numbers:

  • Count on roughly 2,700 diapers for the first year if you are buying all the diapers the baby will use
  • Use my numbers as a baseline minimum and add more 1’s and 2’s if you think the baby will be smaller or is a girl
  • You will use a lot of Size 3’s! For an average-sized girl who isn’t potty-trained by the time they are 3-years-old could use over 3,000 diapers and pull-ups in the Size 3 weight range! A boy could use about 1,500! So if there’s a diaper deal and you’re concerned about overbuying, just buy Size 3’s!

As of the writing of this post, my daughter is currently an average-sized 7-month-old girl and on the verge of size 3’s. She had a period where her weight was low, so it probably skewed the Size 1 numbers a little bit. She was breastfed exclusively until 4 months, which was when we started supplementing and giving some solids. Now she is formula-fed and given 2 solid meals a day.

As for my stockpiling experience, once I started buying (it’s addictive!) and once I found out I was having a girl, I threw a little more caution to the wind. I decided to err on the side of the baby and diapers running small. Because girls tend to be a little smaller than boys and because both our families are a little short (therefore we assumed our daughter would be as well), I decided to go ahead and buy some more Size 1’s and Size 2’s. I knew there was a risk of over-buying because she could outgrow a size before I’ve depleted my stash, but here is my plan if/when that happens:

  1. We are hoping for a baby #2, so I can keep them for that stockpile.
  2. I’ve heard you can “trade up” unopened packs of diapers at a lot of stores. If I’d like to add to my stockpile of larger sizes, I can try that option.
  3. I can always sell them on my local Buy/Sell/Trade Children’s Facebook Group for close to what I paid for them, since I couponed and got them for significantly less than retail.

With that being said, here are the finally tallies (so far) of my diaper stockpile (NOTE: Do not use this as a guide! Read the paragraphs underneath for explanation):

Newborn: 215
Size 1: 1,262
Size 2: 793
Size 3: 3,118
Size 4: 404 (including some weight-equivalent pull-ups)
Size 5: 20

We struggled to get through the Size 1’s and they really got pretty tight towards the end. Luckily, we didn’t have any problems with blow-outs or leak-throughs at that time. Now we are struggling to use all the Size 2’s and we are having overnight leak-throughs and an occasional blow-out. We are starting to put size 3’s on her at night (to help with the overnight leakage problems), and just barrel through the Size 2’s during the day to try to go through the last 6 packs we have. We’ll see how far we get! So definitely do not buy as many 1’s and 2’s as I did unless you have a very small baby. 😉

Another thing of note… we were given a ton of Newborn diapers by other new moms and we got several packs at the hospital. You’re likely to be given some too! So don’t buy more than 1 pack (if any!) unless you are sure the baby will be very small.

I hope these numbers helped! One day I’ll post more charts and graphs, but today I just wanted to jot down as much info as possible. Thanks for reading!