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How Many Newborn Diapers Do You Need? The Answer Might Surprise You

New parents or parents-to-be have one question in mind: how many diapers do I need? Here's the answer—plus how to save money and reduce waste.

how many diapers do i need
Written by
Jenna Mignano
There is so much to plan for when you
have a baby on the way
. With a never-ending list of things to do and buy, it can be difficult to juggle it all with sustainability in mind. Especially with all the waste your bundle of joy creates—namely from
The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of waste your newly-extended family is generating, even for essential items like diapers. But how many diapers are we talkin' about, exactly—and what can you do to make your little one's routine more eco-friendly? Let's break it down.

How Many Newborn Diapers Do I Need?

how many diapers do i need
A newborn baby uses 10 to 12 diapers a day. Newborns have the most frequent bowel movements in their first month, and from there it decreases. Therefore, in your first week with a newborn, you can expect to go through 70 to 84 diapers. Based off these numbers, in your first month, you can expect to use a total of 300 to 360 diapers.
In months 2 to 5, experts say your diaper needs will slightly decrease to 8 to 10 diapers a day. From month six on, you should see it level out to a relatively consistent eight diapers a day.
So, how many newborn diapers do you need for the first year of your baby's life? If you do the math, you can expect to go through a total of 2,200 to 3,000 diapers. With that being said, it's important to remember that these numbers are simple approximations—they're not set in stone. Every baby is different, and you should consult your pediatrician with any concerns about regularity.

Diaper Waste: How Does It Impact the Environment?

how many diapers do i need
All of those dirty diapers add up. It's estimated that 20 billion disposable diapers are added to landfills across the United States every year, which results in 3.5 million tons of waste. But that's not where the environmental impact of diapers ends.
Disposable diapers take up to 500 years to degrade, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the process.
Past research
has also found diapers are the third largest consumer item in landfills in the U.S. According to the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
, they may also introduce pathogens into waterways like streams and rivers.

Which Diapers Are the Most Eco-Friendly?

When it comes to diapers, there are a lot of options. Different types of diapers will work best for different parents and babies, and you're sure to find one suited to your family's needs.
One solution? Using cloth diapers whenever possible. Remember how newborns go through up to 3,000 diapers a year? Well with cloth diapers, you only need 24. Plus, because they're reusable, you'll also save money. This
starter kit
contains everything you'll need to develop a sustainable diapering routine.
If reusable cloth diapers aren't for you, that's no problem at all. Look for diapers made from sustainably-sourced materials,
like these
. These elements can also cut down on your family's waste footprint.
Whatever route you choose, just remember: No parent is perfect. Somedays you may opt for a reusable cloth diaper, the next you may reach for disposable. But every small step makes a difference for the planet.