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My son is coming up to the age of 2 and it still amazes me how many diapers he gets through per day. Although it’s significantly less than when he was a newborn, this boy just keeps shovelling food in his mouth and it seems most of it comes out the other end (apologies for that grotesque image!).
However, along with other baby items, diapers are a significant expense as you need so many of them and for a long time. If you’re budgeting for the arrival of your newborn baby, on average you’re probably looking at spending around $615 on diapers in your baby’s first year. But it’s quite hard to calculate exactly because your baby will use more when they are a newborn. It also depends what brand you buy and you need to consider that they’ll quickly move through different sizes (larger sizes will cost more per baby diaper). Let’s look at this topic in greater detail.
How much does a diaper cost?
We need to know how much a diaper costs before we can work out how much you will spend in a year. Here’s a table showing the cost of various brands and sizes.
NB – This is based on the cheapest price available (as of 2022), which is usually for a pack in bulk.
Table – Cost per diaper
|Diaper Size||Huggies||Pampers||Honest||Parent’s Choice||up and up||Average cost per diaper|
Interestingly, newborn diapers cost more than size 1 even though they’re smaller. This is probably because they come in smaller packs and most babies don’t use them for very long. Looking at this table, the average price for a disposable diaper in your is around $0.24 for newborns up to size 4.
How many diapers do you need every day?
Now you know the cost of a diaper, you need to think about how many your baby will use each day. This can vary a great deal as all children are different, and also newborn babies will need more frequent diaper changes than a 1 year old or toddler. The table is an approximate guide and shows the number of diaper changes per day based on the weight range of your baby as well as the number of diapers you will need in that size.
Remember these are approximate figures. My son is in size 5 diapers and he’s not even 2 yet!
Table – Nappy changes per day (1st year)
|Diaper Size||Weight Range||Age Range||Diapers per day (average)|
|Newborn||up to 10 lbs||first few weeks||8 – 12 (10)|
|1||8-14 lbs||birth – 4 months||8 -10 (9)|
|2||12-18 lbs||3 – 8 months||8 – 9 (8)|
|3||16-28 lbs||5 -24 months||6 – 7 (7)|
|4||22 – 37 lbs||18 -36 months||5 – 7 (6)|
How long is a baby in each diaper size?
Now we’ve calculated the cost per nappy, and the number of diaper changes for each size, the last piece of the puzzle is working out how long a baby is in each size. This is a bit trickier. However, if you look at the growth charts for babies in their first year, and you assume that parents move up a size as soon as their child can fit in a new diaper category, we can get a good estimation.
Table – Months in each diaper size
This data is based on an average baby boy in the 50th percentile for weight. For the number of diapers I’ve assumed 30 days for a month.
|Diaper Size||Months in each diaper size||Total number of diapers|
How much do diapers cost per year?
Now we have the total number of diapers for each size (on average) plus the average cost per diaper, we can work out some financials.
Table – Total cost of diapers for each size
|Diaper Size||Average Cost|
If we are assume an average baby only uses newborn size, size 1, size 2 and size 3 in their first year, we’re looking at a total cost of $615.90 for an infant’s first year. This assumes your baby is of average weight, has an average number of daily diaper changes and you purchase an average price for a pack of diapers (as of 2022). The brand of diaper will greatly affect the overall cost, so if you opt for Honest diapers you’re going to be paying a lot more than this, but you can reduce the cost by choosing Up and Up or Parent’s Choice diapers.
Related Post: Diapers vs Pull Ups
How much do they cost per month?
With an annual figure of $615.90, that means on average you’ll be paying $51.33 per month during your baby’s first year.
What about per week and per day?
That works out at $11.84 per week and $1.69 per day.
What is the average amount of diapers used per year?
Looking at the table above, we can see that on average your baby will get through 2,670 diapers a year. That’s a lot of diaper changes! Some of course will be more than this, while others a lot less. No two babies are the same.
Related Post: Are Diapers Biodegradable?
How to save money on diapers?
If you’re on a really tight budget and the costs in this article make you wince, there are some ways you can save money on diapers.
Use cloth diapers
Put simply, disposable diapers are expensive and they’re worse for the environment. Cloth diapers on the other hand are cheaper and reusable. If you don’t fancy using them all the time, that’s fine. You could possible just use cloth diapers when you’re at home, and disposables when you’re on the go. Even doing this will definitely save you money.
Related Post: How To Make Cloth Diapers Less Bulky
Buy in bulk
If you really don’t fancy using cloth diapers then you need to find ways to buy disposables at a cheaper price. One way is to look at the unit cost in a pack of diapers, and that usually means buying a bigger pack. In larger packs of diapers the unit cost will be slightly cheaper than in smaller packs. Admittedly it might only be around 2-3c per diaper, but this will add up to quite a bit over the course of a year.
Look for offers
Only last month Pampers had a ‘buy one get one free’ in my local supermarket on all diaper sizes. This is fairly rare, but there are offers from time to time and you need to stock up on them when you see any good deal.
Check out Amazon Prime
If you’re not a member of Amazon Prime you might want to consider it if you are expecting a baby. Prime members have access to Amazon Family, which gives you access to discounts on many baby products, including 20% off diapers.
Click here to sign up for Prime
How may diapers should you stock up on?
Generally you want to buy diapers in bulk to save money, but you need to factor in that your baby will grow so you don’t want to buy too many of one size. As your baby grows you should find that they stay longer in each diaper size. For newborn diapers, you won’t need that many, but you will need more of size 1, even more of size 2 etc.
Look at the table above to see how many diapers you need of each size (on average)
What diaper size are babies in the longest?
If you stick to the weight range guide on each diaper size, you should find that babies use size 3 for the longest. Of course you can upgrade to size 4 earlier, but if your baby is comfortable in size 3 and you buy in bulk, you can also save some money especially if there is an offer on at your local store. Also, once you get to the larger sizes, you will probably start potty training so that reduces the number of diapers you need to buy.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.