Last Updated: October 17, 2021
Buying diapers and getting things setup before your newborn arrives is one of the easier items to check off your baby to-do list. But there are some diapering essentials that make life a little easier. As much as Pinterest may be showing, you don’t need a large wheel-about diaper caddy cart. You need something small and handy to fit a few diaper changing essentials. And then you restock it as needed! We found a 5″x11″ dresser drawer organizer box to be the perfect size! Here’s everything you need for newborn diaper changes.
Plus, jump below to download the spreadsheet for the Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist.
Diaper Caddy Essentials
We skipped a baby changing table, and went straight for a simple, sturdy dresser (IKEA $129). This not only provides tons of surface area for baby changing and a diaper caddy, but is future-proof for your child’s room. And with clothing, and re-supply storage just an arms-reach away, in the top drawer! It just makes sense over a traditional diaper changing table! So here’s what you need for diapering!
1. Diapers – 10 per day to start
Diapers are one of those baby things that you can research a ton and still get totally wrong. Why? Because all babies are different! It can be very hard to calculate how many diapers you will need. First, you won’t know how big your baby is until they’re born. Second, you don’t know how fast they’ll grow, after that. And third, you don’t know what shape they’ll be. Some babies are long and lean and others are chunky and others have little skinny legs. So have your bases covered with some diapers but don’t go overboard. Target is a quick trip and Amazon is 2 day shipping away.
And of course you also can decide whether you want to do cloth diapering or disposable diapers. Most people recommend to just start out with disposable even if you plan to do cloth diapers later the first couple weeks of baby’s life is pretty messy and continual diapers and you’re learning so many new things already that I would advise starting out with disposable diapers and you can figure out if you want to do reusable or even a cloth diaper service later. Why put extra pressure on yourself to figure it out right away?
How many diapers do you need?
Plan for about 10 diapers per day for the first few months of newborn life.* So if your baby is doing a week of newborn diapers, and then switching to size 1. That would be 70 Size N and 210 Size 1 diapers, and 9 packs of wipes for the first month!
*Give or take a few diapers per day, and depending on the urgency level of your baby. Some newborns seem to go constantly and others all at once! And as a new parent, you’ll want some wiggle room as you learn on the job! Is it a 3 wipe diap or a 7?!
2. Diaper Wipes
You’ll go through a lot of wipes in the first three months! Plan that a newborn uses about 10 diapers a day, thats 300 diapers per month. And if you’re using an average of 3 wipes per diaper, that’s 900 wipes per month! Thankfully, babies start to slow down on the diaper train after a few months, (and you’ll get more skilled at using fewer wipes!). Then you’ll just be using about a pack per week!
3. Changing Pad & Covers
Basic changing pads are all you need here. After a few months, you’re going to be a pro and diapering mid-air or on the bare ground sometimes. So don’t worry about having the fanciest expensive ergonomic changing pads.
4. Diaper Pail vs Trash Can: Diaper Pail Alternatives
The main difference between a diaper pail and a regular garbage can, is that the diaper pail has a layer that locks away the odor. However, depending on your smelling sensitivities, you will still smell diapers or the odor masking smell that most diaper pails use! Diaper pails are in the $40-80 price range. You’re buying a hunk of plastic (or metal) that is only going to be used for about a year or two.
Plus, you usually have to buy special diaper garbage bags, use smelly arm & hammer refill things, and anyway you do it, it’s going to smell like S#!t in whatever room you put it! Or you can buy a modern looking simplehuman 1.5 gallon step trash can with lid and liner bin to use as your diaper pail! If you think about the average of 10 diapers per day… You’re going to be emptying your smelly diaper garbage frequently anyway in the first year. So you may as well have a small and usable can!
5. Supplies for Your Diaper Caddy
We just used one of the drawer organizers from the nursery dresser. It perfectly fit diapers, wipes, rash cream, and hand sanitizer and any other little things. If you live in a two story house, have one upstairs and one downstairs next to your changing mats.
Another great thing about having your diaper changing station on top of a dresser, is you have all your baby stuff handy – back up diapers, a new outfit etc. And if you get a longer dresser, you can have space for a small nightlight for low-light night changes.
We also tried to keep a small plastic bucket (tub trug with handles) nearby to toss any wet or soiled stuff that needed to be dealt with right after. Sometimes if you’re dealing with a blowout, you just need a place to set all the dirty stuff that isn’t going to get even more stuff dirty!
Diapering Items You Don’t Need
Things you don’t need: a diaper cream application tool (use your fingers, then wash your hands), diaper pail (use a small garbage can w/lid), changing table (use a dresser that will be usable for years to come!) or a changing pad right on the floor, wipe warmer (depends where you live & if you have a winter baby. You can also just warm a wipe with your hands or chest first), diaper caddy cart (use a small organization bin).
I hope you’ve found this diapering essentials checklist useful! Let me know if you have any questions!
Download the Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist Spreadsheet
This post is part of my Minimalist Baby Registry checklist series. You can download the spreadsheet for a “Pay what you want” price. Consider your checklist spreadsheet a planner for everything you need and a baby budget! While your Amazon registry is your shareable list with friends and family for gifting.