The diaper decision—cloth or disposable—is a big one, because you’ll be changing your baby numerous times a day for a couple of years. Some environmentally conscious moms pick cloth diapers over disposables, and if you launder them yourself, the price tag is often half the cost of disposables (some $750 for the first year).

However, many women opt for the convenience of disposables, and most child-care facilities require them. Some moms go for a combination, cloth at home and disposables when they’re out and about.

How many diapers will you be changing every day? In the first few weeks, exclusively breast-fed infants often have a bowel movement after every feeding, while exclusively formula-fed infants may only have one or two a day. After the newborn stage, bowel movements range from once every other day or so to after every feeding. The number of wet diapers should correspond with your baby’s age for the first week (3 days old, 3 wet diapers) and 8–10 wet diapers a day after that.

When you’re buying diapers, stock up on a thick, opaque diaper cream that can do double duty, both treating diaper rash and helping to prevent it. "The best diaper creams for a rash are the ones that contain zinc oxide," says Martha Snyder, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 17 Sep 2010

Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014