How Many Burp Cloths Do I Need? (The Rookie Guide)

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There are so many things you never knew you needed for a new baby, and then when you find out about them, you have to figure out how many you need. Which begs the question – how many burp cloths do I need?  

Let’s get one thing out of the way. You’ll be surprised by how much spit up your little angel can produce, and how easily your clothes attract said spit up. Especially on days when you decided to wear something nice. Enter burp cloths. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What are burp cloths anyway?

Consider this. Every time your precious baby’s fed, they’ll need to be burped. Your little one will have tiny air bubbles in his or her tummy after having milk, and those air bubbles can get pretty uncomfortable. 

Now having a burp is second nature for anyone above preschool age, but your baby is still getting used to the idea. So most likely, that burp will bring up more than just air. 

A lot more. 

A bit of spit up (okay, a lot,) is perfectly natural, but where would you like it to end up. Because unless you’re prepared with a burp cloth, it will end up on your shirt. 

Do you need burp cloths?

Before we can answer how many burp cloths do I need, we should cover if you even need them. As we’ve just covered, burp cloths protect you and your clothing from your baby’s spit up. So yes, you need them. The better question is should you have dedicated burp cloths or just use whatever’s around? 

That part is up to you. Feel free to get creative here, but don’t get upset when all you have is a tiny washcloth for a category 4 spit up situation. 

If you’re skeptical about buying something just so your baby can vomit on it, you can use their receiving blankets until you decide what works best. We’ll get to choosing the right burp cloths, and answer how many burp cloths do I need later. 

How to use burp cloths?

A burp cloths’ main job is to protect you from your baby’s spit up. Generally, after feeding your baby, you would hold them upright and maybe give them little pats until you hear a satisfying burp. Since your baby can’t hold up their head still, it’s much more comfortable to lean them on your shoulder. 

That’s the spill zone. So cover your chest and shoulder with the burp cloth and you should be safe. (Should be.) 

How many burp cloths do I need?

We recommend you have 8 burp cloths on hand with a newborn. 

Why so many burp cloths? As with almost everything, the number of burp cloths you need completely depends on

1 – How often you’ll be doing laundry.
2 – How much your baby spits up. 

Now, given that a baby feeds around 8 times a day, you can be pretty confident that you won’t run out of burp cloths in a single day, even if each feeding causes a spit up explosion. If you’re lucky, your stack will take you through the week but don’t count on it. 

Choosing the right burp cloths

Going back to the question – do you need to buy dedicated burp cloths, or can you use random cloths on hand? Well, it depends on what you’ll be using for your burp cloths. 

  • Washcloths: No. Washcloths are fairly absorbent but they’re just too tiny. The chances of it catching your baby’s spit up are almost zero. 
  • Receiving blanket: Yes. Your flannel receiving blankets are a pretty good choice for burp cloths. They’re fairly absorbent and big enough. 
  • Swaddle blankets: Maybe. Your muslin swaddle blankets are big, yes, and absorbent, yes. But they’re so thin! So if you fold it in half and if your baby doesn’t spit up that much, they should serve fine as a burp cloth. 
  • Cloth diapers: Yes. Say what now! While the idea of sticking a diaper against your baby’s face may sound crazy, there are “flat” or “prefold” cloth diapers which is basically a soft, multilayered cloth. Perfect for a burp cloth. 
  • Fleecy blanket: No. While they might be a good size for a burp cloth, fleecy blankets are not exactly absorbent and they’ll just push all that mess around. 
  • Towel: No. While a towel may fit your burp cloth needs in terms of size and absorbency, it’s not exactly soft. Your baby may not like to have their face against a scratchy towel. 

Or you could just buy some burp cloths already! 

What size is a burp cloth?

10″ x 20″ is the best size for a burp cloth, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. We say the bigger the better!

You want your burp cloth to cover your entire shoulder and not slide down. Also, if your baby spits up a lot, you still want a lot of “cloth” to wipe things up. 

Best material for a burp cloth

The best material for a burp cloth is:

  • Soft: After all, it will be against your baby’s face. 
  • Absorbent: You might be surprised by just how much spit up there is. You want it to be absorbed by the burp cloth, not just go through onto your shirt. 

A nice option for a burp cloth are cotton and flannel. They’re soft, absorbent, and easy to clean. Multi-layered cloths are also great. 

Burp cloth recommendations

1. KeaBabies Organic Burp Cloths

The cutest and the biggest burp cloths!

We love the KeaBabies burp cloths for the adorable color and pattern options.

  • They come in a 5-pack
  • Organic cotton
  • 3-ply
  • 21in x 10.5in – full shoulder coverage

2. Gerber Birdseye Prefold Cloth Diapers

The best value and size in burp cloths!

You’re certainly getting amazing value with Gerber, and you won’t have to wonder how many burp cloths do I need, just go with the pack.

Yes, they’re technically cloth diapers, but that just means you can really trust their absorbency.

  • They come in a 10-pack
  • 3-ply
  • 20″ x 14″

3. Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Cotton Burp Cloths

The softest burp cloths

The Burt’s Bees Burp Cloths also come in wonderful patterns (as well as plain white) and are made of a wonderfully soft and absorbent ribbed organic cotton.

  • They come in a 5-pack
  • Organic cotton
  • 2-ply
  • 17″ x 12″

4. Dodo Babies Organic Muslin Burp Cloths

Great value for cute and large burp cloths

The Dodo Babies burp cloths are a great value and come with a few extras. We also love the adorable pattern option.

  • They come in a 5-pack
  • Organic muslin
  • 2-sided: muslin and fleece
  • 19″ x 9″

How to care for your burp cloths

Ideally, you chose burp cloths that are easy to clean, in which case just throw them in with the rest of the laundry. If you opted to get many burp cloths, you won’t have to take them to the laundry every single day. 

TL;DR – How many burp cloths do I need?

If you’re asking yourself how many burp cloths do I need, start with around 8 burp cloths to avoid endless laundry, but understand that you might need to stock up on even more. 

Read more: How Many Bibs Do I Need? The Astounding Number Will Surprise You

how many burp cloths do I need
How many burp cloths do I need?

Burp Cloth FAQ:

How many burp cloths do I need? 

We recommend you start with 8 burp cloths. That means that if your baby spits up a lot, you can stretch your stash over a day, and ideally it will last you the whole week. 

What are burp cloths? 

Burp cloths are used to put over your shoulder when you burp your baby. It protects your clothing from your baby’s spit up. You can buy dedicated burp cloths, or use receiving blankets or other large cloths. 

How big are burp cloths?

The minimum size for a burp cloth is 10″ x 20″, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Your burp cloth should cover your whole shoulder to protect your clothing.


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