This is a definitely a conversation starter in any parent group. The views on this issue are so varied you wouldn’t believe!
How often should I change baby’s diaper? Should you be changing the diaper after every pee or poop? Or should you do it every few hours? Are there circumstances where you can leave the diaper on for more than a few hours?
Read on to find out the answers to these questions. Leave your feedback in the comments section and let us know if you agree or disagree with the view points discussed here.
One of the main reasons why it’s recommended to change a baby’s diaper regularly is to prevent diaper rash.
Diaper rash is usually caused by a yeast or bacterial infection or by contact dermatitis. The latter has to do with inflammation of the skin in the area of the diaper.
Many parents think that it’s always possible to prevent a diaper rash but this is not the care. You could be very meticulous with your diaper changes and your baby could still develop a diaper rash. It all has to do the sensitivity of the skin and other factors.
So to minimize the risk of a diaper rash, it is recommended to change your baby’s diaper regularly (not necessarily after each pee, unless you can afford to).
Comfort for Baby
This is one aspect that I think about all the time. I always try to put myself in my baby’s place and think about how I would feel in certain situations.
Think about this…..how would you feel lugging around a big huge, wet diaper all day long? Not very comfortable I would think.
So imagine how a baby feels sitting and moving around carrying around a big, wet diaper all day? It would be very heavy for them and super uncomfortable.
I try not to necessarily go by just time when it comes to changing my baby’s diaper. I also go by the feel of the diaper and how heavy/wet it is. Sometimes the diaper can fill up quite quickly, and another time it will probably take a few hours. It all depends on what your baby eats, and how often they eat as well.
So please don’t leave the diaper on if your baby is visibly uncomfortable, or if it looks like they’re struggling to move around.
What’s in the Diaper?
This should be common knowledge but I will still highlight this point.
If your baby has done a number 2, the diaper should be changed almost immediately.
Not only do bacteria love this type of environment, but it makes for a very uncomfortable feeling for your baby. Not to mention the smell!
It’s even more important if your baby is crawling or walking, because of the chances of the diaper leaking all over the house.
So poopy diapers should be removed and replaced at the earliest possible time.
If your baby has peed just once, there is no immediate need to change the diaper, especially if it’s not saturated.
I learned this the hard way, when I saw my diaper stash quickly diminishing.
As a new mom, I was just super paranoid about everything. I would change the diaper after almost every pee or two, even if it wasn’t full. And it wasn’t until I spoke with other moms that I realized I didn’t have to do that, and my baby would still be ok.
However, if you feel that it makes you more comfortable changing your baby’s diaper after every pee, then go right ahead. No one knows your baby better than you, and as long as you’re both doing well, that’s all that matters.
Using Too Many Diapers?
I touched on this briefly in the last section. If you’re a parent that’s concerned about using too many diapers too quickly, you are not alone.
Diapers are not cheap, and in all honesty, you don’t NEED TO change the diaper after every pee. Going an hour or two won’t hurt your baby if it’s just pee.
Again, if the diaper is super saturated and visibly heavy, then it should be changed.
But there’s no need to use 10 diapers in 1 day if your baby pees 10 times.
As with anything, use your judgment and assess the situation. Go with your gut feeling.
What About Overnight?
After saying all that, I do think it’s ok to go overnight without changing your baby’s diaper for more than one reason.
Is your baby still getting night feeds?
- In the younger months, you will need to feed your baby throughout the night. For this reason, you can always sneak in diaper changes throughout the night as your baby will be up to feed anyways. If your baby is not getting night feeds, but still wakes up a few times throughout the night, then you can change their diaper to make them more comfortable to fall back asleep.
Is your baby sleeping through the night?
- If the answer to this is YES, then I honestly don’t see the need to change the diaper at night. Why wake a sleeping baby who doesn’t need food, jut to change their diaper? This usually makes it harder for them to fall back asleep. If your baby is not visibly uncomfortable throughout the night, then it’s safe to say they are comfortable enough to sleep even with pee in their diaper.
- If you do sense though, that your baby has pooped, then this is reason enough to wake them to change the diaper. You don’t want to keep a poopy diaper on all night. That’s a disaster waiting to happen!
Does your baby usually pee less at night?
- Chances are the answer to this is YES, especially if your baby doesn’t feed throughout the night.
- The diaper is likely less full during sleep so you don’t necessarily have to wake your baby up to change it if it’s just pee.
What’s the Magic Number?
The short answer is, “THERE IS NO MAGIC NUMBER”.
There are many circumstances that would require immediate change like a poop or a really full diaper.
Other than that, there is no need to change the diaper until your baby has peed a few times (maybe 1-3x), unless the diaper is visibly full.
Remember that some pees will be heavier than others. You can use your judgment to know when your baby is uncomfortable and needs a clean diaper. Just go with your baby’s cues.
And remember this – You’re not a bad parent if you let your baby go an hour or two in their diaper.
Diaper rash is not caused by lack of care necessarily, as much as external factors like bacteria and inflammation.
How often did you change your baby’s diaper? Are you a change after each pee kind of parent? Or do you wait a few hours? Share your personal experiences in the comments below.
Thanks for reading 🙂