How Often Should You Change a Newborn’s Diaper?

8 Min Read
How Often Should You Change a Newborn’s Diaper?

How Often Should You Change a Newborn’s Diaper?

Each baby is unique and your little one may need more or less diaper changes than the average newborn but the rule of thumb of how often to change newborn diapers is about every two to three hours. Newborns can urinate as often as every hour and have anywhere between two to five bowel movements a day - that’s a lot of diapers! 

How Often Should You Change a Baby’s Diaper?

Reasons to Change a Newborn’s Diaper Often

  • Prevent irritation: a soiled diaper can irritate your baby’s sensitive bottom
  • Prevent infections: changing baby’s diaper more frequently can help prevent infections from developing such as yeast and staph infections
  • Count bowel movements to ensure digestion: sticking to a more frequent diaper schedule enables you to keep a better track of baby’s bowel movements to ensure their tummies digesting what they are eating and that baby is getting enough food and water throughout the day
  • Reduce odor: believe it or not, the longer you wait to change a diaper, the worse it starts to smell. 

When to Change a Baby’s Diaper

Here are some signs that indicate your baby’s diaper needs to be changed:

  • Odor: if you can smell it, it’s definitely time for a change
  • Dampness: if the diaper is getting leaky, time for a fresh diaper!
  • Heaviness: very wet diapers swell and start to feel heavy
  • Crying: in some cases, baby will let you know with their fussing and crying that they’re uncomfortable and ready for a fresh diaper

When to Change a Cloth Diaper

Cloth diapers are less absorbent than disposable diapers and will need to be changed more frequently. It is recommended that cloth diapers are changed about every 90 minutes. Since cloth diapers do not absorb as much of the urine or any of the feces they do require a deeper cleaning of baby’s bottom. If you’re unsure about what type of diaper to use you can read more on our blog about what to look for in in newborn diapers.

How Often Should You Change a Baby’s Diaper at Night?

Sleep is a precious commodity in the newborn days, and let’s face it, for all of parenthood. It’s important for mom and dad to get their rest to be able to provide baby with the best care, and sleep is an integral part for baby’s development. We’ve all heard the saying “don’t wake a sleeping baby” but, if the baby has a soiled diaper how often should they be changed throughout the night? If baby is sleeping soundly, unless they have just pooped or are extreme wet - let them continue to sleep. However, if baby is crying, it’s a sign that their diaper may need to be changed. Although they can be exhausting nighttime diaper changes provide a great bonding opportunity during the quiet hours of the night where it’s just you and baby without any outside stimulus. 

Tips for Changing a Newborn’s Diaper at Night

Now that you know when to change a newborn’s diaper at night, how do you do it without fully waking baby and making them think it’s playtime? 

  • Create a nighttime routine. Ensuring baby goes to bed with a dry diaper can help prevent the development of a diaper rash. You can also change their diaper right before your bedtime.
  • Don’t turn the lights on. Reduce the chance of baby fully waking up during a nighttime diaper change by having a nightlight you can turn on during the change. 
  • Wet diapers can stay on for longer, soiled diapers should be changed immediately. Give priority to soiled (aka poopy) diapers. While a wet diaper could also lead to a diaper rash, baby’s skin being exposed to fecal matter will likely lead to skin irritation faster than exposure to urine.

  • Check out our blog on night time diapering tips for more!

    FAQs: Changing a Newborn’s Diaper

    Should you change a diaper before or after feeding?

    Changing baby before a feeding ensures that you won’t have to wake baby up towards the end of the feeding when they start to get cozy and dose off. A good time to change them would be between switching sides, or half way through the bottle, this will help rouse baby a little to encourage them to have a full feeding and not fall asleep halfway through.

    How long can a newborn stay in a wet diaper?

    Disposable diapers continue to get more absorbent so a little bit of wetness does not necessitate an urgent diaper change. Usually, after baby has wet the diaper more than twice it does begin to swell and it is generally best practice to change baby’s diaper when it becomes wet to prevent leaks, fussiness or diaper rash.

    Do newborns need to be wiped after every diaper change?

    As we mentioned earlier, babies go through a lot of diaper changes throughout the day and this does mean babies need to be wiped more often. Since diapers are quite absorbent this means baby might not need a wipe with every wet diaper or if there are no visible signs of pee. However, babies should always be wiped after a bowel movement or if they are wet.

    Wrapping Up: How Often to Change a Newborn’s Diaper

    It’s true what they say about newborns, it seems like all they do is sleep eat and poop/pee. While there is some truth to that and diaper changes aren’t always the most glamorous moments (especially those middle of the night ones) they do provide extra moments for you and your baby to bond.

    Reading this probably has you wondering about how many diapers your baby needs, and what should actually be on your diaper bag checklist, well we’re here to take one of those items off your to do list. By subscribing to our bamboo diaper delivery you won’t have to worry about having enough diapers for your baby every month and can spend more time enjoying the little moments.