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Swaddling or Nursing: What to Do First with a Newborn

Neugeborenes erst wickeln oder stillen

Photo by @ammenmaerchen


As parents of a newborn, there is incredibly much to learn and you want to optimize all processes as best as possible. One of the many questions that first-time parents ask is, should I change my baby before or after breastfeeding.

In this article, you will find all the information about diapering your newborn and when is the best time for you to do it.

Should I change my newborn before or after breastfeeding? The answer to this question is very individual. Many babies soil their diapers shortly after eating, so you are better off changing your child after breastfeeding. Other newborns like to fall asleep at the breast; in this case, it is better to change your baby before breastfeeding to avoid waking them up again.

Remember, you know your baby best, pay attention to their behavior, and change them according to their individual needs. 

How often should I change my newborn?

To avoid skin irritations, you should change your newborn every 2 - 3 hours.

Every baby is different, and it's possible that your child may urinate more or less at different times. Often, babies urinate less at night than during the day (assuming they have established a day-night rhythm), so your baby might be able to wear the same diaper for longer at night than during the day.

It's important: if there is a stool in the diaper, it must be changed immediately.


Breastfeed first, then change diaper, or the other way around?

The fact is that food intake stimulates the digestive system, this is the reason why many newborns dirty their diaper during or shortly after feeding.

If this is the case with your baby, it makes more sense to change them after breastfeeding.

But be careful: if your baby often spits up after breastfeeding, you should wait a bit with the changing or make sure not to apply too much pressure on the belly.

Other babies fall asleep during or after breastfeeding without pooping. In these cases, you naturally do not want to wake your baby up again after feeding, so it's better to change them before breastfeeding and then again, when they are awake.

It is possible that your baby becomes impatient as soon as they feel hungry and then does not want to wait until they have been changed. Try to recognize the first signs of hunger so you can change your baby before it gets too hungry.

You know your baby best and will quickly find out the right way and whether you should change your newborn's diaper first or breastfeed. If you are still unsure about breastfeeding, you can also seek a lactation consultant. Nathalie Pulcini offers the course "Confident Breastfeeding" where she answers all questions about the subject.

Judes cloth diapers on blanket

Photo by @anni.und.die.bande

Problems During Diaper Changing

Baby Cries During Diaper Changing

Maybe the changing room is not warm enough and your baby is cold? This problem can be best solved with a heat lamp. It could also be that the changing mat is too uncomfortable, so make sure to choose a soft mat.

Perhaps your baby simply finds diaper changing time boring. Try to make the changing area interesting, for example, with a mobile or fascinating toys. You can also entertain your baby with finger plays, beautiful songs, or funny faces. Just try out what works best for you.

Moreover, you can use diaper changing time to deepen the bond with your baby. Communicate with your baby and focus on their reactions and little sounds. Maybe you can cuddle in between, or give your little one a baby massage. This way, your baby associates diaper changing with something positive. These moments of mindfulness are not only relaxing but also strengthen the bond with your baby and promote their development.

If nothing works, a change in environment might also be helpful, maybe try changing on the sofa or on a blanket on the floor. Always make sure the environment is safe.

Baby Spits Up During Diaper Changing

If your baby often spits up during diaper changing, it might be that the interval between diaper changing and breastfeeding is too short, and the many movements irritate the stomach. Wait a while after feeding before you change your baby’s diaper or let them kick freely without a diaper for a while.

Skin Irritations in the Diaper Area

Skin irritations, such as rash or diaper dermatitis, can have various causes. It may be that your child is intolerant to wet wipes or other products, like creams or ointments. As an alternative to wet wipes, you can simply use reusable washcloths for cleaning.

Often, disposable diapers are the reason for rash in the diaper area because the non-breathable material prevents the necessary air circulation that is needed for wound healing or to prevent the onset of diaper dermatitis and skin irritations.

Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are particularly good at preventing diaper dermatitis. With Judes, you are in the right place. Many parents report to us that since they started using our cloth diapers, they no longer have problems with diaper dermatitis or yeast infections. This is because our diapers are especially breathable. We achieve this through two technical innovations:

  1. We use particularly breathable organic cotton for the inner diaper. Here, we use a very thin and yet extremely tightly woven cotton twill. This combines several advantages: It fits snugly, is very absorbent, and moreover, breathable.
  2. We use at least 10 layers of this cotton twill on top of each other. Thus, spaces are created in which the air can circulate. When using Judes, we recommend not using any ointment for the baby’s bottom – it is simply not necessary since the skin barrier is not compromised. The bottom retains its natural temperature and thus stays healthy!

Judes Mom breastfeeding Baby breastfeed first or change diaper

Photo by @ablondegirlsjourney

Diaper Leaks

Wrong Diaper Size

One of the main reasons for diaper leaks is the wrong size. The size of the diaper ensures the optimal fit and provides perfectly sealing cuffs and sufficient absorbent material. Especially with newborns, the change to the next size is often unnecessarily delayed, leading to more frequent accidents.

Incorrect Diaper Fit

Another crucial point is the correct fit of the diaper to prevent leaking. For perfect leakage protection, even at the back, the diaper should neither be too tight nor too loose.

Inappropriate Diaper Change Rhythm

No matter how absorbent a diaper is and how well it fits, if you wait too long between changes, it will eventually leak. Therefore, regularly change your baby's diaper.

Diaper Only Leaks at Night

If your newborn’s diaper holds up during the day but not through the longer sleep at night, it might be that the diaper simply does not work as a night diaper.

Night diapers should fit well to last the entire night. That means the diaper must be comfortable and snug – not too loose and not too tight. It should also be highly absorbent to stay leak-free for up to twelve hours, and changing at night should be straightforward.

Learn which cloth diaper is suitable for the night and many more tips for changing diapers at night

How Often Does a Breastfed Baby Poop?

The frequency of bowel movements varies for each baby. Especially for exclusively breastfed babies, the variations are very large. Anything from several times a day to only every 14 days is considered normal.

Do you want to learn more about breast milk stool? Then check out this blog article: Newborn Digestion: The FAQ about Breast Milk Stool

How Can I Promote My Newborn’s Bowel Movements?

If you feel that your baby is having trouble with bowel movements or even experiencing stomach pain, there are a few ways you can help promote their digestion:

  1. Breastfeeding – It's important to ensure your baby is getting enough breast milk. Breastfeeding alone can promote bowel movements. Breast milk contains enzymes that serve as a natural laxative and promote digestion.
  2. Belly Massage – a gentle belly massage can help stimulate your newborn's digestion and relieve constipation. Gently massage your baby’s belly in a clockwise direction and be careful not to apply too much pressure.
  3. Warm Bath – a warm bath can also help stimulate your infant's digestion. The warm water relaxes the abdominal muscles, which can help your baby relax and often leads to the evacuation of the bowels.
  4. Hydration – it's important that your baby gets enough fluids to prevent constipation. So, make sure your baby is drinking enough milk or water. Note: Before starting solids, your baby doesn't need any additional fluids besides breast milk or formula!

How Judes Accompany You During the Breast Milk Stool Phase

The advantage of the Judes cloth diapers is how uncomplicated and easy they are to use in everyday life. And this applies even from the first days of life: Whether meconium or breast milk stool – Judes keep everything in.

Since the breast milk stool is water-soluble, it can simply be washed out of the diaper in the washing machine. We have developed a skin-friendly laundry detergent suitable for cloth diapers and baby clothes.

If there do happen to be stains on the inner diaper, you can just hang it in the sun. A few hours later, the discolorations will be gone.

I hope this text was able to answer all your questions! If you have any further questions or tips on diapering, feel free to let us know in the comments! Follow us for more information about our cloth diapers on Instagram and share your experience in the comments with other Judes users.

Additional Questions and Interesting Facts

How Often to Change a Toddler's Diaper

You should change your toddler's diaper every 3 – 4 hours during the day, and one diaper is sufficient for the night (up to 12 hours).


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