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Diaper Changes: How Often Should I Change My Baby's Diaper?

Judes Baby liegt Stoffwindel Kale grün Windeln wechseln wie oft

Photo by @isabelplett

 

With the arrival of your first baby, new questions arise daily. Even if you might not have expected it, diapering is certainly a big topic for you as well. This article answers many of your questions about changing diapers.

How often do I need to change my baby's diaper?

Age

How often to change diapers?

Diapers per day

0 – 48 Hours

every 4 – 6 hours

6 – 8

Newborn 

every 2 – 3 hours

10 – 12

Infant

every 3 – 4 hours

8 – 10

from 6 months – Toddler

during the day every 3 – 4 hours + 1 night diaper (approx. 12 hours)

5

Always change the diaper as soon as possible after the baby passes stool.

Besides all the facts on changing diapers, I will explain in the following how you can tell if your infant is excreting enough and what healthy bowel movements in infants should look like. 

How Often to Change Baby Diapers?

As your child gets older, the intervals between diaper changes will lengthen. As a general rule, if there is a bowel movement, the diaper should be changed as soon as possible.

In the first 48 hours, you will usually only need to diaper your newborn every four to six hours. After that, it's about every two to three hours.

Newborn babies should be diapered every two to three hours.

Infants aged two to six months require a fresh diaper approximately every three to four hours.

From six months up to toddler age, it is also sufficient to change your child's diaper every three to four hours. From this age on, your child usually only needs one diaper per night, as significantlyless urine is excreted at night than during the day.

It is important to change your baby's diaper regularly. This preventsdiaper dermatitis and ensures that your baby feels comfortable.

Pay attention to the signals of your baby and change the diaper more frequently if necessary, especially if they feel uncomfortable or produce more excretions than usual.

If your baby has diaper rash, you may change the diaper more often as well. In the case of skin rashes and inflammation, fresh air is very good for the baby's skin, so allow your little one to kick around naked as often as possible.

Judes Baby in package with cloth diapers recognizing full diaper

Photo by @cafema.illustration

Signs That Your Baby Needs a Diaper Change

There are several signs you can look for to know when it's time to change your baby's diaper. These include:

  • your baby is fussy or crying
  • your baby's diaper feels wet and heavy
  • your baby's diaper smells of stool or strongly of urine
  • your baby makes certain sounds or words before they need to go
  • Gestures and facial expressions of your baby, such as eye contact, whining, stretching, or pushing

Over time, you learn to recognize your baby's signs. Many babies fill their diapers at specific times – for example, always in the morning. Consequently, you'll quickly learn how often a day diaper changing is necessary for you.

How Often to Change Diapers at Night?

How often you should change your baby's diaper at night depends on various factors. The digestive system in newborns is not yet fully developed and they usually have a bowel movement after each meal. Therefore, you need to change your newborn's diaper more frequently at night to avoid unnecessary irritation of their skin. Between the third and the sixth month of life, the digestive system generally matures and nighttime bowel movements become a thing of the past.

With urine, it depends on the absorbency of the diaper and the sensitivity of your child. If your baby becomes restless in wet diapers and has trouble falling back asleep, it might be a good idea to change them more frequently.

 

Tips for Changing Diapers at Night

  • Good preparation → Set up everything you need for diapering in the evening
  • Ensure a relaxed environment
      • Dimmed light → e.g., yellow light from a nightlight or a salt lamp
      • Quiet surroundings → speak as little as possible; skin contact and minimal movement are much more important
      • Warm environment → Ensure your hands are warm; you might have a portable heat lamp; you can also place diapers on the heater to warm them slightly
  • Suitable clothing and sleeping bag for easy diaper changes
    • Suitable disposable diapers/cloth diapers
      • No pull-up diapers → So that not everything has to be completely removed
      • Suitable cloth diapers for the night
        • Fitted diapers with a cover
        • All-In-Two diapers
        • Judes cloth diapers
        • Insert with a wool cover

      Do Older Children Still Need to Be Diapered at Night?

      The older your child gets, the more likely it is that you can skip changing diapers at night.

      For one, the bladder of a growing toddler has a larger capacity, and on the other hand, the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) ensures that the body produces less urine at night. Your child's sleep is less often disturbed by the urge to urinate, and the amount of urine can be well absorbed by the diaper. Oftentimes, the diaper even remains dry until morning.

      However, with disposable diapers, the situation is less clear. Our study found that more than 15 percent of children who are diapered with disposable diapers continue to be diapered for four years and longer. When cloth diapers are used, it's less than one percent of children.

      Judes mom breastfeeding baby how often to change diapers

      Photo by @ablondegirlsjourney

      Change Diaper Before or After Nursing?

      Many newborns have a bowel movement during or after nursing. If this is the case with your baby, it's best to change them after nursing. However, if your baby often spits up after nursing, wait a bit before diapering or be careful not to apply too much pressure on the stomach.

      If your baby falls asleep while or after nursing without having a bowel movement, it's better to change them before nursing and then again when they are awake.

      If your baby is impatient once they feel hungry and therefore doesn't want to be diapered before feeding, try to recognize the first signs of hunger and change them before they get too hungry.

      Do I Need to Change Cloth Diapers More Often Than Disposable Diapers?

      No, you do not have to change cloth diapers more often than disposable diapers. Even though disposable diapers often promise twelve hours of dryness, they should be changed regularly. Disposable diapers are not very breathable, and the lack of air circulation in the diaper area makes the baby's skin more prone to fungi, rashes, and diaper dermatitis.

      Many assume that cloth diapers do not hold as well as disposable diapers. However, this is not entirely true. Cloth diapers can actually be more secure than disposable diapers. Moreover, cloth diapers are more sustainable, healthier, and even more cost-effective than disposable diapers.

      Judes' goal is to be the easiest cloth diaper in the world to use. We believe Judes Family has done a great job with this. Our Judes cloth diaper is just as easy to handle as disposable diapers and is ideal for overnight use. While the absorbent inner diaper quickly and securely absorbs all liquids, the waterproof cover provides optimal protection. And the material is breathable, ensuring a healthy diaper environment.

      Judes cloth diapers stack on hand recognizing full diaper

      Photo by @soapbubbbbles

      How Many Wet Diapers Do Babies Have Per Day?

      Your baby's output is an important indicator of their health status. Especially with breastfed babies, it's a sign of whether they are drinking enough.

      A newborn usually has only one to two wet diapers in the first 48 hours. After the milk comes in – approximately two to six days postpartum – your child should have at least five to six full diapers a day (Source: La Leche League)

      How Do I Know That the Diaper Is Full?

      For a diaper to be considered wet or full doesn't mean it needs to be on the verge of leaking.

      A diaper is actually considered wet with as little as about six tablespoons of liquid. This rule, however, only applies to exclusively breastfed children, meaning your baby is not receiving any fluids other than breast milk during this time.

      To get an idea of how much six tablespoons is, you could weigh a diaper when it's dry and then fill it with water and weigh it again. That way, you immediately know what a full diaper looks like and feels like, and in case of doubt, you can simply check by weighing it.

      How Do I Know That My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?

      Besides wet diapers, there are of course other factors that can indicate whether your baby is getting enough nourishment.

      Weight gain and growth of your child are important signs of whether your child is developing well. Birth clinics, midwives, and pediatricians regularly check for an increase in weight. There is no need for you to weigh your child between appointments.

      Also, the appearance of your baby can provide clues about adequate nutritional intake:

      • Rosy skin color
      • Good skin turgor
      • Active and alert behavior

      In addition to these factors, you can also pay attention to your baby's behavior. A healthy baby will naturally show when it's hungry. Try to pay attention to their hunger cues and nurse your baby on demand – As a guideline: most

      breastfed babies feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours in the first few weeks (Source: La Leche League).

      Baby's Bowel Movements – Appearance and What Is Normal

      The first bowel movement – meconium – is blackish to dark green and is an important sign of a healthy digestive tract.

      Usually, the newborn will pass the meconium 12 to 48 hours after birth. By the fourth day at the latest, the meconium should have made its way into the diaper.

      What Does the Bowel Movement of Breastfed Babies Look Like?

      The breast milk stool changes during this time, and its color and consistency vary between ochre, yellowish or mustard brown and liquid, soft, or yogurt-like – all of these stool types are completely normal. The smell varies from aromatic to slightly sour. Some also say that it smells like yeast or even fruity.

      What Does the Bowel Movement of Formula-fed Babies Look Like?

      The bowel movement of formula-fed babies is more pasty than that of breastfed babies. Sometimes it is already formed. The color of the stool ranges from light yellow to dark green – there's a wide spectrum of colors. The smell is often more intense compared to the diaper contents of breastfed infants.

      Did the text answer all your questions? If you have more questions, feel free to let us know in the comments! Follow us for all information about our cloth diapers on Instagram and join the conversation with other Judes users in the comments.

      Additional Questions and Interesting Facts

      What Should Be Considered When Diapering Boys?

      With boys, it is essential to ensure that the penis points downward in the diaper. If it points upwards or to the side, leaking is most likely going to happen.

       

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