When to change baby's diaper: tips and frequency

In collaboration with Rokiyah Hosen

Relecture professionnelle

Your little wonder has just been born and you're totally lost with your baby's diapers! Between the speeches of the pediatrician, the midwives and the nurses at the maternity hospital, you're in a panic. Here's a simple article to help you get home as stress-free as possible, without the presence of nursing staff or your mother-in-law!

Why change baby's diaper regularly?

As soon as your baby isborn, you'll have the feeling that you're spending a lot of time changing his diapers. Your tiny baby is going to make demands on you at his or her own pace, with bottles, feeds, naps, restless sleep and multiple diaper changes. It's very important to change your baby's soiled diaper for several reasons:

  • To guarantee your baby's good hygiene. Stools and urine are full of bacteria;
  • To ensure your baby's comfort during rest time;
  • To avoid overflowing diapers and pee leaks if the diaper is too full;
  • Avoid diaper rash diaper rash (uncomfortable red patches) or irritation;
  • Promote your child's sleep;
  • For little girls, this will help prevent fungal infections.

How long can a baby keep his diaper on?

Pediatricians recommend changing an infant's diaper every 3 hours for the first few months of life.

Depending on the child's weight and size , and the volume of stools and urine, a baby may not be able to keep his or her diaper on for very long. It's often written on diaper packs that they can be kept on for up to 12 hours, which corresponds to the length of a night , but it all depends on the brand you use, the absorbency of the diaper and your child's rhythm! So there really aren't any precise rules:

  • A newborn baby can't keep his diaper on for more than 3 or 4 hours, because he'll pee in the diaper and poop anarchically;
  • A toddler who sleeps through the night will keep his diaper on overnight!

How often should I change my baby's diaper?

Your baby's diaper will usually be filled during or after each feeding, and sometimes even more frequently. So you'll need to change your baby's diaper every 2 to 4 hours, or even more often, depending on the milk he's been drinking and his state of health:

  • Breastfed babies have more explosive, liquid stools than bottle-fed babies + ;
  • The composition of the artificial milk given in the bottle will potentially increase explosive yellow poo or small ball stools, which are a sign of constipation.

Once again, there are no hard and fast rules. It all depends on your child's sleeping patterns, whether he or she is comfortable wearing a soiled diaper, whether you use disposables, cloth diapers or training pants. It's up to you to adapt to avoid red bottoms or extra laundry!

Feeding time: should the diaper be changed before or after feeding?

This is THE most difficult question for a young parent to answer! Should you change your baby's diaper before or after feeding?

A newborn will wet or soil his diaper after or during each feeding, and for breastfeeding mothers this is a good indicator that the baby has eaten well:

  • Change your baby's diaper before feeding to avoid regurgitation, as vomiting occurs when you handle your child. You're also exposing yourself to more crying and screaming during diaper changes if your baby is hungry. Without disturbing him, your baby will fall asleep more easily;
  • Change your baby after feeding to satisfy his hunger more quickly. It's also a good idea to wait until your baby has finished eating before changing him, unless his diaper is already full and on the verge of leaking. *

Is it advisable to change baby's diaper at night?

After eating, your little one will probably drift off to sleep... or so you hope! When your little wonder is an infant, you'll need to keep up the rhythm of the diaper changes linked to the feeds. Don't hesitate to change your baby's diaper every time he or she wakes up. After 6 weeks of life, your baby will be able to sleep through the night and won 't necessarily need to be swaddled at night.

Peeing and pooping will no longer be systematic at night. There's no need to wake him up to change his diaper. If he wakes up at night because he's had a nightmare or is suffering from teething troubles, don't hesitate to make sure he's dry!

Changing rhythm with baby's age

Your baby's diapering rhythm is closely linked to his mealtimes and his maturity. The older he grows, the more he'll develop habits and routines, and the better he'll be able to control his perineum and sphincter.

  • During the first week of life, a baby urinates at least 6 times in 24 hours. Each pee will contain between 30 and 45 ml of clear, odorless urine. The frequency of bowel movements will be 3 to 6 a day, depending on milk intake;

From the 6th week of life, volumes will stabilize. Between 2 and 5 poops a day, one poop a week, one poop every 2 or 3 days.

FAQ on when to change baby's diaper

How do you know if your baby is cold at night?

To know whether to change your baby's diaper before or after a bottle, observe his condition: If he's hungry, change him after the bottle. If he's regurgitating, change him before taking the milk. Infants tend to relieve themselves during or after feeding. Change him after each meal.

Should I change the diaper when I wake up in the morning?

It's important to change your baby's diaper when he wakes up, to prevent him from wetting his pyjamas or soaking too much in a wet or soiled diaper. Your child's skin is very fragile, and diaper rash, irritation and fungus can develop within a few hours.

When is the best time to change a baby's diaper?

The best time to change your baby's diaper is after every wake-up call, after every meal, before and after every outing (park, shopping, restaurant, day nursery,...) and before going to sleep at night or for a nap.