How Often Should I Change My Baby's Nappy?
In the first few years of your baby's life, it may seem like all you do is change nappies. Whilst this is not very far from the truth, many parents worry about how often they should change a nappy and if their baby's bowel habits are normal.
How Often is Normal?
For a newborn, anything between six and eight nappy changes a day is pretty normal. They only have a small stomach and drink small amounts of milk, so what goes in has to come out. As they grow, so too does their bladder and so they will be able to hold onto greater amount of liquids before needing to go. By the age of two, they may only require three or four nappy changes a day. Of course, this is just a rough estimate and this can vary greatly from baby to baby and can be different each day, too. Eventually, your baby will begin to establish a regular pattern.
How Do I Know When to Change a Nappy?
The golden rule of nappy changing is to change often. As a rule, change at every feed during the early days and always after a poo. Babies rarely become agitated by a wet nappy, so they will not always let you know about this. However, many get uncomfortable with a dirty nappy. It's the combination of poo and wee that irritates delicate skin, so you should change them as soon as possible after pooing. If a baby is left in a soiled nappy for an extended period, they are at greater risk of developing nappy rash.
For very small babies, sometimes changing their nappy can be useful for rousing them during feeding. Very often they will fall asleep whilst taking milk, but changing them halfway through a feed can stimulate them enough to allow them to finish feeding.
Should I Change a Nappy During the Night?
Parents are often unsure about changing nappies during the night. They worry that doing so may wake them and then they will struggle to fall back to sleep. If they wake up during the night with a dirty nappy, don't hesitate to change them, especially if they have pooed. Changing them halfway through a night feed may help with the feeding issue mentioned above.
Amongst all the worries new parents have, knowing when to change a nappy is one of them. Changing them frequently during the daytime will help keep the nappy area clean and fresh and will help to prevent nappy rash. During the night, they may need changing, but only do so if it seems to be bothering them or if the nappy is dirty or very full.