Changing a nappy

Every baby is unique, and how often your little one wees and poos can vary from day to day. But when it comes to how often to change a newborn’s nappy, most infants need a change 10 to 12 times per day. This frequency varies depending on age, so read on to learn how to manage a nappy-changing schedule as your little one grows up, plus how often to change a nappy at night.

How Often to Change a Newborn’s Nappy

Newborns need frequent nappy changes, around 10 to 12 per day. But how often to change a nappy (and how many nappies your newborn goes through per day) depends on how many times your little one wees or poos and whether they’re breastfed or formula fed. Additionally, the frequency of peeing and pooing will lessen as your little one grows older, so they will eventually need fewer nappy changes. Because there are so many factors impacting nappy changes, it may help to look at the process in terms of weeing and pooing.

  • Weeing. In general, babies tend to wee about six to eight times a day regardless of diet.

  • Pooing. And when it comes to your baby’s poo, 1-year olds tend to do a poo just once a day. But for newborns and younger babies, a typical pattern could look a bit like this:

    • Breastfed babies may do a poo after each feeding as an infant. At about 6 weeks, it’s common for breastfed babies to go an entire day without doing a poo, but it’s also typical to poo about four times a day.

    • Formula fed babies tend to do a poo about five times a day as an infant. After a few months, this typically drops to about one poo per day.

In general, it’s important to change a nappy after each poo, but not necessarily after every wee (more on that below). Regardless, you can certainly anticipate quite a few nappy changes in the first year of your little one’s life!

Tip

Some Pampers nappies feature an indicator strip, which changes colour from yellow to blue when detecting moisture, indicating that it might be time for a change. If you notice the colour changing, feel the nappy for heaviness and take a peek inside by gently pulling the waistband back.

How Often to Change a Toddler’s Nappy

How many nappies do newborns go through a day compared to older babies and toddlers? You may be happy to know that as your baby grows older, nappy changes will decrease. However, remember that every child is different.

  • 1-year-old toddlers. How many nappies a day for a 1-year-old will still vary, but you can anticipate about two poos a day and weeing about six to eight times.

  • 2-year-old toddlers. At age 2, some toddlers are ready to start potty training, though others might not be ready until later. However, by this time, your toddler will likely have stopped pooing at night and might stay dry during most of the day. Therefore, only a handful of nappy changes may be necessary once you start potty training.

When You Should Change a Baby’s Nappy

Because infants and babies have such delicate skin, it’s important to change the nappy after every poo to prevent irritation and nappy rash. At any given time, 25 percent of babies are experiencing nappy rash, which can also be caused by

  • not cleaning the nappy area or changing the nappy often enough

  • the nappy rubbing against your baby’s skin

  • irritation from soap or detergents

  • using alcohol-based baby wipes

  • some types of medicines, such as antibiotics or laxatives.

To prevent nappy rash, it’s best to change nappies after each poo and use highly absorbent, breathable, and gentle nappies, such as Pampers New Baby, which guarantees up to 12 hours of dryness and is the only newborn nappy approved by the British Skin Foundation. You can also use baby wipes for sensitive skin and soaps and detergents with gentle ingredients. And, of course, follow the advice above regarding how often to change a newborn’s nappy.

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How Often to Change a Newborn’s Nappy at Night

You’ll only need to change a nappy if it’s soiled when your child wakes up for night-time feedings, but many parents wonder if they should wake their baby at night to change a nappy. This prompts the question; how often should you change a newborn nappy at night? The adage ‘never wake a sleeping baby’ reigns here. Baby sleep requirements change with age, but one consistent aspect is that newborns and babies typically only wake when hungry or uncomfortable. When your baby wakes up in the night for a feed, do as you’d normally do during the day and check their nappy. After a feed, if your little one hasn’t fallen back to sleep, check again and make sure they don’t need a nappy change. As your baby gets a bit older, prevent leaks with an overnight nappy, such as Pampers Baby Dry Night Pants, which offers up to 12 hours of protection with high absorbency.

In Summary

So, how often should you change a baby’s nappy? It’s a simple question with a fairly simple answer, but a few caveats to consider:

• Plan to change your newborn’s nappy about 10 to 12 times per day, lessening as they grow older. 
• Nappies need changing after every poo
• You don’t need to change your baby’s nappy after every wee – rather, change the nappy just before or after a feed (but keep an eye out for nappy rash or skin irritation). 
• There’s no need to wake your baby at night for a nappy change. Instead, just check the nappy when they wake up for night-time feeds or in the morning after sleep.

Nappy Changing Tips

If you’re new to parenting and have yet to change a nappy, a little practice will go a long way! It’s not just about how often to change a nappy but also simply how to change a nappy. Continue reading below for some helpful tips. First, start by gathering all the nappy changing supplies you’ll need:

  • A clean nappy in just the right size. Check out the nappy size and weight chart below to learn which nappy fits best for your little one

  • Baby wipes, such as Pampers Sensitive or Pampers New Baby, both great choices for your baby’s delicate skin

  • Changing mat or disposable mats for added convenience when on-the-go

  • Barrier cream to prevent skin irritation. (Speak with your doctor or health visitor if you have questions or for recommendations on rash prevention.)

It helps to keep all the nappy changing essentials in one place for easy access; after all, you will be changing nappies quite frequently! Once you’ve gotten all the essentials together, it’s time to change your little one. Here’s how you can change your baby’s nappy:

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Remove the used nappy and throw it out.

  3. Clean your baby’s nappy area thoroughly. Be mindful to clean your baby girl from front to back to avoid getting any bacteria in her genitals.

  4. Apply a nappy rash ointment or barrier cream if your baby has nappy rash.

  5. Carefully lift your baby’s legs and place the opened nappy underneath. Then place your baby down onto the nappy and pull the front up between the legs and over the belly.

  6. Close the wings of the nappy and secure them symmetrically. Run two fingers between the nappy and your baby’s stomach to check that the nappy isn't too tight.

  7. Wash your hands again and dress your baby in fresh clothes.

FAQS AT A GLANCE

  • You can check your baby’s nappy – and change it if necessary – when your little one wakes up for a feed or when crying. It’s not necessary to wake a baby to change a nappy.

  • It’s best to check your baby’s nappy both before and after feeding and change it if needed.

  • If your baby has particularly sensitive skin and/or develops nappy rash, it’s important to change their nappy after every wee and poo. If your little one doesn’t experience irritation after wetting, you can wait to change the nappy until before or after feeding, especially when using highly absorbent nappies or those with a wetness indicator.

  • You should change your 2-year-old’s nappy after pooing or when heavy after wetting. At this age, your toddler might soon be ready to start potty training.

The Bottom Line

If you're a new parent, it's reassuring to know how often to change a newborn’s nappy and how this schedule can change with older babies and toddlers. With such delicate skin, it’s important for babies to have their nappies changed after every poo. After a wee, you can wait a bit until the next feed unless your little one has extra sensitive skin and/or nappy rash. With this information on hand, you're ready for each and every nappy change – and before you know it, you’ll soon be a pro!

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.