During the first few years of your baby’s life, it may seem like all you do is change diapers. While this can be slightly annoying for you, the number of diapers that your baby goes through can tell you if they have a healthy digestive system. Changes in their stool or diaper habits can indicate whether there is a problem.
Keep an eye on the number of diapers that your baby uses. If there are not enough wet diapers, it could mean that your baby is dehydrated or has a medical issue. Meanwhile, a lack of soiled diapers could mean a digestive problem or constipation. If your baby has a normal amount of soiled and wet diapers, it shows that they are eating and drinking enough during the day.
How Many Diapers a Day Does My Baby Need?
For newborns to one month oil, they should have about six or more wet diapers every day. The average baby at this age will normally have three to four bowel movements every day. During the first month after birth, parents will typically change 10 diapers on a daily basis.
One Month and Older
Babies who are a month old or older should have about four to six wet diapers every day. At this stage, they tend to have fewer bowel movements than before. The bowel movements will still be soft though because your baby is consuming only breast milk or formula. In comparison, breast-fed babies will typically have more frequent, softer stools than babies that have been fed just formula. The following chart shows the number of diapers you can expect to change each day and month for your baby’s first year of life.
Age Daily Diapers Monthly Diapers
0-1 Month 10-12 320
1-5 Months 8-10 240
5-9 Months 8 240
8-12 Months 8 240
When Should I Be Changing My Baby’s Diaper?
Some parents like to leave their baby in a wet diaper to try to save money. It is not a good idea to do this because it affects the health of your baby. Urine and bacteria in the stool can end up causing a rash that is difficult to treat and painful. You should change your baby before feedings and after they have soiled their diaper. Unless your baby is already waking up at night for a feeding, you probably do not want to wake them up for a diaper change. If they do wake up to feed, then you can change their diaper at this time.
A newborn baby will typically have a wet diaper about every one to three hours during the day, and bowel movements can be at any time. Many baby’s will have bowel movements just before or after feeding because feeding stimulates their bowels to move. Babies generally do not fuss when there is a wet diaper, so you should check frequently. Since disposable diapers are extremely absorbent, it can be difficult to tell how wet they are.
How Do I Change My Baby’s Diaper?
Changing a Disposable Diaper
Start by cleaning your hands with soap and water. If you are doing errands, a baby wipe will suffice if that is all you have. Lay down a soft, clean blanket on a flat surface like a floor or table. If the surface is high off the ground, use a strap or hold on to your baby so that they do not fall of. Make sure that you have a fresh diaper, wipes ad a wet wash cloth handy. You may also need diaper cream for rashes, lotion or powder and a plastic bag for the dirty diaper.
2. Remove the Dirty Diaper
Lay your baby onto the table and undo the tabs on their diaper. Fold the tabs in half so that they do not accidentally stick to your baby’s skin. Fold down the front of the diaper. If your baby is a boy, you may want to place a washcloth over their genitals so that you do not accidentally get sprayed. If your baby had a bowel movement, use the front of the diaper to help wipe up any of the mess on your baby. Then, lay your baby on top of the clean side of the dirt diaper. Grabbing your baby’s legs in one hand, use the other hand to wipe their bottom from front to back. Remove the dirty diaper and set it aside.
3. Put on a New Diaper
Now that you have removed the dirty diaper, put the back side of the clean diaper underneath the baby’s bottom. It should end up sitting just at their waistline. Open up the front of the diaper to pull it through the legs. If you have a newborn, make sure to fold the diaper down under the umbilical stump until it has completely healed. Open the tabs on the front of the diaper and press them lightly onto the front of the diaper.
4. Wash Your Hands
Once you have changed the baby’s diaper, you need to wash your hand to prevent infections and disease from spreading. This is especially important in environments where there are more than one baby.
How to Change a Cloth Diaper
Today, many parents are switching to cloth diapers because they are eco-friendly and cheaper over the long run. You can get started by washing your hands with soap and water. Like before, place the baby on a soft blanket on a flat surface like the floor or a changing table. Collect supplies like diaper fasteners, a fresh cloth diaper, washcloth, waterproof diaper cover, baby wipes, diaper rash cream, lotion or powder and a diaper liner. If you are changing them for the night, a booster can help with absorbency.
2. Removing the Dirty Diaper
Start by folding the clean diaper and placing it to the side. Meanwhile, unhook the cover and pull it down the front. Unfasten the dirty diaper and pull it down. Again, if you have a boy, you may want to place a washcloth over his genitals to make sure that you do not accidentally get sprayed. Pull the front of the diaper down over the baby’s skin and use it to wipe away any soil on the baby’s skin. Tuck the clean side underneath the baby’s bottom. Using one hand, pull up their legs while the other hand cleans his bottom from front to back. Throw away any dirty wipes. Remove the soiled diaper from underneath the baby’s bottom.
3. Add a Clean Diaper
Using your hand, pull up the baby’s legs and then place a clean diaper underneath his or her bottom. Then, set your baby’s bottom down and pull the front of the diaper up between his or her legs. Add an absorbent liner. For nighttime changes, this is the point where you can add another booster to prevent leakage. Pull the front of the diaper up so that it is actually on the front and fasten the sides using the diaper fasteners. Add a cover over your baby’s diaper and fasten it on the sides.
4. Wash Your Hands
To prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water after changing the diaper.
5. Cleaning Up the Mess
Once you are done changing the baby, put his or her clothes on again. While you clean up, put the baby in a safe area to play. Bring the dirty diaper to the toilet to drop any fecal matter. Meanwhile, you can rinse out the diaper in the sink before putting it in the diaper hamper. When you wash the diapers, make sure to use baby soap so that it does not irritate your baby’s skin. Now, you should wash your hands again with soap and water.
Best Practices for Changing Diapers
1. Always Wash Your Hands
It is extremely important that you always wash your hands after changing your baby’s diaper. You do not want to spread bacteria and infections from one baby to the next. In addition, some of the bacteria found in the diaper can make your baby sick. If you are going to be on the go, bring along hand sanitizer in case there is not a place available to adequately wash your hands.
2. Keep a Washcloth Ready for Baby Boys
Unless you want to be sprayed, it is a good idea to always have a washcloth handy for changing baby boys. That way, the urine stream is caught by the washcloth when their diaper is off instead of by your clothes or face.
3. Remember to Fold Diapers Properly for Newborn Babies
There are diapers that are specifically made for newborns that already have a notch in the front for the umbilical stump. If your diapers do not have a notch, you need to make sure that you fold the front of the diaper down so that it is below the stump. The umbilical cord stump needs air to heal properly, and having the diaper over it can cause an infection. For your baby’s health, make sure that you do not put a diaper over this stump until it is fully healed.
4. Be Patient
If you are nervous about changing a diaper, your baby will sense it and become fussy. Relax! Every parent has gone through this, and you will figure everything out.
5. Give Your Baby a Toy
Nothing is worse than turning back to your baby and realizing that they have been playing in a soiled diaper. While this will probably happen at least once, you can prevent it. Older babies like to wiggle as they have their diaper changed and explore with their hands. Put their curiosity to use by giving them a toy. This will distract their attention so that you can change their diaper without a problem.
6. Remember: Practice Makes Perfect
Over time, changing diapers will get easier as you grow used to it—it will also be easier for your baby as they realize that this is something that happens multiple times every day.
Always Keep Track of How Many Diapers a Day You Use
Your baby’s bowel movements and diaper use are key indicators of the health of your baby. While it may be gross at times, it is a natural part of life. Especially during the first few months after giving birth, track the number of diaper changes that you go through every day. By doing this, you can make sure that your baby is getting enough fluids and food. In addition, you can make sure that you know if your baby is constipated or has other digestive problems.
For younger babies, you should see at least six wet diapers a day. There should also be about three to four bowel movements. Older babies have fewer bowel movements as they start to eat solid food and their digestive system develops fully. If your baby’s diaper usage suddenly drops, you may need to take your baby to the doctor to make sure that there is not an illness or another reason for the sudden decline in diaper usage.