How Often Should You Change Your Baby's Diaper?

Every baby is unique, and how often your little one “goes” can vary from day to day. The general rule of thumb when it comes to how often you should be changing diapers is about every two to three hours if he’s a newborn, and less frequently as he gets older. But what if he’s not wet or is fast asleep?

Read on to learn how you can adjust diaper changes to fit your baby’s schedule, how to tell if your little one needs a dry diaper, and what you can do to take the guessing game out of nighttime diaper swaps.

How Often to Change a Newborn’s Diaper

When your newborn finally arrives, it’s all about the cuddles and the love you feel for her. Along with these joyful parenting moments come less glamorous chores, of course, such as changing wet and poopy diapers.

Experts recommend that you change your newborn’s diaper every two to three hours, or as often as needed. Why? Your little one may urinate as often as every one to three hours, and have between two and five bowel movements a day. And there are a few health reasons to consider as well:

  • Overly wet diapers left on too long can contribute to the risk of diaper rash

  • Poop can irritate your baby’s skin

  • Leftover bacteria may lead to a bladder infection (especially in baby girls).

Plus, a soiled diaper can cause leaks, and the mess can spread to your baby’s clothes, crib, car seat—you name it! The simplest way to avoid the mess is with frequent diaper changes.

When to Change a Newborn’s Diaper

Still, changing diapers around the clock may leave you feeling as though that’s all you’re doing. Try not to let diaper changes consume your daily routine; simply be mindful of when your baby's diaper may be wet or dirty.

Another great time to change your newborn’s diaper is before or during feedings. If you’re breastfeeding, as you switch from one breast to the other, take the time to check her diaper, and change it if needed.

If you’re bottle-feeding, check her diaper right before you give her the bottle. After she’s done with the bottle, you can check again if she’s hasn’t fallen asleep. If she has gone to sleep, then there’s no need to wake her unless you feel she’s overly wet or she has a poopy diaper.

How Often to Change a Newborn’s Diaper at Night

And what about those nighttime diaper changes? You may be wondering just how frequently your newborn’s diaper really needs to be changed when she’s fast asleep. If she isn't overly wet you can probably let her sleep. Pampers offers super-absorbent nighttime diaper options like Pampers Swaddlers Overnights to help prevent leakages and keep your baby comfortable as she sleeps. However, it's best to change those soiled diapers if you can.

How Often to Change a Baby’s Diaper After Introducing Solids

As your baby gets older and you adjust his feeding schedule to include solid foods, he may produce fewer wet diapers than before. Though diaper changes may be less frequent now, continue to check his diaper every few hours to ensure he’s not too wet. Always change him after he's had a bowel movement.

A diaper change is required with every soiled diaper to prevent skin irritation, especially when babies become more active and mobile. As your baby reaches developmental milestones such as rolling over and crawling, he'll be moving a lot more often. Avoid any messy situations with a diaper that moves with him, like Pampers Cruisers 360° Fit®, and make sure to change him as often as needed.

As your baby grows, his diapering needs evolve with him. You may be starting to get a handle on just how often you should be changing his diaper and when to expect a bowel movement. You can get additional help with Lumi for a better grasp on his ever-changing diapering schedule. Plus, you can even get personalized insights into his overall development and daily routines.

Diaper changes can’t be avoided, but you don’t have to go it alone! With Lumi you’ll be able to track his diapering needs, feeding schedules, and even sleep patterns. Plus, tailored tips and diaper alerts deliver help along the way, at any stage in your baby’s development—from infancy to toddlerhood.

Diaper Changing Tips

Have never changed a diaper yet? Don’t worry; with a few tips and some practice you’ll be a pro in no time.

Start by gathering all the diapering supplies you will need.

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

  • Baby wipes. Pampers® Sensitive Baby Wipes are a great choice for your baby’s delicate skin.

  • Changing pad (you can find disposable pads for added convenience when on-the-go!)

  • Diaper rash ointment to prevent skin irritation. Speak with your baby’s healthcare provider if you have questions or for recommendations on rash prevention.

It helps to keep all the diapering essentials in one place for easy access; after all, you will be changing diapers quite frequently!

Once you’ve gotten all the diapering essentials together, it’s time to change your little one. Here’s how you can change your baby’s diaper:

  1. Remove the used diaper and throw it out

  2. Clean your baby’s diaper area

  3. Apply a diaper rash ointment or barrier cream if your baby has diaper rash

  4. Carefully lift your baby’s legs and place the opened diaper underneath. Then place your baby down onto the diaper and pull the front of the diaper up between his legs, and place it on his belly

  5. Close the wings of the diaper, and seal the tapes so that they are symmetrical. Run two fingers between the diaper and his stomach to check that the diaper isn't too tight.

Read our article on how to change a baby’s diaper for more detailed instructions.

For a step-by-step visual guide on how to change your baby’s diaper, check out the video below.

Now that you’ve mastered diaper changes, consider signing up for a diaper rewards program. Since you’ll be going through an abundant amount of diapers, rewards can help you save on diapering essentials. With Pampers Club, you can even get gifts for you and your baby!