Let’s face it! You haven’t had a decent night of sleep in a long time. From trying to find a good position in bed when you were pregnent, to night time feeds, to changing diapers in the middle of the night… But don’t worry. In this post we will go over the basics of changing diapers at night. Do you need to do it? When to stop it? Don’t worry. It is all in here.
Yes, parenting is tough. Regardless of how long you may have been a parent, whether it is one day, or twelve years, there are so many questions that you need may need answered.
The bad news is, Mamma and Daddy, there is not always someone to answer them, and even if they do, this may not work for you and your own situation.
Questions like which is the best brand of diaper to use? What should I dress my baby in? Should I let people hold my baby? Where should I send my child to school? Is organic or regular formula best for their development?
The list is endless, and while you may spend countless hours trolling the internet to find the answers, or asking your family and friends for their experiences, as useful as advice may be, ultimately the only person or people who can really answer these questions is you and your family.
You and your partner know your baby better than anyone else, so you know what works for you and your family. While one thing might work wonders for one family, it could end in disaster for another. Parenting involves a lot of trial and error my friend, so buckle in for the ride!
One really common question that tends to pop into the minds of new parents and across the world’s of parenting forums is, “should I be changing my baby’s diaper during the night, and if so, when should I stop?”. This topic, like so many others is complicated and consists of a lot of variables.
As such, we have gone ahead and broken down some of the key elements of the nighttime diaper debacle below. So, what are you waiting for? Keep on reading!
Do I need to change diapers at night?
As mentioned above, there are many variables that will determine whether or not you will need to change your baby’s diaper at night, and ultimately when you can stop doing so. The main questions to consider for your individual circumstances are as follows:
- Consider, your baby’s age – newborns tend to urinate and poop more often than older babies
- Is your baby still feeding at night? If so, this will again lead to more frequent urination and thus a fuller diaper
- Is your baby still pooping at night? *We will cover this topic more fully later
- Is your baby still fully soaking their diaper through when he or she wakes in the morning – or worse, does their diaper leak onto their bassinet or cot sheets?
Consider each of these questions carefully and let the answers to each of these questions guide you towards your own individual conclusion. Once you have considered your baby’s needs, read on below to learn the tricks to efficiently change your baby’s diaper at night without compromising your precious z’s, and when to ultimately phase out night-time changes all together.
Initial tips and tricks
The first important tip to nighttime diaper changes is to establish a routine that suits both you and your baby. This should come as no surprise to new moms and dads as routines of all sorts can be a lifesaver in those early days! Establishing a routine can help you understand:
- When is your baby soiling their diaper, and how often they need to be changed based on the amount of urine or poop in the diaper?
*For those parents and bubs not yet sleeping through the night, this may be a little easier. Take note of exactly how wet your baby’s diaper is and at what times. Is your baby doing a number two at night? When? Try to calculate the hours since their last meal, this may help you later on!
- Establish what time your baby is waking during the night and when they need to be fed vs. when they need to be soothed. Do they need to be soothed because they have a dirty diaper, perhaps? (While this step may not help so much in your diaper fiasco, it sure will help you work out your baby’s needs!)
By establishing this routine, you can develop a solid idea of how often your precious bundle needs to be changed at night, reducing your own stress and parental guilt – and reduce the risk of waking your sleeping baby unnecessarily by checking their diaper!
Change Your Baby’s Diaper on the Right Times
The next tip we have for you may seem obvious, but you should always change your baby’s diaper right before he or she is put down to sleep for the night.
Even if their diaper is only slightly soiled, still change them as this will help to prevent the diaper from overflowing during the night if your baby – by some miracle – sleeps through the night.
Some brands of diapers have special “night-time” diapers that claim to have longer lasting leakage protection for your baby to have a more comfortable sleep. Some parents find that these night-time diapers work fantastically for their sweet bundle, whilst others do not really see the benefits.
Again, this is a trial and error system to see what works for you (Read on below to find out more about nighttime diapers!). If you find that night-time diapers are not for you, ensure that whatever diaper you do chose to put your baby in fits them really well. A diaper either too large or to small will be more likely to leak.
Another important thing to consider is the difference between “boy” diapers and “girl” diapers. While this categorization may seem like it is only for the pink and blue of the diapers, the distinction actually runs much deeper than this. Boy and girl diapers have a different padding layout as their body layout is different. It makes sense, huh! If you are using unisex diapers and are finding that they are leaking, this may be why.
Dealing With Nighttime Poops
Nighttime poops are quite common for young babies. Newborns tend to do their number twos shortly after they eat, however at nighttime, parents typically do not give their little bundle the chance to be awake to do their business – because, let’s admit it, you need those z’s Mamma’s and Daddy’s!
Complementary Read: All About Your Baby’s Pee and Poop
So, naturally, your baby will do their poop when they are sleeping. As your prince or princess gets older, say around the one to two-month mark, you should expect more day poops than night poops.
This should steadily continue to decrease throughout your babe’s first year. When your baby moves on to solid food, their poop schedule may change again, but they will move on to less frequent bowel movements which typically means very few nighttime poops at all.
Nighttime poops can be frustrating because, sorry parents, you will have to change that diaper! Unlike urine which is soaked into your baby’s diaper and away from the baby’s skin, your baby’s poop is much closer to the skin and can easily irritate their delicate bottoms.
This may lead to a nasty diaper rash which can cause your little one a lot of pain. So, if you have your baby out of bed, always do a quick smell check – there is no need to undress them, you’ll smell it! – before you put them down to sleep. This will save you both a lot of heartache in the morning!
How to Change Your Baby’s Diaper Without Waking Them Completely
If the time comes that your baby does need a diaper change because it is overflowing with wee, or your little one has done a number two – remember, always change those number two’s – try to do this with as little disruption to your baby as possible. Try these tips below to achieve the ultimate parental stealth mode:
- Change your baby’s diaper in a dimly lit room
- Try not do talk to your baby unless you are soothing them, or they will wake up fully
- Try to avoid eye contact with your baby as they will get excited by your attention and wake up to play
- If your baby still has night feeds, change their diaper first and then get them sleepy again with their milk
- Dress your baby in the easiest night clothes possible for diaper changes. You want something that will keep them warm at the top of their body whilst you change the bottom half. Sleeping bags and rompers that have two-way zippers that zip from the bottom upwards will be your very best friend during these stealthy diaper changes!
Look Out for Diaper Rash
One major concern that new parents tend to have when considering lengthening the time between their little one’s diaper changes is the change of diaper rash aggravating their baby’s precious bottom.
Babies have extremely sensitive skin, and diaper rash is a legitimate concern for parents both new and more experienced. Typically, diaper rash is triggered by the enzymes found in your baby’s poop, which is why diaper rash is more commonly found on mornings where baby has slept in a poopy diaper.
This is aggravated by the wet diaper rubbing against your little one’s cheeks, causing a very sore looking bottom in the morning.
As mentioned above, it is important to always change a poopy diaper during the night. With this being said, sometimes they might pull a silent (or smell-less) one on you, in which case, there is nothing that you could have done – and that’s okay Mamma and Daddy!
To prevent diaper rash from happening from both sneaky poops and regular wet diapers, try using some form of diaper cream on your baby’s bottom when you put them in their final diaper for the night.
There are two different types of diaper creams that are typically recommended, those that are petroleum-based and those that contain zinc-oxide.
There are many brands containing each of these bases, and with everything, it may be a trial and error to see which brand works best for your baby’s skin.
Regardless of the type of diaper rash cream you chose, always apply the ointment to a clean and dry bottom for best results. If your precious little one does get a diaper rash, continue to use the diaper rash cream within both day and nighttime diaper changes, and try to give your baby’s little bottom some time in the fresh air to dry out – baby will love the feeling of the fresh air on their naked bottom as well!
Wrapping it all up
So, as you can see by reading above, to answer the question, “when should I stop changing diapers at night”, the simple answer is, whenever you feel that your baby is ready. This may not be a straightforward timeline, and some nights may require more diaper changes than other.
With this being said, in many cases if your baby is ticking off the following list, you can generally avoid changing their diaper during the night:
- Baby is not doing regular poops during the night
- Baby is not leaking through their diaper, pajamas or onto their sheets
- Baby is not developing a diaper rash
- Baby is not waking up because they are wet or uncomfortable
Remember Mamma and Daddy, you should never feel guilty or stress about the little things. Parenting is tough, but one of the most important things to do is a parent is to ensure both you and your baby are getting enough sleep.
If you feel that your baby is not ready to go all night without a diaper change, then one diaper change during the night should be enough – assuming that your baby has not leaked through their diaper or if they have done a poop.
If your little prince or princess still requires a diaper change at night, consider looking into the nighttime diaper’s discussed above and be sure to follow the tips mentioned earlier in this article.
With practice, you will no doubt be on your way to getting your stealth mode on and becoming a ninja to make the most of your all-important parenting z’s!