Changing diapers throughout the day seems to be a never-ending task. It feels like you’ve only just changed one, and they suddenly need changing again.
However, changing a diaper during the night is a whole different process. Your baby needs their sleep, and actually, it can be more detrimental to their development if you constantly wake them for a change.
In fact, you can leave your baby all night without changing their diaper if necessary, and it can even be better for them.
So, Can A Baby Go the Whole Night Without A Diaper Change?
Yes! At first, you’ll be overly keen to keep changing their diaper to make sure they’re comfortable, but it’s a myth that they need changing more often when they’re younger.
Yes, they’ll wet their diaper reasonably often, but they usually don’t even notice when they’re sleeping.
A nighttime diaper is designed to last for up to 12 hours without a change as long as it’s just wet. Their heightened absorption rate (20-25% more effective) will allow you and your baby to sleep throughout the night without having to worry.
What Happens As Your Baby Grows?
Your baby’s bladder will naturally get stronger as they get older, and they’ll be able to recognize when they need to go.
This is when they’ll start to wake up and let you know about it. An older baby is actually a more demanding one. They know when they need changing and will likely scream to make you aware of it.
Again, changing a baby due to this will give them the impression that you’ll change them whenever they cry. You want to avoid this habit. Check if they’re okay, then go right back to bed. As long as your diaper is absorbent, there’s nothing to worry about.
Should You Let Your Baby Sleep In A Poopy Diaper?
Unfortunately, diapers can only do so much and won’t soak up poop. And the acid in baby poop can affect your baby’s skin and cause uncomfortable rashes.
Usually, if your baby has pooped in their sleep, they’ll wake up and let you know that they need a change.
You should change a poopy diaper ASAP to keep their skin clean and healthy. However, poopy diapers during the night are likely to clear up long before wet diapers.
When babies grow, a combination of their developing muscles and more solid food means that the baby poop isn’t as soft, meaning they cannot pass it without waking up.
Their body will gradually start to retain it until they’re able to wake up in the morning. Excessive changing of wet diapers during the night can actually delay this process, and your baby will rely on you to change poopy diapers for longer.
“But I Feel Guilty For Not Changing Their Diaper”
Guilt is a common emotion for new parents to feel. It’s natural to want your baby to feel comfortable all the time. However, constant disturbances overnight can affect their sleeping pattern and may result in them having sleeping problems.
As long as you’re not leaving them with a poopy diaper, it’s perfectly acceptable to let the diaper do its job. They’re specially equipped for absorption, so your baby will be completely fine until morning.
How Often Should You Change A Baby’s Diaper At Night?
Your baby will only need a diaper change if they’ve pooped overnight. This will likely happen at the beginning of the night, before they’re fully asleep, or just as they’re about to wake up in the morning.
This is because the act of pooping requires more muscle control which your baby won’t have during sleep.
If you need to change their diaper due to this, then it’s likely to only be once during the night. If they just have a wet diaper, this can be left until morning – so there would be no need to change.
But How Will You Know When Your Baby Needs Changing During the Night?
That’s just it; you won’t. You should always have a baby monitor next to your baby’s bed to check for any sounds of discomfort. However, they will usually wet their diaper while they’re asleep.
Babies don’t gain control of their bladder until around two and a half years old, and at night, they may not wake up when they feel the need to pee until they’re 4 or 5 years old – even after a diaper has become unnecessary during the day.
Because they’ll likely remain asleep while they wet their diaper, you won’t even know about it until the next morning. But even they pooped, you’ll most likely hear about it.
Top Tips For A Diaper Change Free Night
- Always make sure the diaper fits well. Babies lose mass overnight. Their stomach visibly reduces as they digest any milk that they’ve had.
You should make sure that the diaper is stretchy to allow it to change shape with your baby. This prevents any leakages and means that your baby will feel comfortable for longer.
- Buy good quality nighttime diapers. Nighttime diapers need to be super absorbent to soak up any pee.
Your baby may wet their diaper two or even three times per night, so you need a diaper that’s equipped to absorb all that moisture. Good quality diapers will make your baby’s night feel dry.
- Diaper rash is one of the main reasons that parents obsessively change diapers. A good rash cream with no additives or perfume can remove any diaper rash, despite leaving your baby with a wet diaper at night.
How To Change A Baby’s Diaper During The Night
Ultimately, your baby getting the right amount of sleep is much more important than changing a wet diaper.
However, if you do need to change a diaper (whether it’s poopy, or they’re seemingly uncomfortable), you should be as stealthy as possible – your main aim is to do a complete change without waking them at all.
- Don’t turn on the light (unless you absolutely have to). You want to keep the nighttime ora, so your baby doesn’t fully wake up during the change. If they wake up, you can kiss goodbye to your good night’s sleep.
- Your baby will typically sleep on their back, so they’re already in the optimum position for a change. Gently unwrap the diaper and slide from underneath their legs.
- Warm up a wet diaper wipe before the change. A cold wipe is more likely to wake them.
- If your baby does wake up during the changing process, you can use this as an early introduction to potty training. Although you can’t punish your baby for not controlling their bladder – they can’t help it – it shouldn’t be an opportunity for fun during the night. Your baby has to not associate wetting their diaper at night with a positive experience. Make the change as quick and silent as possible and slip back to bed. They’ll soon fall back to sleep.
Your baby doesn’t need you to change their diaper during the night if they’re just wet. In fact, leaving them alone will actually benefit their sleep cycle and develop bodily functions for the future.
Unless your baby has a poopy diaper, resist the urge to keep them constantly dry and make sure you invest in high-quality nighttime diapers to help them feel comfortable.