The majority of people who have babies, love them, and they love every aspect about parenthood. Well, except one part maybe; diapers. Diapers are no one’s favourite part of parenting, it is messy, expensive and it stinks (literally and figuratively). But, we do it. We do it because we love our little babies and we know that it is an unavoidable aspect of caring for them.
A lot of first time moms are unclear about how often they need to change their baby’s diapers. Do they change after every pee, or do the diapers absorb enough to let a couple pee’s go by? Well, it really is up to you and your baby. Some mom’s change their baby’s diaper after every pee, or they change them every few hours unless they have pooped. In the early days, expect there to be a lot of diaper changes as newborns go to the bathroom a lot, and they really should be changed often.
It will also depend on your baby’s temperament. Some babies handle a wet diaper better than others. Some baby’s need their diaper changed after every single pee, others (like mine) would go all day in a dirty diaper and have it not bother them. Of course, we still change their diapers even though they fight it.
If you choose to go the route of the disposable diaper, it can get pretty costly. We knew this going in that diapers and supplies were going to be expensive, but that doesn’t make it any easier. This may make some mom’s want to stretch their diaper supply just a little bit to save some money. Letting your baby sit in a dirty diaper can have some pretty negative connotations, here are 15 of them.
15 Diaper Rash
We will start out with the basics. Your child will get a diaper rash. Now, this is not normally something to be overly worried about. There is also no need to let the mom guilt out either, almost every baby will have at least one diaper rash in their life, and it doesn’t matter how often you changed their diaper. Diaper rashes happen, and are usually not even a reason to go to the doctor. Usually and over the counter diaper rash cream will take care of this.
There is a point where a rash can become dangerous, and we will discuss some of these more severe rashes later. What you can do if your baby does get a slight diaper rash is to change the diaper a bit more frequently while it heals. You also may want to cease use of wet wipes while it heals, and just use warm washcloths. If you are brave enough, you can even lay a blanket or towel down and let their bum air out a bit.
14 Yeast Infections (Yes, Boy’s Too)
I did not even know that babies could get yeast infections, until it became very clear that my daughter was prone to them. Now, this is because when we hear yeast infection, we typically think of the itchy and uncomfortable infection grown women get. This is not the same thing. A yeast infection is caused by a diaper being left too long.
Yeast grows on moisture, so when a diaper has not been changed quick enough, this moisture is there and held against the skin. Now, I do not mean to say that we are purposefully not changing a diaper fast enough, it is all subjective. What is fine for one baby is not for another. Yeast infections can be quite painful, as they form red blisters that can crack and bleed. If your child gets one of these, you will definitely want to put down the wet wipes for a bit.
13 No One Likes Chafing
If anyone is a runner, or has big thighs that rub together (like me), you know how uncomfortable chaffing can be. That painful rubbing together of fabric and skin, or skin and skin can leave nasty red marks and a burning type of pain like no other. This can happen when a diaper is left on too long.
A diaper is not the most comfortable of materials, they have made it a long way, but they still have some work to do. It is a long way from being made from silk. When a diaper is constantly rubbing against the delicate and gentle skin of a baby it can cause some pretty painful chafing. This is especially true if you have a child who is very active. This may be a check in the pro department when it comes to cloth diapering.
12 Bladder Infection!
No one likes a bladder infection, and we definitely do not want our little baby to have to go through all of that. A bladder infection is another danger of not changing a diaper fast enough. This applies mainly to leaving the baby in a poopy diaper for too long. Most parents know that it is OK to let a pee diaper go by without an instant change, but a poop diaper needs to be handled right away.
This is because you do not want any fecal matter to enter into the urinary tract. This can happen with little boys too, but it is especially dangerous with little girls. There is a reason why parents with little girls are always told to wipe front to back. You want to make sure you get any poop matter as far as way as the vaginal opening as possible.
11 Not The Good Kind Of Crystals!
I love crystals. Anything from Swarovski is my kind of gift. What I do not like are crystals in my baby’s diaper. This may not be common, but it is something that can happen if you leave a wet diaper too long between changing. The crystals are not coming directly from your baby, but rather the diaper itself.
All diapers are made with super absorbent polymer, this is what makes the diapers able to absorb the liquid. They are little clear, pearl shaped beads. When a diaper gets to wet, this can cause the diaper to break and then you will have another mess to clean up. While it may not cause much risk to the baby’s health, I think all mom’s want to limit the mess we need to clean up.
10 How Can You Keep Track?
One of the best ways to make sure your baby is getting enough to eat is to track how many wet and poppy diapers they have. This is incredibly important when they are newborns, and breastfed. A woman’s breasts do not have little measurement lines on them to tell us how much breastmilk our babies are getting. It would be awesome if they did, but they don’t.
This can cause a mom to worry that her baby is getting enough to eat. If you do not change a diaper quick enough, you will not be able to properly count how many of each wet and poopy diapers they have. If you wait, it is possible that they have had multiple wet diapers.
9 Staph Infection
We have already covered a lot of rashes and infections, but there is one that is more serious than the other. A staph infection is much more serious than a yeast of bladder infection, and is caused by bacteria getting into a sore or a cut. It usually requires medical treatment, and can result in hospitalization.
So how does this happen by leaving a diaper on too long? Well, if the baby already has a yeast infection or another form that has caused cuts and blisters that are exposed, they will be prone to a staff infection. If a baby has these sores, and then poops and the diaper is not changed in time, the bacteria from the fecal matter can get into the sores and cause a staph infection. The best way to prevent this is if your baby has a rash, change their diaper very frequently.
8 More Likely To Have A Blow Out!
Diapers are great, they have a great ability to absorb and hold a lot of urine and poop, but even they have limits. A diaper can only hold so much, and some state that they can absorb up to 12 hours of wetness. This will always be a rough estimate, and is really only good when it comes to night time diapers. Just because a diaper can absorb liquid for a while, does not mean you can go all day without changing the diaper.
If a diaper has reached its limit, and can not absorb anymore, then you are more likely to have a blow out on your hands. This is because the diaper can not hold anymore, and the mess has to go somewhere. The reason the diapers work so well at night, is because the baby is not peeing at the same volume they are during the day.
7 The Reach In
Most of the reasons on this list have been about diapers and newborns and smaller infants. Now, we get to one where the baby is a little bit older, probably in about toddlerhood. There is one main reason that you do not want to let them sit in a dirty diaper, especially a poopy one. The reach in. I have read the horror stories, and have noticed my daughter start to do the reachin.
The reach in is when a young toddler starts to reach into their diaper. Now, if there is something in that diaper they will more than likely pull it out. My daughter would probably then go to eat it. Some toddlers smear it on the wall, or all over themselves, and this is just a mess no mom want’s to deal with. Rule of thumb for this is to either change the diaper as soon as they poop, or potty train.
6 Don’t Breathe
OK, this one will not kill you or the baby, but man is it uncomfortable. If you leave a baby in a diaper too long there is sure to be a lot of unwanted smells. Changing diapers can sometimes be grow enough without letting even more smells arise. Smell is inevitable, diapers will stink especially when a baby up starts on solid foods and starts to have more “grown-up” smelling poops.
We are all human though, and sometimes we let our babies sit in diapers longer than they should, just because we needed to finish something, and did not want to stop when we were already done. Sometimes, we even just let them sit because we do not want to do it in that exact moment. I don’t know about anyone else, but changing my daughter’s diaper is not easy as she likes to fight.
5 Depends What Is In The Food
Now, what a baby eats will often dictate what kind of poop they have. It makes sense, what goes in must come out, and this can make for some pretty awful looking diapers. When I feed my daughter blueberries, her poop is pretty much black. It’s not black, but a very dark blue, and don’t even get me started on corn.
If your baby has recently eaten a lot of acidy foods, then it will be more important to watch the diapers and change them as quick as possible. That is because acid foods turn into acid poops, and are more likely to cause a diaper rash. Any food like apples and oranges can cause a poop to turn into acid. This is what you will want to get off your baby’s bottom as quick as possible.
4 There Will Be Leaks
Similar to the blow out section, there will also be leaks along the way. When a diaper is past what it can hold, the liquid will normally leak out of the diaper, usually from the top. This can cause some pretty severe discomfort to your baby, as not only are they sitting in a full diaper, but the urine can cause skin irritation on the stomach or wherever the leak happened.
Now, if this is happening during the day then you are definitely letting your baby sit in a diaper too long. This normally happens overnight, when a baby is sleeping through the night and not waking up for diaper changes. The best thing to do if you notice this happening is to go up a diaper size for at least the night diapers. Bigger diaper equals more absorbency.
3 One Grumpy Baby
Every parent wants their baby to be happy at every moment of every day. When they are sad and cranky it just breaks our heart. We want to do everything in our power to make it right again. Leaving a diaper on a baby too long can create one very cranky and fussy baby. This may be a good thing, as it will ensure that a parent is changing their diapers enough. It is like a little cue that it is time to change.
Every baby is different, and every baby has different tolerance levels of what they can stand when it comes to a wet diaper. Some babies need it changed immediately, while others not so much. My daughter could go all day with a poopy diaper and not complain once, not that I ever let that happen, but she could.
2 You Are Not Saving Money
Now, this may not be a good excuse for not changing a diaper, but it is an excuse. Diapers are expensive, and sometimes some mom’s may feel like by delaying diaper changes a little bit, even by half an hour they can save on diapers. They figure that they will put off having to buy diapers as quickly, as they will not use as much during the day by delaying.
This may actually work against them. By not changing the diaper fast enough, your baby is prone to rashes and infections. When a baby gets a serious rash or infection, one of the most productive ways to helping it heal is to change the diaper more frequently. It is better (and more cost effective) to change diapers regularly and try and prevent diaper rashes.
1 What About At Night?
So everyone is reading this and wondering if they should now be waking their baby at night to change their diaper. Yes and no. The most important time to change a baby’s diaper is when they are a newborn, that is when they need diapers changed more frequently, but you probably won’t have to wake them to change it as they will wake up to feed and you just do it then.
As your baby gets older and (hopefully) starts sleeping through the night, many parents wonder if they should wake them to change their diaper. The answer is usually no, you can let them sleep. If they wake up crying, you will have to change their diaper, but if they sleep through it should be fine. Just make sure to buy night diapers, and place some barrier cream and powder before putting them in that final diaper of the day.
Sources: romper.com, seventhgeneration.com, wikihow.com