Should You Wake Your Child to Change Their Diaper?

Should You Wake Your Child to Change Their Diaper?

Last update: 10 February, 2018

Changing your baby’s diaper is very important to avoid possible skin irritations. How often you should change their diaper depends on various factors like their age and nutrition, among others.

Your child will likely let you know when their diaper needs to be changed. However, when they are very small they may not have learned how to express that need yet. Also, their sleep patterns may not have normalized yet.

Remember that children can suffer burns or redness from wearing a dirty diaper for an extended period of time. Other issues include dermatitis or infections.

The most important thing is to be attentive, as every baby is different.

For newborns

If you have a newborn, changing their diaper frequently is essential. Their stomachs are very small and their digestive systems are developing. Thus, their digestive system processes slowly but eliminates rapidly.

On the other hand, their feedings are two or three hours apart on average. Generally, they will eat a few times during the day and around three times during the night.

As a result, it is important to be attentive after they eat. Newborns will often need a diaper change immediately afterward. It’s also a good idea to burp them after each feeding.

Similarly, cold may make them urinate more often. Remember that urine comes from an aqueous medium with a different temperature. This will also trigger a diaper change, so don’t be surprised if they pee while you are changing them.

If they are an older child

As your child grows, they may need less frequent diaper changes. However, they will produce more urine and feeling wet will be uncomfortable.
They may begin to cry as a defence mechanism to express this discomfort. It is important to recognize when their cries indicate the need for a diaper change.
Generally, children begin to poop easily when they begin to crawl. Leg movement faciliates digestion.
This means that they will need diaper changes more often during the day. However, some children need at least one diaper change at night, depending on their eating habits.
Should You Wake Your Child to Change Their Diaper?

Should you change their diaper while they are sleeping at night?

You should be attentive to when their diaper needs to be changed at any age, and regardless if it is day or night. However, each stage of development has certain needs.

  • Newborns need constant diaper changes, but their sleep is irregular. Waking them up to change their diaper during the day will mold their sleep habits. It could create detrimental patterns. But if we do it correctly, we will be helping them establish good sleep habits.
  • As children grow, we will be contributing to their hygiene habits. They will begin to notice when they need a diaper change.
  • This will be a future tool to train them and help them to control their urges.

Baby’s sleep and diaper changes

Many babies take long naps during the day, but can’t sleep at night or wake up often. Every child is different. This occurs when your baby does not have an established sleep routine, and gets their sleep and wake times confused.

To avoid a drastic change in schedule, we recommend helping them gradually get used to daytime noises, sunlight, and daytime activities.

If they need a diaper change while napping during the day, we can take advantage of this by waking them with music. Alternately, we could give them a warm bath or feed them.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.