Most parents will agree that getting your baby to sleep at night is one of the best feelings in the world. It not only gives your little one a chance to recover from their busy day but also allows you to relax and unwind…at least for a moment. But what do you do about nappy changes while they’re asleep? Should you wake a sleeping baby to change their nappy?

The simple answer is no…unless you realise your baby has soiled their nappy, or has bad nappy rash it’s better to let them sleep. If it’s wet and bothering them, they will wake up and let you know. Once babies are sleeping through the night, they will usually have a very full nappy in the morning but still sleep soundly.

How can I reduce the chances of my sleeping baby soiling their nappy at night?

There’s nothing you can do to stop your baby from dirtying their nappy during the night. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of it happening such as:

  • Change their nappy at bedtime – changing your baby’s nappy just before you put them in their cot will ensure that they go to sleep dry. This may save you a nappy change and a sleepless night.
  • Use night time nappies – overnight nappies are super absorbent and designed to keep your baby dry through the night. They can be more expensive but they are definitely worth the investment.
  • Buy nappies that fit – make sure that your baby’s nappy fits properly and that it hugs their legs. This will reduce the chances of it leaking during the night.

Should you wake a sleeping baby to change their nappy

What type of nappy will keep my baby drier – cloth or disposable?

While cloth nappies are becoming increasingly popular (and rightly so!) some parents still choose to use disposable nappies at night. Disposable nappies are extra absorbent and can hold a large volume of fluid. Some disposable nappies even feature a fluid detection line on the front so you can see when your baby is wet.

Will my baby get nappy rash if I don’t change their nappy?

It doesn’t matter how well you care for your baby chances are they will still develop nappy rash at some stage. If your baby has nappy rash, here are some steps you can take to reduce your baby’s discomfort:

  • Change your baby’s nappy more often
  • Nappy off time in the day while on the play mat
  • Avoid disposable wipes as they are usually filled with chemicals and preservatives that will irritate your baby’s skin.
  • Gently wash your baby’s bottom with lukewarm water and a light cotton cloth after each nappy change.
  • Apply a barrier cream.
  • If you choose to use cloth nappies, make sure you rinse them thoroughly to remove all traces of detergent. Dry them in a tumble drier if possible as this makes them softer than drying them in the sun.

Should I change my baby’s nappy if they wake for a feed?

If you’re feeding during the night and your baby’s nappy is wet or dirty, this is a good time to change them as part of the routine.

Here are a few options you can try:

  • Before a feed – if your baby’s very young and you’re feeding them to sleep, it may be better to change them just before a feed.
  • Halfway through a feed – if you’re breastfeeding your baby, you can change their nappy just before you swap sides. If you’re bottle feeding, try changing them halfway through their bottle.
  • After a feed – in some cases, it may be better to feed your baby before you change them, as some babies will poo during a feed and you’ll end up changing them twice.

TIP: If you decide to change your baby’s nappy first before the feed and you’re bottle feeding, get the bottle ready beforehand. This will reduce the chances of your baby crying while they wait for you to prepare the bottle.

How can I change my baby’s nappy at night without waking them?

If you’re changing your baby’s nappy at night, try and make the process as fuss-free as possible. This will reduce the chances of your baby waking up completely and becoming unsettled. Here are some steps you can take to make the process easier:

  • Leave the lights off so you don’t alert your baby. Installing dimmers or using a nightlight will provide you with enough light to get the job done.
  • Avoid making stimulating eye contact with your baby. This will only excite them and keep them awake. Keep things calm and quiet and whisper to your baby.
  • Make sure your change station is fully equipped with everything you need including nappies, wipes, and barrier cream.
  • Keep a spare set of clothes and sheets handy so you can change your baby (and their cot sheet) quickly if their nappy leaks during the night.

Tip: Use a warm cloth (especially with a newborn) to clean your baby’s bottom at night. Cold wipes are more likely to startle your baby and wake them up.

When it comes to deciding whether you should you wake a sleeping baby to change their nappy, it’s often a personal choice. As a parent, you know what’s work best for you and your baby. Follow your instincts and you will hopefully end up with a well-rested baby, and a happy household.

Please contact Jodie for more tips on all things baby, including breastfeeding, nutrition, safety, sleep, and more.

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