Baby is sleeping, the diaper is wet or soiled and you’re thinking… should I wake baby up to change their diaper? Let’s figure it out.
Have you ever felt like the minute you get baby fed, cleaned up, in cute little clothes, swaddled, and then down to bed… that they immediately go to the bathroom.
Whether it’s pee or poop, it feels like they just don’t stay clean very long at all. And that’s because they don’t. They are constantly feeding and napping and getting their diaper changed. Around the clock, every few hours, for months.
Should I Wake Baby Up To Change Their Diaper?
If your baby is sound asleep, even if they have a dirty or wet diaper, there’s no need to wake him up to change his diaper. This will disturb his sleep cycle, cause sleep inertia, and cascade through the rest of the day because his sleep window will be lengthened.
Babies never go that long between feedings anyway until around 6 months or so, and you can rest assured as soon as baby wakes up for a feed you can change the diaper.
There are obvious exceptions:
- If baby’s diaper has leaked
- If they are sick and have something like diarrhea, which can cause pain and a rash.
- If baby is having trouble settling to sleep or connecting a sleep cycle (waking from early nap) and their diaper is wet or dirty, I definitely suggest changing it.
In these cases, however, baby will typically wake up crying and you’ll know.
Should you change baby’s diaper before a feed?
This is a great question and one of my favorite diaper hacks, to help baby sleep better.
If baby wakes up from a nap and has a dirty diaper, I’d obviously change immediately. If it’s wet but not super wet, you can decide at your own discretion.
Once they begin feeding they’ll almost surely wet their diaper ad you’ll end up changing it again anyway. And then, after the feed, they may soil the diaper and you’d have changed it 3x.
But them’s the breaks with precious little ones.
At nighttime, I recommend when baby wakes up for a feed to change the diaper immediately, in the dark with a flashlight or something similar. Don’t turn the lights on and make it a Daytime Event that baby will struggle to get sleepy for after.
After you feed, I’d put baby immediately back to bed, not waiting for a dirty or wet diaper. It will most definitely wake baby up if you feed him into a stupor, then take off his diaper and expose his skin to the air. He’ll wake immediately up and you’ll have lost all that drowsiness.
If your baby is a newborn I’d highly recommend viewing my newborn sleep schedule to help you sort out all the intricacies of days and nights in those first few weeks.
Learn how to space naps, how many a day per age, best times, etc. and get your nap game ON!