by maipham

March 27, 2021

how long can i leave a wet diaper on

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How long can I leave a wet diaper on? As a mother, I'm sure you have wondered at least once in a while. Especially when the diaper bill is not light!

Being a mother for the first time will inevitably be confused and anxious, especially in changing diapers for the baby.

I know that taking care of the baby is a very important task for parents. We have to ensure good hygiene because the baby's skin is susceptible and easily irritated, especially the skin under the diaper.

How long can a baby wear a wet nappy? And how should you change your baby's diaper?

Here will be the answer for you!

When To Change A Diaper And How Long Can I Leave A Wet Diaper On?

When your baby's diaper is dirty and wet, you should change it immediately because infection caused by urine and feces will cause pain for the baby, and it is also difficult to treat.

Usually, diapers should be changed after 2-3 hours. Don't let your baby wear the diaper for many hours after the time mentioned above, or wait until the diaper is wet. 

If your baby has a bowel movement, the diaper should be changed immediately and thoroughly cleaned each time before putting on a new diaper. 

In the case of your baby having skin allergies or diaper rash, it is even more important not to let your baby use wet diapers for a long time.

However, the number of times a baby needs to change diapers is not specified. Parents should mainly rely on baby hygiene when making a decision, including the following factors:

Diaper type

How long can I leave a wet diaper on? How long is too long? This will depend on the type of diaper you use. However, no matter how good a diaper it is, don't leave it on for too long once it has bumped up.

Diaper type will directly affect diaper change frequency. For cloth diapers, the ability to absorb the liquid is poor because of its light texture, so once the diaper is wet, it should be changed immediately. 

However, the new disposable diaper is able to absorb more liquid thanks to the absorbent gel, so the baby does not feel wet immediately, keeping the skin dry and airy. This helps extend the time between diaper changes so that parents can do more.

But that doesn't mean that you can wait until the diaper is full when using disposable diapers before changing. Doing so will expose your baby's buttocks and pelvis to the dirty diaper for many hours, leading to diaper rash, dermatitis, or urinary tract inflammation. 

If combined with the hot and humid weather, the urine in diapers can become warm and cause moisture. When your baby wears dirty diapers for a long time, bacteria can easily develop and come into contact with the skin.

To help your baby maintain good hygiene, parents should always change diapers every time they get wet. Inspect the inside of the diaper periodically to determine if it is completely dry to the touch. 

If you start to feel wet, change diapers immediately without waiting 2-3 hours. Choosing to use good absorbent and affordable disposable diapers can also allow parents to change diapers as often as needed.

Your baby's age

Also, the frequency of diaper changes depends on the age of the baby. Because at different ages, the rate of excretion changes as follows:

  • Infants under 1 month: Excreted relatively often at this age. Babies go to pee about 5-12 times a day, depending on the amount of milk-fed and loose stools. Therefore, you need to change diapers quite a few times a day.
  • 1 month of age or older: The rate of excretion will begin to decrease. Children may go to the bathroom less than 6-8 times a day. The frequency and volume depend on the amount of milk to be fed.
  • 12 months of age and older: The frequency of secretions begins to match that of adults.

It can be seen that the amount of excretion decreases with increasing age. When the baby is young, it is difficult for parents to keep up with changing diapers and hygiene. As children get older, work for parents also decreases over time.

Nowadays, most diapers have a full diaper mark on the outside of the diaper. Parents just need to see the sign that the bar changes from yellow to green to know that it is time to change the diaper without checking the inside of the diaper.

The time before and after feeding the baby and after the baby wakes up is usually when the baby pees, so you should pay attention to check and change the diaper.

How To Change Dirty Diapers Properly?

Changing diapers for girls

Use one hand to support the baby's legs. The other hand uses a cotton ball or a soft, damp cloth to wipe away any dirt on the baby's skin. You can use unscented wet towels to clean your baby if she is not allergic.

Fold the cloth, just enough to hold, wipe the inside of the folds and wipe in a downward direction. 

Carefully clean the baby's private area, wipe the direction from the va-jay-jay to the tushie, do not wash deep inside. 

Dry again with another soft cloth, then apply a thin layer of ointment cream (anti-irritant cream) around the genitals and the baby's tushie to prevent her from getting diaper rash.

Besides, experts warn mothers not to use baby girl powder because it will increase the likelihood of ovarian cancer 4 times higher than normal babies.

Changing diapers for boys

When changing diapers for a boy, you need to pay attention that the baby may pee on you at any time, so you should use a piece of diaper or soft cloth to cover the baby's genital area during the diaper change.

Use a damp cloth to wipe the bottom of the penis and above the testicles, facing the tushie. If your baby has not been circumcised, do not try to pull the foreskin back. 

Dry again with another soft cloth. Then apply a thin layer of ointment cream around your baby's genitals and on his tushie to avoid allergic redness.

When the baby is circumcised, you need to pay attention to the change of this skin. If the area is swollen, has yellow mucus membranes, take the baby back to the hospital where the circumcision was done.

For the circumcised baby, you need to gently and carefully clean the area, using a thin gauze soaked in an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory drug placed on the head of the baby's penis. The penis will take about a week to heal.

If you see that your baby's penis is slightly swollen red, a yellow film or yellow fluid appears, this is normal. You just need to apply medication as directed by your doctor.

What To Note?

For your baby's fragile skin, 24/24 diaper packing will easily irritate your baby's skin, and if you don't change diapers often, this is a very favorable condition for diaper rash to appear. 

As a precaution, let your baby nude for a while after changing diapers and keep your baby's skin dry. When your baby has a rash, you need to apply the diaper rash cream or ointment your doctor has prescribed to the area.

how long can i leave a wet diaper on

Final Words

So how long can I leave a wet diaper on? I'm sure you have the answer for yourself after reading this article.

Changing diapers is essential to your baby's health and hygiene. Nothing difficult at all, right? Just regularly observe your baby's behavior and practice diaper changing skills. Even if you're a first-time mother, you can skillfully change your baby's diaper.

Now you know what to pay attention to during the diaper change and how often you need to change your baby’s diaper, just make sure to do that to keep diaper rash at bay.

About the author 

Mai Pham

Mai Pham discovered her passion for writing a few years ago and she never stop thinking about it ever since. She finally took the leap and created Live a Worthy Life to brag about her smart ass (mainly just for fun). Enjoyed the fun writing brings, now with her new interest in everything-baby-related, she created Mommy Instinct, to tell mamas that it's ok that they mess up, that they don't know what the hell they are doing, and that it's okay to sit back and relax for a while.

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