How Often to Change Cloth Nappies

Saturday, 1 January 2022


There should be no difference between frequency of changing between a disposable and a cloth nappy, in order to make sure your baby is comfortable and to avoid nappy rash. Nappy rash is caused by bacteria, not wetness. However, because disposables are chemically capable of holding urine for longer, it can be easy to leave them on longer than is sensible, if nappy rash is to be avoided.

How reliable a cloth nappy is at holding urine depends on its overall absorbency: the less absorbent the nappy, the sooner you are likely to need to change it. Nappies become more absorbent with use, which is why you should prewash new nappies a few times before using them.

The younger the baby, the less able they are to handle the natural chemical reaction (ammonia) that urine causes on the skin, which is why younger babies should be changed more often than older ones. Also, until they go onto solids, their only food is liquid, and liquid in = liquid out!

The following guidelines should help guide you as to how often your baby might need changing:

  • Change as soon as possible after a poo, regardless of the child's age
  • Babies under one month - change every two hours during the day, and before/after every night feed (whichever you prefer)
  • Babies under six months - change every 2½ hours during the day, and at night feed as needed (i.e. if they are still pooing at night)
  • Babies and toddlers over six months - change approximately every 3 hours during the day
  • Toddlers over 12 months will usually have approximately 4-5 nappy changes in a 24 hour period (subject to poos)

For a one off occasion at any age, you can add a booster to make a nappy last as long as you need (or at least until the next poo). However, this should not become the norm, as it will be less comfortable for your child.

As we all know, there's no such thing as average when it comes to babies and children, so you should use common sense to know what suits your own situation. If nappy rash threatens, you will want to change nappies more often, at least until the redness clears. Equally, if your child can wee for Britain and the nappy cannot hold all the liquid, you may need to change more often. Conversely, if you are planning to go out for half a day, shortly after a nappy change, you may want to change the nappy again just before you go out, so that you will not have to do so again while out (unless a poo intervenes!).

Once your child is sleeping through the night, a highly absorbent cloth nappy will easily last 12 hours. Recommended absorbent nappies for night time are the Bambeasy, Little Lamb Bamboo, Bamboozle Stretch and Petit Lulu Maxi Nights. Heavy wetters still need an additional booster for night time.

Links to suitable night time nappies below:
Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch NAPPY
£7.79  -  £15.99  (251)
Bambeasy Popper
£14.49  (4)

The Nappy Lady Logo