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Knowing When to Change a Cloth Nappy

Knowing when to change a cloth nappy is something a lot of new cloth nappy users worry about but there’s a simple answer.

In this article, we'll explain how you can tell if your baby needs changing when they're in their reusable nappy.

How often to change a cloth nappy image

With disposable nappies you often get a wetness indicator that changes colour when it's time to change a nappy but with reusable nappies you don’t have that so what do you do?

To start with you don’t need a wetness indicator because they get changed at every feed and poo anyway so they’re never in a nappy long. With a newborn the changes are so frequent that you don't really get a change to worry about how long it's been on, they dirty nappies at an extraordinary rate. Once your baby goes longer stretches between feeds and especially for older children who perhaps aren’t having regular feeds you can simply check the legs and back of a cloth nappy for wetness.

Stack of cloth nappies "there's no wetness indicator but you don't need one"

Take your finger and run it around the leg elastics, when you feel around the leg it may feel damp and this is a sign that your baby needs changing. You can also feel the insert from the back of the nappy to see how far up the wetness has come - if it’s nearing the back then it’s time for a change. By the time you’ve spent a while in cloth your child’s needs will become second nature and you’ll understand their nappy habits. This goes for disposable nappies too, after the initial period parents just being to know when their child needs changing.

How to check a reusable nappy needs changing image


For a newborn: Expect to change at every feed. This can be as much as 8-12 changes in 24 hours or changing every 2-3 hours. This routine is normal and continues for a few months with changes becoming slightly less frequent as your baby goes longer between feeds.

2-3 months: you can expect to change every 3 hours at feeds. Roughly 8 changes per day. This will differ slightly between babies because everyone is different so make sure you're using those techniques above to check the nappy and get used to your little ones habits.

Nappy changes by age image

By around 5 months you’ll expect to be changing 6 nappies per day - 5 day time and 1 night time nappy. Generally your baby will have stopped pooing in the night by now so they can wear 1 nappy overnight without any need to change it. This may happen earlier or even later than 5 months for some babies.

At 6 months+ you’ll be changing around 4-5 nappies a day depending on your child’s need. Past this age it can decrease to as little as 3 day time changes a day for toddlers. 

Nappy changes by age. 5 months plus.

For optimum comfort we always suggest not leaving your baby for longer than 4-5 hours between nappy changes so if you do have a toddler that is a light wetter then aim for this time frame when you're thinking about changing their nappy.

How often to change your baby's nappy.


That's it! That's all you need to know and do to keep up with your baby's nappy needs. If you're a new parent or parent to be looking in to cloth nappies then just know that this will all become second nature in no time.

As always if you have any questions please leave them below and check out our other blogs, videos and social media for guides and advice on all things cloth nappies.

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1 comment

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