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Common questions about your baby's nappy

When it comes to having a baby, there are questions about everything – even their nappies! From how many nappies you need to how often you should change their nappy, there are so many things that you’re unsure of. When your baby is a new-born, they will feed very often. This means that they will also wee and poo quite a bit too! If you’re feeling confused as to how many you need to buy or what to do – keep on reading.

How many nappies per day?

First off, it’s important to highlight that all babies are different and that whilst some babies need their nappy changing very often, some might be less frequent. All babies have different feeding schedules that change how often they go to the toilet. 

Your baby will most likely need more nappies when they are younger as they cannot fully control their bladder or rectum muscles. As your little one develops, you’ll find that you need less nappies over time. To make this easier to understand, we’ve created a small graph to show how many on average you’ll need. These are based on the size of the nappy your little one will be wearing as they develop and get bigger.

SizeNumber of average nappies needed

As you can see, this does get smaller overtime but starts off as quite a lot. It’s better to bulk buy your baby’s nappy collection as it will work out cheaper and you won’t have to worry about suddenly running out! The last thing you want is a late-night dash to the shops.

If you’re still feeling unsure about how many you will use per day. Ask friends or family about their experience. Although your child will most likely be different, it’s good to get a vague idea from people who have already been through the process.

How many nappies for hospital bag?

When your baby is a newborn, this is when they'll need the most nappies in their life. When you go into the hospital, you won't know how long you will be there for. Some parents are able to leave the hospital on the same day but others need to stay in for a little while to recover.

Base your packing on around 10-12 nappies per day. Although this might be too many, it's better to have too many than not enough. If you do run out, the hospital will supply you with their nappies.

It's a good idea to have another pack of nappies in your partners car. Therefore, when they arrive at the hospital, you can let them know whether you're getting low or not. Being prepared is key and it will make things much easier when it comes to going into hospital.

There are plenty of things to pack when you go into hospital and it may be easier to separate things out. For example, have your own bag with your personal items in and then a separate bag for all of your baby's things once they are born. This will make it much easier to find things that you need before you have your little one.

You shouldn't think too much about how many nappies you need. Every baby is different and your baby may need more or less than others. Pack what you think is right. If you do end up running out, help is on hand and it's easy to ask your partner or someone you know to pick up some more when they are coming to the hospital.


How much are nappies?

Nappy prices depend on the brand you choose and how often you use them. Some parents like to use a combination of reusable nappies and disposable nappies to reduce waste and also save some money.

Nappies are one of the largest costs when it comes to your little once because of how often you will need to use them. These aren't just for your baby when they are born, they are used all the way up to when your baby is a toddler.

The average cost of one nappy is 14.6p. When you begin using them, this will add up to about 94p per day. However, your baby may use more or less than this. Subject to this, you will spend around £6.58 per week on nappies. In a month, this adds up to around £30 a month. However, as we mentioned earlier, this can be more or less depending on the brand you choose.

As your baby gets older, they will begin to use less nappies. This is where you could begin to save some money every month. However, there are other things you can do to save money on nappies...

  • Buy in bulk. When you buy nappies in bulk, you can usually save your self a little bit of money! For example, you can reduce the cost of nappies down from 18p each to 10.5p each! This is a massive saving and when this is calculated across a month, this makes a huge difference to what you will be spending. The only thing you must be aware of when buying in bulk is to make sure you don't buy too many to the point where your baby outgrows them!
  • Don't just look in one shop. Different stores have different offers and it's always good to find out if you could get your nappies cheaper if you go somewhere else. If you shop religiously in only one shop, you'll probably find yourself spending the exact amount of money each time you go there. However, by looking at other places, you may find that you could save yourself a couple of pounds - a small saving is better than no saving!
  • Try supermarket brands. A lot of people ar put off by supermarket brands as they have a reputation to be low quality. However, supermarkets are upping their game and it's great to try out ones that are recommended to you. Go online and find out what people are saying about them before you buy. If it's positive, give them a go! Supermarket brand nappies are known to be as much as 50% cheaper than branded nappies.

How often to change a new-born nappy

So, we’ve been over how many you need, but how often will your little one’s nappy have to be changed? A good place to start is changing your baby before or after every feed. However, use this time to check if your baby’s nappy is wet. Don’t bother changing it if they haven’t been to the toilet. If your baby has been for a poo, you need to change their nappy as soon as possible. 

Other times that you may need to change their nappy is first thing when they wake up and before they get put to bed. This ensures that your baby isn’t left with an uncomfortable nappy when they’re trying to get to sleep or trying to sleep throughout the night. Whilst your baby is still having night feeds, it’s a good idea to change them after you do this. Although it may seem inconvenient as you’re very tired, your baby will most likely wee not long after they’ve had their night feed.

Lastly, if your planning on going out in the car or for a walk, it’s best to change them before you go. This prevents you having to stop too soon to change your baby’s nappy. This can be especially awkward if you’re somewhere where you cannot do this! Make sure to take enough nappies out with you – planning ahead is essential.

How often to change a nappy at night

Sleep is really important when it comes to having a baby - and you normally don't get enough of it! That's why when it's nighttime, it can sometimes leave you wondering how often you have to change your baby and wake them up.

You should change your baby before you put them to bed to make sure they are completely clean going into their cot. When you go and check on them, you will be able to feel their nappy to see if it needs changing. However, if it is only slightly damp and they have not soiled, then you can leave it for longer. most nappies nowadays are so absorbent that a little bit of wee isn't going to harm your baby.

You only need to change your little one if they have soiled or if their nappy is extremely wet as this can cause irritation.

How to know when your baby needs changing

It can be difficult to know what signs to look out for, especially is this is your first baby and a new experience. Three things that you can do/see to know if your baby needs changing is:

  • Look to see if the nappy is hanging down lower than usual – this indicates it is wet and heavier.
  • Feel the nappy to see if it is wet inside.
  • They are fussing or crying and will not settle.

If you notice any of these things, it’s best to change their nappy as soon as possible to avoid your baby feeling uncomfortable. It’s important to check regularly so that you don’t leave your baby with a wet or soiled nappy for a long period of time. If you are out and cannot find a place to change your baby’s nappy, do this as soon as you get home.


How to use a reusable nappy

 Reusable or cloth nappies are exactly the same as disposable but are much better for the environment and saving you money. They have become increasingly popular recently due to the pollution and plastic crisis. 

Putting one on your baby is as simple as a disposable nappy. Instead of a sticky tab to secure your baby’s nappy, reusable nappies have poppers or plastic clips. They also come in a range of funky designs for you to choose from. We would advise that before you put the nappy onto your baby, wash it a few times. This will increase its absorbency and will make it more effective.

We recommend having around 15 to 20 reusable nappies if you’re going to use them full time. This gives you enough that if some are in the wash, you still have plenty to use. Before you buy them in bulk, try one on your baby to make sure it fits correctly. Reusable nappies come in many different sizes and you want to make sure you have the correct one before buying more. 

Are reusable nappies eco-friendlier? 

As we mentioned earlier, more parents are deciding to buy reusable nappies to help the environment, but are they any better? Whilst they do mean that less waste is being thrown into landfill sites, they also do require regular washing which means more energy. 

For example, if you were to wash your nappies on a 60-degree wash and follow with hanging them out on the line, this would create 570kg of carbon emissions. This is without the use of a tumble dryer. We recommend that if you are going to use reusable nappies, make sure you wash them with a full load of washing. This will mean you are using your washing machine less and creating less carbon emissions. It’s also a great idea to use your reusable nappies for your second child. This will not only help the environment, but it will also save you money.

So yes, they are eco-friendlier. You just need to make sure you wash and dry them correctly to prevent high carbon emissions.

Do nappies expire?

Whilst an expiration date is not set for nappies, it's important to store them correctly.

If you are planning on keeping your nappies for a little while or bulk buy them in big quantities, it's important to know if they have the ability to expire. There's nothing about nappies that make them unusable after a certain period of time.

However, if you leave the out in an area where they are exposed to dust, moisture or sunlight, this may damage the nappies over time and make them less absorbent. As well as this, moisture and sunlight makes a great place for bacteria to start growing which can be very harmful for your little one.

Manufacturers recommend that you do not use nappies after 2 years of buying them. This is not because they expire, but it may be that they have lost their functionality after that amount of time.


What causes nappy rash?

Nappy rash can be caused by multiple factors and can be very uncomfortable for your little one. It’s important that as soon as you notice the nappy rash, you start treating it. Things that can cause this are:

  • Wet or soiled nappies not being changed regularly enough.
  • Nappy material running against the skin.
  • Not thoroughly cleaning the area after a nappy change.
  • Soaps and bubble baths.
  • Baby wipes.

It’s important to change your baby’s nappy as soon as possible after you’ve realised it’s wet or soiled. This can quickly lead to irritation which will affect your baby’s attitude and can make bedtimes much more difficult. As we also mentioned above, be careful of the soaps and bubble baths you use for your baby. Make sure they are safe for their sensitive skin and that they are fully dried off before you put their nappy on again. This also applies to baby wipes. Check that they are made for babies and don’t just use any wipes that you have to hand. A high alcohol wipe can cause nappy rash easily.

What does nappy rash look like?

If you’ve not seen nappy rash before, it can be hard to know what to look out for. If you do notice that something is wrong, it’s important not to panic. A third of babies get nappy rash and it does not mean that you are a bad parent. 

Nappy rash can cause red, irritated patches on your baby’s bottom. This may spread out over time as the nappy continues to irritate it. It can look very sore and feel hot when you touch it. If the rash is more developed, there may be pimples or blisters forming. 

When the rash is mild, your baby will most likely not feel much of it. However, if it is left and becomes more sever, this is when it can start to cause discomfort to your little one. This is why it’s extremely important to do something as soon as you notice it.


How to treat nappy rash

Treatment and prevention of nappy rash have very similar steps. The last thing you want to happen is for it to keep coming back again and again. Follow these simple things below to avoid this happening…

  • Change your baby’s nappy as soon as you notice it is wet or soiled. This is the best way to prevent nappy rash occurring.
  • Use alcohol-free baby wipes to prevent any irritation.
  • Leave the nappy off for a little while to air dry before putting another one on.
  • Apply a thin layer of nappy cream each time you change the nappy.
  • Get advice from a nurse or pharmacist about the best nappy cream to use if you’re having trouble.
  • Bath your little one once a day until the rash clears up.
  • Ensure the nappy fits correctly. Being too tight or loose can cause rubbing against the skin.
  • Avoid soaps with fragrances.

How to dispose of nappies

You will get through plenty of nappies when your baby is young and it's really important to know how you dispose of them correctly. We've got some steps on what to do with a nappy once you're finished with it.

  1. Wash your hands. Before every nappy change, it's important to wash your hands. This protects your little one from harmful bacteria. Wash your hands again afterwards to protect yourself.
  2. Take off the nappy. Remove the nappy from your little one and roll it up. Make sure the soiled side is facing inwards and secure it with tapes. Doing it this way will make them much easier to handle and put into the bin when you need to.
  3. Throw it in the bin. Your nappy needs to go into the general house waste bin. However, some people prefer to have a nappy bin to lock away odours. You can also use a nappy bag which will seal the nappy and prevent it from smelling.

As long as you know the basics and are regularly checking and changing your baby’s nappy, you are doing things right. It’s important to remember that all of these things may be your first time and it’s normal to get little things wrong or to not know what you’re doing. Remember that they are professionals as well as friends and family to speak to about your baby. It’s great to get advice and help from people who have already done it as you can discuss the problems you are having or the questions you’ve got.

Check out our other blogs for useful information on looking after your little one.

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