Nappy Changing

Parents have the choice of using cloth or disposable nappies. There are advantages to both types. Many parents use both, depending on their activities. Your baby will need around 6-9 nappy changes every 24 hours in the first weeks of life.

Cloth nappies

  •  You will need around 24, high-quality fabric cloth nappies with fasteners
  •  Cloth nappies are reusable so they need to be cleaned, washed, dried and folded
  •  You may wish to use a nappy liner for baby’s comfort; they can make washing nappies easier
  •  Using “over nappies” will help keep baby’s clothes dry.

How to change reusable nappies


Disposable nappies

Disposable nappies are easy to use, convenient and have advantages to baby’s skin care as they are more absorbent than a cloth nappy and keep baby’s skin drier.

  • You will need a constant supply of disposable nappies as they are not reusable when baby is first born you’ll go through between 7-10 per day but this will reduce as baby grows older.
  • Keep an eye out for regular specials in supermarkets.
  • Good quality disposable nappies have an all over breathable cover. This allows fresh air to circulate around baby’s bottom keeping it drier and helping to prevent skin irritations and nappy rash.
  • Good quality disposable nappies also offer protection against leaking as they have special leg leak guards and stretchy waistbands which give a snug fit.
  • Disposable nappies are available in a range of sizes to suit your baby as they move from one phase to the next.

How to change a disposable nappy

Bladder and Bowels

The first nappy change can feel daunting.  But be reassured, you will become an expert, very quickly.  Babies normally pass small amounts of urine in the first 24 hours. This changes to at least 6 really wet nappies a day by a week. If your baby has not passed their first bowel motion in the first 24 hours after birth they need to see their midwife.

Breastfed Babies’ Bowel Motions

Breastfed babies usually pooh at least once a day in the first weeks, and often after every feed. After a few weeks some babies do poohs at every feed, others only every 7-10 days. It is normal for babies to suddenly change their pattern. Motions are often runny with small white lumps.

Formula-fed Babies

Usually do poohs every day or every second day. Tend to have firmer formed motions.


The first motions after birth consist of a greenish-black substance (meconium), which changes gradually to yellow. The colour can vary from yellow to green to brown. Green poohs are common in a well baby. If you are concerned, consult your midwife, or other health professional.


A baby’s motions should be soft. When a baby is constipated, her motions are hard and difficult to pass.

Nappy rash

At some point, most babies get a touch of nappy rash, a red, sore area around the bottom.
To help prevent this:

  • change the nappy every time baby soils it
  • wash baby’s bottom at each nappy change, or use wipes
  • use a barrier cream
  • let her kick for a while without a nappy on,

How to clean a baby’s bottom

Thrush on the Bottom

Thrush is an infection caused by candida yeast (fungus). It looks like tiny raised red spots on your baby’s bottom. The skin can become dry and peel, leaving red patches.
Your midwife, other health professional, or pharmacist can discuss anti-fungal treatments.

Washing your hands after changing nappies can prevent infections from spreading

Thrush in the Mouth

This is caused by candida yeast (fungus) and it looks like white patches on the inside of the cheeks and on the tongue which cannot be rubbed off. Babies often have milk left on the tongue after feeding, but this is rubbed off easily and is not thrush. Your midwife or other health professional can suggest different anti-fungal treatments.

If you are breastfeeding, the thrush can be passed to your nipples. They will need treatment by applying some of the baby’s oral anti-fungal medication on them after feeds.