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When To Change Cloth Diapers

Just like there are different ways to check disposable diapers for wetness (by testing for “squishiness”, giving the diaper a pinch, or looking at the color stripe), when it comes to checking cloth diapers, there are a few tricks of the trade. 

Note: as a general rule of thumb, newborns and infants should be changed every 2 hours, and babies and toddlers should be changed every 2 to 4 hours. 

Cloth diaper checking techniques: The pinch The difference between using this trick on cloth diapers vs. disposables is that cloth diapers don’t “squish”. Instead, you’ll be feeling for hardness, warmth, and weight. Wetness will make the fabric more dense, so a simple squeeze will indicate whether or not there’s something dampening the fibers. The inserts in your cloth diapers will feel heavy, warm, and spongier when wet. The peek This simple technique is especially great for checking waterproof covers. It just involves taking a glance into the front and top of the diaper. It’s likely you’ll be able to clearly see if the material is wet or not. If you aren’t sure, take a closer look at the legs of your diaper, and give that area a speedy feel for wetness.   The non-waterproof test Not using a cover? Great! Non-waterproof diapers are the easiest to check. A simple touch on the outside should do the trick, and you’ll also be able to see darker patches if wetness is seeping through (though this depends on the color of the diaper). 

Using non-waterproof diapers is also a great test for parents who want to get more familiar with their baby’s wetting schedule. This will clue you in to the best timeline for changing your baby!   The poop check Because cloth diapers don’t have a strong odor, it can be harder to tell when your baby has gone number two. This is a blessing and a curse – because although it’s nice to have the smell contained, it can mean dealing with poop when you’re unprepared at the changing table.  

If you’re not sure whether your baby’s dropped something extra off for you, check in the leg holes or in the back of the diaper before opening it up. 

After you get in the groove of using cloth diapers, you’ll find your own favorite technique for checking – one that may not even be listed here yet! So give it time, test out a few methods, and find what works for you and your baby.