For the first few months after my daughter was born, it seemed like I was always either feeding her or changing her. Feeding her was simple, but the diaper changes were not. I got one of those babies who screamed bloody murder every time her diaper was opened, so changes were always a bit stressful to me. Alas, there's no way around them. And, it turns out, there are some weird things that happen if you wait to change a diaper.
When I say I was constantly changing diapers for a while, I’m not exaggerating. We went through at least 15 diapers a day when my daughter was a newborn, and even now that she’s a little older we still go through a ton (thank goodness for Amazon Prime). After a bad bout of diaper rash early on, I became super vigilant and paranoid about never letting her wear a dirty diaper for too long. She doesn’t scream her head off anymore now that she’s a toddler, but she does try to crawl and wiggle away from me. Sometimes it's a fight, but it's better than dealing with some of the potentially painful side effects of wearing a dirty diaper.
Here are five things that can happen if you wait too long to freshen up your baby's bottom.
1. Your Baby Will Get A Rash
Whether it’s a poopy diaper or just a wet one, either one can irritate your baby’s delicate skin and cause a rash, according to Baby Center. Creams and gels can offer some protection. But in my experience the best safeguard is always a clean and dry new diaper.
2. Your Baby’s Skin Might Chafe
A rash isn’t the only skin issue a diaper can cause. If you leave your baby too long in the same diaper, What To Expect noted that all their moving and wiggling around could cause chafing against their skin. This can also become a problem if the diaper is too tight.
3. Your Baby Might Get A Bladder Infection
If your baby has pooped, you should change that as soon as you realize it. That’s because leaving it too long could lead to a bladder infection in your baby according to Parents. That’s especially true if you have a girl.
4. You May Find Crystals In The Diaper
Sometimes when I change an especially soggy diaper, I’ll find what look like little plastic beads inside it. This drove me crazy (and scared me a bit) until I figured out what they were. According to Baby Gear Lab, disposable diapers are filled with Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) that help trap wetness. It’s not dangerous to find them in the diaper, but to me it adds another layer of ickiness to the clean up process.
5. Your Baby Will Keep On Sleeping
As I said before, you probably want to change a poopy diaper as soon as you can. If it’s just a wet one though, you may be able to skip the change if your baby is sleeping according to Baby Sleep Advice. That only works if your baby isn’t crying and uncomfortable because of the wetness, of course. Once I realized wet diapers were consistently waking my daughter up about a half hour after she went to sleep every night, I bumped her last feeding up by an hour so that she could pee and be changed one last time before bed. Since then, her sleep has improved so much.