Babies are constantly needing diaper changes throughout the day and parents usually pull out wipes to clean them up, even if the baby has only peed. But you may wonder do you need to wipe baby after pee? Is this step really necessary?
You do not necessarily need to wipe your baby’s butt during every diaper change, especially if their skin is dry. If your baby has only peed and the diaper has completely absorbed all the urine, it is safe to skip the wipe. If there has been pee or poop sitting against the skin, then you should use baby wipes.
Read on to learn more about using baby wipes for pee and how long your baby can stay in a wet diaper.
Table of Contents
Do you need to wipe baby after pee?
When learning how to change a diaper, parents are instructed to wipe their baby clean during each change, but the fact is it’s not always necessary. According to the American Academic of Pediatrics, you actually don’t have to wipe your baby after every diaper change if they only peed.
Today’s diapers – both cloth and disposable – are much more absorbent than their predecessors. If there is only urine in the diaper, it will be soaked up quickly. While prolonged exposure to the pee could irritate your little one’s skin, the diaper ensures it remains dry even if the diaper itself is full. As long as the diaper hasn’t leaked and there is no poop, it’s safe to just switch out your baby’s diaper instead of wiping them down.
However, if your baby has a diaper rash, it is important to go ahead and use the wipe to clean the baby up to ensure that they are fully clean before putting on a new diaper. This is because if the baby has either a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a bladder infection, bacteria will be present in the urine in larger amounts and cause irritation to the rash. Many babies with diaper rash will have small cuts on their bottoms that can allow the bacteria to enter the body.
Another time to use wipes would be if the baby’s diaper has leaked and his clothes are soaked with urine. The skin the wet clothing is touching could become irritated since bacteria can grow in urine over time so it’s important to clean that area immediately with baby wipes and change them into clean clothing.
When you need to quickly determine whether you need wipes or not, consider these 3 questions:
- Did my baby poop?
- Are their clothes or skin soaked from a full diaper?
- Do they have a rash?
If you answered no to all 3 questions, you can likely skip the wipes.
Do I need to wipe my baby boy after pee?
Since disposable diapers are so absorbent, there’s no reason you have to wipe your baby boy every time he pees. There are some times when it may be necessary, but if his skin and clothes are dry, you can simply put a new, dry diaper on him.
It’s easy to learn how to wipe baby boy after pee. If you do need to wipe your baby boy down, it may be because their diaper leaked or soaked through their clothes. In this case, wipe all diaper areas, including the folds around their waist and legs. Alternatively, you can always give them a quick bath or wipe them down with a clean washcloth.
Do you wipe a baby girl every time they pee?
Like baby boys, it’s not necessary to wipe down baby girls every time they pee. As long as they have dry skin and clothes, you can replace their diaper and move on. However, if they do have a diaper that has completely soaked through, leading to really wet skin or clothes, it’s important to wipe them down.
If you’re wondering how to wipe baby girl after pee, the process is simple. When your baby girl has a leaky diaper or a rash, you should use wipes during their diaper change. Be sure to wipe all diaper areas, and with baby girls, it’s important to wipe front to back to avoid infection.
Is baby pee clean?
Pee was originally thought to be sterile but recent studies show that it actually contains a very low level of bacteria. That bacteria is there to help maintain your bladder lining’s integrity, which is needed for fighting off infections and is considered harmless for the rest of the body. So while it’s not sterile, the bacteria are in low amounts and are there as a protective measure.
While baby pee is not completely clean, it is not harmful to the baby. It can be easily washed or wiped off with a baby wipe with little risk to others who touch it. However, it has a strong odor which may be unpleasant.
There are also times when there are more bacteria present in urine. If your baby has a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a bladder infection, the level of bacteria in their pee will be higher and be more problematic. If your baby has a diaper rash as well as an infection, pee could cause more irritation and pain if they have any open cuts in their genital area.
When should you wipe your baby?
If you know you’re able to skip the baby wipes if your baby has pee and their clothes are dry, you may wonder when you should use wipes for your baby. Here are a few times when you should use baby wipes during a diaper change:
- Their skin or clothes are wet
In most cases, the diaper will absorb all the moisture if your baby has only peed. However, if their diaper leaked through the diaper onto their clothes or skin, it’s best to wipe them down or even give them a bath.
- They pooped
This one may seem like a given, but you should always use wipes or an alternative if your baby has a poopy diaper. This is also true even if they only have a small amount of poop. Baby poop can contain bacteria, especially if your baby is sick, and it’s important to clean your little one well after they poop.
- Your baby has a rash
If your little one has a rash or other skin irritation, it’s best to wipe them down as a precaution. Even though pee won’t typically irritate their skin, it’s even more important to keep baby’s skin clean and dry when they have a rash.
- You’re using cloth diapers
It may not be necessary for every diaper change, but you’re more likely to need wipes when you’re using cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are not as absorbent as disposable diapers, so you may notice that your baby’s skin is wet, even when they pee. Use your discretion to determine whether they’ve peed enough to require the use of wipes.
While there are some times when it’s absolutely necessary to wipe your baby, there are other times when you’ll have to decide whether wipes are needed. When in doubt, you’re often better off using them or giving your baby a quick bath to ensure they’re clean.
Why does my baby hate a wet diaper?
A wet diaper can be very uncomfortable for a baby, even if it absorbs the liquid.
While some babies are fine sitting in a wet diaper, there are many who are uncomfortable almost immediately. Oftentimes it is because when a baby pees in a diaper it will thicken between their legs as the diaper absorbs the pee. Depending on how much pee is in there, this could cause the diaper to feel cumbersome as they attempt to move around.
The diaper will also get heavier with more pee, creating the sagging diaper effect. This could weigh down on the baby’s hips, which can be annoying for a baby learning to crawl or walk.
Why do babies cry when their diaper is wet?
When my son was 2 years old, I walked into his room at the end of his nap-time. He was sitting on the floor playing and looked up at me before saying, “Change me please.” He knew he needed a change and now had the words to let me know he needed help, which infants are unable to do.
Babies cry when their diapers are wet because they are uncomfortable and are letting you know they need a diaper change. Always check a crying baby’s diaper to see if a diaper change is needed immediately.
Babies do not generally enjoy the discomfort of a full diaper, but they may feel content staying in it for a while. Some babies though are uncomfortable within minutes of wetting it.
How long can you leave a baby in a pee diaper?
Once the diaper is full it will no longer be able to absorb fresh urine and can create leakage, getting the baby’s clothing wet. This is most common overnight, especially when the baby is sleeping through the night. If this becomes a common occurrence, try night-time diapers or size up overnight.
If your baby only has a small amount of pee in their diaper and is content, it is perfectly okay to leave them in it especially in the middle of the night. There is no need to change them immediately after they pee either. If you’re unsure, feel the diaper in order to gauge its fullness and if it’s not full you can make the choice to change it once it’s more full.
During the day it’s definitely okay to stretch out the amount of time between diaper changes as long as there was no poop and the diaper is not full. Remember that diapers are designed to absorb the liquid, keeping a baby dry between changes.
Whatever your reason for not changing a baby right at the moment they’ve peed, rest assured that your baby will be fine if you need to wait to change them. Unless the diaper is full, has poop or they have a diaper rash, leaving the change until later will not have a negative effect on them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should you wipe baby every diaper change?
You don’t necessarily need to change your baby after every diaper change, unless they pooped. If there’s only pee and the diaper has absorbed most of it, you can probably skip the wipes.
Should I change my baby’s diaper if they’re sleeping?
While no one wants to wake a sleeping baby, you do need to change them immediately if they have a poopy diaper. If their diaper is slightly wet, but the diaper isn’t full, you can usually wait to change them.
Do you need to use a wipe for a wet diaper?
If your baby hasn’t pooped and they don’t have a diaper rash, you can often skip the wipes. Usually, the diaper will absorb most of the pee and it won’t irritate your baby’s skin.
How do you clean a newborn after peeing?
Cleaning a newborn’s diaper is similar to any other baby. While you don’t need to change their wet diaper every time they have a little bit of pee, it’s best to change their diaper every two to three hours to avoid skin irritation.
Especially as a new parent, it can easily feel like diaper changes are taking over your life. Not to mention the amount of diapers and wipes that you go through. The good news is, if your baby doesn’t have a rash and hasn’t pooped, you don’t necessarily have to use baby wipes with every diaper change. If your baby only has pee, their clothes are dry, and they don’t have a rash, feel free to skip the wipes.