Babies are constantly needing diaper changes throughout the day and parents pull out wipes to clean them up, even if the baby just has pee in it. But is this step necessary? Do you actually need to wipe a baby after peeing?
You do not necessarily need to wipe your baby’s butt during every diaper change, especially if you are trying to keep her sleeping overnight. 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, you need to go ahead and clean her butt.
Read on to learn more about using baby wipes for pee and how long your baby can stay in a wet diaper.
Do you need to use baby wipes for baby 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.
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 butt, 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 pretty 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.
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.
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. They will cry and demand to be changed 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 naptime. He was sitting on the floor playing, 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.
Is it OK to leave a baby in a wet 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 was 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 they can’t get changed until later. 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.