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Choosing reusable cloth diapers is a big decision that can lead to a rewarding journey for you and your baby. But where do you start? Here are the most commonly asked questions on how to start your cloth diaper journey.

Nicki's Diapers is a family business founded by Nicki and later joined by her husband Jesse. As a husband and wife team, they worked together to ensure the highest quality products while following responsible environmental and social business practices. The company is now located in Akron, Ohio.

How Often Do You Change Cloth Diapers? | Cloth Diaper Changing Tips for Newborns and Beyond

Of all the single-use items that end up in landfills, disposable diapers are the third-most common.

If you’re looking to minimize your use of single consumer items, switching to cloth diapers is an obvious step. However, switching to cloth diapers can sound a little overwhelming if you’ve never used them before. But no need to fear, it’s actually perfectly simple.

Are you unsure about how often to change cloth diapers? This guide explains everything you need to know.

Smart Bottoms Cloth Diapering Basics

Cloth Diapers: The Basics

Cloth diapers are composed of an outer shell and an inner absorbent layer. They also feature adjustable closures (usually hooks or snaps), so they can fit babies of all sizes.

All-in-one cloth diapers are the most similar to disposable diapers because the inner and outer layers are attached.All-in-two cloth diapers, on the other hand, feature a removable inside liner. 

All-in-one diapers are more convenient, but they’re also more expensive. All-in-two diapers are more cost-effective and can be good for those who are new to cloth diapering.

Changing a Diaper

Diaper Change: How Often Do You Change Cloth Diapers?

The answer to the question “How often should you change cloth diapers?” depends, in part, on the age of your baby, but generally, you change diapers just as often with cloth diapers as you do with disposable diapers.

In general, newborns require between 10 and 12 diaper changes per day — approximately one change every 2 hours.

For older babies and toddlers, 6 to 8 diaper changes per day are usually sufficient — approximately one change every 3 to 4 hours.

If you have a hard time keeping track of how long it’s been since your baby’s last diaper change, you can also base your schedule on their meals and snacks. If you change their diaper every time they eat, you’ll likely be lined up pretty closely with the guidelines explained above.

Diaper Locking 

It Starts with a Look

Another way to tell when to change a newborn diaper or older baby’s diaper is based on looks. 

Sometimes, you can see that it’s time for a cloth diaper change by simply looking at it. If it’s hanging lower than usual, for example, or if it’s swinging from side to side, there’s a good chance a change is in order.

 Diaper Touch Test

Do a Diaper Touch Test

Touch tests are also helpful when you’re on the fence about whether or not it’s time to change a baby’s cloth diaper. There are a few ways you can go about this, including the following:

  • Touch the outside: Gently touch the outside; if you feel that it’s wet — especially if you didn’t use a waterproof diaper — it’s time for a fresh one.
  • Touch the inside: Gently stick your finger into the leg opening and feel for wetness; for obvious reasons, you’ll need to be extra cautious with this approach.
  • Feel for warmth, heaviness, or firmness: If your diapers are made from cotton or hemp, they’ll get stiff when they’re wet; if the material is synthetic — such as microfiber — it will feel heavy when it’s wet.

Don’t trust your vision to help you determine how often to change cloth diapers? These touch tests can be much more effective.

Diaper Sniff Test

Do a Diaper Sniff Test

Another possible answer to the question “how often do you change a cloth diaper?” is simply “when it smells like it’s necessary.”

In other words, if your nose tells you that it’s time to change your baby’s diaper, there’s a good chance you should follow through and get them cleaned up.

Some new parents might wonder why they need to rely on other tests when they have a sharp nose. Keep in mind, though, that cloth diapers often don’t give off as strong of an odor as disposable diapers.

This is especially true when the diapers fit properly. Because there’s elastic around the waist and legs, you might not notice unpleasant smells right away.

Overnight Cloth Diaper Changes

What About Overnight Cloth Diaper Changes?

The general rule with cloth diaper changes — and disposable diaper changes, for that matter — is to change your baby as soon as you know their diaper is dirty. For newborns, this includes changing them throughout the night, typically whenever you get up for feedings.

When your baby gets older and starts consuming solid foods, they likely will not need as many changes throughout the night. You can let them rest longer and don’t need to worry about waking them up. If you’re worried about leaks, you can always add a second diaper insert or a cover for extra protection.

How Often To Change Your Baby's Diaper

You Know How Often to Change Your Baby's Diaper: Now What?

After reading this guide, you should be able to answer questions like “how often do you change cloth diapers?” and “what is the average newborn diaper change frequency?” with ease.

Keep in mind, too, that the frequency with which you change cloth diapers also depends on the quality of the diaper.


If you’re looking for high-quality, eco-friendly cloth diapers, we’ve got you covered at Nicki’s Diapers. Shop our new releases today to find the perfect diapers for your baby.