Common diapering questions

May 7, 2010 at 5:44 p.m. ET

I don’t know about you, but when I first took my daughter home from the hospital, I had a hard time not only figuring out how to diaper my baby (by week two I could do it one-handed), but also how often I was supposed to change her.

Mother diapering child

On hand to give you the inside scoop on diapering your baby is pediatrician and mom Dr. Gwenn O'Keefe, the founder of Pediatrics Now and the nationally syndicated blog Dr. Gwenn Is In.

How many times a day should I change my infant's diaper?

You shouldn't be as concerned about the number of times you change the diaper but instead should focus on whether the diaper is wet and the baby appears hydrated. The biggest concern is that if the baby looks lethargic or if their lips are dry, they may not be getting enough fluids. If you find that your baby's diaper is dry for several hours, you should monitor whether the baby is hydrated enough.

How do I know if my baby is peeing and pooping enough each day?

Again, it's not the number of times the baby is pooping or peeing, it's whether or not they are hydrated. When it comes to poop, Dr. Gwenn says that you should be concerned if the color seems irregular, if you see mucous or a tinge of blood in the stool. Otherwise, seeing mustard yellow and green poop those first few months is perfectly normal (and not as smelly until you introduce solid food).

Should I wake my baby up in the middle of the night to change their diaper?

I can tackle this question:  My response to that one is absolutely not! If you want your baby to have a normal sleep routine at night, then the last thing you want to do is wake them to change their diaper. Now let me just preface this by saying, if your baby is having issues with diarrhea and happens to poop in the middle of the night, you definitely should change the diaper so that their skin does not become irritated.

As the baby gets older, when should I consider potty training?

Dr. Gwenn says she's been seeing parents trying to potty train their babies as young as 18 months old, but adds that you should not attempt to potty train your child until they are old enough to understand the concept of going on the potty which doesn't happen until at least 2 years of age. Dr. Gwenn's advice is not to pressure your baby to go on the potty, when they're ready to go, they will go!

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