Your newborn doesn’t play, crawl, or even make much of a mess most of the time so how often should you change newborn clothes? They don’t look that bad so you wonder if there’s really any harm in keeping the same sleeper on for a few days. Do you just change your newborn at night or how many times a day should you be changing newborn clothes?
While you may want to reduce the amount of laundry constantly piling up, it’s important to have good hygiene practices, some sort of routine, and know when to change newborn clothes (even when they don’t look dirty).
Babies may not wear newborn clothes for very long so maybe you don’t want to invest in too many NB pieces. But it’s still important to rotate through the ones you do have and keep your baby in clean clothes.
So How Often Should You Change Newborn Clothes Anyways?
Newborn clothes should be changed daily in order to keep your baby clean and healthy. Whether your baby has dry, sensitive, or oily skin, it’s a good idea to always keep them in clean clothes.
Sure, you may not think their garments look dirty. After all, they’ve just been laying there in your arms or in the bassinet. They don’t really DO too much in the beginning besides eat and sleep. But in actuality, the clothes have likely been accumulating dirt and bacteria throughout the day and should be changed for clean ones each day.
The question of how long a newborn can wear the same clothes isn’t necessarily the correlative response as how frequently you can expect to change their outfit. While you need to change their clothes at least every day, your baby may go through multiple outfit changes each day!
It seems like babies don’t do much to get dirty but there are actually many situations where you may need to change your baby into clean clothes. But before we answer those, let’s look into why they need to be changed so often.
Why You Should Change Your Newborn’s Clothes Every Day
Fresh fabrics will help keep irritants, germs and bacteria away from your baby’s delicate skin. A baby’s immature immune system puts them at a greater risk for illness so it’s crucial to maintain proper newborn hygiene.
Not only this, but soft and clean clothes will also provide comfort to your little one.
In the very beginning, a lot of the substances that make the fabrics of their clothes soiled aren’t actually obvious. Dry skin, oil and drool can make their way onto their clothes. And eventually, you’ll find yourself tackling more obvious stains, like milk/formula, poop, or spit up.
Stains aren’t the only reason to put fresh clothes on your baby. It’s also good to start getting them into some sort of a daily routine, things that they can expect to happen in a relatively predictable order.
It could be as easy as wiping their face, changing their diaper and putting on fresh clothes in the morning. Or perhaps your evening routine includes a bath every other night, clean pajamas, and a little book or song before bed.
It doesn’t matter when you switch up their outfit as long as you do it daily. If you want, you can keep them in the same sleeper that they wore to bed throughout the day. Just make a habit of putting them in clean clothes every day.
This allows your baby to get used to getting clothes put on and off. And it also gives you the chance to quickly check over their fresh bodies to make sure there’s nothing that requires further observation or attention (such as an irritation or rash or something).
What Situations Require a Change of Clothes for a Newborn
There are many different scenarios that require you to change your little one’s clothes. How long newborns can wear the same clothes depends on what gets on their outfits that day. Some common examples are included below:
Maybe you’re headed out for a coffee date and want to show off an adorable outfit on your baby. Perhaps you’re changing them out of their pajamas and into “daytime clothes”. Or maybe you want something fuss-free for a doctor’s check-up. An outfit change can be done whenever you wish.
This happens. If your baby has over-saturated their diaper or doesn’t have it on properly (or is wearing the wrong size), a diaper leak can mean your baby’s clothes get pee on them. When this occurs you should immediately put them in something fresh and clean.
You’ll get familiar with these, especially as your infant consumes more milk or formula. A diaper blowout is when your baby’s poop is not successfully contained by the diaper. Whether your sweet baby has too much poop or poops too quickly, it can sometimes sneak out around the leg or straight up the back!
Don’t fret when this happens. Baby poop, especially in the newborn stage, is pretty harmless. Calmly take your baby to a safe place to get them undressed, cleaned up, and dressed into clean clothes. You can follow my guide here with a specific section on blowouts: How to Change a Disposable Diaper (with step-by-step instructions).
Some babies spit up more than others. It’s a pretty common occurrence in the first few months (or more) of their life. Spit-up happens when babies drink more milk or formula than their stomach can hold so it just comes back up and out their mouth. It often happens when they burp if a bubble of air gets caught under the liquid and it all comes out at once.
Do you change baby clothes every time they spit up? It’s not necessary if you can quickly wipe it with a cloth or if it was just a little bit. If the amount was so much that it’ll cause discomfort to your baby or irritate their skin then yes, change their clothes. Or if the soiled area is really obvious and you want to. Remember, spit-up isn’t the same as vomit. It’s just a bit of milk that comes up shortly after a feeding.
You’ll soon become an expert on predicting potential spit-up moments and be ready with a cloth in place!
Drool is even less obvious than spit up, but it is something that will surely soil those sweet clothes throughout the day. While babies usually start drooling around 2-3 months of age, it’s still worth mentioning as a reason to change their clothes daily. If they’ve managed to soak their shirt, go put a dry one on.
Now you may think that this one should be in the spit-up or drooling category. But you’ll be surprised at how many times you spray your baby accidentally as they feed or spill as you bottle feed them! Not a big deal. And just like the spit-up you don’t have to run and get them changed unless it’s really an impressive amount or bothersome to the little bub. But make sure you change them each day so that you can get those clothes washed and off of baby’s skin.
Sweat, Oil, and Skin Cells
If you have managed to avoid all aforementioned soiling situations, well done! But that doesn’t get you off the hook for changing your little baby. Just like your own body, sweat, oil, and skin cells can be transferred onto the clothes, collecting bacteria over time. You don’t want to keep all that against your newborn’s delicate skin. So, let’s say it one more time.
How often should you change newborn clothes? At least daily but possibly more! Some days you may find yourself changing them 4 or 5 times! But is there anything you can do to avoid constantly changing them? Let’s talk about it.
How to Reduce Newborn Laundry
Plan One Outfit for the Whole Day
Your baby doesn’t have to be a fashion icon. They look cute in pretty much every and any option you put on them. Plan just for one outfit for the entire day. But this may mean you have to think ahead about what you’ll be doing with the baby so that you choose something activity-appropriate.
Use Burp Cloths or Soft Bibs
If your infant is prone to spitting up, put a soft bib on them or lay a burp cloth under their chin while they feed (and on your shoulder/chest when you burp them afterwards). This will help absorb the liquid before it reaches your baby’s cute clothes.
Keep Baby Upright After a Feed
Being vertical will help minimize spitting up. After you feed your baby, burp them (with a cloth in place) and keep their bodies upright so that gravity keeps stomach contents down.
Change Their Diaper Frequently
To avoid oversaturation or a bulky full diaper, make sure you change your infant’s diaper frequently. If they have a bowel movement, go change them right away so that their skin doesn’t get irritated, and so that their wiggling doesn’t push the poop towards the edges of the diaper.
Proper Fitting Diapers
If you find your baby is still having frequent leaks (of either #1 or #2), it may be that you’re not putting their diaper on correctly or that they need a different size. Go check out my step-by-step instructions on how to change a diaper or double-check the diaper brand’s weight recommendations for the size you’re using.
How Many Clothes to Have for a Newborn
I mentioned how many clothes I’d recommend having for a newborn in a recent post called How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes? But since it’s useful information I wanted to share it again since it sort of comes down to how often you are willing to do baby laundry. While you could get away with 7 sleepers/pajamas and 3-4 other outfits, I usually recommend getting closer to double that so that you don’t need to do much more than one load of your baby’s laundry per week. You need to ensure you have enough on hand to put clean clothes on your little one each day and when necessary throughout the day.
Make sure you go read through that article as there’s actually lots of information to consider when buying newborn clothes. You find 12 Helpful Tips for Dressing Your Newborn of interest with lots of important advice when it comes to dressing newborn babies.
How often you should change newborn clothes may depend on how many times your baby soils their clothes in a day, you should aim to change them at least once a day. You can try to minimize additional outfits by planning ahead and having cloths available to quickly clean up any spit-up. While it can feel like a bit of a hassle for an exhausted mom to undress and redress their baby so many times only to add more clothing to the laundry pile, it’s really important to keep your newborn in clean clothes.