If you’re expecting a baby, one of the things you’ll definitely have to do is change a dirty diaper. There are times when throwing used diapers in the diaper pail and sliding a new diaper onto your baby will be easy, and there are times when there will be a big mess. Either way, it’s best to be prepared as new parents.
We know that having a baby isn’t always a walk in the park, but watching them learn and grow (not to mention their adorable faces) makes everything worth it, even when you need to clean up a blowout.
Changing a diaper can be a breeze as long as you follow a few simple steps!
What Do I Need To Know About Changing Diapers?
Swapping a soiled diaper at your changing station can be a pretty simple task, but there are some things you need to know first.
At every stage of your baby’s growth, there are going to be new challenges when it comes to changing your newborn’s diaper. For example, while a newborn might be a tad fussy, older babies are capable of rolling around to avoid you.
No matter the age of your little one, keep a close eye on your baby and stay within an arm’s reach. It helps to keep your supplies (fresh diapers, powders, etc.) right by your changing area to keep your mini Houdini from trying anything fishy.
Be Intentional About the Changing Station
As parents, we aren’t above bribes or distractions for safety’s sake. Offering your little one a high-value toy (a cute stuffed animal or your car keys) can keep them occupied while you swap out that wet diaper.
If you have a changing table, you should use any straps included or ensure that the table has sides higher than the middle (concave). It can keep your baby from wriggling around too much while you’re trying to change them.
Extra Considerations for Newborns
When you’re changing a newborn baby girl or boy with a poopy diaper, there are other things you need to be concerned about. Diapers can be uncomfortable before the umbilical cord falls off. Luckily, there are diapers made specifically so that they go under the umbilical cord/belly button area, or you can fold the diaper down.
If your newborn boy was circumcised, you should follow instructions about the care for the wounds as part of your regular diaper changing.
What Products Do I Need?
When changing your little one’s diapers as first-time parents, you’ll need a lot of products. The most obvious ones are fresh diapers and baby wipes, although you’ll have to choose from many different kinds of diapers and wipes.
Finding a diaper that works for you and your little one may take a little trial and error since babies, especially newborns, tend to have sensitive skin. Also, you might find that a diaper that worked for one baby may not be as effective in containing the messes of another.
Disposable or Cloth Diapers
Disposable diapers are often used as the default option. Although they can make things easier, there are also eco-friendly options, like cloth diapers with diaper covers and wipes. These products are reusable, which helps reduce waste, and you can also find options made with organic, earth-friendly materials.
If your family opts for cloth diapers, learning how to fold them properly is vital. There are many different folds and types of cloth diapers, so you can find something that can suit you and your baby. (Cloth wipes are an option too.)
You might also have a similar issue with wipes. For a newborn, consider using wipes that are pre-moistened with water, damp washcloths, or even cotton balls and warm water. Water-moistened wipes are less likely to irritate your baby’s bottom and the rest of the diaper area.
Creams and Ointment
You’ll probably want to get some diaper rash cream, just in case. Alternatively, petroleum jelly can work as a sub for diaper ointment in a pinch.
Your baby may not need it, but diaper rashes are pretty common, so it’s best to be prepared just in case. You could also get barrier cream, which is typically made with zinc oxide. It helps protect your baby’s skin from potential irritation.
How To Change a Diaper
Now that we’ve covered the materials needed and some pro tips to make the process easier and safer, it’s time to go over the steps needed to change a diaper.
Washing your hands before and after you change your baby’s diaper is essential, so make sure you’re practicing good hygiene. If a sink isn’t nearby, hand sanitizer is your next best bet.
Get Your Diaper Supplies Ready
Before you get your baby ready for a diaper change, you’ll want to gather all the supplies you need. By grabbing the diaper, wipes, cream, and a change of clothes first, you won’t have to leave your baby unattended while you’re in the middle of changing them. For people who can’t walk, babies can sure cause quite a bit of trouble!
Lay Your Baby Down
The next step is to place your baby down on the changing surface.
You’ll want to unfasten their onesie or unzip their footies so that you can access their diaper. If there’s a blowout, you may want to take off their clothes at this point and wipe off any of the mess on their backs or tummies.
Changing onesies can be tricky if your baby is wiggling, sleeping, fussy, or just had a diaper blowout. Luckily, certain attire choices, like the Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit, makes changing clothes after a blowout easier.
The Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit unsnaps at the shoulders with user-friendly shoulder tabs. Instead of pulling it off over your baby’s head, you can pull it down, preventing a further mess.
Open the Baby’s Diaper
Next, you’ll want to open the diaper and assess the situation. If there’s a lot of poop on the front, you can use the front part of the diaper to sweep the mess toward the bottom of the diaper.
Clean Up the Mess
Once you’ve opened the diaper, you’ll want to start cleaning up the mess. You might want to do a couple of initial wipes before you remove the diaper from underneath your little one, at least if there’s poop involved.
Lift your baby’s but into the air by holding onto their feet. Then, pull the diaper out from underneath them. You will probably want to continue holding your baby’s feet with one hand so that their feet don’t accidentally drop into any mess there might be.
When you’re wiping a girl, you should always wipe from front to back to prevent infections. If you have a boy, you might want to put a cloth over their penis to avoid getting sprayed.
With either gender, wipe off all the poop before putting on a clean diaper. You might need to adjust their legs to ensure you get anything stuck between your baby’s leg and bottom.
Lastly, pat the baby dry before moving on to the next step.
Throw the Diaper Away
Once you’re done cleaning, wrap up the old diaper and the wipes and throw them away if you have a trash can nearby. If not, set the parcel aside until after you’re done.
Get the Clean Diaper Ready
Open up the clean diaper and put it under your baby’s bottom. Check that the tabs are on the bottom so they can keep the diaper closed. If you need a guide, check the picture on the diaper box.
The baby’s bottom should fit where the crease is, but first, you need to apply any creams you might be using.
Apply Creams As Needed
If you’re using a protective cream or something to treat a rash, apply that now. You’ll want to make sure that you cover any irritated areas. Keep in mind that rashes will usually go away within a few days, but if they persist, it’s time for a visit to your pediatrician.
Finish Putting the Diaper On
After applying any creams, you should bring the front of the diaper up between your baby’s legs and close it by sticking the tabs on the back to the front of the diaper. The tabs should be tight enough to keep the diaper from leaking but loose enough to prevent any discomfort.
Finally, put your little one’s clothes back on and put them in a secure place, so you can throw any trash away and wash your hands. Depending on how much mess there was, you may want to wipe down the mat you used.
How Often Should I Change My Baby’s Diaper?
Although it varies from baby to baby and even as they age, it’s generally best to change your baby’s diaper every two to three hours or whenever they have a soiled diaper.
Most babies don’t have a bathroom schedule, so they may not have a soiled diaper exactly two hours after the first change. Newborns tend to soil their diapers more often after the first few days (once they have a little food in their bellies), but as they grow, diaper changes won’t be needed as much.
Whenever changing a baby, we want these changes to be as fuss-free as possible.
Packing Your Diaper Bag
To make sure you have all the items you need when you’re taking your baby out, you’ll want to have a diaper bag that’s packed and ready to go. Organization and the type of diaper bag you get will depend on your specific needs, but there are some things you should keep stocked and ready.
Of course, diapers and wipes are essential, but you should also bring a diaper changing pad. It should be small enough to fold up and put into your bag but padded so you can put it on any hard surfaces before putting your baby down. It’s wise to bring plastic bags to hold wet diapers if you can’t find a trash can.
You should also bring a couple of changes of clothes with you in case of diaper leaks. The number of outfits you bring might vary depending on how long you’re out, but two or three should be good (but you know your baby best!).
Keeping Diaper Changing Time Easy and Fun
Although changing diapers might not be fun as family trips to the park or cuddling on the couch, with these few simple steps and a few baby distractions, diaper changing can be a snap.