Learn how to change a diaper with this comprehensive guide. Changing your baby’s diaper is just as important as feeding them. While it might seem a bit tricky at first, with a little practice, it will become a regular part of parenting.
In this guide, we’ll show you step-by-step how to change your baby’s diaper. We’ll also highlight the differences when changing a boy’s diaper versus a girl’s. As your child grows and becomes more active, we’ll explain how to handle diaper changes for toddlers.
Also, we’ll share some signs to watch for, indicating when it’s time to switch to a larger diaper size to prevent leaks and messy accidents.
What you will need to change a Diaper
Here’s what you’ll need to change a diaper:
- Diapers: You only need one at a time, but having plenty on hand is a good idea to avoid running out when you need them. It’s also smart to have some in the next size up for when your baby grows. Keep them within easy reach but away from your baby’s grasp.
- Wipes: These are used to clean your baby’s bottom. You can also use a washcloth and water as an alternative.
- Diaper ointment or barrier cream (like petroleum jelly): This comes in handy if your baby develops a diaper rash, which is common in babies, especially between 8 to 10 months old.
Factors like not-often diaper changes, diarrhea, or starting on solid foods can contribute to diaper rash. Your baby’s healthcare provider can recommend the right ointment or cream.
- Diaper changing table: Designed to make diaper changes easier, look for one with high side rails on all four sides to prevent your baby from rolling off. There are typically drawers or shelves underneath to store your diaper-changing supplies.
- Diaper changing pad: This goes on top of the changing table. Choose one with raised sides and a curved shape for added safety. Most can be easily wiped clean and come with a strap to secure your baby.
However, it’s safest to always keep a hand on your baby and never leave them unattended on the changing table. You can also get a disposable or portable changing pad for when you’re on the go.
- Towel or blanket: If you don’t have a changing table or pad, you can use any flat surface like a bed, couch, or floor. Just place a towel or blanket down to keep things clean.
Be sure to always keep a hand on your baby if they’re on a raised surface to prevent falls. Changing your baby on the floor can be easiest if they’re feeling extra wiggly.
- Diaper pail: This is handy for storing smelly diapers and helps contain odors.
Consider setting up a diaper changing station in your baby’s nursery with all the necessary supplies and their change of clothes nearby.
This way, everything is easily accessible, and you can keep a close eye on your baby during diaper changes.
How to change a diaper
Make sure you have all the things you need for the diaper change ready. Once you’re set, follow these simple steps to change your baby’s diaper:
Step 1: Lay your baby on their back and take off the used diaper. Wrap it up and secure it with the tapes, then either put it in the diaper pail or set it aside to throw away later in the trash can. If you’re using a regular trash can, it’s a good idea to put the diaper in a plastic bag first to reduce smells.
Step 2: Gently clean your baby’s diaper area, making sure to clean between the folds of their skin. You can use soft diaper wipes or a wet washcloth. Always wipe from front to back.
Step 3: If your baby has a diaper rash, apply some diaper rash ointment or barrier cream to the affected area.
Step 4: Carefully lift your baby’s legs and slide a fresh diaper underneath. The colorful designs on the diaper should be in the front, facing you. Then, bring the front of the diaper up between your baby’s legs and place it on their belly.
Step 5: Lift the two sides of the diaper on both the left and right and attach the stretchy tape found on each side to the front of the diaper. Make sure not to fasten it too tight or too loose.
To check, you should be able to comfortably slide two fingers between the diaper and your baby’s stomach. Make sure the tabs are symmetrical. Flip out the leg cuffs to prevent leaks.
After you’re done, make sure your baby is in a safe spot, wash your hands, and clean the diaper-changing area, including the changing table and pad.
How to change a boy’s diaper
To change your boy’s diaper, follow the same step-by-step guide as mentioned earlier. Also, make sure to cover his penis with a diaper or cloth while changing to avoid getting wet or causing any accidental mess on the wall. Also, before closing the diaper, position his penis downward to prevent leaks.
How to change a girl’s diaper
For changing your baby girl’s diaper, follow the step-by-step guide provided earlier, but pay extra attention to wiping from front to back. This is important to reduce the risk of her developing an infection, like a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is more common in young girls. Don’t forget to gently and thoroughly clean between the folds of her skin.
How Often Should You Change a Diaper?
Experts recommend changing your baby’s diaper every time they have a bowel movement and regularly in between to ensure they don’t stay in a wet diaper for too long.
The frequency of bowel movements can vary depending on your baby’s age, whether they are breastfed, bottle-fed, or eating solids, and other factors like digestive issues. Your baby may poop anywhere from after every meal to once a day or even once a week, and all of these can be normal.
For urination, your little one may pee as often as every one to three hours or around six times a day. Initially, newborns typically need about 10 diaper changes a day.
How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Diaper Change?
Some diapers have a wetness indicator, which makes it easy to see if your baby needs a diaper change.
Other signs that indicate your baby may need a diaper change include:
- Feeling damp when you touch the diaper with your finger
- Seeing or smelling your baby’s pee or poop
- The diaper appears bulky or sagging
What Are the Signs Your Baby Needs a Larger Diaper?
Here are some signs that suggest your baby needs a bigger diaper:
- The tapes on the diaper don’t reach the center of the waistband
- You can’t comfortably fit two fingers under the waistband
- There are red marks on your baby’s tummy or thighs
- The diaper doesn’t adequately cover your baby’s bottom
- Your baby seems uncomfortable, such as tugging at the diaper.
Even if you don’t always enjoy changing diapers, it’s a great feeling to know that your baby is dry and comfy in their diaper. As you get more experienced with diapering, it’ll get simpler and quicker. So, before you realize it, you’ll be all done with the diaper change.