An easy to follow, step-by-step breakdown of how to change a diaper. Because sometimes, you just need the facts:
Grab your changing gear and find a clean, flat surface to change baby on. The floor works just as well as a changing table, but make sure that your little one is lying on a changing pad or blanket that is easily washable and keeps germs at bay.
Open the diaper and assess the damage. For messy diapers, it’s a good idea to wipe up the mess before completely removing the diaper, so you can contain the yucky wipes inside the diaper with the poop, making it a little less messy. To close the diaper before disposing, roll it up and use the sticky tabs to secure in a little bundle.
Make sure when you’re cleaning baby’s bottom that you do so thoroughly—wipe between all the creases and rolls to ensure that you’re not leaving behind any possible germs.
Slide a clean diaper underneath your baby, with the sticky tabs facing you. If you need to apply diaper cream, now is the best time to do it. (You might need another wipe or a wet cloth to clean your hands after application.) Pull up the front of the diaper and secure it comfortably around baby’s waist.
Dispose of the old diaper in a diaper pail, but don’t leave baby unattended on the changing table to do so—it only takes a second for baby to make a sudden movement, and you don’t want to take any chances.
Pick baby up and pat yourself on the back—you just changed a diaper!
All parts aren’t created equally when it comes to boys and girls—both require a little specialist care.
Boys will be boys
Word of warning: When air hits a little boy’s bottom, he’s likely to shoot a stream straight at you. Give his penis a quick air of freedom and then re-cover it to keep yourself out of the line of fire or use a super cute Pee-pee Teepee, specially designed to keep moms everywhere free from pee.
An uncircumcised little boy’s penis doesn’t require any extra care—just keep it clean and be sure not to push back the foreskin. If your son was circumcised, you’ll need to apply pure petroleum jelly to the area at each diaper change and most doctors recommend wrapping the penis in gauze as well, until it begins to heal. Gently pushing back the skin so it doesn’t reattach is also recommended. The best way to know exactly what to do and how long to do it is to ask a nurse to show you before you leave the hospital—they’re pros, and good nurses never mind helping new moms.
Good, clean girls
When it comes to rolls and creases, girls can be a bit more of a challenge to keep tidy. When cleaning your daughter’s bottom, remember the “front to back” rule. Wiping in the other direction could cause painful (and unnecessary) urinary tract infections.
Got diaper rash? Try the following tips:
- Baby wipes might sting a rash-y area, so use warm washcloths to clean baby’s bottom instead.
- Let your little one’s bottom dry completely before refastening his diaper—and for persistent rashes, having a little “air” time on a waterproof mat might expedite recovery.
- Cloth diapers are known for their rash-reducing power—if your baby has a sensitive bottom, consider going cloth.
- Many moms swear that using a petroleum-based rash ointment on a regular basis prevents rashes from showing up at all.