How To Change a Diaper? (New Parents Guide)

How To Change a Diaper

New parents spend a lot of time changing diapers. On average, babies can wear ten or more diapers a day.

To make things easier, we gathered everything you need to know about how to change a diaper for your kid in one place!

Read on to know more about:

How should you prepare to change diapers?

How to change a baby’s disposable and reusable diapers

Some tips to keep in mind while changing your baby’s diaper

The differences between changing a boy’s diaper and a girl’s.

Lots more…

Keep in mind, though, if changing the baby’s diaper is not well done, you will start seeing some health warning signs that might become more complicated if not taken care of!

Stick with us for a clean and healthy baby all day and night long…


What Do You Need to Change a Diaper?

To make changing your baby’s diaper easy and quick, we recommend you gather the necessary items and keep them handy. 

Here is the list you need to consider:

Ensure you have all the items within reach to avoid leaving your baby unattended; even if your kid is still a few weeks old, he might surprise you with an unexpected roll!

How To Change a Baby’s Diaper

Changing the baby’s diaper should not be easy or challenging, as you will do this minimum 8 to 10 times a day! After a couple of days or a maximum of a week of having your first baby, you will be an expert in changing your little pooper’s diaper.

(Honestly, you will probably enjoy it as part of bonding time with your favorite tiny human being!)

But with everything being said, you need to familiarize yourself with the different types of baby diapers and know the proper way to deal with each type. 

Let’s start talking about How To Change a Baby’s Diaper for each diaper type:

How to change a disposable diaper?

  • Place your baby on the changing table and slowly remove the soiled diaper.
  • Hold your baby’s ankles with one hand, lift his legs and bottom, and then remove the dirty diaper with the other hand.
  • If it is very dirty, use the clean front part of the diaper to wipe the bottom from front to back.
  • Use baby wipes or a soft wet cloth to gently clean your baby’s bottom. Take particular care of the folds and layers of your baby’s skin. (For girls, you must wipe the area from front to back to avoid causing infection – I will talk about this in detail later on)
  • Dry the area thoroughly and apply the diaper rash ointment if the baby’s bottom is sore.
  • Place a clean diaper under your baby. If you use a disposable diaper, ensure the sticky tabs to tie the diaper are behind the baby.
  • Adhere to the diaper on both sides. For the disposable diaper, press the adhesive tabs to the front of the diaper.
  • Fold the clean diaper under your baby’s belly button until it heals. Check that the diaper does not bulge too much between the legs.
  • To avoid accidents, ensure no openings in the diaper around the hip.

Tips for changing a baby’s disposable diaper:

  • If you use disposable diapers, you should empty the trash regularly (once daily) to prevent bad smells.
  • The diaper is too tight if you see marks around the baby’s legs and waist. Don’t tighten it so much next time. If this doesn’t solve the problem, your baby may need a bigger diaper size.
  • If your baby hasn’t dropped the umbilical cord, fold the diaper’s waistband to keep the area dry. Once the umbilical cord has fallen off, continue to do this for a few days to prevent irritation.
  • Washing your hands after changing a diaper is a must to avoid spreading germs everywhere.

Related: 10 Best Baby Disposable Wipes For Your Teenybopper

How to change a cloth diaper?

Cloth diapers come in many shapes and sizes. Traditional cloth diapers come folded or squared and need fastening. The most modern models come in shape similar to disposable diapers and have Velcro or snap closures. 

Other accessories for cloth diapers include liners or inserts, making them extra absorbent for extra overnight protection. A diaper cover is also helpful in preventing leaks.

If you use traditional cloth diapers, there are several ways to put them on. One of the most common is the triangular fold:

  • Fold the square in half to form a triangle. (For newborns or young babies, you may need to fold the longest part of the triangle down a few inches to fit your baby snuggly.)
  • Place the baby on the diaper by gently lifting his legs and feet and sliding the diaper under the child. The longest part of the triangle should be under the baby’s back, with the opposite corner pointing toward the feet.
  • Bring the front of the diaper up between the baby’s legs and toward the belly button.
  • Surround the child’s body using one of the sides, covering the central body part.
  • Do the same with the other side and cover the two previous parts. Secure all parts with a hook pin.

The rectangular fold is an alternative way, which is so close to using a disposable diaper. here are the steps to follow:

  • Fold the diaper to form a rectangle. Some parents add a fold (an insert) to the diaper, so more fabric covers the wettest area (front for boys and bottom for girls).
  • Place the diaper under the baby, with the long sides under the baby’s back.
  • Bring the bottom of the diaper towards the baby’s belly button.
  • Wrap one side around the baby’s body and secure it with a safety pin. Then do the same with the other side.

Tips to keep in mind if you use cloth diapers:

  • If you use diapers that must be fastened with a pin, use the large ones with plastic safety heads (hooks). To avoid pricking the baby, place one hand between the pin and the baby’s skin. If you don’t feel comfortable using a safety pin, you can use diaper tape.
  • Wet diapers can be placed directly in a wet diaper bag to keep them for the next washing cycle. If the diaper is soiled, empty it and flush the poop in the toilet first. Some people rinse diapers before washing them. You may want to spray the diapers with water and baking soda to control odors.
  • If you wash diapers yourself, separate them from the rest of the laundry and use a mild, hypoallergenic detergent or one recommended for baby clothes. Do not use fabric softeners or antistatic products because they can cause a rash (rash) on babies’ sensitive skin. Use hot water and rinse twice with each wash load.
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after each diaper change. 

Related: Top 6 Baby Cloth Diapers For First-Time Parents

Is changing diapers different for boys than girls?

Well, a quick answer is YES!

This is also a common question for new parents, and it is good to be aware of the little differences when changing a diaper for a boy vs. a girl, and here is what you need to know:

How to change a baby boy diaper?

Changing baby boy diapers might sometimes be annoying as they cannot control themselves, and a possible unexpected peep might ruin the room ceiling! 

How to change a baby boy diaper?

Yes, it isn’t very pleasant – AT ALL! 

So, if you are changing a boy, place the penis down before you adjust the diaper to help prevent leaks above the waist, the bed, or all over the place.

How to change a baby girl’s diaper?

When changing a diaper, take special care to clean the area from the front to the back, reducing the risk that she will get an infection, such as a urinary tract infection, which is especially common among young girls.

Related: The 5 Best Baby Diaper Rash Creams and Ointments

How to change a newborn diaper?

Newborn Diaper Change

If you’re a first-time parent, getting used to changing your newborn’s diaper may take a few tries. 

Yes, those little legs are so tiny, soft, and sensitive! 

Here is what you need to know to get the hang of it and make newborn diaper change easy to handle:

Right after your baby is born, the nurses may give you some hands-on classes (I took a couple until being confident to do it myself).

During the first few weeks, while you wait for the umbilical cord to fall off entirely, you can take advantage of some diaper changes to gently clean the umbilical cord area and check for signs of infection, such as a yellow discharge or red skin around the umbilical cord. If you notice something similar, contact your pediatrician.

Your little one’s first few poops will be thick and greenish, called meconium. As your baby passes the meconium, his poop will turn yellowish-green and change while introducing new kinds of foods, knowing that the texture and color of the food affect the color, smell, and softness of the baby’s poop.  

Don’t be surprised if you find a bit of vaginal discharge in your little girl’s diaper; It is normal. You may also see some blood in the stool for the first few days. This is quite common and does not represent any danger, but telling your pediatrician is not a bad idea if you detect it.

The question that most new parents ask is: how often to change newborn diaper? It is good to know that your newborn will use about 10 diapers a day, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice changing her diaper.

Be sure to consult your pediatrician if you have questions about what you find in your newborn’s diaper.

Related: Cloth VS Disposable Diapers

When To Use Diaper Rash Cream?

It’s common for babies to get a little bit of diaper rash. But if the rash is frequent, lasts more than 2 or 3 days, or worsens, call your health care professional. Tell the provider if your baby has a fever along with the rash or if the rash seems painful, is bright red, or has blisters.

Luckily, though, many things can help you prevent and help cure diaper rash, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Change diapers frequently and immediately after the baby has a bowel movement. Clean the area gently. Vigorously rubbing or wiping the area can further irritate the rash.
  • Use a diaper rash cream (or ointment) to prevent and cure the rashes.
When To Use Diaper Rash Cream
  • Let your baby go diaper-free for a couple of minutes (around 30 minutes a day), and you can put on some washcloths. (If you have a boy, place a cloth diaper over the penis when the boy is on his back, so it doesn’t get wet.)
  • If you use cloth diapers, wash them with pigment- and fragrance-free detergents and avoid drying them with fragranced dryer sheets.

Related: The 5 Best Baby Diaper Rash Creams and Ointments

How To Change a Baby Diaper FAQ

Q1: How Often Should You Change a Baby’s Diaper?

Experts recommend changing the diaper after each poop and every 2-3 hours to ensure that your baby is not in contact with a wet diaper for an extended period.
Your baby may poop after every feeding, once a day, or even once a week, depending on his age, whether he is breastfed, bottle-fed, or eating solids, and other factors, such as having some digestive problems. All this can be normal.
When it comes to peeing, your little one may urinate every hour or three hours or only about six times a day.
Again, if you are asking how often to change a newborn diaper, be prepared to repeat the process about 10 times a day during the first few days and weeks.

Q2: How Long Can a Baby Go Without a Diaper Change?

The maximum period recommended to keep the baby without a diaper change is two or three hours max, or once needed. Even if the diaper you use works for more periods – like 5 hours, we recommend you change it more often to keep the baby’s skin dry and clean as much as possible. During the night, while your kid is deeply sleeping, you can wait for the morning to change his wet diaper unless you use cloth diapers. I used to wait until my kid woke up by himself to change his diaper, and I have never forced a diaper change at night. 
(Trust me, it will be a bad night for both of you!)
Poopy diapers are a big concern here! If you leave your kid in a poopy diaper, you will notice a severe rash after a few hours – or maybe less. Keeping the bacteria, poop, and urine there will irritate the baby’s skin, causing tough reddish skin with some rashes!

Q3: How do you know when it’s time for a diaper change?

Some diapers have a wetness indicator to see if your baby needs a change.
You can also tell if your baby needs a diaper change if:
– You stick your finger in the diaper and find it wet.
– You smell or see pee or poop.
– The diaper is sagging, or the bottom of the diaper is bulging.
– Sometimes, your kid will let you know that he needs a diaper change, and you should listen and change it 🙂

Q4: Should I change the diaper before or after feeding?

This is one of the most common questions for new parents too. The recommended time for changing the baby’s diaper is after each feeding and before each nap. Kids usually have a bowel movement after eating – even if they pooped already a time before, and changing their diapers after feeding will save you time and effort. Also, before you place your baby to sleep, we recommend you change their diaper to ensure and comfortable and long nap, as peeing while sleeping might wake them up feeling uncomfortable and unhappy.

Q5: How should you change your baby’s diaper after circumcision?

The mentioned steps are for all babies, but if your baby was circumcised, follow the below guide to avoid any discomfort or complications:
– Put a new bandage on the penis every time you change the diaper for the first few days.
– Use a medical Vaseline on the penis or on the part of the diaper or bandage that touches the penis, preventing the diaper or bandage from sticking or rubbing against the penis.
– Keep the area clean and dry as much as possible.

Conclusion: How to change a baby’s diaper

It is essential to choose a safe place to change your little one. Babies can squirm quickly even with the belt on the changing table, so always keep one hand on your baby.

We recommend you put a stimulation mobile on top of the changing table or give the baby a little toy to keep our little one busy while we change her.

Before changing (or putting on) the diaper, you should have everything you need at hand and in a safe place (out of the baby’s reach).

A Rule Of Thumb: When you’re done, wash your hands and wipe down the area where you changed the diaper.

Even if you don’t always like diaper changes, you’ll love knowing your little one is comfortable and dry. Also, as you become a diaper pro, changing a diaper will become easier and easier. 

Before you know it, you’ll be done!

Once you master these basics, you’ll become a diaper-changing pro.

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