Changing your newborn's diaper, along with feeding and bathing, are the important tasks you will be faced with regularly as a new parent. At first, it may seem a little daunting, but soon you will be able to change diapers in your sleep (quite literally). To make the task simple, follow our step-by-step guide on how to change a diaper below.
Things to Know When Changing a Diaper
- Some people use baby wipes to clean the diaper changing area. A newborn's skin is sensitive so using warm water and a cloth during the first few weeks may help to prevent skin irritation.
- Some traditional baby wipes contain alcohol and can cause rashes and skin irritation. It is best to start using these after your baby is at least 2 months old.
- You can change your baby’s diaper on a changing table, changing pad on the floor, bed, or couch. If you are using a changing table, follow the pad's instructions for securing it to the table and always use the safety straps.
- Make sure the changing table is concave in the center. If the sides are slightly higher than the middle it will help prevent falls due to the baby rolling off the table.
Things You Need to Change a Diaper
Make sure you have the following handy before starting the diaper change:
- Diapers in the correct size
- Diaper cream
- Change of clothes for your baby
- Disposable bag
- Changing table or changing pad
Diaper bags can help you keep everything ready and organized at the drop of a hat. Whether it's a last-minute diaper change or you quickly have to run out, simply grab your diaper bag with everything in it. This way you don’t have to search around in a flurry for any items.
How to Change a Diaper: Step-by-Step
- Wash your hands.
- Get your diaper changing supplies together and make sure they are all within your reach, but slightly away from your baby.
- Gently place your baby down on their back on the clean changing surface.
- Unfasten the tabs of the diaper and raise your baby's bottom off of the diaper by gently holding their ankles and lifting. If the diaper is messy, use the upper half of the diaper and gently wipe toward the lower half.
- Slide the diaper away and place it out of your baby’s reach.
- Wipe your baby clean. When wiping a girl, always wipe from front to back to prevent any infection. Thoroughly clean the entire area with diaper wipes or moistened cotton balls.
- Place the used disposable cleaning supplies on the dirty diaper.
- Slide a clean diaper under your baby. Most disposable diapers have colorful markings or characters indicating the front of the diaper. Ensure that the diaper tabs are on the side positioned under your baby's bottom.
- Apply ointments or any other products recommended by your doctor for rashes. Doing this after you have placed the new diaper under your baby will prevent you from having to clean ointments off the changing surface later.
- Pull the front of the diaper between your baby's legs and over their stomach. Pull the diaper tabs open and to the front. You want the diaper to be snug but not too tight. The best diapers to use initially are the newborn size as they are specifically cut to avoid irritation of the umbilical stump.
- Firmly roll the used diaper and wrap the tabs around it completely. Place it in a bag, garbage can, or diaper bin.
- Clean the changing surface using disinfectant to prevent contamination.
- Wash your and your baby's hands.
Never leave your baby unattended on an elevated surface even for a moment, regardless of their age. Always practice safety from the very beginning.