If you’re going to be a parent soon, you’ve probably heard people say that all babies seem to do is eat, sleep and poop! With that in mind, if you’re unsure about how to change a diaper, now’s the perfect time to learn.
You might be weighing up the benefits of disposable vs. reusable diapers, or considering using a combination of the two. The latter are a larger investment at first, but work out less expensive (and kinder to the environment) in the long run. In the end though, it’s about finding the diapers that suit your baby and your lifestyle, so it’s worth doing a little research.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change your baby’s diaper, with some tips on changing cloth reusables at the end. While everything may look a little tricky at first, try not to worry. When your baby arrives you’ll get plenty of practice in, making you a pro in no time!
Much like making dinner, changing a diaper successfully is a lot to do with the prep. Have everything to hand and you’ll be winning.
First, choose your changing area and set it up with a stack of diapers, cotton wool (or wipes) a bowl (to fill with lukewarm water just before a change), a diaper bin, some clean baby clothes and a couple of small towels. Sometimes, it can be helpful to create a couple of changing stations: one in the bedroom and one in the living area of your home so you’re never too far from a changing mat when it’s time for a change.
Make sure the room is warm, as your baby will be naked from the waist down during a change. When the time comes, wash and dry your hands as this will help to minimise the spread of germs.
GETTING DOWN TO IT
Undress your baby1
Lay them on their back on the changing mat. If your baby’s on a changing table, always keep your eye on them to avoid any potential falls as they get older, and more wriggly. Only remove your baby’s clothes from the waist down, so they don’t lose too much body heat. Undo the diaper’s tabs and lift your baby’s bottom by gently holding their ankles.
Use some damp cotton wool or a wipe to clean. If you have a girl, clean front to back, to reduce the risk of any bacteria entering her vagina. If you have a boy be sure to clean around his penis and testicles. Pat skin dry, and if you notice any diaper rash, apply a diaper barrier cream to help ease soreness and protect the skin. A good choice might be an un-fragranced product, that contains zinc oxide and petrolatum2.
Unfold a clean diaper and put it under your baby. Some newborn diapers are specially designed with a little cut-out for the umbilical stump, so as not to irritate the area.
To ensure your baby is comfortable, always spread out the diaper fully to avoid any bunching or rubbing of the skin. Finally, fasten the tabs so the fit is snug, but not too tight3.
Still making sure your baby is lying in a safe place, put your diaper sack in the bin if you haven’t already done so, then dress your baby, wipe down the changing area and wash your hands. You’re all set!
Choosing reusable diapers
Reusable diapers have come a long way in recent years, so you won’t be having to do several extra loads of laundry if these are your choice. You’ll find reusable diapers in a range of cute prints, colors and patterns, with Velcro or snap fastenings. Plus, many parents find that in the long term they save money, and are more environmentally friendly3.
How do I change a reusable diaper?
You’ll take almost all of the same steps you would if you were changing a disposable diaper, but instead you’d only put the liner part of the diaper in the bin, replacing it with a new one at every change. You’d then put a clean reusable cloth diaper on your baby, placing the worn one in your washing machine along with your cloth diapers, in a separate wash to your other laundry3.
Changing a diaper when you’re out and about
As you get used to changing diapers, you’ll become more confident at changing your baby away from the home. While there are usually designated changing areas in restaurants and shopping malls across Singapore, to help you make the whole experience as stress-free as possible, you’ll want to consider hygiene. It could be worth carrying a spray sanitiser or antibacterial wipes in your diaper changing bag. This will help to protect you and your baby from any germs you may come into contact with. Also, disposable changing pads (available in most drugstores) can be very useful when you’re changing diapers away from home, and they can be thrown away straight after use1.
Prefer to learn from a step by step demonstration video? Sign up now to Enfamama A+ Club to gain instant access to more pregnancy and parenting videos.