How to Change a Diaper: Three Easy Steps
Ah, diaper changing. One of the many joys of parenthood. While it might not be your or your baby’s favorite activity, it is an unavoidable part of your first few years of parenting. The good news is, with a little practice you’ll become a pro in no time and diaper changes will become quick and easy. If you’re a first-time parent or parent-to-be and experience is not on your side, you might be wondering how to change a diaper in the most efficient way while ensuring that your baby is safe and comfortable. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for you here along with some specific tips on how to modify the process for your baby boy or baby girl. Plus, we’ve added a few pointers on handling diaper changes as your little one grows and becomes more mobile. Ready to become a diaper-changing wizard?
Table of Contents
- Preparing Your Changing Station
- How to Change a Diaper
- How to Change a Boy’s Diaper
- How to Change a Girl’s Diaper
- How to Change a Newborn’s Diaper
- How to Change a Toddler’s Diaper
Preparing Your Changing Station
When it comes to changing diapers (and, really, most things in life) preparation is key to success. Whether you’re doing a diaper change at your changing station at home or you’re on the go, it’s important to make sure that you have everything you need within arm’s reach before you begin changing your little one’s diapers. Not only does this make the diaper changing process easier, but it’s also important for your baby’s safety. You don’t want to have to step away from your baby if they are on an elevated surface for their changing because an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Here’s what we recommend having close by before getting started with your diaper change.
- Fresh diapers. This seems like a no brainer but take note that we said fresh diapers (plural!). Some changes are quick, easy, and relatively tidy. Others … not so much. In case one clean diaper gets dirty during the changing process make sure you have a back-up, or two on hand.
- Wipes. Baby wipes are every new parent's best friend. Make sure you always have a decent supply of wipes on hand before every change.
- Diaper cream. Diaper rash is tough to avoid so keeping a tube of diaper cream at your station and in your bag while you’re on the go is a great idea.
- Changing Pad or Basket. A portable changing pad or basket not only helps you avoid making a mess when you’re changing your little one on the go, it also ensures that your baby is safe and comfortable.
- Diaper pail. You probably won’t have a diaper pail available when you’re on the go but this is definitely something you’ll want in your nursery!
How to Change a Diaper
Now that you’re set up and ready to go, let’s dive into our step-by-step guide for how to change a diaper. While there’s nothing like practicing it yourself in real life, this guide is designed to help new parents prepare for those first few diaper changes.
Step 1 - Prepare the Area
Gather everything you’ll need to change your baby’s diaper and make sure the area you’ll be using to change your little one is safe. If you’re changing your baby on the floor, ensure that any large pieces of furniture in the surrounding area are secured to the wall and that the area is free from any choking hazards your little one could grab.
Once this is done, lay down your changing pad. You might also want to use a changing pad cover in case things get a little messy as they do from time to time.
Step 2 - Let’s get started
Open up a clean diaper and lay it down on the changing pad. Next, lay your baby down over top of the clean diaper. Open up the dirty diaper, grab your wipes, lift your baby’s legs gently and wipe your little one clean.
Step 3 - Finishing touches
Once your baby is clean, wrap up the dirty diaper and remove it from underneath your baby. Gently rest your little one’s legs back down on the changing pad. This is where you might want to use some powder and/or diaper cream. Some parents prefer to use diaper cream preemptively while others only use it if a rash appears. You can always talk to your paediatrician about your options for skin irritation. You’re almost done! All that’s left to do is secure your baby’s clean diaper. Pull the front of the diaper between your baby’s legs so it is laying flat across your little one’s belly. Use the tabs to secure the diaper in place and you and your little one are good to go!
How to Change a Boy’s Diaper
When it comes to changing your little boy’s diaper the above steps will work well but there are a few extra considerations. With baby boys things can get a little messy when the diaper comes off. So, you may want to have a cloth on hand to keep him from spraying either you, himself, or the wall. No one wants that!
How to Change a Girl’s Diaper
Doing your best to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) is important when you’re changing your baby girl. When you are wiping your baby be sure to move from front to back. Take extra care to ensure that the folds of the skin are thoroughly cleaned.
How to Change a Newborn’s Diaper
In the first few weeks of life your newborn will have an umbilical cord stump. You may need to fold over the front of the diaper to keep it out of the way. Additionally, you might want to gently clean the umbilical cord stump when you are changing diapers and check for any signs of infection like red skin or discharge.
How to Change a Toddler’s Diaper
Most parents will tell you that it’s hard to keep a toddler from exploring their surroundings so getting them to stay still for a diaper change can be tricky. Pull up diapers can help make changes easier as your baby enters the toddler phase. You might also want to start talking to your toddler about diaper changes and toileting as a first step in the potty training process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some diapers have a wetness indicator which can be very helpful. But, typically your little one will let you know when they’re uncomfortable in their diaper which will be your sign that it’s time for a change. As you and your baby settle into a routine you’ll start to get a pretty good sense of when diaper changes need to happen.
Diapers today are incredibly absorbent. There are even nighttime varieties that do a great job of keeping your baby dry even if they wet themselves throughout the night. So, it’s not necessary to wake your baby to change a wet diaper unless they have soaked through their diaper. On the other hand, if you can see or smell that your baby has pooped during the night it is best to get them into a fresh diaper as soon as possible. Since the cool feeling of a regular wipe tends to be more stimulating, a great trick is to use wipe warmers at night to help keep your baby sleepy during diaper changes.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some parents prefer to use diaper cream at every change as a way to prevent diaper rash from appearing in the first place. Others only use the cream when signs of irritation appear. You will get to know your baby and figure out what works well for their skin.
There is definitely such a thing as overusing wipes. Too much wiping can be irritating to your baby especially if he or she has sensitive skin. Because diaper’s today are very absorbent and urine is not typically a skin irritant it’s not necessary to wipe your little one every time they pee. Pay attention to your baby’s skin and what does or does not cause reactions. As you get to know your little one you’ll figure out what diaper change routine works best for you!