Diapering 101 - Tips for How to Master Baby Diaper Changes
By the time your baby is 1 year old, you’ll have changed their diaper about 2,500 times. At some point you’ll become an expert! But, when you’re starting out with the first few, you might feel a bit worried about whether you’re doing it right. It’s a new skill that all parents must learn.
So, what are you getting into? What should you know about changing diapers?
Here are some basic facts about diapering that every new parent should know.
How Often Will You Change Your Baby’s Diaper?
Many parents of newborns are surprised to learn that their baby poops after every feeding. When you feed every 2-3 hours, that’s a lot of diaper changes! However, this is common at this stage when the baby’s digestive system is still getting used to nursing or formula. Newborns need to be changed up to 10 times per day! Sometimes, it might be more. Don’t worry though, the newborn stage doesn’t last very long.
Another important thing to know is that your baby’s first poop will be almost black in color. It’s called meconium. This first poop includes anything the baby ingested while in the uterus such as amniotic fluid and lanugo. After a few of these poops, your baby will have either yellow or yellow-brown stools depending on whether you breastfeed or use formula.
Once your baby is a month or two old, they might start needing fewer changes as their digestive system starts to mature. However, you’ll probably still be changing about 7 diapers a day.
When your baby reaches 6 months of age and begins trying table food, many babies’ routines change again. You may have a few weeks of adjustment, but eventually, your baby will have fewer bowel movements per day. This means you’ll go down to about 5 changes per day until your baby is 1 year old.
Most children don’t potty train until they’re at least 18 months old. But, many don’t potty train until they’re 2 or 3 years old. So, even after your baby reaches the milestone of one year, you’re not quite out of the woods.
What Do You Need to Change a Diaper?
Changing a diaper involves lots of supplies. Many parents opt to use a changing table where they keep all of the supplies necessary for changing a diaper. This helps ensure that you never leave baby unattended while changing their diaper. So, what do you need?
- A Clean Diaper: Whether you’re using cloth or disposable diapers, you’ll need a clean diaper that’s ready to go. For cloth diapering parents, you’ll need to prepare the diaper ahead of the change by adding any inserts to the diaper or folding it the correct way.
- Wipes: You’ll need lots of wipes available as you never know what you’re going to encounter when you open up your little one’s diaper. Experienced parents will encourage you to always have an extra pack of wipes available when you’re nearing the end of a pack.
- Diaper Cream: Many diaper creams are actually preventative. While they can also help heal diaper rash, many parents find it’s more effective to always apply a thin layer of a preventative cream. This will help you keep your little one’s tush from getting red and uncomfortable.
- Extra Cloth Diaper for Boys: Surprise! Baby boys often decide to pee when they feel the cool air after you’ve opened up their diaper. Be prepared with a cloth of some sort so that you don’t get sprayed in the face. It’s almost guaranteed to happen at some point.
- Clean Clothes: You never expect a blowout diaper until you see one. They happen. So, make sure you have clean clothes nearby just in case you need to change a stained onesie or pants.
- Something for Baby to Hold Onto or Look At: As your baby grows, you’ll notice that as soon as you open up their diaper, they start grabbing their genitals. This is normal for many babies. So, to avoid having them get too messy, start giving your older baby a toy such as a rattle to play with during changes. You can also distract your baby with a mobile or by singing them a song during the change.
- Extra Changing Pad Covers: Changing pad covers are there to protect the changing pad should your baby pee during a change or if things otherwise get messy. While you certainly don’t need to change this cover after every diaper change, it’s wise to keep a few extras on hand. That way, while you wash one, you can put a fresh one on.
- Diaper Bucket: Whether you use a full diaper system or a bucket with a lid, you need a place where you can immediately toss dirty diapers during the change and then deal with them later.
Steps for Changing a Diaper
Now that you know what supplies you’ll need to change a diaper, here are the steps you’ll need to take when changing your little one:
- Prepare Your Supplies: Before undoing your baby’s diaper, gather everything you’ll need. You should never leave baby unattended on a bed or changing table during a change.
- Lay Baby Down and Undo Diaper: The first step is to lay baby down on the changing table and undo their diaper. Don’t worry if they cry! Diaper changes are often tearful, especially during the first few weeks. But, you’ll get better and faster at changing and your baby will also get used to the routine. At this point, don’t remove the dirty diaper just yet. Simply fold the front up and tuck it under your baby’s bum. The dirty diaper will serve as a buffer during the cleaning stage.
- Clean Baby: Using wipes, clean off your baby. For girls, make sure you wipe front to back. Use as many wipes as you need to get your baby clean. Once the baby is clean, remove the old diaper and toss it in your diaper bucket.
- Place New Diaper: Now, slide the new diaper under your baby.
- Apply Diaper Cream: Before closing the diaper, apply any diaper cream that you’re using.
- Close Diaper: You’re almost done! Now you can close up the diaper.
- Put on Clothes: It’s finally time to dress your baby. At this point, change any clothes that got dirty.
Are you ready to give it a try? Changing your baby’s diaper may feel intimidating at first, but it’s not impossible. With time and practice, you and your baby will adjust and you’ll be a diaper changing pro!