Caring for an infant can be full of surprises, fears and learning experiences, changing a baby’s diaper often includes a bit of all three. There is more to changing a diaper than one may expect. What kind of diapers should you use? How do you use them? What if the baby cries? Will I get peed on? Why is the baby’s butt red? Do I put anything on my baby’s bottom while changing? How often should I change my baby? Is there a difference between diapering a girl and a boy? Is it supposed to look like that? Diapering a baby may seem like a simple task to someone who has never tried it but if you’re not prepared it can get messy fast.
There are a few tips and tricks that make diapering a baby go far smoother as well as few surprises no one ever tells newbie’s to the diaper game about. This simple guide on how to diaper will share all of the above in an easy to follow step by step format while answering all of your questions along the way.
You should begin to prepare to diaper your baby before he or she is even born. This is because the first step to diapering a baby is to choose your diaper. There are a few different types of diapers on top of hundreds of different brands.
The two main types of diapers are cloth and disposable.
A cloth diaper is a re-usable diaper made of usually bleached or unbleached cotton. The diaper is washed by the parent or a diapering service after use.
Here is a brief overview of the types of cloth diapers:
*Fitted Cloth Diapers: This is a pre-made cloth diaper with elastic to fit around the legs and waist. The diaper has buttons or snaps and requires no pins. This type often has a water proof cover that is separate from the diaper itself.
*All in One Cloth Diapers: These are exactly the same as a fitted diaper but the water proof cover is attached to the diaper. An absorbent material is often placed between the two layers to absorb any overflow. This piece may or may not be removable.
*Pocket Cloth Diapers: Again similar to a fitted diaper but contain a pocket where an absorbent material is placed. That material may or may not be disposable.
*Contoured Cloth Diapers: These are hourglass shaped cloth pieces. They do not have elastic but are cut to fit the babies shape. These diapers often require pins.
*Flat and Pre-folded Cloth Diapers: These can be just a piece of cloth that you fold into a diaper on your own, or a piece of cloth pre-folded to be used as such. These diapers often require pins.
Disposable diapers can be purchased just about anywhere. They are made of a disposable but absorbent material, have pre-attached closures and are thrown away after use. Pampers, Huggies and LUVS are a few well known brands of disposable diaper.
Cloth Versus Disposable
*Cost: This depends on your personal situation. You can find online calculators to help you decide.
*Health Wise: Cloth and Disposables are about the same. You can read an in-depth look at the health considerations of diapers by clicking here.
*Environmentally: Cloth diapers have a smaller impact on the environment, but do still have an impact.
*Convenience: Though newer cloth diapers have become far easier to use, disposables are still generally considered more convenient by most parents.
In the end which diapers you use will depend entirely on you and your baby’s skin. It may be easiest to try out a few at first. Buy a cloth diaper or two and a few small packs of disposables and experiment.
Next, before removing a baby’s diaper you should have all of the necessary items ready and on hand in a prepared area.
The Diapering Area:
Some parents simply spread a blanket on the floor, couch, bed, etc and use this as a changing area. Others purchase changing tables. A changing table is usually a waist high dresser or cabinet with a padded top that is higher on the edges than in the center to create a curved surface the baby cannot roll off of the under area is used for storing diapering materials.
No matter where you choose to change your baby the area should be clean, safe, warm and prepared. If your chosen location is off the ground be sure the baby cannot roll off. It’s a good idea to have something washable underneath the baby in case of accidents. Many parents when having a set diapering location will hang decorations or mobiles on the walls/ceiling to distract baby during changing to prevent crying. Many babies cry while being changed, this is perfectly normal.
The Diapering Materials:
To change a diaper you will need:
1. The diaper of your choosing from step one of the how to guide.
2. Something to wipe the baby with such as diaper wipes home made or purchased. You can also use a clean wet cloth or moist cotton balls.
3. A place to dispose of the diaper. (Trash for disposables diaper bin or laundry for cloth.)
Some optional items that may be used or you may want to have in your home:
1. Diaper rash ointment or petroleum jelly.
2. Cornstarch or baby powder.
3. A towel.
Some General Tips and Advice on Changing an Infant Boy’s Diaper
1. The exposure to air tends to make little boys pee. To prevent being peed on unclasp diaper, lift for a moment or even blow a bit on the penis and then place the diaper back down. In most cases the baby will pee.
2. Always tuck the penis down before clasping the diaper as if it ends up in an upward position when the baby pees again it will often leak out the top of the diaper.
3. Always be sure to lift the scrotum and check beneath it as poop and other unpleasantries can become trapped in this location.
4. In the case of uncircumcised boys or circumcised boys with a bit of foreskin remaining be sure to pull back the skin and clean it periodically. In the case of circumcised boys with enough foreskin remaining to cover part of the head of the penis, this will also prevent penile adhesions. You can read more about preventing penile adhesions by clicking here.
Some General Tips and Advice on Changing an Infant Girl’s Diaper
1. Always wipe front to back to prevent transfer of bacteria which can cause infection.
2. Baby girl’s are more prone to infection. It is very important to change them frequently.
3. Be sure to check any and all cracks and wrinkles for fecal matter. As odd as it may sound, this includes the outer area of the vagina.
4. Though actual spray of pee is less likely in girls, they can pee during a changing. Be sure there is a washable or waterproof surface below the baby.
How to Diaper a Baby
1. Lay the baby on its back in your chosen diapering area.
2. Unlatch the diaper and use the front portion to wipe the majority of any fecal matter from the baby in one smooth downward wipe.
3. Grab the baby by the ankles and gently lift its bottom from the surface and either remove the diaper and dispose of it, or fold the clean half over the dirty half to remain under the baby during changing.
4. Clean the baby with your chosen wipe. Be sure to get all the cracks, between the legs and in the folds of the skin.
5. Remove the dirty diaper if you haven’t yet done so and dispose of it.
6. Place a clean diaper below the baby and apply any ointment, powder or cream desired. If the baby has a red bottom this may be a sign of diaper rash. You can find out more about redness by clicking here.
7. Securely latch the new diaper to your baby. This step will vary by the type of diaper you have chosen.
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