Changing a diaper can be a source of fear or anxiety for brand new parents. The good news, though, is that it only takes a little bit of practice to become a pro. Here’s how to change your baby’s diaper in 7 easy steps.
7 Steps to Changing a Diaper
Step 1: Before starting, be sure that all of your supplies are within reach: clean diapers, cotton balls, warm water, baby washcloths, diaper cream or ointment, and clean clothes (in case the diaper has leaked).
Step 2: Place your baby on her back on a changing table, washable pad or thick towel. Unfold a clean diaper and lay it to one side. Remember, while it may be months before your baby is able to roll over, keep a hand on him at all times when he’s on the changing table. Don’t leave him alone, even for a second!
Step 3: Put another clean diaper beneath your baby in case she pees or has a bowel movement. (Fresh air on the skin can stimulate your baby to go, so beware!) If you have a boy, place a baby washcloth over his penis to prevent him from using you for target practice. Try talking, singing or make funny faces to distract your baby as you change him.
Step 4: Wipe from front to back, being careful to clean inside all the creases. If your baby has had a bowel movement, use the unsoiled parts of the dirty diaper to clean up as much of the mess as possible. Meconium (your baby’s first stool) can be really sticky, so you may have difficulty removing it. Some parents find that water and a washcloth work best, while others swear by baby oil on a cotton ball. Experiment and see what works for you.
Step 5: To prevent diaper rash, let the area dry completely before putting on diaper cream and/or a clean diaper. To speed the process, you can dry with a baby washcloth or lightly blow on the area. Apply diaper cream or ointment liberally on areas that look pink and rashy.
Step 6: Lift your baby’s legs and place the clean, unfolded diaper that you set aside earlier under his bottom. If you have a boy, make sure his penis is pointing down. Pull the front of the diaper between his legs and fasten.
Step 7: To contain the odor and mess, roll up the dirty diaper before disposing of it. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and warm water when you’re finished!