There are many aspects of parenting that unpredictable. However, there is at least one thing all new parents will be sure to get their fair share of:
Infants, in particular, go through a lot of diapers daily (6-10 on average). Even first-time parents that may be new to the whole diaper changing experience will get enough practice under their belt in the first several months to be experts in their own right.
The premise of a diaper change is simple enough:
- Notice that your little one is wet or has pooped
- Remove the dirty diaper
- Apply any necessary diaper cream
- Affix a new diaper in place
Voila! You have completed a successful diaper change.
So what do you need advice for since this all sounds so easy? Well, for the most part, it is pretty straightforward. However, you’ll learn (as most new parents do) that preparing for those less than ideal situations is key to changing diapers at a pro level.
Here are some expert diaper-changing tips to get you started.
- Be prepared for blowouts. They are exactly what they sound like. A poop that, due to volume, exceeds the confinement of the diaper. With this in mind, ALWAYS carry an extra set of clothes or two (for the baby) in your diaper bag. You can also bring along a wet bag or plastic grocery bag for the soiled items after they are changed.
- Bring extra diapers. A common mistake is to underestimate the number you may need on an outing. Add a few extras as sometimes they will be soiled MID-CHANGE.
- Newborns go a lot! Don’t skimp on the number of diapers they need daily. If you know they’ve peed or pooped, change them. This is the time when their skin is particularly sensitive.
- Infants have different poop than adults. Newborns will have softer and lighter stools (after the initial passage of meconium). Don’t be alarmed by bright yellow poop if your baby is being breastfed. As shocking as infant poop may appear, it shouldn’t be particularly foul-smelling. Baby poops are usually relatively benign in smell until the introduction of solid food around 4-6 months old.
- If your baby is a boy, cover his penis during the entire changing process. This is not out of modesty. It’s for your own protection. From pee. Little boys tend to wee during changes, and it is likely to get everywhere if left uncovered.
- During the wiping phase, you’ll want to clean from front to back (particularly if your baby is a girl). This limits the spreading of bacteria that can cause a urinary tract infection.
- Use the correct diaper size. Too small and you are likely to deal with more blowouts. Too big and you are likely to get leakage from gaps in the waistband or legs. Most disposable diaper sizes have a weight range while many cloth diapers are adjustable.
- Invest in a portable changing mat (many diaper bags now come with removable versions). Changing your baby at home is no big deal but, eventually, you’ll want to go out in the world. Unfortunately, there won’t always be a changing table available. The changing mat allows you to create a more sanitary environment for changing your little one. With the mat, you can easily use the back of your car or even the ground if necessary to change your baby’s diaper.
- Have diaper ointment on hand everywhere: at home, in the diaper bag, etc. The active ingredient (zinc oxide) is excellent for both treatment and prevention of diaper rash.
- For the first several months, you can preemptively apply copious amounts of diaper cream at each change. The idea here is to create a barrier between your baby’s sensitive skin and the somewhat frequent pees and poops they will have.
- NEVER leave your child unattended on the changing table. Even if they are strapped in, they are at risk of falling.
- While your baby is tiny, it’s pretty easy to keep them in place for changes. Once they can roll over (anywhere from roughly 4-6 months old), you will have to change your strategy as it can become significantly more difficult. Having a small toy to occupy their attention will help give you a short amount of time to get the job done.