How to change a newborn’s diaper: practical advice

For a new mother and a new father who are preparing to change the diaper for the first time … nothing can seem simple. Don’t worry, you learn so quickly that in four and four eight you’ll be able to change the diaper almost with your eyes closed!

In the hospital, a “practical lesson” is usually given to new mothers where they carefully explain how to change the diaper in the right way and without fear. After the first 2-3 times you will see that you will become super expert too!

To make it easier for you for the first few times, we have gathered here some practical indications.

Practical advice for changing the diaper

Diaper changes should be done in a safe place with everything you need close at hand.

You can buy a changing table or make it yourself . Safety and practicality are the aspects that you must most take into consideration.

NEVER leave a baby unattended on the changing table, even for a few moments.

For changing on the changing table there must be:

  • the diapers
  • spare clothes
  • cotton pads or gauze (possibly a small container with warm water)
  • towel
  • any protective paste
  • wipes should only be used outside the home when water is not available. However, you can use the wipes that you prepare yourself which are natural: how to make wipes at home

The baby’s discharge is frequent during or shortly after feedings. It may happen that you change the baby when he falls asleep during the feed, and then change him again once the feed is finished.

The diaper change

Before changing it is important to wash your hands well. Then take the baby to the changing table, remove the baby’s legs from the onesie and unhook the bodysuit. In order not to dirty your clothes, pull up both the bodysuit and the playsuit a little.

At this point open the diaper but do not remove it, taking care to hold the baby’s legs up with one hand so that it does not get dirty further especially in the presence of faeces.

Boys tend to pee when you unhook the diaper, so… watch out for splashes and cover it with a diaper or towel if necessary.

In the presence of faeces, use the diaper to remove the bulk of the same then always keeping the legs up, remove the diaper, close it and put it aside.

At this point it would be practical to take the child to the bathroom and to wash him under running water ( first checking the water temperature ).

The best water temperature for a newborn (which is what you use for bathing) is 35-37 degrees. At the beginning, a thermometer may be useful to understand what temperature it is and then you will learn to regulate yourself by testing the temperature with your elbow.

You can use a mild baby cleaner.

Otherwise you should use cotton disks soaked in warm water which you should already have on hand.

When you wash the baby pay attention to the folds where the dirt stops, in boys wash the genitals well without forcing the foreskin (the skin that covers the end of the penis).

In girls, pay attention to the area between the labia majora and minora which must be cleaned proceeding from the genitals towards the anus and not vice versa to avoid infection by germs present in the faeces.

Once washed, dry them well, making sure that the skin between the folds does not remain damp. Humidity can cause irritation.

Keeping your legs up, insert the diaper under the bottom and then proceed with the closure, avoiding to tighten too much.

The dirty diaper should be thrown in the unsorted waste. A convenient system to avoid odors and compact dirty diapers is the Sangenic.

In case of diaper rash

A baby can show reddened skin in the butt for various reasons:

  • infrequent changes that force the child to stay in contact with feces and pee for a long time.
  • particularly sensitive skin
  • too aggressive soaps and detergents
  • diaper rubbing
  • use of cleaning wipes
  • irritating feces

Prevention must be done by changing the diaper frequently, keeping the skin as dry as possible and applying the indications listed when changing the diaper.

If the skin becomes irritated , a thin layer of zinc oxide paste can be used (for 3-4 days to be applied to the change).

If the irritation worsens and dots appear, it is advisable to inform the pediatrician because there could be a Candida infection which must be treated with the appropriate therapy prescribed by the doctor.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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