You’re probably already a diaper change pro. But here’s a reminder of the basic steps:
• Have all your supplies at hand, including a change of clothing, just in case.
• Open the old diaper, and if baby has soiled, use a tissue to clean the bulk of the bowel movement into the diaper. Roll it up and reseal to contain the mess.
• Wash your baby’s bottom with mild soap and lukewarm water or a no-alcohol wipe and rinse thoroughly. Baby girls should be washed and dried from front to back, to prevent urinary tract infections.
• If your baby is just wet, rinse the area without soap. Too much soap can dry out the skin.
• Slide the new diaper under baby’s bottom, with tabs at the back.
• Pat your baby’s bottom dry. Make sure the skin is completely dry, even in the creases.
• Apply a thin film of petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointment, to provide a protective water-repellent barrier on the skin.
• Fasten the diaper snugly, sticking the back tabs to the front. (Cloth diapers with Velcro tabs work the same way.)
• Rinse dirty cloth diapers in the toilet and store in the diaper pail until wash time. Some communities now provide recycling for disposable diapers — check with your municipality.
Diaper rash prevention
Some babies are extra-sensitive and prone to diaper rash. To help prevent rashes:
• Keep baby as dry as possible by changing frequently. You may need to change her in the middle of the night, even if she is sleeping through.
• Avoid potential irritants like scented soaps and lotions. Perfumes in disposable diapers may also cause a reaction.
• Cloth diapers may retain traces of detergent or ammonia. Try adding a half cup of vinegar to the rinse.
• Plastic diaper covers hold in heat; if you use cloth diapers, try breathable covers.
Diaper rash treatment
Diaper rash often begins as a mild redness. Left untreated, it can become very painful.
• If your baby has a rash, use no soap, only lukewarm watter to wash his bottom and apply a medicated diaper rash ointment once the skin is perfectly dry.
• Exposure to the air helps, so lay your baby on a towel with a bare bottom several times a day.
• If the rash is very red and inflamed, or isn’t responding to your home care, see your doctor. It may be caused by a yeast infection and require special medication.
• A change area on every floor of your home will save you a lot of steps. No need for two change tables, though — a contoured change pad on a dresser or a laundry basket stocked with diaper supplies, sleepers and a soft change pad will do the trick.
• Have masking tape handy for refastening disposable diaper tabs that have lost their stick.
• Baby boys are liable to pee as soon as the diaper is removed. Keep an extra cloth diaper or small towel handy to contain the spray.
• Put an unbreakable mirror or simple black and white drawing of a face on the wall beside the change table, or hang a mobile, so your baby will have something interesting to look at while you clean him up.
• As your baby grows, change time is a lovely opportunity for face-to-face play. Take time to sing a song or give your nice clean baby a shower of silly belly kisses.