Diapering Your Baby

Diapering Your Baby

New parents spend a lot of time changing their baby. Indeed, babies may use 10 diapers a day or more.

Diaper changing might seem complicated at first. But with a little practice, you'll find that keeping your baby high and dry is easy.

Getting Ready

Before you begin, gather a few supplies:

Make sure your supplies are all within reach. Babies should never be left unattended, even for a second. Even newborns can surprise parents with their ability to roll.

Wiping

Using the wet washcloth, cotton balls, or baby wipes, gently wipe your baby clean from the front to the back (never wipe from back to front, especially on girls, or you could spread the bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections). You might want to lift your baby's legs by the ankles to get a better reach. Don't forget the creases in the thighs and buttocks.

For boys, keep a clean diaper over the penis during changing because exposure to air often causes boys to urinate — on you, the walls, or anything else within range.

Once you've finished wiping, pat your baby dry with a clean washcloth and apply diaper ointment.

Disposable Diapers

If you're using disposable diapers:

Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind:

Cloth Diapers

Although most parents choose disposable diapers because of their convenience, some parents opt for cloth diapers, which can be more affordable (if you wash them yourself). Some believe that cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly, but there's some debate over whether this is actually true.

Cloth diapers come in many shapes and sizes. Traditional cloth diapers usually come prefolded or in a square and require pinning. More modern types are fitted or contoured like disposable diapers, and come with Velcro closures or snaps. Other cloth-diapering accessories include absorbent liners (some are flushable), diaper doublers for extra protection at night, and diaper covers to help prevent leaks.

If you're using traditional cloth diapers, there are several ways to fasten them. One of the more commonly used ways is the triangular fold:

Another method is the rectangular fold, which is similar to the fold of disposable diapers:

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using cloth diapers:

Preventing Diaper Rash

It's common for babies to have some diaper rash. But if the rash happens often, lasts for more than 2 or 3 days, or is getting worse, it may be time to call your doctor. Also let the doctor know if your child has a fever with the rash or if the rash seems painful, bright red, or has blisters.

To prevent and help heal diaper rash, keep these tips in mind:

Once you have these basics down, you'll be a diapering pro in no time!

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
Web SiteZero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.
Related Articles
Diaper Rash Instruction Sheet Diaper rash is a common skin condition in babies. In many cases, the rash is due to irritation caused by the diaper, but there are other causes not related to diaper use.
Burping Your Baby Feeding a baby for the first time is an exciting experience for any new parent. Here's a quick guide to one important aspect of feeding - burping.
Trimming Your Baby's Nails Although cutting your little one's nails can be a bit unnerving, keeping nails short is important to your baby's safety.
Laundering Your Baby's Clothes Once a baby arrives, it can seem as if the laundry doubles! Many parents think they need to use baby detergent to clean their baby's clothes, but in most cases, this isn't necessary.
Babysitting: Changing Diapers If you're babysitting infants and toddlers, diaper changing is a skill you need to know. Here are some tips for teen babysitters.
Feeding Your Newborn How you feed your newborn is the first nutrition decision you will make for your child. Take a closer look at these guidelines for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding so you can make an informed choice.
Disposable Diapers or Cloth Diapers: How Do I Decide? Find out what the experts have to say.
Diaper Rash Diaper rash is a very common infection that can cause a baby's skin to become sore, red, scaly, and tender. In most cases, it clears up with simple changes in diapering.
A Guide for First-Time Parents If you're a first-time parent, put your fears aside and get the basics in this guide about burping, bathing, bonding, and other baby-care concerns.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter