No one wants to spend all day at the changing table, and there are better and worse ways to change a diaper (no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, though!). I believe every parent should implement systems for handling the details of life with a baby — from feeding to diapering. Decision fatigue is real, and it saps energy you could otherwise use for bonding and play. After years spent caring for newborns, I’ve got my system set, and I’m excited to share it with you. Without further ado, here’s my advice for quick, efficient diaper changes:
First, gather your supplies and keep them near at hand — or designate a diaper station. Personally, I recommend purchasing:
- Changing Pad with a waterproof cover and disposable liner — for accidents
- Diaper Disposal Bag — for super messy diapers.
- Diaper pail. Pick one you can open with your foot. (Trust me, hands-free makes your life a lot easier.)
- Clean Diapers. I recommend keeping twelve diapers in a drawer or basket near the changing pad. Remember to restock regularly!
- Cotton Balls / Squares for newborns — use these in place of wipes for the first month. Even wipes designed for sensitive skin will irritate your baby’s bottom. Same goes for organic wipes. Nothing tops a cotton ball dipped in water. But remmeber no double dipping!
- Small Container of Clean Water — remember to dispose and replenish daily.
- Disposable Paper Towel — I recommend something soft and absorbent, like Viva towels
- Pacifiers or soothers — for tearful changes.
- Small/Blue tooth White noise machine to counterpart baby’s screaming.
- Diaper Rash Cream — Most newborns develop diaper rash as their sensitive skin adjusts to the friction of a diaper. For creams, I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Bottom Balm, which is gentle and organic. If you notice red bumps or unusual flare ups, your baby probably has diaper rash. Use protective ointment or zinc oxide cream at the onset of diaper rash to treat it. For rashes, I recommend medicated Triple Paste.
- Hand Sanitizer – To be used before and after diaper change.
- A Ready Onesie — Ready meaning already snapped … just in case!
You’ve gathered your supplies, and you’re ready to change that new baby. Here are the steps I follow (and teach my new parents). Don’t worry, it soon becomes second nature:
- Wash or sanitize your hands BEFORE changing baby’s diaper. (For tips on proper hand washing technique, check out the Diaper Tips blog.)
- Unfasten the dirty diaper, and close the side tabs to keep them from sticking to your baby’s skin.
- Gently place the paper towel over your baby’s private parts to catch any geysers.
- Lift baby’s legs, and watch out for projectile poop — trust me, it happens, and it’s why I prefer to keep the dirty diaper under baby until his bottom is clean and shiny.
- Dip a cotton ball in water to wipe, and always move from front to back (especially for girls). Don’t double dip. Yes, you’ll go through cotton balls like crazy, but it’s better than dealing with diaper rash. Also, never use the dirty diaper to swipe poop off your baby. Eventually, the friction will lead to — you guessed it — diaper rash (and an understandably grumpy newborn). Sincerely Mrs. Mommy’s blog has additional tips for dealing with the dreaded diaper rash.
- While wiping, be sure to reach every nook, cranny, and crease.
- Pat dry baby’s bottom. Trust me, this is one important step to prevent diaper rash!
- Dispose of the dirty diaper after you close the tabs. Use a disposal bag if it’s terribly messy.
- Lift baby’s legs a little higher and quickly insert the fresh clean diaper under his bottom and back.
- Apply your ointment or diaper cream (wipe any extra into the clean diaper)
- Close the fresh diaper, making sure it fits snugly (above or at the baby’s navel). If you have a baby boy, try to point the penis downwards before closing the diaper. For both girls and boys with umbilical cords still attached, fold the front of the diaper beneath the stump to prevent premature detachment.
- Mind your edges — the diaper should lay flat, smooth, and snug against your baby’s legs.
- Place the baby in a secure space, and wash or sanitize your hands immediately.
- Congratulate your baby! He did an excellent job, and so did you!