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diapering baby

While diapering is an activity that's the brunt of many jokes, it can actually be a time to bond with your little love. And because baby may need her diaper changed 10 or more times a day, think of it as a time to connect. Since a dry baby is a happy baby, you'll need to learn the basics of tackling life's little messes from the get-go. We've put together some how-tos on changing baby's diaper, follow them and you'll be a pro in no time.

how to change baby's diaper

  • Begin by making sure you have all diaper changing essentials within arm's reach- a clean diaper (disposable or cloth), wipes, cream, powder.
  • Lay baby down, tummy side up, on a secure changing table, changing pad or a flat surface such as a bed or cushioned floor. On the changing table, be sure to use the safety straps and keep a hand on baby to prevent a roll over.
  • Remove baby's clothes to prevent them from getting dirty.
  • Unfasten the tabs on the soiled diaper and fold them over.
  • Pull down the front half of the diaper. If there's stool, use the front half to wipe up the bulk of it from baby's bottom.
  • Clean the diaper area, front to back, with a wet wipe or wash cloth, paying close attention to all of baby's little skin folds.
  • Gently lift baby's legs up by grasping both ankles in one hand to raise her bottom. Fold the soiled diaper in half, clean side up, and slide it out from underneath her.
  • Wipe the diaper area down again, allowing baby's skin to air dry for a few moments or pat her dry with a clean cloth.
  • While baby's bottom is lifted, slide a clean diaper, tape side up, underneath.
  • Apply any lotion, baby powder or diaper rash cream as directed by baby's healthcare provider or the product's label.
  • With baby's legs back in the outright position, pull the front of the clean diaper between her legs, keeping it from bunching up. Use one hand to gently hold the diaper against her stomach, just under her abdomen. If baby is a newborn, avoid covering the umbilical cord stump by folding down the front half of the diaper.
  • With the other hand, untape one side and secure it to the front of the diaper. Repeat with the other side.
  • Make sure the diaper is not too tight or too loose: you should be able to slide two fingers in the top front of the diaper.
  • Dress baby, and you're all done! Place her in safe space while you clean up the changing area, disposing of soiled items and sanitizing your hands!

diaper zone: what to expect

Baby's stool can determine her health and well-being. You'll come to pick up on even the slightest variation in color texture and size as her diet changes and as she gets older. Nourished or hydrated, feeling good or not so peppy, the diaper holds the key to baby's inner workings.

As a newborn, baby's very first BM (bowel movement) should be a thick, dark green, tar-like substance. Known as meconium, it's consists of materials taken in by baby in utero. As soon as baby passes the meconium, normal digestion will start. From then on, her BMs will generally be softer and lighter in color.

Since breast milk is easier for babies to digest, breastfed newborns will have soft, almost runny BMs that look like seedy mustard.

Formula-fed babies will have firmer stools, and vary in color from tan to yellow, brown or green. Since formula is less gentle on baby's belly, constipation may occur.

As baby starts on cereals and solid foods, you'll discover that the consistency and color of her stools reflect the food she ate during the day.

Even though baby's stool will vary from one day to the next and over time, if you ever think there's cause for concern, call your pediatrician.

disposable vs. cloth diapers

Disposable and cloth diapers come in a variety of sizes, materials and features. After use, disposable diapers can be sealed up and thrown away, while cloth diapers are laundered and reused. With all the improvements made to both options, the choices are equally good. The kind you choose comes down to personal preference, lifestyle, finances and environmental consciousness.

disposable diapers have an absorbent pad between two sheets of non-woven fabric. Inside the absorbent pad are chemical crystals that absorb liquid to keep baby dry. Disposable diapers are sized by weight. Many brands offer overnight protection and disposable underwear for your potty-training toddler as well.

cloth diapers are made from absorbent fabrics such as cotton fleece, terry cloth, flannel, unbleached hemp, wool or other materials. Cloth diapers can adapt to baby size or be sized by weight. They come in a variety of styles, including unfolded, pre-folded, fitted, all-in-ones, pocket diapers and/or diaper covers.

features to improve baby's diaper

  • velcro fasteners
  • contoured fit
  • petroleum-based lotion liner
  • stretch sides
  • ultra-absorbent core
  • wetness indicator
  • navel cutout (for a healing umbilical cord)

baby wipes

Wipes are a must for anyone changing a diaper. They are the most convenient and simplest way to freshen baby. When choosing wipes, consider their cleaning ability, thickness and durability. Wipes are available in tubs, economical refills and compact travel packs. To make them more comforting for baby, consider using a wipe warmer. This compact, electric unit is easy to use and designed to fit on most changing tables... so warm wipes are at hand when you need them! Also look for extra moisturizing and hypoallergenic options when choosing baby wipes.

diapering changing aids

The key to successfully changing baby's diaper is being prepared. Before you know it, you'll have a system that works just for you, making every diaper change a snap!