Changing a Diaper

Even if you have never changed a diaper before, there are step-by-step guidelines you can follow to make the process easy. In no time, you will be able to change a diaper in the middle of the night with your eyes closed. Before changing a diaper, however, make sure you have all the items you need, such as a clean diaper, pre-moistened wipes, and diaper rash cream.

How to Change a Diaper: An Overview

Changing the diaper of a newborn baby can be one of the most daunting tasks imaginable when you've never done it before. It might seem unlikely now, but in no time you will be a seasoned expert.
 

The Bare Necessities for Changing a Diaper

To keep your little one's bottom clean and healthy, there are a few things you will need when changing their diaper. Before getting started, you should make sure you have the following:
 
  • Clean and dry hands. You are about to touch some highly sensitive areas. You don't want to introduce more dirtiness, so wash up!
     
  • A clean, dry area. Unless you are going to be on the floor while changing a diaper, it is best to do this on a changing table with some sort of roll-proof side protection. If it is available to you, it is best to have a changing table with a barrier on the sides. Babies love to squirm and roll. Even a less-responsive baby can shift enough to slide off the side if they are not strapped in or protected by a barrier.
     
  • A clean diaper. There are so many types of disposable diapers available on the market today. Ask around and purchase a few small starter packs -- there are some great diapers and some not-so-great ones. You may not want to stock up on any one type before you know what is really going to work and fit your baby best (some moms find that certain brands work better for girls, while others work better for boys).
     
  • Pre-moistened wipes. You can use the store-bought wipes or simply soft cloths moistened with plain water. Ask the maternity nurses at your hospital or birthing center what you should use in the beginning when changing a diaper.
     
  • Diaper rash prevention ointment and/or petroleum jelly. There are several brands on the market. Experiment with a few to see what protects your baby's bottom best.
     
When researching these products, it is always a good idea to get feedback from other mothers. Remember, however, what works for one baby may not work for another. You may need to try out a few products before settling on one that works best for you.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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