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Basic 9 Tips for Changing Baby’s Diaper

If you have never changed a baby’s diaper before, then this task may seem overwhelming. But, you need to relax. Once you have done the diaper change a few times, it will become second nature. If you are a new parent, your baby will give plenty of practice. One interesting fact – infants typically go through 8 – 10 diapers a day. This is adding up to more than 3,500 diaper changes until your child is toilet trained. The baby’s diaper change may not be your favorite part of the mommy or daddy job, but it is still part of the baby care package.

In fact, this is good for the baby too, since changing a diaper whenever it is messy or wet, can help to prevent diaper rash and irritation [1]. You need to check your baby’s diaper often, every two hours, and change it promptly, so in this way, you can prevent a diaper rash. Also, you need to clean your baby’s diaper region thoroughly during changes, so you will avoid your baby from having a diaper rash. You should not use scented soaps or wipes on your baby’s diaper region.

How to Change a Baby's Diaper?

How to know which is wet and which dry diaper is:

When you have a newborn, then you will probably know when your baby poops by the grunts and grimaces that clue you in. Otherwise, you will get a whiff soon after your baby is finished. You will know that your baby has peed with a disposable diaper often by the liquid–sensitive, color-changing stripe on it with a cloth diaper that is wet to the touch.

If you still cannot tell if the diaper is wet, then a look inside it or a quick feel of the diaper will do the trick. If your baby is sleeping, then there is no need to wake him or her for a diaper change. If you noticed that your newborn is very wet and uncomfortable or has a poopy diaper, then change your baby’s diaper. You do not need to put your newborn on nighttime feedings, especially if this interferes with going back to sleep.

What you need:

Before you change your baby’s diaper, you need to be sure that you have everything you need, or you could need. You should be sure that you have the following:

  • A safe and clean place to change the baby: Many parents are using a changing pad or changing table on the couch, bed, or floor. If you are using a changing table, then it is recommended to use safety straps and follow the instructions given on the pad, because they can help you to anchor it to the table. While your baby will not move much (this is by age of 4 months old), your baby will know how to roll. It is important to practice safety from the start because it will help you a lot when your little one is on the move.
  • Clean diapers: It is a good idea to have a couple of spares handy when you are changing diapers. No matter if your diapers are cloth or disposable, you need to have them all the time and in the correct size.
  • Something to wipe the baby with Many parents use baby wipes to clean the diaper area. But, the baby’s skin is sensitive. Pediatricians usually recommend using warm water and a cloth or cotton balls during the first weeks of life. Another option for cleaning the diapers are is to use wipes sold pre-moistened with water. In general, baby wipes, especially those containing alcohol, can cause irritation and rashes until children are about two months old. [2]
  • A change of clothes for baby: You should not be worried. It happens with all children. Simply, change the clothes of your baby if his or her diaper has leaked.
  • A loving touch: When you are taking or singing to your baby and touch him or her, can make diaper changes easier on your baby and easier for you too.
  • A distraction: You should keep your baby’s favorite toy visible. If you have a squirmy baby, then you can use a music box or mechanical toy for distraction.
  • Ointment: If your baby needs it, you can use an ointment to prevent or soothe the diaper rash. If your baby has a diaper rash, this creates a barrier between that tender bottom and skin – irritating poop and pee. You do not need baby powder, baby oil, or lotions. You need to remember that you cannot use many diaper rash creams and ointments with cloth diapers. [3]

Once, you have got everything that you need for changing your baby’s diaper, you need to wash and dry your hands. If this is not possible, then give your baby a good swipe with a diaper wipe.

Changing a diaper: step by step:

Below are the given instructions for changing disposable diapers. You should not be worried if you are using cloth diapers, because the basic steps are the same. No matter if your baby’s age, you should never leave him or her unattended on an elevated surface, even for a moment.

  • You need to wash your hands and gather your supplies. You need to be sure that you have everything you need in your arm’s reach.
  • You need to lay your baby on his or her back on the changing surface.
  • You need to unfasten the diaper tabs. You need to raise your child’s bottom of the diaper by gently grasping their ankles and lifting. If your baby has a lot of poop, then you can use the upper half of the diaper to gently sweep it toward the lower half of the diaper.
  • You need to slide the diaper away from your baby and put it nearby, but out of reach of your baby.
  • Then, you need to wipe the baby clean. When you are wiping a girl, it is important to remember, you always need to go from the front to back, to prevent an infection. You need to thoroughly cleanse the area, so your baby does not get a rash.
  • You need to place any used disposable cleaning supplies on the top of the soiled diaper.
  • Then, you need to slide a clean diaper under your baby’s bottom and be sure that tabs are on the side located under your child’s bottom. Nowadays, most diapers have colorful markings or characters that are indicating the front of the diaper.
  • Before you close the diaper, you need to apply any creams or ointments which your doctor has recommended for the rashes. You need to do this step after you have placed the new diaper under your baby because it can help prevent you from having to clean ointments off the changing surface, which can be sometimes difficult.
  • Then, you need to close the new diaper by pulling the front up over your baby’s belly and pulling the tabs open and around to the fastening surface. If you are not using specially cut newborn diapers, then you should be sure to fold the diaper down to avoid irritation of the umbilical stump until it falls off.
  • You need to roll the used diaper and wrap the tabs all the way around it. You need to put the used diaper in a bag, diaper bin, or in a garbage can.
  • You need to wash your hands and your baby’s hands and clean the changing surface. This is a very important step if your baby is ill because it can help to prevent recontamination.


You and your baby will soon get into a groove, but there are some tips that can help you to find your way:

  • You should never change or leave the dirty diaper where the food is eaten or prepared.
  • You should always keep one hand on your baby when you are looking away or reaching for a clean diaper.
  • You should be careful not to make the diaper too tight. You may want to avoid leaks, but a too-tight diaper can cause pressure on your baby’s stomach and this makes your baby more likely to spit up. Especially, this is true after feedings. [4]
  • Also, a baby girl can have a discharge and this is a very common situation.
  • You need to contact your pediatrician immediately if your baby has a rash that does not clear up after a few days, or if your baby seems to be in a lot of pain and has skin that is red and raw in appearance.
  • There are some cases when parents find urate crystals in the diaper. In some cases, this can be caused by breastfeeding, but also it can be a sign of dehydration. [5]
  • You need to follow your doctor’s instructions when caring for a healing circumcision and umbilical stump.
  • Baby girls need to be wiped from the front to back, so in this way, you will avoid getting poop in the vaginal area. You should not open the labia and clean inside, even if you see a white discharge.
  • Baby boys may offer an unwanted surprise in the form of a fountain of pee, so you need to keep their penis covered with a clean cloth or diaper whenever he is undressed. You can expect erections sometimes (this is perfectly normal) and you should not be afraid of gently cleaning around the penis and scrotum. When you put a new diaper, you need to point his penis down to minimize the leaks and soaked shirts.


[1] Carr AN, DeWitt T, Cork MJ, et al. Diaper dermatitis prevalence and severity: Global perspective on the impact of caregiver behavior. Pediatric Dermatology. 2020;37(1):130–6.

[2] Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Got an itch? Allergy to moistened wipes rising, says dermatologist. Science Daily. 2014. Retrieved from

[3] Blume-Peytavi U, Hauser M, Lünnemann L, et al. Prevention of diaper dermatitis in infants–a literature review. Pediatric Dermatology. 2014;31(4):413-29. doi:10.1111/pde.12348.

[4] U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Babies spitting up—Normal in most cases. Retrieved from

[5] Ramanantseheno NZ. Hypernatremic dehydration in children. Master’s thesis: University of Zagreb. 2019.

Dr. Emil Sarsath (aka) Vijila, a licensed naturopathic doctor (BSMS) who always ensures his patients receive compassionate, and individualized care. He has extensive experience in primary care, digestive health, mental health, nervous system disorder and more.Area of Expertise – Naturopathic Medicine, Whole Foods-based Nutrition, Siddha, Panchakarma.She is always available through [email protected]


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