Some illuminating facts about diaper-changing:
- The average baby will need at least 5,000 diaper changes before she is potty-trained.
- A newborn urinates as many as 20 times per day.
- Her diaper will need to be changed every two to three hours for the first few months.
Read what you need to know to get started:
Diaper Choice: Cloth or Disposable?
Cloth ones are softer, less expensive and more environmentally friendly. Some come with VELCRO® closures, double or triple layers, and a fiber-filled strip for absorbency. You can clean them with soap and a double rinse in hot water. Or you can use a diaper service.
Disposables are popular for their convenience and absorbency. The built-in plastic liners do a good job of protecting clothing and furniture. Be sure you're buying the right size, based on your baby's weight.
Choosing a changing table.
Some parents prefer specially designed tables with storage for diapers and accessories. Others opt for a dresser top or table with comfortable padding. Whatever you choose, position the table next to the wall to reduce the risk of a fall. Be sure everything is within reach for you, but not for your baby. Never leave your baby alone on a changing table for even a second.
Diaper creams, etc.
You'll need wipes or a washcloth and warm water, plus diaper cream or ointment. Go for the unscented versions at first, to avoid irritation.
How to Change a Diaper
- Take off dirty diaper.
- Note: Baby boys tend to view removing a diaper as an invitation to pee in the air. You may want to cover the area with the new diaper, just in case.
- Clean the area with a wipe or clean washcloth and warm water from front to back.
- Lift your baby's lower body by the ankles and slide the new diaper underneath.
- Apply ointment if necessary. (Try not to get any on diaper tapes or they won't stick).
- Pull the rest of the diaper up over his tummy and attach at the sides.
Dealing with Diaper Rash
Almost every baby gets diaper rash.
It can be caused by contact with urine, an allergic reaction to a baby product, or if your baby has sensitive skin.
What it looks like.
The first signs are usually redness or small bumps on your baby's bottom, genitals, thigh folds or lower tummy. It's especially common in babies who are 8-10 months old, starting to eat solids and taking antibiotics.
How to reduce the risk of diaper rash.
Change your baby's diaper as frequently as possible. This reduces his skin's exposure to moisture. Likewise, expose his bottom to air when you can. Make sure air can circulate inside his diaper.
If your baby is susceptible to rashes, do not use super-absorbent disposable diapers, as they need to be changed less frequently.
Diaper Rash Treatment
Use an over-the-counter diaper rash lotion or ointment. If it's a moist rash, use a drying one. It should improve within 48-72 hours. If not, call his doctor.
Inside the Diaper
You can tell a lot about your baby's health and nutritional habits by peering into his diaper. Normal color for urine is light to dark yellow—lighter when your baby is drinking more liquid. If it's a little pink now and then, his urine may be more concentrated. If you see blood in your baby's urine or in his diaper, call his doctor.
Your baby's first bowel movement was passed during the first two days of his life. It was probably thick and dark green or black. With normal digestion, your baby's stools are yellowish-green. The color and consistency varies, depending on whether he's breast or formula-fed. Formula-fed babies' stools are usually a little firmer, and more tan or yellow in color. As your baby starts solids, his stools will be more solid as well. Be sure to talk to your baby's doctor if you see anything unusual in there.