Changing a baby’s diaper might be one of the more essential skills for parenting, but it can take a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Rest assured, with a few simple supplies and these step-by-step tips, changing a diaper will become second nature in no time.
How to change a baby’s diaper
Step 1. Gather your supplies.
Assemble all your supplies so you’ll have them within easy reach. The basics include:
- A clean diaper
- Baby wipes
- Diaper cream
- A changing pad or a flat surface
You should never leave your baby alone, even for a moment, so it’s essential to have everything you’ll need to change your baby’s diaper within arm’s length once your baby is ready for changing.
Step 2. Lay your baby on their back on the changing pad or flat surface.
Make sure there’s nothing your baby might knock over nearby and that there’s plenty of room for them to roll around. If possible, use a changing table or other waist-high surface to help avoid back strain, and ensure there are barriers to keep your baby safely in place.
Step 3. Remove the dirty diaper.
Unfasten the tabs on either side. Gently lift your baby’s legs up as you slide the diaper away from under their bottom, careful to make sure the mess is contained. You may want to cover your baby’s genitals with a cloth or diaper, especially if you have a boy. Babies often pee as soon as their diapers come off.
Step 4. Clean the area.
Gently gather your baby’s ankles with one hand, and clean your baby front to back with wipes. Wiping from back to front could contribute to urinary tract infections, so you’ll want to avoid that. Make sure to clean in the folds of skin.
Step 5. Apply diaper cream.
If needed, apply some cream on their skin to help avoid diaper rash.
Step 6. Put on a clean diaper.
Slide the clean diaper under your baby's bottom, ensuring it's centered. Bring the front of the diaper up between your baby's legs and fasten the tabs securely on either side. It shouldn’t fit too tightly—you should be able to slide two fingers into the top front of the diaper.
Step 7. Roll, wrap, and rid.
Once your baby has their fresh diaper and is safely in their crib or carrier, roll up the dirty diaper, wrap the tabs, and get rid of it in a garbage can or diaper bin. And wash your hands!
How often to change a baby's diaper
Babies, especially newborns, need frequent diaper changes, sometimes every two to three hours or up to 10 to 12 times a day. Change the diapers as soon as they are wet or soiled. Sitting in a soggy or poopy diaper may contribute to diaper rash or irritation on your little one's sensitive skin, so keeping your baby in clean diapers is important. However, if your baby is sleeping, you can wait and change them immediately upon waking.
As your baby grows, they'll need to be changed less often. You'll also notice fewer wet diapers since they start eating solids. It's still important to change their diapers regularly to keep them clean, dry, and, most of all, happy.
How to tell if a baby needs a diaper change
There are three main things to look out for to know when your baby needs a diaper change:
- The diaper feels heavy or bulky.
- The baby seems fussy or uncomfortable.
- You can smell a strong odor from the diaper.
- If you’re still unsure, you can always take a peek—your baby won’t mind!
Explore Enfamil Family Beginnings® for more baby tips
As with most things, practice makes perfect—and rest assured, you’ll get plenty of diaper-changing practice those first couple of years. In no time you’ll be a pro and be able to tackle your baby’s diaper with confidence. For more tips and resources on all things baby, including nutrition and feeding, be sure to join Enfamil Family Beginnings®. Enjoy up to $400 in savings, plus exclusive rewards, support, and surprises.