First-time parents spend a lot of time changing diapers to their babies. In fact, babies can use ten diapers a day or more.
Changing diapers may seem complicated at first. But, with a little practice, you will find that keeping your baby dry, comfortable and happy is easy.
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Have it all prepared
Before you start, prepare all the accessories you will need:
- a diaper
- hook pins or insurers (if you are going to use cloth diapers)
- a container filled with warm water and cotton balls (for babies with sensitive skin) or a soft, clean towel or baby wipes
- diaper ointment or Vaseline (to prevent and treat possible rashes)
- a changing mat, wipe or cloth or soaker to place the baby on
Make sure you have everything at hand. Never leave a baby unattended, not even a second. Even a newborn can surprise his parents by his ability to roll over on himself.
Clean the private parts of the baby
Using a soft, damp mitten, cotton balls or baby wipes, gently clean the baby’s intimate parts from front to back (never the other way around, especially in girls, to avoid spreading the bacteria that could cause urinary tract infections). You may prefer to lift the legs of the child, holding him by the ankles to better access their private parts. Do not forget to clean the folds that form on the thighs and buttocks.
If it’s a child, cover your penis with a clean diaper during diapering because exposure to the air often triggers urination – about you, the walls, or anything else that is within your reach.
Once you have washed the baby’s private parts, dry it with a clean washcloth and apply ointment or petroleum jelly.
If you use disposable diapers:
- Open the diaper and gently slide it under the baby’s body while gently lifting the legs and feet. The part of the back with the adhesive strips should be approximately at the height of the baby’s navel.
- Fold the front part of the diaper up and place it between the baby’s legs until it covers the belly.
- Close the adhesive strips around the baby’s body and adjust them well. Be careful not to stick the stickers of the strips on the baby’s skin.
Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
- Garbage bags that contain dirty diapers should be disposed of regularly (approximately once a day). This will not only prevent the bad smell of dirty diapers but also the growth of bacteria.
- If you notice diaper marks around the baby’s legs and waist, it means that they are too tight. Put it looser next time.
- If the baby develops a rash in the diaper openings, around the legs and around the waist, change the diaper mark. Sometimes babies become sensitive to certain brands of diapers.
- If you change a child’s diaper, place the penis down before closing and adjusting the diaper. This will prevent possible loss of urine above the waist.
- If the baby has not yet dropped the umbilical cord, fold the diaper waist down to keep the adjacent area dry. Continue to do so for a few days after the cord has been detached from the baby to avoid possible irritation.
- Always wash your hands well after changing the baby’s diaper to prevent the spread of germs.
Although most parents choose disposable diapers for comfort, some parents opt for cloth diapers, which can be cheaper (if you wash them at home). Some believe that cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly or “ecological,” but there is some controversy about it.
There are cloth diapers in many different shapes and sizes. Traditional cloth diapers are usually folded or squared and require the use of hook pins. The most modern can be filled and are adjustable, such as disposable diapers, and come with Velcro or snaps. Other accessories related to cloth diapers are the absorbent liners (some are disposable and can be flushed down the toilet), double diapers for additional protection at night and covers to prevent urine losses.
If you use traditional cloth diapers, there are several ways to put them on the baby. One of the most used is the triangular fold:
- Fold the square in half to form a triangle. (With newborns or small babies, you may need to fold the longer side of the triangle a few inches down to better fit the baby’s body).
- Place the baby on the diaper by gently lifting the legs and feet and sliding the diaper under your body. The longest side of the triangle should be under the baby’s back, with the opposite vertex pointing towards the feet.
- Fold the front part of the diaper between the baby’s legs until it covers the belly.
- Bring one of the sides of the triangle towards the center, surrounding the baby’s body until it covers the central part of the diaper.
- Bring the other side to the center, surrounding the baby’s body to cover the other two parts of the diaper. Tighten all three parts with a safety hook.
Another way to put the diaper is the rectangular fold, which is similar to the way you put a disposable diaper:
- Fold the diaper in the shape of a rectangle. Some parents are helped to make an extra fold in the diaper so that there is more material to cover the area that the baby will wet more: the front in the boys and the back in the girls.
- Place the diaper under the baby’s body, with the long side facing in the same direction as the baby.
- Bring the lower part upwards covering the belly of the baby.
- Bring one of the sides towards the center, surrounding the baby’s body, and secure it with a safety pin; then do the same with the other side.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you use cloth diapers:
- If you use diapers that are fitted with hook pins, always use a large safety hook with a plastic head. To avoid pricking the baby, always place your hand between the safety pin and the baby’s skin. If that makes you nervous, use diaper tape, which is sold with a dispenser.
- Wet diapers can be placed directly in the bucket of dirty diapers, but those containing feces should be emptied beforehand in the toilet, especially if the baby drinks artificial milk or has already begun to ingest solids. Some people rinse diapers before washing them. You may prefer to spray water with baking soda on the diapers to better control the smell.
- If you wash diapers at home, do so by separating them from the rest of the clothes and using a mild detergent that is hypoallergenic or recommended for nursing clothes. Do not use fabric softener or other antistatic products, which can cause rashes in babies with sensitive skin. Wash them in hot water and double rinse.
- Always wash your hands well after changing diapers to the baby to prevent the spread of germs.
Prevent diaper rash
It is quite common for babies to develop diaper rash. But, if the rash appears often, lasts more than two or three days or gets worse, it may be necessary to call the pediatrician. Also inform the pediatrician if the baby has a fever other than the rash or if it appears painful, is bright red or contains blisters.
To prevent and cure diaper rash, keep the following tips in mind:
- Change diapers to the baby frequently, especially after bowel movements. Clean the anal and genital area gently and gently. Acting too abruptly or vigorously, rubbing the baby’s skin hard, can further irritate the skin affected by the rash.
- Use an ointment to prevent and cure the rash. Purchase one that contains zinc oxide, which acts as a protective barrier against moisture that can also relieve minor rashes.
- I left the baby without diapers during part of the day, lying naked on several towels or cloths. (If it’s a child, put a clean cloth diaper on the penis when lying on his back so he does not splash urine.)
- If you use cloth diapers, wash them with detergents that do not contain perfume or dyes, and avoid putting them in the dryer with scented leaves.
As soon as you master the basics of the technique, you will become a true expert in changing diapers unless you sing a rooster!