Some illuminating facts about diaper-changing:

  • The average baby will need at least 5,000 diaper changes before they are potty-trained.
  • A new-born urinates as many as 20 times per day.
  • Their 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:

The Prep

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 fibre-filled strip for absorbency. You can clean them with soap and a double rinse in hot water.

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 the place for changing the diaper.

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

  1. Take off the dirty diaper.
  2. 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.
  3. Clean the area with a wipe or clean washcloth and warm water from front to back.
  4. Lift your baby's lower body by the ankles and slide the new diaper underneath.
  5. Apply ointment if necessary. (Try not to get any on diaper tapes, or they won't stick).
  6. Pull the rest of the diaper up over their tummy and attach at the sides.

Dealing with Diaper Rash

Almost every baby gets a 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 their skin's exposure to moisture. Likewise, expose their bottom to air when you can. Make sure air can circulate inside their 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 the doctor.

Inside the Diaper

You can tell a lot about your baby's health and nutritional habits by peering into their diaper.

The normal colour for urine is light to dark yellow—lighter when your baby is drinking more liquid. If it's a little pink now and then, their urine may be more concentrated. If you see blood in your baby's urine or in the diaper, call the doctor.

Your baby's first bowel movement was passed during the first two days of their life. It was probably thick and dark green or black. With normal digestion, your baby's stools are yellowish-green. The colour and consistency varies, depending on whether they are breast or formula-fed. Formula-fed babies' stools are usually a little firmer, and more tan or yellow in colour. As your baby starts solids, their stools will be more solid as well. Be sure to talk to your baby's doctor if you see anything unusual in there.


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