Nappy changes are another one of those things that many new parents find daunting, but the good news is that it’s not really so hard. (And trust us, with the average baby needing more than 4,000 nappy changes between birth and potty training, you’re going to get very good at it!) Here’s a step-by-step guide – gas mask optional.
- Be prepared. Even young babies can be surprisingly squirmy, and it’s best not to take your hand off them during a nappy change – even for a second or two. So make sure you have everything you need in arm’s reach:
- Cotton wool or baby wipes for cleansing
- A clean, dry cloth or tissue to dry your baby’s bottom and creases
- At least two clean nappies (you’d be surprised how often the fresh one gets dirty during a change!)
- A fresh set of clothing, in case of leaks/accidents
- Nappy sacks or a bin to put the used nappy in
- Any barrier cream you may want to apply to help ward off nappy rash
You don’t necessarily need to invest in a big, fancy changing table, but it does make good sense to have a spot in the house set up for changing, with a large and easily-cleaned surface and all your supplies close at hand.
- Take it all off. Undress your little one and lay your baby on the mat. Unfasten the tabs on the nappy, but don’t take it off just yet.
- Make a first pass. Pull down the front half of the nappy and use it to wipe downward to remove the majority of any poo or wee. (If your baby is a boy, you might want to cover his penis with a cloth when you do this – the fresh air often leads to an impromptu shower otherwise!) If you use cloth nappies with a separate cover, just use the inside part of the nappy for wiping.
- Get serious. Fold the dirty nappy over itself under your baby’s bottom, to keep the changing mat clean. Wipe in front first, using a clean wipe or moistened cotton wool. (Make sure to wipe baby girls from front to back, to prevent infections.) Then hold both the baby’s ankles with one hand and gently lift. Use a new wipe to clean the bottom thoroughly, including any skin creases.
- Nappy-free time. Let your baby air-dry for a minute, or pat dry with a clean tissue or cloth. Apply a small amount of barrier cream if necessary.
- Nice and fresh. Put the clean nappy under your baby’s bottom, making sure the waistband comes up to belly-button level. If you have reusable nappy covers with liners, put the liner on first, then add the cover afterward.
- Wrap it up. Pull the front half up over your baby’s tummy. (Top tip for boys: point the penis down to help ward off leaks!) If your baby still has the umbilical stump, you can fold the front part of the nappy down to make sure it’s not rubbing.
- Nearly there. Fasten the tabs or snaps snugly, but not tightly. Then get your baby dressed and dispose of the dirty nappy (or rinse and soak, for cloth nappies)
- Soap and water. We’re sure you won’t forget this bit, but make sure to wash your hands thoroughly!