Health Tip: Baby Diapering 101
By the time a new baby is a couple of weeks old, parents will be diapering experts. But the first few times you try to strap a diaper onto a squirming baby, you might be at a loss as to how to get the job done right.
The Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions for new parents on how to diaper a baby:
- Make sure you have all necessary supplies within easy reach. Remember, you never want to step away from baby for even a second. You'll need a diaper, wipes or warm water, and some ointment to prevent diaper rash.
- Place baby on a changing pad while you change the diaper.
- Wipe baby clean with a damp washcloth or cotton balls, or a baby wipe -- always from front to back. Hold baby's ankles and gently lift up so you can get the bottom clean.
- Once baby is clean, pat the bottom dry, rub on diaper ointment, and get your diaper ready.
- Open the diaper and slide the back (where the sticky strips are) beneath the baby's bottom (lift up by the ankles again). The top of the diaper ought to be at about the level of the belly button.
- Lift the front of the diaper between the legs and lay it against baby's belly. Fasten it with the adhesive strips to the front of the diaper, making sure it's snug but not too tight. There shouldn't be any marks on baby's skin when you take it off.
Health Tip: Protect Baby From Diaper Rash
Your baby's bottom may be prone to a nasty rash if the diaper isn't changed frequently or if the skin isn't cleaned properly.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these preventive suggestions:
- Keep a watchful eye on your baby's diaper, and change it as soon as possible after it is soiled.
- When you change baby's diaper, clean the infant's bottom thoroughly with warm water and mild soap.
- Pat baby's skin dry after a bath or diaper change -- never scrub it.
- Make sure baby's skin is completely dry before you put on a clean diaper.
- Don't use scented baby wipes, or those that contain alcohol.
- Cover baby's skin with a zinc oxide ointment or petroleum jelly to protect it from wetness.
- Avoid diapers with plastic edges, or plastic pants.