How to Diaper a Baby

Learn the techniques and secrets of diapering your new baby.

Boys vs. Girls

Changing a Girl

First, lift her legs with one hand and remove any poop with a wet washcloth. (Many new moms use baby wipes on their newborns with no problem. If your child's skin reacts to the chemicals in wipes, you can use a washcloth or cotton balls and plain water when cleaning baby's derriere during the first few weeks.) Using one area of the cloth at a time, clean inside all the creases, wiping downward. To clean the genital area, wipe from the vagina toward the rectum. Do not pull the labia back to clean inside. Dry the area with a soft cloth. Apply ointment around the genitals and on the buttocks to prevent diaper rash.

Changing a Boy

One big difference for boys: Don't leave the penis exposed -- keep it covered with a diaper or you may get sprayed. Clean under the testicles, gently pushing them out of the way. Wipe under the penis and over the testicles, toward the rectum. If he's uncircumcised, do not attempt to pull back the foreskin. Dry the area with a soft cloth. Apply ointment around the genitals and on the buttocks to prevent diaper rash.

If you had your baby circumcised, a light dressing of gauze and petroleum jelly was placed over the head of the penis. The penis will take about one week to heal. The tip will look red, and a yellow scab may appear, or you may notice a yellow secretion. For a few days, apply petroleum jelly over the tip of the penis every time you change your baby's diaper. Circumcision sites rarely become infected, but if the redness persists beyond a week, or you see swelling or crusted yellow sores that contain fluid, call your baby's doctor.

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