When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, what should you do first -- feed her or change her? Most hungry newborns want to be fed immediately and won't take kindly to a quick diaper change first. But if you wait until your baby is satisfied, you'll wake her up when she would otherwise be on her way to dreamland. Compromise is the obvious solution: Change her halfway through the feeding (though breastfed babies may have another bowel movement afterward). If, miraculously, your baby doesn't wake up at night, she can sleep in a wet diaper as long as you change it first thing in the morning. The exception: If your baby has diaper rash, you need to change her whenever she's wet, even at night.
The Wiggly Baby
Starting at around six to nine months of age, your baby will not want to sit still for a moment -- especially not for a boring diaper change. To prevent changing sessions from turning into wrestling matches, distract your squirmy one with a favorite song or a toy he can touch and mouth (preferably brought out only for this purpose). Placing a mobile over the changing table may also keep him busy. At this age, though, many parents ditch the changing table in favor of the floor.
When baby's delicate skin becomes irritated by excessive moisture and diaper friction, the result is diaper rash. Changing your baby's diaper frequently and exposing his bottom to air whenever possible (lay him over a few cloth diapers) will help cure it and reduce your baby's risk of future rashes. Once your baby has a rash, generously apply whatever ointment your doctor recommends to protect the skin from irritants and friction.