How to Change a Diaper

Get step-by-step instructions on changing your baby's diaper and preventing diaper rash.
How to Change a Diaper
How to Change a Diaper

Don't rely on smell as a cue to change your baby's diaper; she can soil up to 10 diapers a day, if not more. You may notice the diaper is heavy, or you can check the diaper by pulling out the waistband or the leg to see if it is wet or dirty, or you can check your baby's diaper before and after each nap. Always change the diaper immediately when it's soiled; that way, your baby will stay warm and dry and you'll prevent chafing and diaper rash.

Set up a safe diaper changing station, where your baby will not be in danger of rolling or falling off. You can use a clean floor; just use a towel or changing pad to protect your baby. When changing your baby, never leave her unattended -- the slightest movements could cause her to fall. Keep the changing area well supplied with clean diapers, wipes, and any rash ointment (such as zinc oxide cream). Keep a diaper bag packed with these essentials so you can change your child quickly and comfortably when you're on the go. To change your baby, follow the steps below:

  1. Lay your baby on his back. Remove any clothing that inhibits access to the diaper. At this age, rompers are popular clothing items; they contain snaps for easy diaper access.
  2. Remove the soiled diaper. For disposable diapers, pull up the sticky tabs. For reusable cloth diapers, remove the diaper cover and snaps or Velcro from around your baby's waist.
  3. Lift your baby up gently so you can scoot the diaper out from under his bottom.
  4. Use wipes to clean your baby's diaper region. Always wipe from front to back to avoid infection, especially for girls.
  5. If the area is red or inflamed, soothe it with diaper ointment.
  6. Wait for your baby's skin to dry before putting on a fresh diaper.
  7. Take a fresh diaper and place it under your baby. Bring the front part up on your baby's stomach and fasten the tabs to secure the diaper on his waist.
  8. Replace any clothing over the new diaper.

How to Prevent Diaper Rash

Take these precautions to take to prevent diaper rash. If you suspect a diaper rash is becoming infected, always call the doctor.

  • Check your infant's diaper often (every two hours) and change it promptly.
  • Clean your infant's diaper region thoroughly during changes.
  • Do not use scented wipes or soaps on your infant's diaper region.
  • Pat, do not scrub, a baby's bottom when drying your infant after a bath.
  • Avoid plastic pants and look out for skin marks, which indicates the diaper is too tight.

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