Cleaning Baby's Messiest Parts

Here's how to handle those messy tasks of baby care -- from drippy noses to dirty diapers.

Dirty Diapers

Stack of Diapers with Baby Oil and Baby Powder

There's nothing more adorable than a baby, especially when he's yours. At the other end of the spectrum, your cooing, dimpled darling literally has no control over his bodily functions...and there's little that's adorable about the cleanup duty that inevitably follows.

Then, of course, there are all the jobs that seem so straightforward but veer into gross-out territory. Just ask Chicago mom Kristen Kupperman. "I was very squeamish, to say the least, the first time I had to take Owen's rectal temperature," remembers Kupperman. "My mouth dropped open, and I thought, I'm supposed to stick the thermometer where?"

If this is your feeling on such matters, don't worry. We've assembled a panel of pros, including moms, who have the scoop on cleaning up poop and dealing with other dirty little details.

Diaper Duty

How can such a tiny baby make such an enormous mess? Relax -- it's possible to clean it up quickly without renting a biohazard suit.

How to: First, take a peek into the back of baby's diaper to assess the situation. If things look grim, assemble your supplies first or you'll be scrubbing the walls as well as baby's tushy.

First, lay down a washable or disposable changing pad. "They're a lifesaver," swears Jennifer Stearns Buttrick, a mom in Key Biscayne, Florida. "When the poop gets on the pad, and it always does, I just take the end near his legs and fold it under his bottom. The surface is clean again."

Then, open up the clean diaper, get out several wipes, and lay baby on the pad. When removing the offending diaper, resist the temptation to frantically clean in all directions. "Always wipe from front to back," says Karen Dull, MD, an emergency physician at Children's Hospital Boston, "especially with girls, because if stool gets into the urethra, it can cause a urinary tract infection."

Another important tip: Get the diaper away from baby as soon as possible. He could grab it or step on it, which turns a quick change into a long bath. Wipe thoroughly and put baby in the clean diaper.

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