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How to Diaper Like a Pro

Babies and diapers. They go together like parenthood and sleepless nights. Though diapering is hardly the most challenging aspect of parenthood, there's a bit more to it than you may think. Which kind of diaper should you choose? Why does your baby cry when you take off her diaper? What happens when she gets a rash? And what do all those creams, ointments, and powders really do, anyway? These questions will soon be no-brainers. In the meantime, check out our guide to any diaper dilemma you may have.

Step-by-Step Diapering

Step 1: Place your baby on the changing table or other safe surface. If your table has straps, belt your baby in to keep him from rolling off. Otherwise, keep your eyes and hands on him at all times. Never leave him unattended.

Step 2: Unfold the fresh diaper, placing the closures toward your baby's head. Generally, the pictures go in front. (Not that putting them on backward makes much of a difference, to tell you the truth.)

Step 3: Remove the soiled diaper. If you can't reach the trash can, at least place the used diaper out of baby's reach. Cleanse the whole diaper area with wipes or water-soaked cotton balls. Make sure you get into all of those chubby little thigh folds!

Step 4: If you're changing a boy, watch out for a surprise spray. Keep a towel nearby just in case.

Step 5: Place your baby on the fresh diaper, belly up. The top of the diaper in the back should be at belly button level.

Step 6: Is baby fussing? Keep making eye contact and talking to let him know everything's okay.

Step 7: Apply a light sprinkling of cornstarch and/or cream, according to your baby's needs.

Step 8: Thread the front of the diaper through his legs and fasten it snugly, but not too tightly.

Step 9: Repeat the process again. And again. And again ...

Originally published in American Baby magazine, January 2004.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.