How to Diaper a Baby

It's easy to become an expert at changing your baby's diaper -- just wash your hands, gather the following items and make sure you keep everything out of your baby's reach:

  • A Fresh Diaper -- (if you're using a cloth diaper, you'll need either a clean diaper cover or pins and waterproof pants)
  • Baby-Wash Supplies -- diaper wipes or, if your baby is under one month or has diaper rash, cotton balls and warm water for cleaning and a small towel for drying
  • Ointment -- if needed, for diaper rash (preferably one containing zinc oxide)
  • Cornstarch-Based Powder -- if needed, which should be applied to your hand and not shaken on your baby to prevent it from getting into your baby's lungs.

Diapering Tips

  • Make diaper time fun by talking to or singing to your baby while changing him. Or distract him with music or a toy if he needs soothing.
  • Until the umbilical cord falls off, fold the diaper down to expose the raw area to the air and keep it from getting wet.
  • Dispose of plastic diapers by folding them over, retaping them and tying them in a plastic bag. Keep cloth diapers in a tightly covered diaper pail until pickup or laundry day. Choose a diaper pail with a locking lid to keep your baby out of it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after changing your baby.

Step-by-Step Diapering
1. If you're using a changing table, strap your baby in for safety. Never leave your baby unattended or out of your reach.

2. After unfastening the diaper, use it to wipe away most of a bowel movement, from front to back. Then clean away any urine and remaining feces with a wet cotton ball or diaper wipe. Pat your baby dry with a towel if you've used a cotton ball. If you're changing a boy's diaper, keep a fresh diaper over his penis as much as you can and aim the penis downward when putting on a new diaper to keep wetness from drenching his clothing.

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