Always Be Prepared To Change A Dirty Diaper
Always Be Prepared To Change A Dirty Diaper
When to change a diaper may not seem like a question necessary to be asked by any thinking person. However, odor or leaking may be masked by super-absorbent diapers, and newborn's poop usually doesn't smell much. Letting wet diapers go unchanged until fully saturated increases the chance of diaper rash and discomfort, not to mention leaks onto clothing and bedding. Letting dirty diapers go unchanged too long can mean a severely irritated bottom that may require a doctor's visit.
Put your baby down and peek in the diaper leg openings sometimes. Diapers may need to be changed every time the baby eats (wait until afterward, unless your baby will not eat or cuddle until he or she is clean and dry), which can be every two hours, more or less, for newborns.
Usually 10-12 diaper changes a day is the most a newborn will need (if the baby is wetting less than eight or so a day, call the pediatrician, as dehydration may be a serious concern). Anywhere from eight to 20 diaper changes per day may be normal for a newborn; with cloth diapers, which can't hide as much liquid, it'll be toward the more-frequent end of that range.
Diapers can, and will, need to be changed in many public places. At home, it's easiest to have a changing area at waist height where everything is within reach for the parent. If you are buying a changing table, buy one with a railing about five or six-inches high that goes all around the pad so the baby can't roll off (they squiggle around more as they get older).
If you don't have a changing table, or are worried about the baby flipping off it, use the floor, covered with a waterproof changing pad. Don't use the dining room or kitchen table unless you are prepared to disinfect it after every change.
In public, not every restroom has a diaper changing "station." But they should. Find a large, level surface (or the floor) and cover it with your waterproof changing pad (which often comes with the diaper bag you bought). You can also buy waterproof pads, usually flannel-backed, separately. Or use clean diapers or receiving blankets in a pinch. You may wish to carry plastic bags into which dirty changing pads, diapers and diaper wraps can go until you get home.
Gather everything you need within arm's reach before undoing the dirty diaper. For the first month, you'll only need:
1. A clean diaper, pins and (optional) cloth diaper cover and, if the diaper leaked, change of clothes.
2. Warm water and cotton balls (square or circular cotton pads may work better) or soft paper towels for washing.
3. A small dry towel or washcloth for drying.
4. Something on which to lay the baby, such as a changing cloth or clean diaper.
Place the baby face up on a changing table or clean surface, or on a diaper changing pad on the floor. Strap the baby in on the changing table or keep one hand on the baby at all times (though they can't yet turn over, their jerky motions can be enough to hoist themselves off whatever you've placed them on).
With your free hand, remove the pins or tabs of the dirty diaper. Grasp the baby's feet in one hand and lift the baby's bottom off the dirty diaper. If there's stool present, use wet cotton balls or pads to clean it off. If you're using disposables, drop the dirt/pads onto the open diaper; with cloth diapers, drop the dirty pads on a tissue.
After the baby is clean, fold the dirty diaper and remove it immediately, or baby's feet may kick into it. If the diaper is only wet, you may want to fold the front part of the wet diaper under the baby's bottom (so the outside is under his/her bottom). Let go of the baby's feet and clean the baby with a wet cotton ball or pad.
Either way, after cleaning, dry the baby off with cotton balls or pads or fragrance-free, white toilet tissue. Make sure to get in the skin folds between legs and torso. (You can air-dry if you want to take the risk of being wet or pooped on.)
Lift baby by the feet again and slide the new, clean diaper under his or her bottom. Fasten the new diaper. dirty disposable diapers should be folded so all fecal matter and urine is contained inside. Place them in a lined garbage pail (emptied frequently; it can go a day or two if you have a deodorant cake in the pail).
Home-laundered cloth diapers should be rinsed out in the toilet if there is a stool. While directions say to "shake off any stool into the toilet," you'll quickly find that newborn stool isn't shake-off-able (and probably won't be until he or she eats solids, at four months or later).
Instead, keep a pair of rubber gloves nearby just for this use, or buy a special pair of diaper tongs available in baby supply catalogs. Give the diaper a good dunking in the toilet, or even soak it there. Then hold onto the diaper and flush the toilet so the diaper is rinsed in the clear water filling up the tank. If the diaper is only wet, rinse it in either the toilet or sink, and wring it out.
Then place the diaper in a covered soaking pail. Make sure the diaper pail is tightly covered as children can drown in only a little water. Most diaper services no longer require that their cloth diapers be rinsed. Instead, they provide a lined pail in which to place dirty diapers until pick-up. Wash your hands! Baby poop doesn't come off just by rinsing - you need to use soap and scrub.