By Charlene O'Hanlon
Of all the things we are tasked with as parents, changing dirty diapers is perhaps the least appealing. Yet, for baby's comfort, happiness and health, a regular diaper change is paramount. To keep the peace-and baby's bottom from getting a nasty rash-diapers need to be changed as soon as they're soiled, which could mean as many as 12 changes a day for a newborn.
Diaper changing doesn't have to be a negative experience, however, and you'll be surprised how little time it takes to become adept at changing baby in record time (except those times when baby has had what my husband and I like to call "exceptional output" - those changes take a little longer).
To help further your abilities, however, it helps to have the right equipment. A little sage advice wouldn't hurt, either. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way:
Keep Plenty of Diapers and Wipes on Hand, and Close:
You never know when you're going to need more than one wipe or diaper during the same changing session. Our little guy is famous for peeing as soon as a new diaper is affixed to his bottom. And I can't tell you how many times I've had to use three, four or even more wipes to clean a mess that, well, let's just say I wasn't prepared for.
Stay Away from Talcum:
Powders with talcum are bad for baby's reparatory tract, and it's easy for baby to breathe it in when you're applying it. You best bet is to stay away from powders altogether, but if you insist on using one, look for something without talcum (some pediatricians recommend staying away from powders that have corn starch, also).
Find a Rash Cream That Works, and Stick with It:
My firstborn developed a case of diaper rash that was so severe his pediatrician concocted for him a solution that included diaper rash cream, anti-fungal cream used for athlete's foot and one or two other odd ingredients. It worked. My second has breezed through with over-the-counter, out-of-the-tube remedies. Once you find what works, stick with it.
Spend a Little Extra on a Good Diaper Pail:
No one likes to walk into the nursery and get hit with the whiff of many dirty diapers. A diaper disposal system that captures the odor and keeps it away from your nose is worth it's weight in gold.
Wash Your-and Your Baby's-Hands After Every Change:
Babies flail. That's what they do. And occasionally that means their little hands get into dirty diapers while you're changing them. And even if they don't, cleaning baby's hands is a good habit to get into. You never know what they've found under the couch.
Have Multiple "Emergency" Changing Areas:
One diaper blowout will teach you this lesson quickly-no one wants to trod an overfull diaper throughout the house. Have a few diapers and wipes located in strategic places and keep those places well-stocked, with the correct size diapers and plenty of wipes.
Make Use of Newspaper Bags When Away from Home:
Since baby's diapers need to be changed even when you're away from home base, make sure your diaper bag is stocked each time you leave (I've learned this lesson more than once), and make use of those plastic bags your newspaper is delivered in. They make an excellent diaper disposal bag: because they are long, they can be tied at the end where the diaper is located, then turned inside out so the diaper is then double-bagged and less odorous should a garbage receptacle not be in sight (or not in a place where a smelly diaper is welcome).
Yes, diapering is dirty work. But in the grand scheme of things, it's certainly not the worst thing a parent will have to do. And it is temporary-from the time your baby is born, you have only a few short years until potty training begins.
Read more by Charlene O'Hanlon,
Just in Case: Best Places to Stash Diapers and Wipes
The Most Surprising Thing About Being a New Parent