How to Change a Baby’s Diaper

One of the more frequent activities you will get to do as a parent of a newborn or toddler is changing diapers. If you’ve nannied for babies in the past then you’ve probably done this before, if not, then you should probably take a diaper changing class or do research online watch articles to learn how to change a diaper. Below are some tips to get you started.

How To Tell A Wet Diaper From A Dry Diaper

First, in order to change a diaper, it has be to wet or dirty and you have to be able to tell when this is the case. With a newborn, you’ll probably know when your baby poops by the grunts and grimaces that clue you in; otherwise, you’ll get a whiff soon after your little one is finished. You’ll know your baby peed with a disposable diaper often by the liquid-sensitive, color-changing stripe on it and with a cloth diaper that’s wet to the touch. If you still can’t tell, a quick feel of the diaper or look inside it will do the trick.

If a baby is sleeping, there’s no need to wake him or her for a diaper change. Unless your newborn is very wet and uncomfortable or has a poopy diaper, you don’t need to put a new one on during nighttime feedings, either, especially if it will interfere with going back to sleep. And if you baby is awake, just take them to the changing table and get it done swiftly but gently. Don’t fret if the changing table cover gets stained. You should have at least two or three Changing Table Covers to switch through. It also reduces the frequency with which you need to do laundry.

Getting Ready/Prep Items

Before you baby is born you should have a changing table and Changing Table Covers set up in the baby nursery along with other necessary items. With that in place, you don’t have to do too much prep before you change a baby. When your baby needs a change of diapers be sure you have the following diapering essentials nearby and within arms reach from the changing table:

Clean diapers:  It’s always good to have a couple of spares handy when you’re changing diapers. Stock up on diapers so you don’t run out. Newborns can wet as many as eight to ten diapers a day. Some disposable diapers for young babies have a wetness indicator on them – a line that turns color if the diaper is wet. This isn’t necessary, but it can be a convenient way to tell at a glance if it’s time for a change.

Clean cotton balls, washcloths or wipes:  For newborns under 1-month-old and those with diaper rash, use warm water and a cotton ball to clean baby off and a washcloth for drying (you can also try using hypoallergenic wipes for newborns without diaper rash to start if you prefer). For older infants, use pre-moistened wipes; look for those that are hypoallergenic and free of fragrance and alcohol.

A change of clothes for baby: You might need one if the diaper has leaked and has stained the clothes they have on. Also, have clean diaper wraps or waterproof pants if you’re using cloth diapers. If poop keeps leaking out the top back of your baby’s diaper, it may be time to go up a size. The weights noted on diaper packaging are just guidelines, and your baby may need a bigger size sooner.

Ointment to prevent and/or soothe diaper rash: If a baby has diaper rash, it creates a barrier between that tender bottom and skin-irritating poop and pee. No need for lotions, baby oil or powder. Remember, though, that you can’t use many diaper rash creams and ointments with cloth diapers.

A distraction/Toy: Keep your baby’s favorite toy visible and even a music box or mechanical toy for distraction, especially if you’ve got a squirmy baby. If your baby fusses during changes, secure an engaging mobile over the changing area, hang pictures or mirrors to look at, or give your baby a small toy to play with while you take care of business. Also, remember to have fun. Diaper changes offer a chance for some special one-on-one time. Talk and sing to your baby, pointing out the different parts of your baby’s body and explaining what you’re doing.

Girls Vs Boys

Girls need to be wiped from front to back, to avoid getting poop in the vaginal area. There is no need to open the labia and clean inside (even if you see a white discharge).

Boys may offer an unwanted surprise in the form of a fountain of pee, so keep his penis covered with a clean diaper or cloth whenever he’s undressed and don’t be afraid of gently cleaning around the penis and scrotum especially if he is uncircumcised. When you do put his new diaper on, point his penis down to minimize leaks and accident. Boys tend to pee a lot during changes and you just might get some pee in your face

More Tips

  • Change diapers frequently to avoid diaper rash. It’s especially important to change poopy diapers as soon as possible since they can cause diaper rash quickly.Learn about the difference between regular diaper rash and yeast diaper rash, since they need to be treated differently.


  • When you leave home, carry some extra plastic or biodegradable bags with you so you have somewhere to put dirty diapers if there’s nowhere to dispose of them.


  • Experts recommend against using any kind of baby powder including talcum powder since a number of studies have found that it can cause choking, breathing problems, lung damage and even, in some cases, death.


  • The same goes for other oils and lotions unless your baby has a diaper rash — in which case you should use a barrier ointment plain old petroleum jelly often works, or a zinc oxide cream if your baby is in disposable diapers. Be sure to give baby’s bottom at least a couple of minutes to dry before applying the cream and diapering up. If the rash isn’t gone in two to three days, see your baby’s pediatrician.