Diaper changing can be intimidating whether you’re a first time parent (hello, dads!), a grandparent who needs a refresher, or a pre-teen babysitting for the first time.
No matter how gross it can be, just about everyone has to learn how to change a diaper at some point.
After having three kids in under five years, I have compiled my best diaper changing tips for you.
Diaper Changing Tips
Tip #1 Use a Diaper Changing Pad Safely
If using changing station or changing pad, use the safety straps, especially if baby is on the move. They put these safety straps on the pads for a reason. You definitely need to make sure baby can’t fall off.
If using a changing pad at home with a cute changing pad cover- any time you’re changing a poopy diaper, especially a suspected blow out- toss a disposable pad cover on top of the cute pad cover to save it from possible mess.
Tip #2 Have All Supplies Within Reach
To me, this is one of the most useful diaper changing tips! Have all of your supplies out and ready for use. You don’t want to be in the middle of a diaper blow out and not have diaper rash cream or not have enough wipes.
An easy way to do this is to designate a basket or bin just for diaper changing. Stock it with diapers, diaper cream, wipes, maybe a toy for baby to play while they are getting changed. This makes it convenient to move the supplies wherever you are changing a diaper.
A Funny Story About Dads and Diapers
Funny story— hubby was changing our daughters diaper one evening, didn’t have everything together and by him…. he asked me to grab Desitin. I got up to grab some out of the diaper bag (not quite sure why, but, he followed me).
He didn’t even diaper her back up before he left her. He was changing her on our family room floor- no changing pad (bad!!!) and our daughter apparently wasn’t done doing her business.
She stood up, squatted down a little and left us a nice present on the floor to clean up. Diaper changing FAIL for daddy!!!! So, learn from his lesson!
Have it all together before you start. Even open up the next diaper so it is ready for a quick swap.
Tip #3 When and How to Wipe
In case you don’t know, please wipe little girls from front to back. You don’t want any bacteria from the back to get inside causing any infections.
I use the same practice when changing a little boys diaper. I usually use a separate wipe for each side anyway. For boys, I always have the next diaper ready and keep their parts covered while wiping other areas.
It always seems that the second they hit air, it makes them have to pee more. Always try to keep their parts covered to avoid any accidental messes.
There is some controversial articles out there about wiping if it is just a urine soiled diaper. Some people believe it is not necessary to wipe if it is just a urine diaper as urine is “sterile” and doesn’t usually cause diaper rash.
Too much wiping can be a cause of diaper rash as well. Personally, I wipe no matter what. I also use “sensitive” wipes as my daughter’s skin can get sensitive and rash.
Make your own call on what your baby responds well with. There are regular wipes, sensitive wipes, fragrance free wipes, water wipes and more kinds of wipes.
So, if baby isn’t liking whatever kind you’re using, there’s always another kind out there to try.
Tip #4 Put the Old Diaper to Use
If possible, you can use the old diaper to wipe away any poop without using a wipe. This saves your wipe bill and the sensitivity of the baby skin.
Just wipe from front to back with the diaper starting at the top and you can try to clear away part of the mess that you have to clean up in one swoop.
Don’t forget about Amazon Subscribe and Save! You can keep your wipes and diaper on auto delivery! It’s a lifesaver for us.
Tip #5 Use the Color Changing Sensor
It never fails, as soon as I change my daughter’s urine diaper, she has to soil it back up. Quite a few of the diaper brands have color-changing “sensors” on them to help the caretaker know if the diaper needs to be changed or not. It never fails, so just keep extra diapers on hand.
Tip #6 Diaper Rash Prevention and Treatment
The blue container never seems to clear anything up for us. Tons of options, so if something isn’t working, switch it up. If diaper rash is becoming a chronic problem, you may have to see if you can find a root cause.
Are specific foods causing it to happen more often? If so, try to restrict those foods.
Too much fruit or anything with high acidity can be a huge culprit for diaper rash. Keep that in mind when deciding what to feed your kids.
I know our daughter loves fruit, but, too much of it and she pays for it later. Our Pediatrician also suggested using a little Neosporin if the regular cream needed a little extra boost in healing power.
Tip #7 Wash Your Hands Before and After Changing a Diaper
Here’s a common-sense diaper changing tip for ya! I know it’s silly that I have to say this, but, wash your hands before AND after you go to change the dirty diaper.
You don’t always know what you touched last, so you don’t want to give your children any extra germs when you’re changing them.
The obvious, just as you wash your hands after you use the restroom, you should wash your hands after you change a diaper.
Diaper Changing FAQ’s
When Changing a Diaper, do you wipe up or down?
Always wipe from front to back when changing a girl’s diaper. This prevents bacteria from migrating and causing an infection.
The direction of wiping is less important when changing a boy’s diaper. Only wipe as much as is necessary to clean the area to prevent skin irritation and/or diaper rash.
What is the Average Time it Takes to Change a Diaper?
It should only take a few minutes to change a diaper. Open the old diaper, wipe, replace with a new diaper, apply diaper cream as needed and close the new diaper.
The exact time will vary if baby is fussy or squirmy, but it still should only take a few minutes. Otherwise, you are risking another mess!
How Do I Keep Baby Calm During a Diaper Change?
Try keeping a toy that your baby can only have during diaper changes. Then they will engage with the toy and not even notice you are changing their diaper.
Another idea is to sing a song while changing a diaper or simply talk to the child in a calming manner.
Should I Wake Baby to Change a Diaper?
You do not need to way your baby every time it gets wet. You should, however, change the diaper if they have pooped.
Poop can cause irritation when it is in contact with the skin for too long, so it is best to change a poopy diaper as soon as possible.
Final Thoughts on Diaper Changing
So, these are the basic things to know when you’re changing a baby diaper. Diapers can be pretty pricey, have you seen our post on 8 ways to save money when purchasing diapers?!
Originally, I started out with a pretty, girly, fashionable diaper bag. While I LOVED this diaper bag, I quickly found out that it wasn’t functional.
We ended up switching to use Dave’s daddy backpack for a vacation because it was easy to use when traveling. We have NEVER looked back or traded back to the old diaper bag.
I hope these diaper changing tips help you with your little one.