You would think that of all the things you need to think about when you have a baby, diapering would be a fairly straightforward concept. And technically, it is. But there are some important do’s and don’ts when it comes to diapering your newborn.
Whether you opt for cloth or disposable, keep these tips in mind:
DO test your diapers before you buy a lot of them
Just because your bestie swears by this or that brand doesn’t mean it will be the right one for your baby. Diapers fit differently on different kids and sizing does vary a little from brand to brand so bulk buying an untried brand could leave you with a load of diapers that you can’t use.
DO NOT stock up on the ‘newborn’ size
Babies grow out of this size remarkably quickly and some never even quite fit in them! So buy this size as you need, remembering that the average newborn will go through about ten diapers per day.
DO change your baby’s diaper often
There is a temptation to let them go a little longer, perhaps to save money—diapers ARE very expensive—but this is one of those things where a little savings can lead to a lot of trouble. Yes, I’m talking about diaper rash. Babies left too long in a soiled diaper are more likely to end up with the sore, red rash that we all know and hate. If you do encounter diaper rash, an over the counter cream should do the trick—your postpartum doula will have some suggestions for you—but if it’s not getting better or is getting worse (severe redness, blistering, or fever), check in with your doctor.
DO NOT diaper baby until he or she is totally clean and dry
Cleaning up your baby during a diaper change (remember: wipe front to back!) is important but make sure they are fully dry before putting on the new diaper. Give them a little time to air dry and allow their skin to breathe. Otherwise, you’re just holding in moisture against their skin, inviting the painful rash.
DO use unscented products with your baby
Scented wipes and diapers can irritate baby’s very sensitive skin. Avoid products with any kind of scent, including the soap you use to bath your baby and so on. Particularly if you are using cloth diapers, it’s important to avoid harsh smelling chemicals and soaps when washing them. If you’re using a diaper service, check in with them about how they are cleaning the diapers.
DO NOT forget to wash your hands
It IS poop after all! So to avoid the spread of germs around your home, make sure you wipe down the change surface regularly, wash your hands after every change and make sure that the used / dirty diapers are in a well sealed container, particularly if you have other kids about: it’s amazing what toddlers will get into and this is one of those things you want them to avoid!
And for those times when you are out and about with your baby, remember these tips:
- Make sure your diaper bag contains, beyond food, bibs and toys:
- Baby wipes
- Fresh diapers, more than what you think you will need, in case one gets peed on DURING a change or something explosive occurs!
- A changing pad, as you can’t be sure of the cleanliness of a public change station. Also? The back seat of the car is sometimes the best place to change baby!
- Plastic bags are ideal for putting away soiled diapers until you can dispose of them or put them in the wash; ones with zip closures are even better (think smells and leaks!)
- Hand sanitizer for you
- Diaper rash ointment
If you have any questions about what kind of diapers to get or how to diaper your baby correctly, consider the services of a postpartum doula or a Newborn Care Specialist—they’re available to answer all your questions and help you make the choices that work for your family.