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How to Change a Dirty Diaper

Updated on January 14, 2013

It's As Easy as It Sounds

So, this article may seem unnecessary to some. However, I've noticed that as each of my nieces and nephews have been born that my sister's husbands have not been comfortable or at all knowledgeable about how to change their firstborn's diapers. I thought that this was crazy until I thought about it....we all grew up changing the diapers on our dolls. Meanwhile, our husbands-to-be were running wild around the neighborhood playing basketball and freeze tag. So this hub may not be for 96% of the people out there, but for the rest of we go:

It's Just a Wet Diaper

Outside of the newborn stage, you will probably be changing wet diapers the majority of the time. This is quick and easy to deal with. Frequent diaper changes are the key to prevent diaper rash. You will want to check your baby's diaper at least once every hour to hour and a half. If your child is wet every time you check, try to check a few minutes earlier each time until you get a good feel of how often your child uses the bathroom.

To change a wet diaper, follow these steps:

  1. You can check to see if the diaper is wet before ever removing it by gently pressing on the front of the diaper. If it feels mushy, the diapers is wet. However, if you are reading this hub you should consider this an advanced move and open the diaper to check every time. To open the diaper, simply remove the velcro tab from each side of the diaper. From there, fold the front of the diaper down to expose the baby's midsection. If you are changing a boy, it is good to do this slowly and cautiously. Baby boys are capable of squirting in your face or on your clothing. If he looks like he is going to become a human fountain, just fold the diaper back over him for a couple of minutes.
  2. Once your baby's diaper is open, take a baby wipe and (you guessed it) wipe the front of your child. Wipe in and around all cracks and crevices, such as where their legs meet their torso, etc. You will want to wipe down their private areas well. Start at their front and wipe towards their bottom.
  3. Once the baby is completely wiped, change out the old diaper with a new, dry one. Remove the old diaper and slide the new diaper under the baby. The end of the diaper with the velcro tabs should go behind the baby's back. The other end will fold in up in front of the baby. From there you will open the velcro tabs and use them to tape the back of the diaper to the front of the diaper. This should snugly close the diaper around your baby.

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It's the Dreaded Number 2

Changing a poopy diaper is the same as a plain wet diaper, it just takes a bit more diligence. Open the diaper and assess the situation. If it is extremely wet, I go ahead and remove several wipes to prepare myself. Before I begin to wipe, I raise the baby's bottom from the diaper by holding them up slightly by the ankles with one hand. I then take the front end of the diaper with the other hand and use the diaper to sort of rake the majority of the waste into the bottom of the diaper. I then go ahead and fold the diaper over under my hovering baby (this will cover the poop in the diaper in case I lose my grip on the ankle or if they are struggling against the diaper change and prevents you from having to wipe the poop off of them a second time). From here, this is what I do:

  1. I take those wipes that I pulled out earlier one by one, cleaning the most soiled part of the baby's bottom first. As I completely soil a wipe, I drop it onto the rolled up portion of the diaper under the (still hovering) baby. I take the next wipe and continue to clean. Basically you will wipe the bulk away and then "detail" the baby's private areas (finding all the harder to see waste). Get their bottom and their "plumber" clean 100%...look at your wipe when you think you are done with this area and if it is as white as a new wipe you are done. If the baby wipe is dirty, you still have work to do.
  2. After the backside is clean, wipe the front of your baby since the poo often migrates to the front of the diaper too. Be sure to wipe the folds in their legs (where legs meet torso). If you have a boy, be sure to "move things around" to be sure that nothing is missed (girls will need their female equivalent done to be sure nothing is missed). Continue to wipe until wipes come away clean from all areas.
  3. After your child is completely clean, get the soiled diaper out of the way and replace it with a clean, dry diaper. Fold the diaper over the baby and close it with the velcro strips. If you have a Diaper Genie (or a trash bag), place the soiled diaper and all of the used wipes into it.

Final Tips

  • Be sure to give your baby a DETAIL wiping. Any missed urine or waste will irritate your baby's sensitive skin and contribute to painful diaper rash.
  • When placing your baby on their new diaper, do your best to center the baby in the middle of the diaper. Also, try to have as much diaper in the front as you do in the back. You want to make sure that the diaper coverage is even. If the diaper is uneven it could cause gaps that will lead to leaking diapers.
  • Change your baby often to keep him comfortable. This will also prevent diaper rash.
  • If your toddler has diarrhea, try feeding them yogurt and/or Culturelle to up the good bacteria in their stomachs. This will usually slow down the diarrhea.
  • It is now recommended that parents not use baby powder. This is because the powder is so fine and can be inhaled by the baby, which can cause illness.
  • After changing your baby's diapers, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. The germs are bad for you and your baby.


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  • dailytop10 profile image

    dailytop10 5 years ago from Davao City

    Definitely one of the most challenging tasks for firs-time mothers. Thank you for sharing this very informative hub!