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How to Change a Diaper


While many soon-to-be parents have lots of experience of diaper duty, either due to younger siblings or family members or friends with babies, there are many whose first diaper change will take place at the hospital on the day their baby is born.

There’s no getting around it – when baby is wet or dirty, that diaper needs to be changed (and rest assured, babies will let you know when they are wet or dirty!) Newborns can have six or more soiled diapers a day. It’s normal for their first stools to be black and tar-like.

Roll Up Your Sleeves – How to Change a Diaper In Just 10 Steps

  1. Choose a location that’s convenient to use, whether it’s a changing table, the top of a dresser, a bed, or the floor. If you’ll be setting your baby up high, always keep one hand on her, and never walk away (those changing table restraints are far from infallible).
  2. Gather everything you’ll need– lots of diapers for baby (cloth or disposable), wipes, diaper rash cream, a small stack of clothes, and perhaps a few receiving blankets for the inevitable spit up (or sudden fountain!).
  3. Lie the baby down and remove the bottom portion of his clothes – there’s no need to fully undress him unless the diaper leaked or you’re changing his outfit.
  4. Unfasten the diaper, but wait a moment before fully removing it. Babies often choose this precise moment to decide that they really need to go, so the old diaper will catch anything extra. Once the coast is clear, use one hand to lift your baby’s legs by the ankles and slide the soiled diaper out from under her.
  5. With the other hand, use baby wipes (or other chosen alternative, such as reuseable cloths and warm water) to wipe away any messes.
  6. Cleanse the entire area, being sure to wipe from front to back only with a baby girl, and taking care not to pull the foreskin on a baby boy.
  7. Dry with soft cloth, or allow the baby’s skin to air dry, as this will help prevent diaper rash.
  8. Apply diaper rash cream if necessary (hopefully not, if you followed step #7!).
  9. Lift legs in same manner as before, and slide a clean diaper under baby’s bottom.
  10. Fasten the bands on either side of the diaper, making sure it’s neither too tight nor too loose. It should be snug, but you should still be able to fit a finger inside the waistband.
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