Diaper Change Tips: How to Change a Diaper

Featured image of smiling mother changing baby diaper

The first diaper change is a dreaded experience for most new parents, so don’t despair; you’re not alone in your fear of having a messy blow-out. It can be especially stressful if you have no idea what you’re doing, and there’s no one experienced around to help you out. That being said, just like burping, feeding, and putting your little one to sleep, diaper changing is one of those activities you’ll quickly get the hang of. Trust us when we say, your newest member of the family will give you more than enough practice in the first few weeks. Nevertheless, it’s beneficial that you have at least a good idea what you’re dealing with before you get down to business. This article is going to cover some of the most crucial diaper change tips and will help you successfully get through your first attempt to change your baby girl’s or boy’s diaper without causing a complete mess.

But first, let’s start by giving you an estimate on how much diapers you’ll be going through in a single day. This is definitely a question that troubles most new parents.

How Many Diapers Does a Baby Use in a Day

We mentioned you’d be getting more than enough practice in the first few weeks and we weren’t kidding. Expect to have your hands full in the first month or so because you’ll be changing diapers approximately 10 to 12 times a day. This is because newborns have about 3 to 4 bowel movements and pee very often. 

The good news is your baby’s diaper consumption will slow down once it turns one month old. You can expect to drop down to 8 to 10 diapers a day between the first and fifth month. One thing to keep in mind is that breastfed babies tend to go through more diapers as opposed to those who are on formula.

Finally, once your little one turns five months old, you can expect the number of diapers required to go down. 5-month-old babies have fewer bowel movements but still pee quite a lot. You’ll need to provide around 7 to 8 diapers a day.

How Do You Know It's Time for a Diaper Change?

There are more than a few cues that will indicate it’s time to change your newborn’s diaper. For example:

  • The most obvious one is if your baby’s bottom smells funny, you should probably roll up your sleeves and grab a fresh diaper.
  • Another way to know your baby’s diaper is wet or soiled is by taking a quick peek inside. Make sure you’re doing this in a location that is hygienic and that your hands are sanitized.
  • Most babies cry when they need or want something. If your little one is crying his heart out, it’s a good idea to check his diaper. 

A general rule of thumb is to check your baby’s diaper every 2 hours and change it if it’s wet or soiled. You should especially do this before and after feeding time as most babies have their bowel movements while eating. Look for these cues and change your baby’s diaper accordingly in order to stay on top of your diapering game.

Now it’s time for the meat and potatoes of this article. Here’s our guide on how to actually change the diaper.

Image of happy baby boy in diaper on bed

How to Change a Diaper Step by Step

Prepare everything you need

Before getting down to business, make sure you are adequately prepared and have everything you might need readily accessible to you. This includes having access to a safe and hygienic place to change the baby. Something like a changing pad with safety straps will do. Also, make sure to have an abundant amount of baby wipes at hand. Baby wipes are your best friend in a messy situation and are ideal for cleaning the diaper area. Using some kind of ointment will also be beneficial. Finally, have a few fresh diapers and make sure they are the correct size.

Step 1: Wash your hands and make sure the area is clean.

Step 2: Lay your baby on the changing pad and make sure It’s safely fastened with the safety straps. This is especially important if you’re dealing with a child that’s between 4 and 6 months old.

Step 3: Gently take their clothes and socks off and make sure they are out of the way.

Step 4: Open the dirty diaper and gently raise your child’s holding it by the angles. Make sure to put the dirty diaper out of the baby’s reach.

Step 5: Grab your baby wipes or a soft cloth damped in hot water and start cleaning the diaper area. 

Step 6: Carefully lift the baby again and place a clean diaper under your its bottom. Pay attention to the colors or markings on the diaper tabs, and make sure they are correctly positioned. 

Step 7: Look for rashes and apply any ointments or creams if necessary.

Step 8: When closing the new diaper, make sure the top is not covering the umbilical cord. Place the tabs on the front side(newer disposable diapers have velcro tabs), making sure they are in a straight line. Also, don’t fasten the diaper too tight or too loose. Your baby needs a little bit of leeway to breathe and move freely.

Step 9: Dispose of the dirty diaper by placing it in a diaper bin or a bag that you can later throw in the garbage.

Step 10: Sanitize the area and wash your hands thoroughly. 

Congratulations, you’re all done.

And in case you get poop stains anywhere, don’t worry, we got you covered. Check out poop stain removal guide.

We hope this article answered some of the questions you had regarding how to change a diaper and helped you get through your first baby conundrum. Before you know it, you’ll become a pro at it without breaking a sweat. For more tips and tricks related to your favorite little people, check out some of our other blog posts.

Author: Mary Lynn Holden
Author: Mary Lynn Holden

Proud mom and stepmom to an adorable bunch of kids aged 7 and up. Deeply appreciates three things in life: the help of older siblings in the house, texts on parenting, and strong coffee. Shares her stories and experiences in order to help others navigate the unpredictable waters of parenting.

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