You have just become parents for the first time....a baby is a wonderful miracle...you hold your baby gently in your arms as you admire your new addition to the family. You pull your baby in close to give your child a gentle kiss and then you smell something, it's strong and it smells like...Yes, it's time to change the nappy!
We all know babies are cute and cuddly but they also happen to eat and poop a lot. I'm going to give you a practical guide to help you overcome your fear of changing a baby's nappy. I'm going to be honest, sometimes it does get nasty when you see the amount of poo your baby will do...welcome to parenthood!
What do you need when changing a baby's nappy?
Here is a simple list of some supplies you need:
- A baby changing table / flat surface – If you would like to go out and buy a nappy change table then by all means go but it is definitely not necessary. All you basically need is a flat surface (even the floor is fine).
- A padded changing mat – These are normally cheap to buy and are definitely handy to use. It also keeps your baby comfortable while you are changing the nappy. It is made from foam and plastic so any mess it's easy to clean up and it's versatile you can use it on any flat surface (you also have an option of putting an old sheet under your baby instead and just put it in the wash when it's needed).
- Baby Nappies – You will need to buy a lot of nappies (or Diapers)! They sell them at any supermarket and they are easy to use. They come in various colours, prints, brands and sizes. The size is generally fairly easy to pick out as it will show you the size on the front of the packet of nappies. It is a lot cheaper to buy nappies in bulk. You can find specials on at supermarkets at times and you could always check out online for some cheap bulk nappies. Between brands there is not much difference from my experience, just the style. They both do exactly the same thing!
- Baby wipes – Baby wipes are easy to use to clean your baby's bottom while changing. It is advisable to use alcohol free baby wipes especially if your baby has sensitive skin. However you could just as easily use toilet paper or soft cloth that is cut (dipped in water).
- Baby powder – I find this very essential when changing a baby's nappy. When using baby powder it is less likely for your baby to get heat or nappy rash. You shouldn't use powder that has a lot of perfumes and oils. Just use something natural. You can buy baby powder from your local supermarket or chemist.
- Baby Nappy rash cream – This is only necessary when your baby develops nappy rash. Nappy rash is a reaction caused by wee and poo. You can tell it is nappy rash by the red patches or spots on the skin that is in contact with the nappy. If your baby develops nappy rash use a cream to help soothe it and change your baby's nappy frequently. It normally clears up in a week or so depending on how red it is.
- A change of clothes – Always keep some spare clothes handy when changing your baby’s nappy. You never know when they will get poo all over their clothes (trust me it does happen).
How do you change a baby's nappy?
This is a simple step by step guide on how to change a baby.
- Place the padded changing mat on top of a flat surface.
- Lay your baby on its back, on top of the changing mat and unfasten lower clothing.
- Use one hand to hold your baby's ankles with one finger between to stop them ribbing together. Lift your baby's legs and slide any clothing under its back (making sure it's out of the way).
- Unfasten the dirty nappy. If it's soiled (has poo in it) use the unsoiled part (the part without poo) to wipe away as much as the poo you can. Fold the nappy over and lay it to one side.
- Use baby wipes (toilet paper/cloth dipped in water) to remove the excess poo from your baby's bottom. Even if your baby is only wet you can still continue to use the baby wipes or toilet paper/cloth.
- To clean a baby girl always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria getting into the vagina. You don't have to worry about cleaning the inside of the vagina because it's self cleaning, just clean the exposed areas.
- For a baby boy, wipe around the penis and clean the genitals. One again only clean the exposed areas.
- When the genital area is clean, lift your baby's bottom. Pat the whole area dry, paying special attention to the leg creases (which may become sore when damp, you may also like to add either the cream or baby powder onto your baby's bottom...just a little).
- Put a fresh clean nappy onto your baby (remember tabs are at the back). Re-dress your baby and ta-da it's done you have successfully changed your first nappy...now expect many more.
1. Don't forget to put the dirty nappy into the bin.
2. You may want to wipe down the nappy change mat.
3. WASH YOUR HANDS.
4. Use this time to talk or sing to your baby.
Now I know it seems like a lot of steps in changing a baby’s nappy but it really only takes a few minutes. Practice makes perfect...so the next time your baby needs changing, you can be the one to do it.