Here are my 22 tips on how to change a diaper and other related diaper tricks and hacks that will make your life easier with a newborn
Taking care of a newborn can be challenging, especially if you’re a new mom. You have to deal with a lot of things, like the lack of sleep, how to get anything done with a clingy baby, how to bathe a newborn and most especially, changing diapers.
Personally for me, handling pees are okay but when it’s a poonami, it’s an oh-my-god-when-can-i-toilet-train-you moment.
So I was always researching for diaper hacks and tips. I’ve compiled enough to last me a lifetime and I’d like to share those information with you.
How to Change A Diaper (Plus Diapering Tips and Hacks)
Save Money on Diapers
How can I get free diapers? (For US residents)
Some diaper companies offer free samples and coupons in exchange for your email address. You just need to fill up a form, hit send and wait for a few diaper samples on your way.
Check out this list for free diapers and coupons:
Another way to get free diapers is by contacting The National Diaper Bank Network, an organization that helps families in need. Call 211 to find out if nearby agencies offer diaper assistance or you can also visit this link for more details.
Find out if your community has a NDBN member diaper bank program right there.
You can also sign up for the Amazon Family rewards program. Not only will you get 20% on diapers and baby food, you can also get a 15% baby registry completion discount, a free baby registry welcome box, parenting tips and much more.
Ask your hospital or doctor for free diaper samples. I remember my hospital giving away a free gift luggage filled with newborn essentials and goodies. I loved it so much, I saved it for my kid to use someday! This 2020, they’ve taken it up a notch.
How many diapers should I buy for my newborn?
I remember there was this one time where my kid went through 15 diapers in just 1 day. I didn’t know yet the hack on how to change a diaper so that’s how much diapers I wasted! If you google how many diapers does a newborn need in a day, an estimate would be 10-12.
So how many should you buy? Buy a pack of 2-3 brands of diapers. After some weeks of testing, pick the brand that best fits your baby then buy in bulk.
I recommend to test it out first because even if all diapers have practically the same available sizes, that doesn’t mean it will fit your baby. So you have to test out first which one would be suitable for your baby, which one seems to leak less, can help with diaper blowouts and more.
(I have some diaper reviews particularly Huggies Little Snugglers vs Pampers Swaddlers, Luvs vs Pampers, Huggies Snug and Dry vs Little Snugglers and more)
What size should I buy for my newborn?
Check the packaging. Disposable diapers always display for what baby size or weight it’s suited for. Newborn diapers can usually fit, well newborns, but if your baby is a little bit bigger, you might have to buy a Size 1 diaper. Usually though, its just better to buy a Size 1 diaper as babies tend to get bigger quickly, the newborn phase really zooms by so fast!
Take note though that all these baby weights on the diaper packaging serves only as a guideline and not all brands fit the same. So you really have to test out first and see if the diaper fits your baby.
That’s why you should only get one pack from different brands initially, to test out if the diaper is too small, too big, too loose or too tight for your baby.
How do I know if a diaper fits properly?
Slip a finger between the diaper and your baby’s skin by the waist. If you feel that the diaper is too snug, then that means it’s either too tight or too small for your baby.
If you see red marks on your baby’s waist, on their legs or if they’re having a lot of diaper leaks or worse, blowouts, then it’s usually time to go up a size.
Diaper Storage Hacks
Where do I keep all the diapers?
You can choose to get a trolley rack or a basket or a container. I remember just having a basket with a few diaper essentials – 5 diapers, wet diapers, diaper cream, diaper cream (plus a toy for distraction when she has gotten older) near my daughter’s diaper changing table pad.
The rest of the diapers I kept under the crib in a large, clear container so I can easily check how much we still have and if I need to buy as soon as possible.
I also highly advise having an emergency stash in your diaper bag and in your car. Just have a wet bag with all a few diaper essentials and place that in your diaper bag. For your car, just place everything in a clear container.
Diaper Changing Hacks and Tips
Why does my newborn’s first poop look so gross?
If it looks like a greenish black poop, that’s called meconium. It’s filled with all the materials that your baby ingested while he/she was still inside your womb, like amniotic fluid, water, etc. It’s completely normal and will only last for a few days and will transition to regular, smelly newborn poop.
Others would recommend applying coconut oil, vaseline, petroleum jelly or organic olive oil on your baby’s bum BEFORE they poop this out so it would be easy to clean after.
Should I cover the umbilical cord and put it inside the diaper?
You should NEVER cover it nor put it inside the diaper as it will get irritated and infected. You need to fold the diaper in front so it won’t get in the way of the umbilical stump. Keep the umbilical cord dry as much as possible and clean it very gently. It will eventually fall out after a few weeks.
There are certain diapers that have a special cutout for the umbilical cord, like Huggies Little Snugglers and Pampers Swaddlers. I have a comparison review about the two right here.
How to change a diaper?
I remember the days where my baby would pee or poop in the middle of changing her diaper. It was maddening. I had to start the diaper changing process all over again! Eventually, I learned how to change her diaper without losing my mind.
Make sure to always clean your hands before and after changing your baby’s diaper.
- Prepare the wet wipes, new diaper, diaper cream and an open plastic bag near the diaper changing area. You can place all these diaper essentials in a basket or container and just leave it there, in the diaper changing area, so you can easily reach for it if needed.
2. Place your baby in their diaper changing area. Remember to always put one hand on your baby no matter what.
3. Get a clean diaper and open it. Then raise up your baby’s bottom by gently grabbing their ankles and lifting it then slide the clean diaper under.
4. Unfasten the tabs of your baby’s dirty diaper, raise again your baby’s bottom then fold the dirty diaper underneath him/her. Do this ONLY when there’s mostly pee or there’s not a lot of poop in the diaper.
5. Grab a wet wipe then wipe from front to back to prevent an infection. Clean the area thoroughly, wipe folds and creases, especially if you have a very cutie chubby baby.
(If you notice a white discharge in your baby girls’ area, that’s the effect of the maternal hormones and will eventually clear up in a few weeks. Don’t scrub it clean. If it’s starting to smell foul or it doesn’t clear up, please visit your pediatrician.)
6. Wait for a minute or two for the newborn’s private area to dry. Play, talk, sing to your kid while waiting, bond with them. Then apply the diaper cream sparingly.
7. Now raise your baby’s bottom again then gently slide away the dirty diaper. Remember that open plastic bag? Throw the dirty diaper there with one hand still on your baby.
8. Close the new diaper by pulling up the front over your baby’s belly. Pull the tabs open and around the fastening surface.
9. If the diaper doesn’t have a special cutout for the umbilical stump, fold the diaper a bit so it won’t cover, irritate and infect the umbilical stump. Be sure that the umbilical cord is outside of the diaper.
10. Make sure that the back of the diaper is slightly higher than the front, cause that’s where the blowouts happen.
11. Check if the diaper is neither too loose nor too tight by slipping a finger between the diaper and your baby’s skin by the waist. If you feel that the diaper is too snug, then that means it’s either too tight or too small for your baby.
12. Put your baby back in the crib then you can either just tie off the plastic bag or make sure to roll up the dirty diaper by wrapping the tabs all the way around it then tie off the plastic bag for throwing.
13. Clean the changing area and always wash your hands after changing your baby’s diaper.
Diapering hacks for baby boys
Thank god I have a girl because I’ve been hearing and reading about baby boys spraying their parent’s faces with pee. Not that I think it’s better to have a girl, I just think it’s better to not have pee on my face! 😀
If you have the latter, they say to try laying a wet wipe right under your baby’s belly button or wiping your baby’s tummy with a wet wipe. The cold touch of the wet wipe is supposed to encourage your baby to pee, so do this before opening their diaper.
How can I change my newborn’s diaper if he/she has a poonami?
1. Get a waterproof underpad protector and place it on the diaper changing table.
2. Prepare all the diaper essentials (diapers, wet wipes, diaper cream) in a basket or container and open up a plastic bag.
3. Get your kid and place them on the underpad protector.
4. I hope your kid is wearing a onesie because you can easily pull that down over the baby, by grabbing and opening the shoulder flaps. If not, just try to pull down their clothes if it’s a little loose.
5. Then just clean regularly and properly. Don’t forget to check the creases and folds of new-born’s legs, thighs, feet, etc.
If the poop is too much, just give them a quick bath.
How can I prevent my baby from moving or touching his/ her dirty diaper?
Have a toy nearby to distract your kid. You can either secure it on the diaper changing table with a clip and chain or hook.
Try also talking and singing to them and making funny faces. Distract them by pointing at the ceiling, wall clock, window, etc.
If they’re wearing a onesie, roll it over your baby’s arm and wipe away! Or you can other those diaper changing that creates a barrier, like the one below:
What can I do if my baby is always crying every diaper change?
There’s a lot of reasons why a baby cries while changing their diapers. They could be uncomfortable, cold, hot, has a diaper rash, and more. You can try distracting them by singing, talking, making funny faces and pointing at different things in the room. Or giving them a toy to hold or look at.
How many wet and dirty diapers should my newborn have?
For a guideline, you can refer to the tables I’ve googled below:
Your doctor and the nurses will also be asking for your baby’s diaper output. You can record your newborn’s wet and dirty diaper output in a notebook or use an app. I don’t remember the specific app that I used (or if I ever used one) but here’s a few one that I googled for you. They seem to have great reviews.
These apps also record feedings, milestones and more which is awesome. Check out my other recommended apps here for moms.
How can I change my baby’s diaper without peeking inside?
Noticed that yellow strip in front of the diaper? That’s a wetness indicator. If a diaper is wet, that line will change color so you don’t need to peek inside, smell the diaper or cup a feel to see how heavy it is.
That line however reacts to the tiniest amount of pee so if that doesn’t mean you have to change your baby’s diaper all the time. But I highly recommend changing it every 2-3 hours to prevent diaper rash.
How to avoid diaper leaks?
Noticed the little ruffles on the side of your newborn’s diaper? Those are the diaper cuffs that will help in keeping diaper contents in place, ensuring there’s less chance of leakage. Always make sure that it’s pulled out and it’s not folded in.
Look also for a diaper with a pocketed waistband (like Huggies Little Snugglers) as most parents swear by this feature in preventing diaper leaks for blowouts.
If you have a boy, make sure that their penis is pointing down, not up, before putting the diaper, to avoid all the mess going everywhere.
How to prevent diaper rash?
Change your newborn’s diaper immediately after pooping or if there’s a lot of pee. If there’s only a teeny tiny amount of pee, you can change their diaper after 2-3 hours but I highly recommend just to change their diapers, so their privates won’t get irritated.
Always clean properly your newborn’s diaper by washing your hands before and after a diaper change and by wiping from front to back.
Let them air out their bottom for a few minutes. Let them be naked for a while, cuddle with them and turn into a bonding session.
Always apply a diaper cream every diaper change. This is a must, this helps to avoid diaper rash or any skin irritation.
Don’t use soap, powder or any harsh materials that can irritate their skin.
How to treat diaper rash?
For newborns under a month old, use a clean cotton ball with warm water or hypoallergenic to gently clean your baby’s private area.
Let them be naked for a while to air out their bottom. Then gently apply the diaper cream.
That’s it, well that’s what I did for my baby then, just waited for a few days for the rash to clear out. Some would try out some home remedies but I was scared of making it worse for my baby.
If it looks like it’s getting worse, just go to your pediatrician. Don’t try out stuff that might irritate your baby more.
Changing Diapers at Night
Should I change my baby’s diapers at night?
If you’re doing a dream feeding, then yes. If not, then a big NO, unless they poop or have a diaper leak. I don’t see the need to interrupt their sleep if only they peed for a teeny, tiny bit.
However, if you’re worried about diaper rash, here’s some tips on how to change your baby’s diapers at night with minimal disruptions:
- I always, always, buy diapers that will last for 10-12 hours (well before, my 4 year old is toilet trained now). So I highly recommend those types.
- Change their diaper right before bedtime. Always apply diaper cream.
- Get a nightlight for your baby’s room. It’s less bright and less harsh and will make going back to sleep easier for your newborn.
- Get in and out. No talking, no cooing your baby, no singing, none of those bonding stuff. Just get in and get out.
What to pack for my newborn’s diaper bag?
If you want a light, minimalistic packing for your newborn’s diaper bag, click here.
Always have an emergency diaper stash in your car. Just get a regular container and put in a couple of diapers, one pack of wet wipes, diaper cream, ziploc bags (for poonami), extra clothes for both you and baby and a waterproof underpad.
How should I clean the diaper changing pad?
Always clean it after every diaper change with a disinfectant wipe. Wash it regularly in soap and water and wipe to dry.
Wash regularly also your washable changing pad liners (if you have some) in a separate pile in the washing machine.
How should I clean the travel waterproof changing mat?
Clean it after every use with a disinfectant wipe. Put in the laundry bag and wash it in the washing machine when you get home.
How to dispose of dirty diapers?
Always discard them properly. Fold them then use the tabs to tape and secure them and throw them inside a small plastic bag, before throwing them in the trash bin.
Get a trash can and put a big plastic bag inside it. Place that inside your baby’s bedroom and use it exclusively for throwing diapers. Change the plastic bag inside the trash twice or at least once in a day.
Takeaway on How to Change a Diaper
It might seem ridiculously overwhelming when you’re a new parent to read these tips (how to change a diaper seems basic but trust me, a lot of new parents don’t know how to do it!) but trust me, you’ll be a diaper changing pro in no time.
You’ll have what almost seems and feels like a lifetime, of changing, throwing and buying diapers. So you’ll have enough practice, you’ll get your own groove on and you might even invent a new trick or two. You got this!
3 thoughts on “How To Change a Diaper and Other Awesome Diaper Tips and Hacks”
That’s really an amazing in depth post. Wish I had seen this before my kids and before I learned changing diaper myself a hard way.
If only I had read these awesome tips when my son was still in diapers. Great post though and such an informative site!
Where was this article when my kids were in diapers? This is super detailed!
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