2Nappy Changing

The basics of nappy changing


Whether you call them diapers or nappies, babies need to be changed regularly as the combination of wee and bacteria from poo can cause a rash and sore, red skin. Changing a baby’s nappy is not rocket science but it is important to follow these few basic steps to make sure it is a pleasant and hygienic experience for everyone!

When changing a baby’s nappy, pick a clean, safe place to change the baby  where they can’t roll off or get hurt.

Make sure to prepare changing supplies before you start to change so you don’t need to leave the baby alone even for a second!

If there are marks around a baby’s legs and waist, it can mean the nappy is too tight .  A nappy should fit snugly around the baby but not cause marks or chafing.

If a nappy is too loose, expect leakage!

And here’s how to do it!


Video provided courtesy of The Raising Children Network

Cloth vs disposable nappies

It is a parent’s personal choice whether to use cloth or disposable nappies.

Cloth nappies are more user-friendly today than in the ‘olden days’ when sharp safety pins were used.  Today, cloth nappies use plastic fasteners.

Disposable nappies are convenient but often more expensive.  Some parents decide against disposable nappies because they might be less environmentally friendly than cloth nappies. Some people choose to use disposable nappies because they are not as messy at cloth nappies, which require disinfection and washing.


Checking_babys_nappyHow often should I change a nappy?

A newborn will need a nappy change up to 9-10 times a day. The best times are before, during or after a feed or whenever they have a poo. It is not necessary to change a nappy every time there is a wee if you are using disposable nappies, as they are very absorbent.

Toddlers and older babies wont need changing as often, but certainly change them right away if you smell a poo.

You can check how heavy a nappy is every hour by touching the inside with a clean finger or feeling the outside.  If the nappy feels wet or heavy, best to change it so the baby or toddler is comfortable.

A baby should have at least 4 wet nappies in 24 hours.  If a baby’s nappy is dry for more than 8-10 hours, this could be a possible sign of dehydration, which needs medical attention..

What supplies do I need to change a nappy?

  • Clean hands or disposable gloves
  • A safe changing surface with a hygienic washable surface
  • Nappy wipes or cotton wool and warm water and unperfumed soap, depending on parents’ instructions
  • A clean cloth nappy or disposable nappy
  • Nappy rash or barrier cream to act as a protection for the skin
  • Spare clothes in case of leakage
  • A favourite toy to act as a distraction while nappy is being changed
  • A sanitary bucket for storing soiled nappies or a bag to throw away a disposable nappy

Twinkle_TwinkleTrouble keeping baby still?

Try this: nappy changing time can be a great chance for interaction and direct eye contact with a child. Make this an enjoyable time by  singing , talking and playing together.

But some babies and toddlers are not interested in keeping still, and instead try to flip over, crawl away, or kick you.

Here are a few tips for those difficult moments:

  • Have a few age appropriate toys on hand so baby has something to play with while you quickly change the nappy
  • For older toddlers, you can change a nappy while they are standing up.  It’s not an ideal position for wiping poo, however, but sometimes a good alternative to lying down
  • Making nappy changing quick – with more practice you’ll become an expert!

After the change, clean up!

Clean up quickly and efficiently after changing a nappy.  Soiled nappies should be disposed of in a plastic bag and thrown away in a bin.

  • Clean the changing area by wiping down and disinfecting after each change
  • Be sure to wash your hands immediately after changing a nappy to prevent spread of any infection
  • This is also a good opportunity to wash baby’s hands, as they may have touched their genitals during the change

Nappy changing step by step – cloth nappies

Changing_cloth_nappy_PIP-page-001Nappy changing step by step – disposable nappies

Provided courtesy of Raising Children Network