Changing a baby’s nappy (or diaper) requires attention to details and to baby. The two most important rules for safe and stress-free nappy changing are:

  • Never, ever leave a baby unattended on a high surface like a change table or bed.

  • Have everything on hand before you start, so you don’t have to break the first rule by searching for something halfway through.

Next, gather everything you’ll need:

  • A clean nappy

  • Something to clean baby’s bottom with — a baby wipe, moist cotton wool or soft flannel

  • Barrier cream

  • Something to change baby on such as a changing mat, an old towel or an old-fashioned cloth nappy that protects the surface under your baby from mess

  • Something to put the dirty nappy in, such as a bin or plastic bag

To change your baby’s nappy:

  • Put the old towel or changing mat on the surface where you’re changing your baby. Put the clean nappy next to the changing mat.

  • Lay your baby on the changing mat.

  • Open the nappy’s tabs, Velcro, domes or safety pins and take off the dirty nappy by gently lifting your baby’s ankles with one hand and pulling the nappy away from under your baby’s bottom. Dispose of the nappy into the bin, plastic bag or nappy bucket for washing later. If you can’t dispose of the nappy, make sure it’s out of baby’s reach. If you’re near a toilet and you’re dealing with relatively solid poo, you can shake it into the toilet.

  • Use a wipe or moist cotton wool to wash your baby’s bottom and around his genitals. Dry him off. If your baby is a girl, wipe from front to back to avoid any nasties from her bottom getting into her urinary tract and causing an infection.

  • If your baby’s bottom or genital area appears red or irritated, put some barrier cream on the irritated skin.

  • Lift your baby’s ankles with one hand and use the other to put the clean nappy under his bottom. On a disposable nappy, the side with the tabs go at the back.

  • Your baby should be lying on the clean nappy, so it’s just a case of doing up the nappy’s tabs, Velcro, domes or safety pins. If your baby is a boy, tuck his penis down so when he pees, it goes into the nappy, not out the front.

  • Put your baby somewhere safe, such as on the floor or in his bouncinette.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, ideally with an antibacterial soap.

  • If you haven’t already, put the dirty nappy in the rubbish or bucket for washing.

Voila — a clean, happy baby!

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