Dad's Guide to Baby's First Year For Dummies
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One of the main things you will be doing in your baby's first year is changing diapers. Changing a baby's diaper requires attention to details and to baby. The two most important rules for safe and stress-free diaper changing are
  • Never, ever leave a baby unattended on a high surface like a changing 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.
Now, gather everything you'll need:
  • A clean diaper
  • Something to clean baby's bottom with — a baby wipe, or moist cotton wool or soft flannel
  • Diaper cream
  • Something to change baby on, such as a changing mat, an old towel, or an old-fashioned cloth diaper that protects the surface under your baby from mess
  • Something to put the dirty diaper in, such as a trash can or plastic bag
To change your baby's diaper:
  1. Put the old towel or changing mat on the surface where you're changing your baby. Put the clean diaper next to the changing mat.
  2. Lay your baby on the changing mat.
  3. Open the diaper's tabs, Velcro, snaps, or safety pins and take off the dirty diaper by gently lifting your baby's ankles with one hand and pulling the diaper away from under your baby's bottom with the other hand.

    Dispose of the diaper in the trash can, plastic bag, or diaper pail for washing later. (Put only cloth diapers in the diaper pail!) If you can't dispose of the diaper, make sure it's out of baby's reach. If you're near a toilet and you're dealing with relatively solid stool, you can shake it into the toilet.

  4. Use a wipe or moist cotton wool or flannel 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 germs from her bottom getting into her urinary tract and causing an infection.

  5. If your baby's bottom or genital area appears red or irritated, put some diaper cream on the irritated skin.
  6. Lift your baby's ankles with one hand and use the other to put the clean diaper under his bottom.

    On a disposable diaper, the side with the tabs goes at the back.

  7. Your baby should be lying on the clean diaper, so it's just a case of doing up the diaper's tabs, Velcro, snaps, or safety pins.

    If your baby is a boy, tuck his penis down so when he pees, it goes into the diaper, not out the front.

  8. Put your baby somewhere safe, such as on the floor or in his bouncy chair.
  9. If you haven't already, put the dirty diaper in the trash or diaper pail for washing.
  10. Wash your hands thoroughly, ideally with an antibacterial soap.
Voilà — a clean, happy baby!

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Sharon Perkins, RN, has been a registered nurse, mostly in maternal-child health, for 30 years, a mother to five children for much longer, and a grandmother of three for the 14 best years of her life.

Stefan Korn is a father and New Zealand-based Internet entrepreneur.

Scott Lancaster looked after his daughter full-time for the first two years of her life and experienced being a stay-at-home dad (SAHD).

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