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Dad's guide to diapering

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Dirty diapers 101

Poop happens. Follow these step-by-step diaper changing instructions to keep your baby's bottom clean and healthy.

Dad changing diaper

Be prepared

Every good Boy Scout knows the importance of this mantra. Before you begin to change your baby, you should have everything ready and nearby, including:

  • A clean changing pad or towel on which to lay the baby
  • Baby wipes
  • A clean diaper
  • Ointment, diaper rash cream and powder, if desired

Be safe

Changing a baby requires two hands — one of which should be on the child at all times. If you're using a changing table (or any high surface), do not, for one second, take your eyes or hands off the baby.

Keep in mind that you can change the baby on any flat, safe, clean surface. Just place a clean towel, blanket or changing pad down first. You can use:

  • The floor
  • The bed
  • A table

Know your diaper

When you disassemble a computer or a vehicle or some other complicated item, you surely take note of how it came apart so you can easily put it back together. The same holds true for disposable diapers. Observe what it looks like before you take it off so that you can replicate it.

Remove the dirty diaper

Expert tip: Don't worry, you won't break the baby. He's got loose ligaments and soft bones!
~ Joe Kelly

Undo the tabs — you will reuse them to wrap up the dirty diaper after you've finished changing the baby. Note: Set a clean diaper or towel over a baby boy's penis, as he may pee.

As you remove the diaper, use it to wipe away as much poop as possible. With one hand, hold your baby by the ankles and gently lift his bottom to continue wiping. Fold the diaper — clean side out — and set it aside (where a baby's hands can't reach it).

Clean the baby

Note: Always wipe baby girls from front to back to keep poop from entering the genitals.

Using a baby wipe, gently and thoroughly clean the baby's entire bottom — back, front and within the little creases and crevices. You may have to do this several times. Use a clean wipe each time, and set the used wipes near the dirty diaper.

With a dry towel or cloth, pat the baby dry and apply ointment or cream to any red or irritated areas. This helps protect ouchy spots from being irritated by the diaper and its contents.

Diaper the baby

Place a clean diaper — tab side first — under the baby's bottom. Bring the diaper up between the legs and fasten snugly with the tabs.

Note: If your baby has not yet lost the umbilical cord, fold the diaper down away from it.

Discard the poopy diaper

Place the baby in a safe place — a swing, bassinet or playpen — and clean up. Roll up the dirty diaper and wipes and refasten the tabs. Place it in a Diaper Genie (if you don't know what that is, find out) and replenish your supplies for the next change.

Remember

Poop is natural and organic. ~Best-selling fathering author and speaker Joe Kelly, TheDadMan.com

Check out more helpful tips for Dad

Daddy day care essentials
How to rock a baby sling like a real man
Dad's handbook to common kid disasters

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