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Guide to diapering

When it comes to caring for baby, changing diapers is a huge portion of how you’ll be spending the next few years!

Mother changing infant's diaper

Here, we offer a complete guide to all things diaper related! Before long, you’ll be a diapering expert.

Diaper station

Designate an area in the baby’s nursery as the diaper station – likely you’ll have a changing table. Keep it well stocked with the following supplies:

  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes or washcloth and cotton balls
  • Diaper ointment cream or petroleum jelly

Diaper decision

You’ll need to decide whether you want to use cloth diapers, disposable diapers or a “hybrid” – a washable/reusable diaper with disposable inserts. Each has its benefits — cloth diapers are eco-friendly, but the dirty diapers are a pain to clean. Disposable diapers are easy to toss, but they do not decompose for hundreds of years and “hybrid” diapers offer a middle ground, but can be a bit pricey. The choice is entirely yours.

Diaper directions

When you are changing baby, make sure you have a fresh, clean diaper ready to go. You don’t want to get stuck without a cover-up when baby is naked!

If you are using cotton balls/washcloth, fill a small bowl with warm water; otherwise, make sure the wipes are handy.


Remove the dirty diaper, then dampen the cotton balls or use wipes to clean baby’s genitals, then buttocks. Make sure to wipe from front to back on girls; for boys, be sure to clean around the head of the penis. Then wipe the area clean with a dampened washcloth.


Apply some diaper rash ointment or petroleum jelly and fasten the fresh diaper. Voila!


Dirty diaper

Be sure to pay attention to your baby’s diaper situation. You don’t want baby to sit in a wet or dirty diaper for too long, or it will likely cause a painful diaper rash. So check baby’s diaper often.

Diaper rash

If you’re baby does get diaper rash, be sure to treat it right away because once your baby develops diaper rash, he is more susceptible to further irritation when his bottom comes in contact with pee or poop. Use a generous amount of diaper ointment cream and apply it like a layer of peanut butter versus rubbing it in like sunscreen.


If your baby has a diaper rash that lasts longer than 48 to 72 hours, check in with your pediatrician.


Air it out

Allow your baby to go sans diaper for a little bit to expose her bottom to the air. Also, make sure that diaper gathers are not too tight to allow for a bit of air to circulate inside the diaper. 

More diapering tips on SheKnows

How to care for baby’s sensitive skin
Diaper rash cures

Diaper stations: what’s your system?

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