Wrangling tiny legs where they need to go, looking around for creams and wipes, trying to disengage your sense of smell... changing nappies can be tricky the first few times.
Rest assured, you’ll get plenty of practice – babies can go through more than 3 000 diapers in the first year!
Here’s everything you need to know to make all that changing time fly by.
What you’ll need to change your baby's nappy
Remember to gather all your supplies beforehand and keep them within arm's reach.
- A safe, clean place, whether a changing table or a pad on the floor or bed.
- Diapers (and liners, if needed) in the correct size. The new and improved Clicks DryProtect nappies, available in five sizes, have a highly absorbent core and a wetness indicator.
- Something to wipe with. Sister Susan Ndlovu, clinic sister at Clicks The Glen in Johannesburg, recommends only using warm water and a soft cloth for the first month. Wipes, though convenient, can irritate a newborn’s skin.
- Bum cream or rash ointment, if needed.
View our range of diapers and nappies for all ages here.
A step-by-step guide to changing your baby's nappy
- Lay baby on her back and unfasten the diaper.
- Raise baby’s bottom by gently grasping her ankles and lifting.
- Slide the diaper out and place it out of her reach. Use the upper half of the diaper to sweep any mess toward the lower half if necessary.
- Wipe baby thoroughly clean - from front to back, to prevent infection.
- Slide a clean diaper under her bottom. Hold one hand on baby when reaching for anything to keep her secure.
- Apply necessary ointments sparingly to prevent rashes. “Apply only to the bum surface and not in any sensitive folds,” says Ndlovu.
- If using cloth diapers, insert a liner. Ndlovu says one of the biggest mistakes new parents make is to line disposable nappies. “These have gels to absorb liquid, but a wet liner stays next to baby’s skin and can cause a rash.”
- Fold the diaper down to avoid irritation of the umbilical stump until it falls off, and close. Don’t make it too tight, which makes baby more likely to spit up.
Top tips for changing baby comfortably
Keep baby dry by changing her frequently. Scented soaps are a no-no, says Ndlovu. “Rather wet baby’s skin, wash with aqueous cream, then wash the cream off.”
How often should I change baby?
Don’t rely on smell; check by pulling out the waistband. Babies go through up to 12 diapers a day in the first month, up to 10 a day until five months of age, and up to eight thereafter.
Cloth or disposable?
Modern cloth nappies are less smelly, more affordable in the long term and eco-friendly. Disposables are more sanitary and ultra-absorbent. Ndlovu recommends disposables to new parents. “They’re a more convenient, time-saving option!”
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