The Must-Read Diaper Guide for New Parents

The stats about babies and diapers is staggering. The average baby will require at least 5000 diaper changes before they’re full-fledged potty pros. A newborn urinates as many as 20 times a day and will need to be changed every 2 to 3 hours for the first few months.  However, in between all that mess, there’s an upside to this ritual cleansing—an opportunity to bond with your babe. You’ll win valuable eye-to-eye contact while you change them and after they’re all cleaned up, nuzzle, snuggle and blow raspberries on their belly to help deepen your connection. Until you reach this warm and fuzzy stage with your newborn, get prepped for the down and dirty business of diaper changing.

It’s Decision Time: Cloth or Disposable Diapers?

Cloth diapers are soft to the touch on baby’s skin, less expensive and environmentally friendly. Modern designs offer handy Velcro closures, double or triple layers for protection and even a fiber-filled strip for extra absorbency. Simply clean them with soap and water and if that makes you squeamish, look into a local diaper service that washes and provides pick-up and delivery service.

Disposable diapers, on the other hand, boast convenience with their supped up absorbency and plastic liners that are road-tested and designed to prevent leaks and messes. Remember to read the label to find the best size for your baby’s size and weight. If you can’t decide on the perfect diaper, experiment with both until you’ve found the match for your lifestyle, budget and needs.

Choosing a Change Table

When choosing a change table, consider both design and function. If you’re a mid-century lover, pick a vintage dresser, top it with a cushioned diaper changing pad and pack the top drawer with must-haves including wipes, washcloths and unscented ointments or creams. Contemporary fans can seek out a modern dresser with a built-in diaper table that can be removed once their little is big. Whatever your choice, always make sure the table or dresser is positioned against a wall to reduce the risk of baby falling and keep everything you need within reach so you never leave them solo, even for a second.  

The Play-By-Play

  • Take off the dirty diaper and note, boys often pee once they feel free as a bird. While you are changing them, cover the area with a new diaper or a handy tee-pee available at your local baby store that are made to protect you from getting messy too.
  • In a front-to-back motion, clean the area with a wipe and/or warm cloth.
  • Lift your baby’s lower body and slide the new diaper underneath. Be prepared for squirming so work quickly or distract them with a safe baby-friendly toy to keep them occupied while you get the job done.
  • Apply ointment, if necessary. 
  • Pull the front of the diaper up and over the tummy and fasten the sides. If you’re using cloth diapers, add a diaper cover.

Diaper Rash Diaries

Eventually you’ll have to deal with a bout of diaper rash. It can be caused by contact with urine, an allergic reaction to a baby product or your baby’s naturally sensitive skin. Lookout for signs such as redness or small bumps on your baby’s bottom, genitals, thigh folds or lower tummy. To help treat irritation (and make you and your babe happy again), apply an over-the-counter diaper rash lotion or ointment. If it’s a moist rash, try a formula that will help dry out their skin and call a doctor if you don’t see improvement within 48-72 hours.

Think ahead and lessen the risk by changing your baby’s diaper as frequently as possible. This reduces their skin’s exposure to constant moisture and gives their bottom a chance to air out. A diaper’s fit is key too. It should be snug while still giving enough room so air can circulate and help your wee one feel fresh. If your baby is prone to rashes, avoid super-absorbent disposable diapers that require less changes and increase the risk of breakout.

Wellness Check

Conveniently, diaper-changing is the right time to check in with your baby’s health. Keep a look out for inconsistencies in their urine and bowel movements that may be of concern. Urine is dark yellow to light and even lighter when your baby is drinking more liquid. If it’s a little pink now and then, their urine may be concentrated and if you see blood in your baby’s urine or diaper, always call the doctor.

During their first two days of life, a baby’s bowel movement is thick and dark green or even black. With normal digestion, your baby’s stools will change to a yellowish-green and note the colour and texture varies— formula-fed babies’ stools are usually a little firmer and more tan and yellow in color.  As your baby starts solids, their stools will become solid as well. Don’t be shy and talk to your doctor if you see anything unusual at any stage.

We love it when moms help moms with their first-hand advice. Share your ideas with us!

There’s so much to learn about newborns. What surprised you the most within the first 30 days?

Did you choose cloth or disposable diapers? How did you come to your decision?

What do you pack in your diaper bag?