While it might be one of the most basic baby care activities, diapering your new baby isn’t necessarily the simplest. Deciding between disposable diapers and cloth, mastering the skill of changing a baby without a mess, and dealing with diaper rash all add to the complexity of this universal baby care task.
Disposable vs. Cloth
Since disposable diapers became widely available, they have been the popular choice for new moms. Quick disposal of stinky messes, no diapers to wash, and no difficult pins to deal with are just some of the reasons moms reach for disposables. Today’s disposable diapers are highly absorbent and contain leaks very well. The downside to disposable diapers is that they are expensive and not exactly good for the environment. Because they are made of materials that don’t break down easily, disposable diapers will spend a long, long time in landfills.
Cloth diapers, once the only choice, have recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to both growing environmental concerns and the production of new, easier to use cloth designs. No more pins or folding – cloth diapers now come ready to use with advanced fasteners that won’t poke you or your baby if your fingers slip. Cloth diapers require a little more work for parents, as they need to be washed. While they will save you money in the long run, they do require an up-front expenditure that can be quite pricey, especially for some of the fancier new types of cloth diapers on the market.
Recently, some hybrid choices have appeared that combine a reusable diaper cover with a disposable liner. The G Diaper brand offers both convenience and environmental friendliness with a flushable, biodegradable liner that is used with a washable diaper.
Changing a Diaper
On the surface, it’s an easy task, but any new parent will tell you it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. Especially as your baby grows older and starts to wiggle around, changing a diaper can be a challenge. Before you start to remove the old diaper, be sure to slip a new one underneath. That way you will have it ready to put on quickly when the old one is removed. Make sure everything you need is within your reach – never walk away from a baby on a changing table, even one you don’t think can roll over yet!
There are a number of gimmicky items on the market intended to prevent accidents from getting all over the place. A simple washcloth draped over baby while you change him will serve the same purpose. After wiping baby clean, you can also use the washcloth to gently pat him dry before putting the clean diaper on.
As baby gets older, you will want to keep a few small toys in the changing area to occupy him while you get his diaper changed. It will prevent him from wiggling too much or trying to get his hands in the dirty diaper.
If your baby develops a diaper rash, you can treat it with over the counter ointments. Try to let his bottom air out as much as possible to keep the rash dry. Be sure to change his diaper frequently, and if regular wipes seem to hurt him try a warm, damp washcloth instead. If the rash does not improve with this treatment, contact your child’s pediatrician, as it could be a sign of a yeast infection that requires further care.
Changing your baby’s diaper will become easier with practice, and you will find that you can accomplish the task more quickly and will less mess the more you do it.