One of the first things that get tossed out of the window in the event of a new baby coming home is the luxury of squeamishness about bodily functions.
Babies are small bombs of fluids and semi-fluids, and there’s nothing more certain in the world than the fact that it’s you who will have to clean them up.
So, you have a baby girl. How do you change her diaper, time after time, day after day in those early months, when you’re completely unpracticed at it?
Preparedness will make your life at diapering time more structured and straightforward, which is a sanity-saver for you, and a routine-builder for your little lady too.
1. At least at home, have a diapering station set up and ready to go, always.
You’re going to spend a large part of your life for a long-ish while staring at your diaper station. Make it easily accessible, and if possible keep it in the same place, so she knows what’s happening when you take her there.
2. Supplies you need
- Clean diapers
Keeping a pack of clean diapers at the station, and a handful of spares out, open and ready to go, saves time and stress.
- Clean washcloths, wipes, and cotton balls
You’re not just changing, you’re cleaning her too. Start with warm water and a washcloth, moving on to unscented wipes as she grows.
Once she’s washed and changed, she might need fresh clothes – if nothing else, they’ll keep her warm and re-establish the normality of her day if there’s been leakage.
If your baby has a diaper rash, this will be essential as a barrier between the famously soft baby-smooth skin and the irritating waste that comes out of her.
- Toys. If your baby has a favorite toy – or a second-favorite, maybe – keep it at the diaper station. Not only can it keep her occupied while you do the clean and change, but it can also become a part of the ritual of the diapering station. The more occupied she is with Bootsy the Squirrel, the less likely she is to squirm and wriggle around.
Know what you’re going to be dealing with when you peel back that diaper.
If you’re using disposable diapers, you’ll have an idea of what you’re facing by the look of the liquid-sensitive, color-changing stripe.
With a cloth diaper, it’ll be at least damp to the touch. If you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, a gentle touch of the diaper will usually let you know.
Changing Your Baby Girl’s Diaper
First of all, adopt a loving, caring tone in your voice. Make with the gibber or even some singing, to establish that there’s nothing “wrong” with the situation. Nothing alarming. Nothing bad.
Wash your hands before beginning the change if you can. If you can’t, wipes are your friends.
Place your baby on your diaper station
Any surface that’s clean, flat, and safe can be your diaper station, but if you have a designated place, it helps you and her both get used to the process.
If you’re away from your usual diapering station or changing table, spread a cloth over the surface to protect it.
The temptation will be great to let your baby go for a second while you assemble all your diapering necessities. NEVER underestimate the squirminess of babies. Think of her as an accident just looking for an excuse to happen.
The Reveal And Clean
Unfasten the diaper. Take a moment to assess. It will save you time and grief during the process. It’s ideally at this point you deploy The Toy.
And yes, in all likelihood, you will be called on to provide silly, squeaky voices while cleaning your child’s genitals and butthole. This is your life now; it’s as well to get used to it!
Wet Diaper: You need to fold the diaper underneath your baby, so the outer side is under her butt. And then you’re wiping the whole area – warm water and washcloth at a very young age, wipes as she gets older – to get rid of the urine on her skin. Remember with girls you always wipe front to back.
Poopy Diaper: (Yes, you call it that now, because your baby is a language-sponge, and you don’t want her coming out with age-inappropriate phrases when she learns to speak) Top tip – use the diaper itself to wipe as much of the poop away, and fold it underneath her, so again, the clean side is under her butt.
Lift her legs and clean her front with either warm water or wipes. Gently – oh, so gently – make sure you wipe over the creases of her labia. The rule here is if you can see it clean it, but it’s not advisable to start probing into the folds or vagina with your wipes. It will be uncomfortable for your baby and you risk pushing feces further in.
Then lift up both legs, and clean that poor kid’s butt thoroughly. You’re going to get very used to this, so make a good job of it.
Release your lady’s legs, pat her dry and apply any ointment you feel she needs.
Then let’s make this diaper ravioli. With disposable diapers, pull up between the legs, then the tabs from the back and wrap around to the front.
Secure the tabs so they’re a snug fit, but not so tightly they’re uncomfortable. Wash your hands again – they’ll probably have micro-specks of baby poop on them – and then dress your baby again.
If they’re dry and clean, use the same clothes. If not, use fresh.
Repeat as necessary, day in and day out, to make sure your daughter stays fresh, clean, and comfortable.
Let me know in the comments how your first diaper changes go!