Baby Diapering Tips and Tricks

A great diaper is absorbent, fits well, and is comfortable. Sounds simple, right? Well, if you've ever strolled down the diaper aisle, you know that there are as many options as your new baby has fingers and toes. But it’s not hard to find the perfect diaper for your perfect baby when you know what you're looking for.

First, you'll want to determine your new baby's diaper size, which is organized by weight. There are two ways to know when you need to move to a bigger size: your baby weighs more or your baby begins soaking through diapers. The bigger diaper will be capable of handling more waste. Even though he’s within the size three weight range, I recently moved my son Henry to size four because his pajamas pants were damp to the touch every morning. Now that he's in size four, he's perfectly dry.

You’ll also want to purchase overnight diapers. During the day, you should change your baby's diaper whenever it's wet and after every poop, but at night, your baby will probably end up wearing a dirty diaper for longer. Overnight diapers hold more waste for long periods more effectively than regular diapers. They're designed to last twelve hours and work amazingly well!

A soft but absorbent diaper will quickly draw urine away from your baby's skin, keeping the skin dry and less likely to become irritated.

When it’s time to change your new baby’s diaper, the secret to keeping baby happy is distraction! Sing a song, offer a toy, or make funny faces. I've also found that it helps Henry ‘transition’ to diaper changes if I tell him what I’m going to do before I start taking off his pants. And whatever you do, before you start changing the diaper, make sure you have wipes and a clean diaper nearby! There's nothing like trying to contain a wiggling, poopy baby while you search frantically for some wipes...only to discover you've run out.

Trust me, as a new mom, I’ve been there, done that, and somehow survived to tell the tale!

Photo by Jamie Coupaud on Unsplash

6 New Mom Diaper Changing Tips

Learning how to change a diaper isn't rocket science, but there are a few tricks to making the process a bit easier. Believe it or not, if all the stars align, a diaper change can even be a sweet bonding moment. Until, of course, you realize you've got a smear of poo on your forehead. Here are some tricks I’ve picked up as a new mom:

Tip #1: Gather everything you need, such as a clean diaper, plenty of wipes, and a towel or changing pad to keep the floor from getting dirty. And yes, I said "the floor!" I find it's easier to sit on the floor and change my son. This way, I don't have to worry about him rolling off a changing table.

Tip #2: Tell your baby what you're going to do. Even a newborn can start to learn cues. Say, "I'm going to change your diaper now. Please hold still." Show your baby the clean Pampers diaper. My son responds better to diaper changes when I approach it this way,as opposed to suddenly removing him from fun time and stripping him naked without a word -- how jarring!

Tip #3: Check down the back for poop. The worst thing is being 'surprised' by a really dirty diaper.

Tip #4: Although you're concentrating on the task at hand, it really helps if you can simultaneously distract your baby with a toy, a song, or (as they get older) a request, such as, "Can you sing me the ABCs?"

Tip #5: If it's a poopy diaper, use the front inside to do the initial wipe instead of a disposable wipe. This technique cleans up most the mess in one swoop. Put the dirty diaper out of your baby's reach. As you use disposable wipes to clean up any remaining poop, put the wipes in the center of the dirty diaper. When you're all done with the change, roll up the dirty diaper and wipes, and then affix the tabs across the front to make a ball. This traps all the waste inside and will keep your diaper pail smelling decent for longer.

Tip #6: When boys are little, they may pee as a reflex when their penis is exposed to the air. Prevent this -- or at least, prevent a huge mess -- by putting a washcloth over the penis after you prepare the clean Pampers diaper. Girls should be wiped from front to back to prevent the transfer of fecal matter into their vaginas.

Learning how to change a diaper can be a challenge. To become a diaper-changing pro, just remember: Practice makes perfect!

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

Baby Diapers: The Perfect Fit

Between feedings, burping, rocking, and napping, what new mom has time to think about the size of her baby’s diaper? Grabbing a few boxes from the grocery store shelf as you zoom home before a meltdown may seem like the easiest thing to do, but with two daughters, I quickly learned that a baby diaper that doesn’t fit is no fun for you -- or for your new baby. There’s more to diaper size than you may realize. Here are my tips and tricks for knowing if your new baby has the right diaper on, and when to move to a larger one.

Pay attention to the red mark. If my new baby had a reddish line across her belly or around her pudgy thighs, I knew that she was probably swaddled in a diaper that was too tight or too small. Once she was on the move, I looked out for signs of chafing, an indication that her baby diaper didn’t fit quite right.

Watch for fussy signals. Some little ones fuss when their clothes or undergarments don’t fit well. If your new baby is in a funk, check her baby diaper. It could be because the wrong size is making her uncomfortable. Try going up or down a size to see if she calms down.

Look for a leak. A too-small diaper can be prone to leaking. When I noticed that my new baby’s diaper wasn’t keeping wetness contained, it was a sign to choose a larger size. Also, if the baby diaper slipped down on her tummy or didn’t cover her buttocks completely, I knew it was too small.

Avoid the dreaded blowout. It was my (and probably every new mom’s) worst fear -- poop all over your new baby’s body, clothes, hair, and probably also on you. If a baby diaper doesn’t fit well, it won’t be able to contain her bowel movements. The fix? Go up a size.

Don’t buy too much at once. You may think it pays to stock up on baby diapers, but because babies grow so quickly, you may end up with many unused diapers. Buy only what you need, and if you do end up with a surplus of small diapers, reach out to other new moms and trade your smaller sizes for some that are larger.

Believe me: It’s worth the time to check up on diaper size. Knowing how to properly fit my daughter’s Pampers diapers made for a much less messy parenting experience!

Photo by Walaa Khaleel on Unsplash

Diaper Bags for Dads

At baby superstores, you can always spot a new dad who’s there for the first time. He’s got this deer-in-the-headlights look. I know, because a little over two years ago, I was that guy!

My vision was swimming with cribs, pack, plays, and strollers when my wife gave me a simple task: Register for a daddy diaper bag. “A bag?” I thought. “I can handle picking out a bag!”

There are so many diaper bags for dads on the market -- purse-style, messenger bag, backpacks, bags with a million pockets, simple totes. I felt a bit intimidated, but after browsing the entire rack, I settled on a gray and black messenger bag. I liked its appearance and figured -- hey, a bag’s a bag.

Now that my son is fifteen months old, I realize that a diaper bag is not just a regular bag. Your very sanity depends on a well-designed diaper bag! I loved many aspects of my daddy diaper bag, but I can compare it to my wife’s tote diaper bag. Both bags had pluses and minuses.

If I could construct the perfect diaper bag for dads, it would feature:

The Right Color and Fabric: Dark colors, like gray, black, and navy, are not only manly, but they’re functional, too. Darker colors hide stains from dirt and food easily. A tough, utilitarian fabric also helps keep the bag looking brand new even though you’ve hauled it to and from a dozen playdates. My bag was so tough that I could toss it in the washing machine, which really helped when Henry squeezed a food pouch all over it!

The Right Shape: I appreciated my messenger-style diaper bag for dads, as it went well with my entire wardrobe, but a backpack-style bag would be even easier to carry.

Compartments: Lots of compartments help keep everything -- diapers, wipes, keys, and phone -- organized. Digging through a big bag with a single pocket is a nightmare, especially when the baby is trying to wiggle out of a new dad’s arms! Look for a bag with side pockets for bottles or sippy cups.

The Extras: My bag came with clips, so I could easily attach it to the stroller. It also came with a changing pad, so I could change Henry in places without changing tables. Mine was very wide and had a plastic backing, so messes were easy to clean up.

It’s the little things that can really help new dads get into the swing of things -- a well-equipped diaper bag just being one of them!

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Your New Baby’s Bowel Movements, Decoded

As a new mom, I obsessed over the contents of my new baby’s diapers. I know it may sound strange, but it really became a high topic of interest! Was it a “healthy poo” or was it too watery? Why was it green -- is that normal? And believe it or not, I wasn’t alone; the color and consistency of infant bowel movements can be rather shocking for any new mom, but I learned that most of the strange colors and consistencies are completely normal.

My new baby’s first poop, called meconium, arrived just after birth. The tar-like, greenish-black substance is perfectly normal— it’s the last bit of food babies take in while in utero—and will last for two to three days.

A breastfed baby will produce lovely shades of yellow, including mustard, greenish-yellow, and brownish-yellow. This stool may appear to have seeds in it, is usually on the runny side, and doesn’t have much of an odor. Prepare yourself for a poop after nearly every feeding!

A formula-fed new baby will fill her diaper with a darker yellow to green-hued poo. This stool won’t be as frequent, arriving about three to four times a day, though it does tend to be more solid and have a stronger smell than a breastfed baby’s poop. Bowel movements for both formula and breastfed babies will decrease in frequency around 4 months to just a couple of times a day.

When my new baby started solids, I found every shade in her diaper. Her bowel movements took on the color of what she recently consumed (sweet potatoes at dinner made for an orange diaper, while peas turned it green, for example). Eating real food also transformed her stool to the browner, firm, stinky kind.

As my baby moved from purees to solid fare, her stool changed as well. I saw actual pieces of undigested food in the poo, like bits of pasta, carrots, and even whole peas!

My new baby’s dirty diapers were not the most appealing sight, but giving them a quick peek before I threw them out helped me know whether her bowel movements were healthy and regular. 

Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash