Learn To Change Diapers
If you are a new dad or about to be a new dad you may have never changed diapers before. I am pretty sure that I had not changed a diaper before I became a dad. I was talking with a friend the other day and he had also never changed diapers before his son was born.
It is not uncommon for a man to have not had the opportunity to change a diaper before becoming a father. We don’t often get asked if we want to hold a new baby (that isn’t ours) let alone given the chance to do other child care activities like changing a diaper. As my friend pointed out, on the few times he was given a chance to hold a baby the baby was quickly reclaimed as soon as it started to fuss, which was not the case when his wife held babies.
Before I became a dad I was reasonably sure I could figure out how to change diapers. Nonetheless it was one of the many things that I knew I was going to have to learn when the kid arrived. In the hopes of reducing your list of stuff to figure out, here is a quick guide to how diapers work.
It’s All About the Poop
In the early days you will discover that babies are poop machines. As a result you will have lots and lots of diaper – changing professional development. Newborns poop somewhere between 10 and 50 times a day. Maybe not 50, but it sure seems like you go through a pack of disposable diapers every couple of days. For fun you will also get to keep track of poop colours and consistencies for the first week or two. You will have more poop-related conversations with your partner and friends than ever before.
Changing Disposable Diapers
Disposable diapers are very simple to manage. Installing and removing the diaper is actually quite easy. It basically involves figuring out which is the front and which is the back. For disposable diapers the sticky tabs are on the back part and they stick on to the outside of the front part. Cloth and hybrid diapers can be more complicated, but not by much.
When changing a diaper, open up a new diaper and lay it on the change pad/table/floor with the back half of the diaper (the one with the tabs) at the top with the inside facing up. Lay the diapered baby on the new diaper with their bottom about mid-way on the diaper. The tabs should be at their sides and the front half of their diaper visible between their legs.
Now this is the risky part. Open up the old diaper that your baby is wearing. Diapers are a reasonably good containment system – for the most part. Sometimes they fail and those failures can be spectacular. You will usually have a pretty good indication ahead of time that you are facing a situation that requires back up or an immediate bathing experience. There is nothing you can do to escape these situations. Just make sure you have appropriate cleaning supplies on hand ahead of time.
Assuming that you a changing a diaper that doesn’t require back up or a hazmat suit you can clean your child’s genital area and bottom with disposable wipes or a clean damp cloth, lift your baby’s legs and bottom up slightly to remove the old diaper. Then you fold the front half of the diaper up to your baby’s abdomen and close the diaper with the sticky tabs. You will need to open the tabs in order to find the sticky part. The tabs are folded over on themselves to prevent them from losing their stickiness. Victory is yours!
Changing Cloth or Reusable Diapers
This process is going to be similar, although there are differences depending on the kind of diapers you are using. Generally speaking You will have some combination of cloth diaper and/or disposable liner and a waterproof cover. Some of these require prior assembly so you have intact diapers on hand when changing the baby. Others go on in two steps. Make sure you take the time to learn how your system works before you are trying to change a diaper in the middle of the night and there is poop involved. Once you understand how the diaper itself goes together, the changing process is the same as a disposable diaper.
Diaper Changing Pro-Tips
- If you have a boy, place a loose diaper or pee-tent or something equally useful to cover the penis. Pee comes out of the penis and inevitably that will happen when you are mid-change. To prevent the pee from getting in your mouth, cover the penis.
- If you have a girl, wipe front-to-back to avoid getting poop in the vagina.
- Make sure you have the right size diapers. Too big or too small will result in leaks and you don’t want leaks.
Welcome to Your Future
Congrats now you are a diaper-changing expert. Within a couple of days you’d be changing diapers in the dark with your eyes closed because you are too tired to open them. You’ll get to tell great poo-war stories about the time there was so much poop it shot out the diaper, straight up their back and into their hair (if this happens, do not stop on go, proceed directly to the shower, strip everyone down and just apply soap and water). You’ll get to tell stories that other people will find funny about all the times you got peed on. You’ll get to have great times bonding with your kid telling them funny stories, tickling their feet, and making silly faces at them while you change their diapers. Some of my favourite moments with my daughters have occurred while changing their diapers.
You’ve got this!
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