How to change a nappy

Be prepared

There’s nothing like a leaky nappy, or worse, getting weed on, to let you know the importance of changing a nappy quickly and effectively! Make life easier by arming yourself with the necessaries:

  • A nappy of your choice (disposable, terry or cloth nappy).
  • A comfy, wipe-clean changing mat if you’re at home, or something disposable to put under your baby if you’re using a changing table elsewhere.
  • Safety pins or fasteners (for cloth nappies).
  • Some warm water and cotton balls, a clean washcloth or baby wipes.
  • Petroleum jelly (and nappy rash cream if needed).

Changing a disposable nappy

Undo your baby’s clothes and pull them up so they don’t get soiled. 
• Un-stick the tabs of the nappy and fold them back on themselves (so they don’t stick to your baby!). 
• Keeping the nappy in place, use the front of it to wipe away any poo. If your baby’s a boy, cover his penis with a cloth to keep it clean (and avoid getting weed on!). 
• Take your baby’s ankles in one hand and lift their bottom off the table, then fold the nappy in half underneath them. It’s a good idea to keep it there just in case there is more to come! 
• Clean your baby’s bottom and front with a baby wipe or wet cotton wool ball. If your baby’s a girl, wipe from front to back - away from her vagina - to avoid infection. 
• Take the dirty nappy away and slide a clean one underneath. The back of the nappy goes under your baby’s bum, and the front goes between their legs. 
• Fasten the sticky tabs at the sides. 
• Stick the tabs of the old nappy back together again to keep it closed, and put it in a nappy bag and then in the bin. 
• Dress your baby and wash your hands.

Changing a non-disposable nappy

Non-disposable nappies come in either a pre-formed shape (usually with built-in fastenings) or flat, foldable terry cloths (which you fasten with a safety pin). They’re cheaper over time and kinder to the environment, yet not quite as convenient as disposables. There’s not much difference in the way you change your baby when using a disposable compared with a non-disposable, apart from the way they fasten. And, of course, you don’t just throw away a non-disposable; if it’s full, take away the excess poo with a nappy bag before washing.

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