How to Change a Diaper


New parents and sitters can be intimidated when it comes to changing a baby’s diaper. Feeling this way is completely normal and we’re here to help! Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve changed a diaper or maybe you’re brand new to diapering - either way, here are some steps to changing a diaper and some tips from moms who have been there!

1) The first question to ask is if your baby needs a new diaper. If his diaper feels full or heavy, chances are that he will need to be changed. Checking every two hours or before/after a nap is helpful, as well as when he is fussy. Be sure to change right away when needed to avoid diaper rash!

2) Wash your hands thoroughly and dry.

3) Be sure to change the baby on a flat, large surface (ie - baby changing station or on the floor at home) so they don’t roll off and get hurt. If there is a changing table, use the strap and always have one hand near baby at all times to ensure they are safe (kids can  be very wiggly during diaper changes!). Use a towel or changing pad to protect the baby and never leave them unattended. You can give the child a safe toy to play with while they are being changed to help keep them calm and occupied!

3) Lay the baby on her back and remove any clothing around the diaper (ie - remove any pants and unbutton the onesie or romper).

4) Carefully remove the soiled diaper. If you are using a reusable cloth diaper, remove the snaps or velcro from the waist. If a disposable diaper is used, remove the velcro tabs.

5) Gently lift the baby’s bottom so the diaper can be removed from under them.

6) Using wipes (keep these ready to go nearby), gently wipe the baby from front to back (to avoid infection) until the area is clean. Place the used wipes inside the diaper.

7) If the area has a rash, some parents apply diaper cream to the irritated area. If you are watching someone else’s child, do not apply any creams, lotions, or ointments without the parent’s permission and alert the parents if the baby appears to have a new rash.

8) Gently lift the baby’s bottom again, and slide the diaper underneath. Be sure the tabs are on the part of the diaper under the baby. Pull the tabs up and secure them well to the front of the diaper. The back and front should be at the same location, although the front may be a bit lower. If using cloth diapers, secure with velcro or snaps in a similar manner, as appropriate.

9) Replace the clothing initially removed for changing the diaper. If it is at all soiled, change the child’s clothing into a clean set.

10) If the diaper is disposable, take the diaper, and fasten the tabs from back to front again, securing it in a little ball. Dispose of the diaper in a diaper garbage or a diaper genie (depending on what is used in the home).

11) If the diaper is a reusable cloth diaper, you can roll it closed (using the velcro and/or snap tabs to hold it in place if possible). Then, you can place it in the holding container designated in the house. If you are babysitting, be sure to ask the parents where this container is. Some parents prefer to shake the solids into the toilet and drop the diaper into a plastic-lined pail after a change. Be sure to ask for a quick tutorial if needed!

11) Place the baby in a secure and safe area so that you can wash your hands thoroughly. You can also clean the baby’s hands if they touched near their diaper area.

Quick tips: To be ready for diaper changes, you can keep “stations” throughout the house with clean diapers, wipes, changing pads, and diaper cream which can be helpful and convenient for these times. When you’re running errands or out somewhere, having a diaper bag packed with all the essentials can help you be prepared and change the diaper quickly and comfortably.