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Diaper Basics Every New Mother Should Know

Happy baby in a diaper

Which diapers should you put on your baby … cloth or disposable?.

It can be a real conundrum, especially for a first-time mom. Your newborn has delicate skin and the last thing you want to do is to make your precious baby irritable because of the discomfort of the diaper you put on her.

Here then are three new mommy diaper tips that will make diapering your babe trouble free, regardless of what type of diaper you end up putting on your baby’s hiney.

1. Have what you need on hand.

Before diapering your baby, make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your infant unattended on the changing table. You’ll need:

  • A clean diaper
  • Fasteners (if cloth diapers are used)
  • Diaper ointment< (to prevent rashes)
  • Diaper wipes (or a container of warm water and a clean washcloth or cotton balls)

Do not put the diaper on too snug. A tight diaper will make your baby uncomfortable and irritable and can cause rashes around the waist. A common gauging rule to check if a diaper is fastened too tight, is to slip two fingers under your baby’s diaper waist band. If you feel a barely noticeable pressure of the diaper’s waist band on your fingers, your baby’s diaper is secured just right. No pressure means the diaper is not snug enough which could cause your baby to lose its diaper and too much pressure on your fingers means you fastened the diaper too tight and you need to loosen it a bit.

2. What to do after baby soiled its diaper?

After each bowel movement or if the diaper is wet, lay your baby on his or her back and remove the dirty diaper. Use the water, cotton balls, and washcloth or wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean.

I M P O R T A N T !

When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate.

When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI).

3. How to prevent or heal diaper rash?

Diaper rashes aren’t uncommon with babies. The occurrence of those rashes do not make you a neglecting or bad parent. You just need to be aware of a few things; that’s all.

Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after changing a diaper. To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment before putting on and after taking off the diaper.

One good rule of thumb to follow to prevent diaper rash is to change your baby’s diaper as soon as you notice your baby ‘went to the bathroom’.

Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.

Diaper rash prevention tips:

  • Change your baby’s diaper often, and as soon as possible after bowel movements.
  • Gently clean the area with mild soap and water (wipes sometimes can be irritating), then apply a very thick layer of diaper rash or “barrier” cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
  • If you use cloth diapers, wash them in dye- and fragrance-free detergents.
  • Let the baby go un-diapered for part of the day. This gives the skin a chance to air out.

If the diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor — it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires a prescription.

In general following those three diaper steps will prevent diaper rash from occurring in most babies. When a rash does occur, do not panic. Just follow these basic diaper guidelines and your baby will be just fine; and so will you.

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