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Preparing To Change A Nappy

Wash and dry your hands before you start and make sure you have everything you need to hand.

Here’s what you may want to have to hand:

  • A clean nappy, if using a cloth nappy have it pre-folded and have nappy pins ready
  • Cotton wool balls and warm water to clean your baby’s bottom if they’re under one month, or baby wipes if older
  • A cloth to dry your baby’s bottom after cleaning
  • Barrier cream, if your baby has nappy rash
  • A change of clothes for your baby, if their nappy has leaked
  • Entertainment to distract your baby while changing them, this could be a toy, an overhead mobile or their sibling.

Changing A Nappy Step-By-Step

  • Keep a hand on your baby the entire time they are on the nappy change table to prevent them from falling
  • If you’re not using a change table, spread out a protective mat or cloth to change your baby on
  • Unfasten the nappy and check for any bowel motions, if there is use the front part of the nappy to wipe most of the mess to the back
  • Fold the nappy under your baby’s bottom with the soiled portion contained inside the nappy to act as a protective surface
  • If changing a boy be aware they can turn into a mini fountain once the nappy is off so be prepared with a clean dry cloth to catch any spills
  • Use a cloth or baby wipes to clean your baby’s bottom, making sure you get into all the creases. To clean under them, lift their legs by holding their ankles together using one hand and raising their bottom slightly. Pat them dry using a clean, dry cloth
  • Slide the dirty nappy out from under your baby and put a clean nappy in its place before putting their legs back down
  • Apply barrier cream if required. If using disposable nappies make sure no cream gets on the tabs as it can stop them from sticking
  • If using cloth nappies, the extra cloth should be in the front for boys and the back for girls. When fastening nappy pins make sure you put your fingers under the layers of fabric and take care not to prick your baby accidentally
  • Once the tabs or pins are fastened check the nappy is secure enough to avoid leaks but not so tight it will irritate your baby’s skin
  • Dress your baby and leave them somewhere safe while you clean up the mess
  • Dispose of the nappy in a hygienic way. Fold over disposable nappies, tightly reclose and place in the bin or a nappy bucket. Cloth nappies should be kept tightly covered in a nappy bucket until washing day or they are picked up by a nappy service. When away from home, keep in a plastic bag when you can dispose of it
  • When you’re finished, wash your hands again. Use soap and water and when possible use a baby wipe and hand sanitiser to clean thoroughly.

Nappy Changing FAQs

How often should I change a nappy?

Your baby will need changing eight or more times in a 24 hour period, in the early months it can sometimes be as often as hourly during their waking times.

Should I change my baby when they are sleeping or after a night time feed?

There is no need to wake your child for a change or to change them after a night time feed, unless they are very wet and uncomfortable or have had a bowel movement. In fact, the less activity at night the better, as the light and interaction can interfere with them going back to sleep.

Should I use baby cream or powder?

Unless your baby has a rash or irritated skin there is no need to use creams, ointments, lotions or powders. If your baby does have a rash you should consult your early childhood nurse or doctor for the best treatment.

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