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As a kid, I helped change my siblings diapers, but I didn’t remember the little details about it. When Emm was born, I knew the basic idea, but for my first diaper change the NICU nurses shared some hacks that made things less messy. Some of them are trial and error, some you may have figured out later, but to avoid missing important details I’ve shared them all. Enjoy and learn something new!
Untuck the Edges of the Diaper
Make sure the edges aren’t tucked under after you have changed your baby’s diaper. Tucked edges are a recipe for a blowout disaster. To untuck them, slide a finger under the edge and pull out. The edges should fluff out like ruffles. Your baby’s pee leaks out the sides if the edges untuck, so it’s worth the extra second or two!
Hold Baby Up By Both Legs
When cleaning the back of baby’s bum, lift their legs up by their calves. It can be painful for them if you lift them by the ankles and it’s harder to hold onto anyway, so save both of you some energy.
Use Diaper Rash Cream Sparingly
Too much diaper rash cream will make it hard for your baby’s skin to breathe down there. Emm got little rashes if I used too much cream too frequently. So try to use the thick stuff as a treatment rather than a prevention. To prevent diaper rash, light diaper rash sprays work well (especially in the first few weeks) but if your baby is breastfed then you can probably leave their bum ointment-free most of the time. (I use Desitin when I need the thick cream.)
Get Diaper Cream Off Your Fingers For Free
Expensive diaper rash cream applicators aren’t really worth the $$$. Just keep an old dry towel next to your changing station and the cream will wipe right off after application.
Use Hand Sanitizer Rather Than Water
I washed my hands after every diaper change when Emm was first born, because admittedly, I’m a little bit of a clean freak. However, after a few weeks my hands dried out and itched from washing so much (you’ll change a lot of diapers). The alternative? Buy a bottle of moisturizing hand sanitizer! It gets you clean and helps your hands stay nice and soft.
Put the Diaper Under First
Place the second diaper (the one you’re putting on baby after) spread underneath the dirty diaper before you start to change baby. It’s a simple step, but if baby pees during the process, it makes cleanup much easier.
Use Wet Wipes for Baby
I’m talking about wet, wet wipes. The kind that come dry and then you wet them down when you change baby. I didn’t even know they existed before I had Emm, but when I saw the nurses using them in the NICU, I was sold! These wipes are cheaper, hypoallergenic, and get the job done in much less time. Only downside is wetting them, just have a spray bottle close by. I found that those wipes and choosing a good brand of diapers made a huge difference in Emm’s comfort!
Experiment with Different Diapers
We all have preferences and things that fit us better than most, and babies are no different. The first diapers I used on Emm caused little irritation rashes, so I bought small packs of diapers and tried them until I found ones that worked. They don’t necessarily need to be expensive, just whatever you and your baby prefer. I use Huggies because I found that they kept wetness away from her skin better, and that led to less rashes (so the diaper kind of sags away when wet, leaving Emm’s skin a little room to breathe).
One thing the NICU nurses stressed was always wiping down when changing Emm’s diaper, even if it was just wet. They said that in girls, wiping up can push bacteria into *sensitive* areas and cause painful infections, and it’s a good idea to do it with boys as well even though the risk for them is significantly smaller. Heed this warning! Don’t risk your little one’s health in the interest of ease.
These things were new for me when I was in the NICU with Emm, and I was very glad that the nurses were blunt with me and helped me out. They didn’t assume anything, and I was so glad!
#Bonus tip they gave? Buy more size 3 diapers if you want to stock up. Babies fit these the longest on average.
What did you think of these tips? Anything you would add? What worked for you and your baby? Tell us in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!