Having a baby not only brings cheer and happiness but sleepless nights and frequent diaper changes get included in your daily schedule too! A baby may need six to ten diaper changes in a day which means practice in diapering for a new parent.
Basics of diapering
Diapering is an important and quite a time consuming part of childcare but of course with practice you can do the job quite efficiently. Diapers are required till the time a baby is properly toilet trained, which a child usually learns by the age of three. Till the time a baby has no or little control on her/his bladder and bowel movements, there is a need for diapers to collect the urine and bowel passing. There are two kinds of diapers; one is a cloth diaper and the other is a disposable diaper. Both kinds of diapers have their respective advantages and disadvantages, which leaves the option of choosing a particular kind of diaper to the parents. Parents can choose what works for the baby or can actually combine the best of both the diaper kinds.
Cloth diapers are washable diapers which come in many shapes and sizes. These diapers need to be washed and dried to be used again therefore turn to be durable and cost effective. The material used for cloth diapers is soft terry cloth which is gentle on the baby’s tender skin. These diapers since they are made of cloth allow your baby’s skin to breath and the child’s bottom gets more air circulation which is not only comfortable for the baby but also prevents diaper rashes. The greatest disadvantage is that this diaper needs immediate change incase it gets wet or soiled. It is quite a hindrance if you are traveling as holding the baby will mean you will get wet and soiled too.
- Cloth diapers are made of natural fiber and thus prove to be gentle on the baby’s tender skin.
- They are cheaper as compared to disposable diapers.
- They are reusable; laundering and drying is all you need to make them durable.
- They allow the baby’s bottom to breath and prevent diaper rashes.
- Cloth diapers do not have high absorbency, hence are prone to leakage which needs further protection in form of diaper covers, diaper doublers or pants.
- Laundering and drying can make usage of cloth diapers a tedious affair and new mothers may be too tired and busy for taking time out for washing.
- Not a good option while travelling or for a long duration.
- Not as eco-friendly as thought to be, as water and detergent needs to be used for frequent washing and sanitizing.
Disposable diapers as the name suggest are meant for a single use only after which it needs to be disposed off. They are meant for single use only since they are made of super absorbent gelling material which, when saturated, needs to be thrown. Disposable diapers are expensive compared to cloth diapers and many debate about the environment factor and eco-friendliness when it comes to disposable diapers. There are many brands in the market which offer different shapes and sizes of disposable diapers. These diapers can last for four to eight hours without causing any discomfort to the baby. They come in various fits with Velcro closures or elastic or adjustable waistbands which make for a comfortable fit for the baby. But disposable diapers are a common cause behind diaper rashes as the long hours of wetness which may not be felt by the baby makes the skin irritated.
- Disposable diapers are convenient to use and are not time consuming as they do not need any laundering and drying. They are meant for a single use after which they need to be disposed off.
- Since they are made of super absorbent gelling material they take away all the moisture and give a feeling of comfort and complete dryness to the baby.
- Extremely convenient while traveling or for long durations.
- They are expensive when compared to cloth diapers.
- Since they are super absorbent, many parents change diapers only after a long period of time. Extreme saturation of the diapers can give rise to diaper rashes.
- There is continuing debate on the eco-friendliness factor of disposable diapers.
Tip on diapering
Tip: Combine the best of both the kinds of diapers depending on your needs. When you are staying at home with your baby, cloth diapers are the best bet while disposable diapers are extremely useful while traveling. By using both the kinds of diapers not only will you be saving yourself diaper expenses but will also reduce the risk of diaper rashes in the baby.
Diapering your baby
It is not an easy job to diaper your baby as a squirming and crying baby can make this activity seem almost impossible. Do not worry as with practice you will learn the ropes and even change diapers in sleep!
- Keep everything you need for diapering ready and beside you. Things such as fresh diaper, clean washcloth, warm water and fasteners if you are using a cloth diaper are required. A washable mat to lay your baby on the changing table. To prevent or treat diaper rashes you will also need ointment for diaper rash or petroleum jelly. It is important that you never leave the baby unattended for even a second as anything can happen.
- For changing diapers of your baby opt for a raised, waist high counter slab or table which is stable and will not strain your back.
- Open a fresh diaper and keep it ready beside you.
- Lay your baby on the washable mat, on the changing table.
- Unfasten all the pins or tabs of the dirty diaper. Now lift the baby gently up by holding his legs with one hand while with the other hand pull the diaper down.
- To clean any mess or bowel movement, use the front portion of the diaper to wipe. Always wipe from the front to the back as doing the opposite puts the baby at risk of urinary tract infections.
- Remove the dirty diaper completely from near the baby. Now use a clean washcloth for further wiping clean your baby’s bottoms with special attention to creases in the thighs and buttocks. Again remember the front to back wiping movement. Once you have pat dried the bottoms of the baby, you can apply diaper rash ointment or petroleum jelly on the baby’s bottoms.
- Take the fresh diaper and place the back portion of the diaper beneath the baby’s bottoms. Now pull the front portion of the diaper from between the legs of the baby.
- Once the diaper is properly in place, secure all tabs or fasteners and make sure it is a comfortable fit for the baby. There should be just enough place for two fingers between the diaper and the baby’s skin. If you notice lines on the baby’s abdomen while changing diapers that would mean you are securing the diaper too tightly, loosen up a bit in the next change.
Some points to remember
- When disposing a dirty diaper, it is good idea to dump any solid stool movements in the toilet first before disposing the diaper. Not only it is for hygiene reasons but also helps in decreasing chances of foul smell.
- When changing diapers for baby boys it is always a good idea to cover the penis with a clean diaper. An occasional passing of urine can actually fall over the floor, on the walls or even on you!
- Talking to your baby animatedly or singing while changing diapers can distract your baby and make for an easy diapering process.
- Some messy bowel movements which would have leaked out from the diaper would call for a clothing change or maybe even a bath.
- Diapers come in different sizes and shapes and your baby will outgrow a particular size or brand. Keep a watch on frequent leaks signaling a change of diaper brand or size.