How to Change a Diaper: Helpful Tips for New Parents

Changing a baby’s diaper can be a dirty business. Use this step-by-step guide on how to change a diaper and life-changing diaper changing tips and hacks to make your life easier!


It’s as if motherhood is playing a joke on new parents and throwing them into the deep end by presenting them with the hardest poop to clean the first hours after their baby’s birth.

And the poop keeps coming! There is nothing else to do except take a deep breath and dive into one of the most crucial skill to master as a new parent – changing your baby’s diaper.

After having two kids, it’s safe to say that I have gotten over my fear of changing diapers. I view myself as the one-woman Nascar pit-crew, tackling different tasks as quickly as possible once that diaper has been opened.

When it comes down to it, changing a baby’s diaper is an art, not a science. However, here are some basic instructions to get you started.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Changing Diapers

1. Lay your baby down gently on a clean, flat, safe surface.
You can use a changing table, a dresser with a changing pad (that’s what we did), a crib, or the floor. Always secure your baby using the safety straps or keep one hand on your baby to ensure he or she doesn’t roll off. I recommend using a changing pad liner to protect the surface from any accidents.

2. Open up a new clean diaper and place it underneath your baby.
The tabs should come up to your baby’s waist, around the belly button area. Keep reading to find out why one of the best tips to diaper changing is to have a clean diaper underneath the dirty one.

3. Unfasten the tabs on the dirty diaper and pull the front half down.
Do not remove the diaper!

4. Hold your baby’s ankles with one hand and gently lift your baby upward so that you can fold the dirty diaper underneath the baby (the clean side is now touching his or her bottom).
For dirty diapers, use the front half of the diaper to wipe off as much poop as you can off the baby’s bottom.

5. Use wet wipes or a wet washcloth to clean your baby’s diaper region.
You can lift your baby up gently by the ankles or roll him or her to her side to get the poop underneath.

If you have a boy, you may want to place a burp cloth or washcloth over the baby to prevent getting shot in the face with pee.

If you have a baby girl, make sure to wipe from front to back to prevent urinary tract infection. Make sure you clean thoroughly between the skin folds because poop can be trapped in there.

6. Pat your baby dry or allow him or her to air dry before putting on the clean diaper.
A dry bottom is the best way to prevent diaper rash.

7. Apply diaper rash ointment if necessary.
Learn how to determine if your baby has a diaper rash and the severity of the diaper rash, click here for pictures and guidelines.

8. Remove the dirty diaper and set it out of the baby’s reach.
The clean diaper should be now under your baby’s bottom.

9. Pull the front half of the diaper through your baby’s legs.
For a boy, make sure his penis is pointing downward so his pee doesn’t come out of the top of his diaper.

10. Use one hand to hold the front of the diaper gently against your baby’s belly while using the other hand to secure the adhesive tabs.
The diaper should be snug around your baby’s waist but not pinching.

For newborns, careful not to touch the umbilical cord stump with the diaper. You can fold the front of the diaper down so the diaper doesn’t cover the cord.

11. All done!
Use baby sign language to indicate to your baby that you finished changing his or her diaper by signing “all done!”


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