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The diaper area is super sensitive, and in contact with moisture frequently during the day and night. Much has been said about the benefits of disposable nappies vis-à-vis reusable ones. It is ultimately your personal choice and both come with pros and cons of their own. However, no matter what you are using, it is critical to be very careful. Unless we are on our guard against some common diaper/nappy-changing mistakes, our babies could be in for discomfort and pain!
Well mommies, let’s just say that diaper changing is an art to be mastered and not everybody can be as efficient as you. But despite being a pro at this art, and doing it several times during the day (and night), it is easy to make a few mistakes unknowingly. Many of us have made these mistakes while changing our little one’s diapers, and it’s fine as all of us learn on the go. However, what is important is to rectify them quickly and be on your guard, as improper diapering can become the source of much pain and crankiness for your baby. He is going to be in diapers for a long time in his early childhood and we need to make this as smooth an experience as possible.
Watch: Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing With Diaper Rash
How to Change Nappy – Common Mistakes to Avoid for a Diaper Rash Free Baby
Here is a quick guide on how to avoid some common mistakes and make the diaper-changing experience a happy one for you and your baby!
1. Not Changing a Diaper When It’s Not Soiled
During the winter, some babies may pee less often as their fluid intake reduces. If your baby is unwell or dehydrated, his peeing and pooping routine may change, leading to infrequent soiling of diapers. Sometimes, we forego changing a diaper when it’s clean. This may seem logical, but it can actually lead to the onset of rashes and irritation. Your baby’s skin needs to breathe, and constant friction from an old diaper stops this from happening.
What to do: It’s best to change your baby’s diapers every couple of hours, without exception, and whether or not it has been soiled. This will save your baby from discomfort as the diaper area will be constantly fresh and moisturised.
2. Not Having a Fixed Place for Changing Diapers
One common mistake that many of us make is not having a designated place to carry out the changing process. We just do it on the bed or wherever the baby currently is because we think the sooner the better. Well, while that is true, not having a designated space means you cannot be assured of the hygiene of the place either! Babies can easily catch infections during a diaper change. Plus, what if your child happens to pee in the middle of a change? You want to clean him and not let him create a further mess!
What to do: Use a flat surfaced diaper changing station, or a plastic mat spread over the table while changing diapers. This will keep your baby safe, dry and clean during the process and also minimise the mess you have to clean.
3. Not Keeping All Diaper-Changing Essentials Handy
Imagine taking your baby to the diaper changing station/mat, undoing the diaper, and realizing that everything you need to change and clean is perhaps in your washroom! By now, your baby has created a mess that’s much worse than before! Sounds familiar? There’s so much that moms have to do every day that it can be easy to overlook the essentials you need to keep at hand.
What to do: Well, as mothers, you always need to be prepared. Keep the complete diaper paraphernalia in a little shelf close to the changing station at home. This way, no time is lost in getting it together before every change. When traveling, carry smaller packs in a diaper bag for convenience.
4. Not Having a Distraction for Your Baby during the Time You’re Changing Diapers
Children often tend to get irritable during diaper changes as they feel really uncomfortable with the wetness. They also lack the patience to wait till you have solved the problem by changing their diaper. It is likely that this crankiness will make your baby restless and make it harder for you to change their diaper and put things right. The longer your child is exposed to the wetness, the more prone he is to developing redness and rashes too!
What to do: In case your child gets extremely restless during changes, make sure to give him something that will keep him occupied. His favourite sippy cup or her favourite doll can serve as a great distraction.
5. Not Cleaning Up Front to Back, and Doing It Inadequately
Cleaning up after removing the diaper is very important. This helps remove germs that can cause infection and give your baby a feeling of freshness. Don’t forget to clean up thoroughly even after changing a diaper that’s not soiled. Unless the area is nourished and hydrated often, it can get dry and itchy. One more important thing to remember is to always wipe front to back. Not doing this can mean that all the faecal matter comes in contact with the vaginal area or the scrotum – very dangerous and unhygienic!
What to do: There is nothing better than warm water to help you do the job. If you have access to a clean washroom and warm water supply, make sure you use this to clean the baby’s diaper area. This makes sure the private areas are cleaned thoroughly. Wet wipes are ideal when you don’t have access to a cleaning area. Wet wipes are very convenient and hygienic to use, and also have moisturising properties.
6. Not Drying Using the Right Method and Fabric
After a thorough clean up, a thorough drying is equally important. Sometimes, we may forget to pay attention to this part of the process once the ordeal of changing diapers is over. We may also be rough during the wiping by using an approach that adults use to dry – rubbing. But for babies, a pat dry using a suitable cloth is the best approach.
What to do: Wipe your baby with a soft, dry cloth before you get into the next part of the changing process. The material of the dry cloth matters. Make sure to use a cloth which is very soft or else chances of skin rashes and irritation increases. (Refer to the full step-by-step diaper changing instructions below)
7. Not Giving Your Baby Protection or Treatment from Rashes
You are no stranger to the fact that your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and prone to allergies and rashes. While diapers are important, not using or changing them properly and not taking the required care of the diaper area can lead to painful rashes. It therefore becomes very important to remember to moisturize your baby’s skin completely after drying. This creates a protective barrier that protects your infant from infection.
What to do: Remember to apply a mild moisturizer or anti rash cream (in case your baby is prone to rashes quite often) not just around the baby’s private parts but also along the area where the elastic of the diaper touches the skin.
8. Not Focusing on Making the Diaper Area Fresh
Moisturizing isn’t enough. Your baby needs to feel fresh too! If the area is not freshened up after a change, it can induce feelings of discomfort in your child and make him restless.
What to do: Make sure to apply a mild baby talcum powder after applying the cream and before putting on a new diaper. This will help your child feel fresh and dry for a long time. Choose a paediatrician and dermatologist-approved baby powder only and remember to not overuse it. Also keep this away from your baby’s mouth by preferring to dab it on gently.
Step-by-Step Guide for Diaper Changing
- Lay your baby down on the mat.
- Pull back the diaper tabs and lower the front part. Clean this area thoroughly with wipes. Be careful not to move the dirty diaper at one go. Once the front area is clean, the diaper can be kept aside while turning the baby sideways.
- Now clean the area behind. If you prefer to clean the baby with water, balance the baby carefully over the sink with one hand and use the other to clean the baby thoroughly. Use lukewarm water.
- Once your baby is cleaned, dab the wet areas with a dry cloth so that the chance of infection from exposure to water is low.
- Apply cream around the private parts, along the buttocks and thighs. If you have a boy, be sure to have a cloth over the penis.
- Once the entire cleaning process is completed, take the new diaper and stretch it out once completely.
- Now place it carefully under the buttocks of your little one to ensure that it is not tilted to any one side.
- Bring the front flap over the front area of the baby, and seal it with the tabs on both sides. Done!
One last tip you must remember, moms: be careful not to leave your child unattended at the changing station at any point. They can wriggle and squirm their way out of the bed and hurt themselves. With a little practice (and you’ll sure get a lot of it!) you can soon master the art of diaper changing!