Get ready for laundry!
Whether you choose disposable or cloth diapers is a personal choice, regardless of which ones you choose, you will be going through a lot of them! Below are some helpful hints to help you with your many (many) diaper changes.
Helpful Hints for diapering
- You will need to change your baby’s diaper with every feeding. If your baby is feeding well they should have 6-10 wet diapers daily by day five of life.
- Never leave your baby unattended on a change table. Even newborns can roll and fall off of the change table.
- Cleanse the diaper area with each change. You may use disposable wipes or face cloths and warm water.
- You may wish to use petroleum jelly or diaper cream with each change, this is a personal preference but may help prevent diaper rash.
- If your baby still has their umbilical cord, fold the diaper down in the front or use diapers with a notch in the front to allow the cord to dry.
- If your baby’s diaper is frequently leaking or the diaper area is reddened around the edges of the diaper you probably need to go up in the size of the diaper that you are using.
A small amount of blood or vaginal discharge is normal in the first few days of life; it is caused by hormones and is nothing to worry about. Always wipe girls from front to back to prevent stool from entering the vagina and urinary tract.
You might want to cover the penis with a wipe or cloth to prevent your baby from peeing on you. If your baby is uncircumcised do not pull back the foreskin to clean. The retraction of the foreskin happens naturally and it should be fully retractable between three and four years of life. If your baby is circumcised you will have to apply petroleum jelly and a loose dressing for the first week following the circumcision. You will also need to cleanse the area well with each diaper change. Once the incision is healed there no need for dressings.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: How can I prevent diaper rash?
A: All babies are at risk for diaper rash. Diaper rash is caused by wetness against the baby’s skin, enzymes in the baby’s stool or ammonia created when stool and urine mix, it may also be caused by excessive cleansing of the baby’s skin. To prevent these problems change your baby frequently. Apply barrier creams or petroleum jelly with each diaper change and do not cleanse vigorously.
If your baby has diaper rash and it does not improve within a few days, you will need to see your health care provider as this may indicate the rash needs to be treated with a prescription medication. Some babies will also get diaper rashes when they are teething due to the increase in saliva production that teething causes. The baby swallows more saliva and the stools are more acetic and cause the skin to become irritated.
Q: How often should my baby have a bowel movement?
A: Every baby is different. Some will stool with every feeding and some will stool only once a week or anything in between. As long as your baby doesn’t appear uncomfortable when they are having a bowel movement or their stool isn’t hard and dry there should be no problems. As your child gets older the frequency and consistency of their stools will change.
Q: What should my baby’s stool look like?
A: The first few stools are usually black and sticky, this is called meconium. The stools eventually turn dark green and then yellow by day 4-5 of life. Breastfed babies will have soft almost runny stools that look like seedy mustard and formula fed babies will have firmer stools that are tan or yellow. Older babies’ stool will take on the color and consistency of what they have most recently eaten.