Newborn Diapering Basics and How-to

Baby Diapering Basics

Diapering is an important part of ensuring your baby’s health. Newborns and infants need frequent diaper changes, so parents are advised to keep a fresh supply of cloth or disposable diapers at hand at all times. That way, they’re able to meet their baby’s needs instantly.

Often, new mothers are confused about the diapering supplies needed, as well as how to change their babies’ soiled diapers. But not to worry! Here are some diapering essentials all mothers with young babies should keep with them:

  • Portable changing table/pad (to provide a clean and dry changing spot for the baby)
  • A bag of diapers (these may be disposable or cloth, depending on your personal preferences)
  • Soft baby wipes
  • Moist wool or cotton balls
  • Baby oil, ointment or lotion to prevent diaper rash
  • Some toys or a mobile to keep your baby occupied during diaper change
  • Deodorizers (to purify the putrid air once you’ve changed the diaper)

It’s always best to stock spare supplies of each of these items. This will ensure you are equipped for sudden or emergency situations, whether you’re at home or on the go.


How to change baby diaper

Here are some important tips to ensure the diaper change goes smoothly:

  • Make sure your hands are clean and sanitized before starting the process.
  • Select a clean, dry and warm spot to change your baby.
  • Unfold the changing table and place proper padding on which to lay the baby. If you aren’t using a portable table, place some soft, clean blankets on the floor or on the bed.
  • Make sure all essential changing supplies are available within easy reach.
  • Keep a container of lukewarm water nearby to clean your baby, as well as a dustbin for quick diaper disposal.
  • Set up the mobile or place some toys to distract your baby so s/he doesn’t fidget during the diaper change.


Now comes the actual changing process:

1. Remove the soiled diaper very gently so as not to hurt or distress the baby.

2. Clean your baby thoroughly but gently using warm water and cotton balls.

3. Once the mess has been completely cleaned, let your baby’s skin dry for a few minutes. Or use wipes to dry his/her legs.

4. Palm some baby oil or lotion onto your hands and rub it soothingly over the diaper area. This is good protection against diaper rash.

5. Select a diaper from the fresh supply. Lift the baby gently by the ankles and place the diaper underneath his/her body so the lower half reaches the waist, while the top half should reach up to his/her stomach.

6. Make sure to spread the diaper as far across the baby’s legs as possible. Too much bunching may prove uncomfortable for the tot.

7. Secure the diaper into place on both sides. A disposable diaper has built-in tabs that can be fastened together. Whereas cloth diapers can be clipped together with basic safety pins or with diaper fasteners by brands such as Boingo or Snappi.

New mothers may feel overly hesitant and cautious while changing their babies the first few times. Rest assured the process gets easier; only practice and diligence is required.



How many newborn diapers do I need?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. However, the younger your baby is, the more frequently you’ll need to change his/her diaper. Newborns need repeated changing, often throughout the night. If dirty diapers aren’t replaced at regular intervals, your baby may become very uncomfortable and may even develop a painful rash. As your tot grows older, the diaper changing will become less frequent.


Disposable diaper VS. Cloth diaper: which one is better?

Different parents have different ways of caring for their babies. Some mothers prefer to buy disposable diapers, while others tend to use cloth diapers. Both types have their own benefits and drawbacks.


Baby cloth diapers

Cloth diapers have the advantage of providing greater comfort for the baby, as fresh air is able to seep through its folds. This reduces the risk of developing a rash. Moreover, the diapers can be cleaned and reused, so they are a considerably cheaper option than disposal ones, especially if you buy baby diapers in bulk.

On the downside, cloth diapers can also cause sores and diaper rashes if cloth diapers aren’t changed regularly or cleaned properly. Constantly washing soiled diapers may seem like an excessive burden to some mothers.


Newborn disposable diapers

The most obvious advantage of disposable diapers is that they come in a sealed pack, which means each diaper is clean and fresh. Moreover, you can easily and properly dispose them after usage without the hassle of cloth diaper washing. They are thus more hygienic for your baby’s skin as compared to cloth diapers.

However, stocking up on bags of disposable diapers can become rather costly over the long term. Some parents may prefer to use traditional but cheaper cloth diapers for that very reason.


The Verdict?

Again, there is no right or wrong answer. Since both types have their own positives and negatives, it’s up to you to choose which option fits best with your individual preferences and with your baby’s needs. One mother may choose to buy disposable diapers due to convenience, while another may prefer buying cloth diaper lots as they are cheaper.



Diaper changing is a great opportunity to bond with your beloved baby. So instead of freaking out or throwing hysterics about messing up, try to enjoy the process. These moments shared with your baby are very precious, so make the most of them.

Have fun with your tot. Smile and talk to the baby; pull silly faces and make him/her laugh; sing classic favourites such as “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” or “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”. Play fun games like Peekaboo, which your baby is sure to enjoy a lot.

With time and experience, you will have the diaper changing process down pat. The best tip offered by many mothers is that you shouldn’t take diapering as a chore or an inconvenience, but as a chance to enjoy some quality, one-on-one time with your baby.

Anna C

Anna is the main author of this website. Like many of you, she is a mother who is continuously searching for the best parenting tips in order to learn more about child development.