Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.

Nappy changing step by step

Before the baby is born you may often wonder whether you will manage the new challenges without harming the baby. You may be worried about bathing him, dressing him, and changing the newborn's nappy. However, there is no reason to worry - you will learn these things very quickly. Here are some tips that will make nappy changing easier to learn.

How often do I change the nappy?

In the beginning you have to change the nappy every 2 hours during the day and every few hours at night. In order for the baby to feel comfortable, change the nappy immediately after it gets dirty or when you feel it's full. If you use reusable nappies, don't wait for the wet spot to appear on the sleepsuit. Babies usually poo during feeding or immediately after, therefore it's best to change the nappy within 15-30 minutes from feeding.

What kind of nappies should I use?

Babycare shops offer a large variety of nappies. You can invest in disposable nappies, which are very comfortable because you don't have to wash ot iron them, they are also more absorbent than cloth nappies, they leak less and leave the baby's skin dry. However, remember that they have to be changed regularly. Their biggest disadvantages are the high weekly costs and the disposal problems. It's best to wrap the used nappy into a tight plastic bag immediately after changing, and throw it into an appointed waste bin which you empty every day. You can also invest in a special nappy-bin. If you decide to use disposable nappies, remember that they should be chosen according to the baby's size, because he will be uncomfortable in a too big nappy, whereas a too small nappy can abrade the delicate skin on his groins. Your baby may also develop allergy to disposable nappies or the fragrances used in them (e.g. aloe). Should this happen, try another brand of nappies and if the allergy doesn't pass, switch to reusable nappies. Reusables are cheaper in use (60 nappies will suffice)and definitely more eco-friendly, but they unfortunately require rinsing, washing and ironing (wash using the amount of powder recommended for normal laundry, wash in 60C, don't use conditioners as they reduce the absorbency of the nappy). With standard nappies you will also need nappy pins, liners, boosters or waterproof underwear. You can choose between terry nappies, flanelette nappies or muslin nappies. Throw away any nappies that have roughened and become unpleasant after multiple washing.

Prepare for nappy changing

First prepare a suitable place for nappy changing. In the beginning you'll have to change your baby's nappy every few hours, therefore an appointed place with all the needed accessories is indispensable. Get a cot top changer that can be placed on the cot or a changing unit so that you won't have to bend down. Take good care of your back from the very beginning, as it will already be strained from carrying the baby. Put a towel or muslin square on the changing mat. This way the baby won't feel the cool and unpleasant surface of the changer. Gather all your changing equipment near the changer: clean nappies, baby wipes or cotton pads and warm water, nappy rash cream and baby lotion. Also keep a set of clean clothes always by the changer.

Time for nappy change

Undo the dirty nappy and unfold it. The undressed baby may pee right after you've taken off the nappy (reaction to cold). With one hand gently lift the baby's legs up and use the other hand to wipe the baby's bottom with the clean front part of the nappy. Don't stretch the baby's legs or pull them too hard. Wipe the baby's bottom thoroughly with a wet cotton pad or baby wipe. Clean all folds and creases. Take a clean wipe or cotton pad and clean the baby's genitals.
If you have a boy, make sure to thoroughly wipe all the faeces from the scrotum, groins and under the penis. Then wipe the penis but don't pull back the foreskin (by babies it's attached to the glans). Simply unfold it gently and wipe clean. Next dry the moist parts with a dry cotton pad, apply cream to the baby's bottom and scrotum creases.
If you have a girl, always clean her nappy area from front to back (from urethra to anus), in order to prevent rectal bacteria from infecting the genitals. Take a new wipe/cotton pad after every move. Thoroughly clean all folds and creases, then wipe them dry and apply cream or lotion.
Don't put the nappy on immediately after applying the cream. Allow free airflow in order to minimise the risk of nappy rash. Play with the baby and let him wiggle his legs for 20 minutes, then take a clean nappy. Lift the baby's bottom and slide the nappy underneath it. Fasten the nappy and dress the baby.


Mum of 7 year old Emilka and 4 year old Tomek, 12 years of professional experience

Marta PiÄ…tkowska

- consulting

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