Newborns can basically do three things: eat, sleep, and poop. They’re kind of lame that way. And if your partner is breastfeeding, it means that you probably can’t help much with the feeding part. You can help some with the sleeping, though a lot of times the feeding leads to the sleeping. What’s left? The poop. And changing diapers. And one of the best ways to make the point that this is a partnership and you’re willing to shoulder your share of the load is by changing the first diaper. It’s not that hard.
“But wait,” you say, “I’ve never changed a diaper before!”
Take a second to think of the dumbest person you knew from high school who now has kids. They figured this out. I expect you can too.
How to Change The First Diaper:
- Put Baby on her back on a changing table. Take off anything on the lower half of her body besides the diaper. Pushing a onesie up to her chest will do.
- Assemble your equipment: an unfolded new diaper and wipes.
- A standard diaper is basically a clamshell held together with velcro tabs that go from the back to the front. Pull back the tabs.
- Boy Baby Variation: pull the front of the old diaper slightly forward AND HOLD IT THERE FOR A FEW SECONDS. Cold air on baby nards can cause boys to pee, and you’re gonna want that pee to land in the diaper, rather than… well… anywhere else.
- Poop variation: if you’re changing a diaper of the poop variety, use the front of the diaper as a first-level wipe as you take it off, wiping what you can into the diaper.
- Remember those velcro bits? Wrap the diaper up dirty-side in, and use the velcro to keep the package together. This will keep Baby from discovering the package as you’re doing everything else.
- Use wipes to clean up any additional poop. With girls, be sure to wipe from front to back. This isn’t the time to focus on eco-friendliness. The ice caps aren’t going to stop melting if you use one wipe instead of two. If you need multiple wipes, use multiple wipes.
- Once Baby is clean, use her legs to pick up her butt and slide the new diaper under her. The velcro tabs will be in the back. Ruffles go to the outside.
- Set Baby back down, put front portion of the diaper between her legs, and velcro back to front.
- You’re done! Congratulations!
If you’re changing a newborn, the main challenge will be that the poop will likely be like tar, and tough to deal with. As your kid gets older, the challenge will likely become movement.
You’ll probably have a changing pad in your nursery. A portable changing pad like this can really come in handy any time you’re out of the house, since it’ll change any bag into a diaper bag.
If you’re still nervous, it’s also worth taking a Dad Class, which will cover a lot of the same ground.
Finally, all of this advice applies to changing disposable diapers, since that’s what they’ll use at the hospital. If you go with cloth diapers, you’ll need to find your advice elsewhere. We tried going that route, but both of our girls had such sensitive skin, any wetness made them break out in rashes, so they didn’t work for us.
Don’t just change diapers, change the first diaper in the hospital. It’ll set the tone for what is to come. Good luck.