Friday, 24 April 2015

How to Change Nappies Like a Super Pro

I was chatting to a new mommy friend who is battling with the in's and outs of nappy changes so I thought I would dedicate a post to the art of nappy changing. Here is everything you need to know about changing nappies with minimal mess and fuss.If you are new to nappy changes, please read the basics below. 

If you have an older baby, you can skip to the advanced section further on (unless you have a boy, in which case you need the advanced section anyway).

nappies wetwipes bum cream


The number 1 rule is to always be prepared!!! Have everything you need for your nappy changes in one place. Change mat, nappies, wipes, bum cream and any other accessories that you use (for example if you use baby powder or a sanitiser spray) should all be stored together for easy access.

Before you remove baby's nappy, be sure to have everything prepped- nappy open, bum cream open, wipes out. That way, you won't be fumbling with an exposed bottom (especially with newborns who tend to let lose with the bodily fluids as soon as their nappies are opened). After all, the most important rule is to get done as quickly as possible, before further damage is done. 

Similarly, when you are away from home, your nappy bag should be organised so that all nappy changing goodies are stored together for easy access (I have seen special organisers for this purpose but I just use a big Ziplock bag). Be sure to keep some hand sanitiser for if you happen to find yourself changing nappies and you are nowhere near a bathroom (trust me, if you ever find yourself on an overseas flight with a baby with diarrhea, as I once did, this will come in handy). Disposable change mats are also handy for shopping centres etc. (P.S. You should always know where the nearest change station is, so be sure to check out The Jozi WAHM's Directory of Mall Baby Rooms).

So now for the actual nappy change!

keep calm


Place the clean nappy under the baby before you start so that you can close up quickly after beginning (skip this step if you happen to have an explosive nappy leak on hand or you will dirty the new nappy too). For the actual nappy change, use the front clean part of the nappy to wipe away the bulk of the mess (from front to back of course), then use wet wipes or damp cotton wool to clean the rest. Clean till you think it is clean, getting into all the nooks and crannies and then use one more wet wipe.

Close up the old nappy by first folding in half and then roll up using the the tabs to seal tightly before disposing (you could use a special nappy bin with bag dispensers but I find that a lined pedal bin with nappy bags just for poo nappies works just as well and is more cost effective).

Now the hard part is done (unless you have an active toddler). With the new nappy slide under the baby, put a barrier bum cream of your choice. Place the new nappy on baby, seal the tabs snuggly but so that you can still fit a finger under the tummy. Make sure that the ruffly bits at the legs where the elastic is are facing outwards. If you have a newborn, fold over the top so that the umbilical cord stump is exposed (or buy the special newborn nappies with a cut out for the umbilical cord).

Ideally, you should avoid nappy rashes from developing in the first place but if it does, you need to figure out what kind of rash it is. A nurse once advised me that if the area is just red, the usual shelf remedies should work but if it is pimply or blistery it is likely to be a fungal or yeast infection, in which case you will need something appropriate for that. Ensure that bottoms are air dried and allow some sun exposure if warm enough


N.B. There are certain special categories of nappy changes that need some special advisory warnings.


An extra special word of caution is needed for newborn boy nappies, which can reduce the most composed adult to tears. Always keep the front covered at all times (a separate facecloth works well for this) unless you happen to like you and your entire house being showered in baby wee. Also, make sure that the boy bits are facing downward before closing the nappy or you will have an entire wardrobe change (for you and baby) due in the next half hour.


Once they are older and able to squirm away, be sure to have some distraction aid ready, something for them to hold like a toy or even the bum cream. A good trick is to have a change station with a mobile or stickers hanging above (you can make your own mobile out of a clothes hanger and swop the dangly bits from time to time). You could also try shifting your change spot every now and then for variety. 


At some point they are also going to want to explore their body parts (and possibly put their hands right into the soiled areas, or even worse, into their mouths afterwards). Your first line of defence is letting them hold something, as mentioned for the squirmy wormy baby. The next line of defence is to use one hand to hold baby's ankles together so that his or her legs are almost crossed, limiting his or her access to the nether regions. 


If you have a streaking toddler who runs away as soon as nappies are off (I am told it is a boy thing) try to create games to play at change time. You can get them to clap hands or make funny faces or point to body parts once old enough.

THE POO-NAMI (I did not coin this term)

Stick baby straight under shower. Please also refer to items 2 and 3 of this previous blog post.

There you have it... clean, happy baby- for the next hour or two anyway.