How to Change a Baby's Diaper

"I had to go up sizes based on the size of the poop, not the size of the child."  - Veteran Dad

How to Change a Baby's Diaper

"I had to go up sizes based on the size of the poop, not the size of the child."  - Veteran Dad

Changing Diapers

You're going to be an involved father? Then you're gonna be changing diapers. Wanna be the superstar of diapers?  Change the first one.

"No one expected me to step up and take care of my baby, so I changed the first diaper to set the tone that I was here to play" is how one of our vets put it." He also figured that "I changed your first diaper!" would be a good way to end a discussion when his baby became a teenager.

Check out this video, and ask the nurse to walk you through the process of changing diapers. You'll be good at it by the time you get home.

How to Change a Diaper (1:45)

If your baby has been circumcised, follow your doctor's instructions about when to begin bathing him. Pre-crawlers only need a bath 2-3 times a week, as long as they're cleaned well during diapering, but many moms believe otherwise.


Your baby's poop for the first couple of days may look like horrifying black tar. Don't worry, it's just meconium. Meconium is hard to get off of your baby's skin (liberally use a diaper cream so it doesn't stick as much the next time) and will last a couple of days. The good news is that it's basically odorless.

The first few stools will be meconium from materials ingested when the infant was in the uterus. It's thick, sticky like tar, dark olive green and there's a lot of it.

If your baby poops into the amniotic fluid before being born, it can get into their mouth and nose and interfere with their breathing, so the medical staff may aspirate it from the nose and mouth to prevent this. 

Meconium In Neonates (1:50)

Standard Diapering Instructions

  1. Get a diaper, wipes, diaper cream and a changing pad.  
  2. Lay your baby on the changing pad on a safe changing surface. Once they start trying to roll over, they are prone to falling off, so keep one hand on him if you can't strap him down. 
  3. Remove enough clothes to expose his diaper, and place a new one under him.
  4. Undo the diaper; if poopy, grab your baby's feet and pull them up over his chest. Use the top of the old diaper to wipe away as much as you can. Then tuck it under him. Use wipes to thoroughly clean remaining poop.
  5. Remove the old diaper and put a new one on, fasten it snuggly, and fold the top down below his umbilical cord stump. 
  6. Dispose of dirty diaper and wipes, and wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.

Reddit: Dads talk about preventing the dreaded diaper blowout.

Neal & Jaclyn: Diapers - "Cloth or Disposable?" (0:57)

Changing Boys vs. Girls

For girls, the protocol is to wipe down and not up (or from her front to her back) to avoid getting poop in her vagina where it may cause an infection. It's common for a new dad to feel a little apprehensive about changing his baby girl's diaper; if you just go for it, the feeling typically goes away after a few changes. The real issue is whether your discomfort inhibits you from caring for your baby girl and bonding with her. 

Having your baby boy pee on you is a rite of passage for new dads. It typically happens when you open his diaper for a changing and cold air hits his package. You might be pre-warned if he gets a little hard-on, but he'll shoot fast so it's a good idea to put the second diaper (or a wipe) over his package when you first open his dirty diaper.

Matt: Killing It With Diapers (0:18)

Diaper Rash

Most babies will develop some irritation or rash during their first months due to wet diapers. The best way to treat diaper rash is to change your baby's diaper as soon as it gets wet, coupled with liberal use of diaper cream. Clean them carefully with baby wipes, making sure not to rub or scrub which will make the irritation worse. Exposing the area to air for a few minutes will help, and then apply diaper cream on and around the rash before putting on the diaper.  If the rash doesn't clear up, ask your doctor about it.

Diaper Rash: It's pretty nasty. To get an idea of what it looks like, we've included this picture. But, the picture's so nasty, we've covered it. Slide the slider to see the photo of full color. Ouch.

If You Have Problems Handling The Smell

It is hilarious to watch guys gag at the sight of baby poop. Unfortunately, it's a common reaction and not funny at all when it happens to you.

BE PREPARED: keep a small bottle of Vick's Vapor Rub in the diaper bag and put a little dab on both sides of your nose, and use disposable gloves if it helps. If you have a problem, don't let anyone video you unless you want to become internet famous.

REMEMBER: Not everyone gags at the sight or smell of their baby's poop (or spit up), so please don't assume you're going to.

Neal & Jaclyn: The Truth about Poo-poo and Vomit (1:01)

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