If it’s your first time caring for a newborn, it can be overwhelming trying to find the right diaper. Here’s a rundown of the different types of diapers as well as the basics of diaper care.
Cloth diapers are made of either a cotton or polyester inner layer that absorbs moisture. They don’t require as much changing as other diapers, and are cheaper in the long run because they can be washed and reused.
- Fold the diaper according to the baby’s sex, with more material in the back for girls and more in the front for boys.
- Fold the front edge of the diaper down below the umbilical cord while it is healing.
- Protect your baby’s skin: Velcro diaper covers with Velcro fasteners are a great option because they don't require pins. If you're using cloth diapers with pins, place your hand between the diaper and your baby’s skin when pinning the diaper.
- If you don't use diaper covers, plastic pants are needed.
Laundering Cloth Diapers
STEP 1: Soak — Fill a diaper pail with water and 1/2 to one cup of chlorine bleach or diaper sterilizer. When you remove a soiled diaper from your baby:
- If the diaper is simply wet, first rinse it, wring it out, then drop it in the diaper pail.
- If the diaper is soiled with stool, shake the stool into the toilet, flush, then rinse the diaper over the toilet until the stain is well faded. Then drop it into the pail.
STEP 2: Wash — Put the diapers in the sink and let the soaking solution drain from them before washing. Use a mild soap, the hottest water possible and at least two rinses. Use one cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to soften the diapers and neutralize the pH.
STEP 3: Dry — Either tumble dry or line dry your diapers. Be aware that the scented paper squares used in dryers to eliminate static or soften fabrics contain chemicals that might irritate your baby’s skin. A fabric softener may be used but be sure to rinse it out completely to avoid irritation. If you line dry the diapers, they may become stiff.
These are diapers that can be disposed of after a single use. Parents usually prefer diapers with fewer chemicals, elastic around the legs and tape that refastens.
- Lay the diaper flat, with sticky tape side up.
- Place your baby on their back on the diaper and bring the lower part of the diaper up and through his legs to the front.
- Bring the tapes around to the front and attach them close to the navel.
- Fold the front edge of the diaper down below the umbilical cord while it is healing or use newborn diapers that are specially designed to leave the umbilical cord exposed.
- No plastic pants are needed.
Disposable diapers that are soiled with stool should be disposed of properly. Discard the stool in the toilet whenever possible. Don't throw away diapers in wastebaskets. When you're away from home, wrap the dirty diapers in a plastic bag before you throw them away.
Other Diapering Tips
- Change your baby’s diaper after every bowel movement and whenever the diapers are wet.
- When changing your baby’s diapers, use plain water to clean your baby’s bottom.
- Some commercial diaper wipes may contain chemicals, such as alcohol, which may irritate your baby’s skin.
Diaper rash consists of red patches with tiny pimple-like bumps that appear in areas covered by the diaper. Here are some ways to help avoid diaper rash:
- Change your baby's diapers more often.
- Change your baby after every feeding and when needed.
- Use plain water or diaper wipes that are alcohol-free.
- Dry your baby's bottom thoroughly before putting on a new diaper.
- Let your baby go without diapers as often as possible.
- You may want to use a barrier cream. Ask your baby's healthcare provider.