So you’ve probably heard you’ll be changing a lot of diapers with your new baby. How many should you buy? Should you cloth diaper? What kind of poop is normal? We’ll try to answer your diapering Frequently Asked Questions.
“How many diapers do we need? What size?”
The hospital will send you home with newborn disposable diapers in whatever brand that the hospital has a diaper contract with. Newborn size usually fit babies up to about 10 pounds and have a cutout in the front for baby’s belly-button stump. Size 1 diapers generally go up to about 15 pounds, and size 2 is about 12-18. You can generally expect your baby to double in size from their birth weight by five months. Before you commit to a brand, buy a small package. Some brands (such as Pampers) are scented, some brands will leak more than others depending on your baby’s individual shape, and you may find that the cheaper or store-brand diapers work just as well as Pampers or Huggies.
In the first year, you can expect to change diapers about 5-9 times a day– more in the beginning and less later on. That works out to between 1,825 and 3,285 changes (and another 1,825 a year until the child is potty trained).
So it makes financial sense to at least try cloth diapers– the savings is huge over the long haul, and it’s good to have some on hand anyway in case you run out of disposables at 4 a.m. The only issue is that unless you have a diapering service in your town, being committed to cloth diapering will mean a lot of laundry every day. You’re not going to want to wash other things in the same load with poopy diapers, and cloth diapers often take multiple cycles to dry, slowing down the other laundry. That takes a lot more laundry dedication than many parents have the time and patience for.
“How do I change a diaper?”
Newborns hate to have their diapers changed. Being put down on their backs upsets them in the first place and they are sensitive to changes in temperature. So watch out, there are apt to be howls of protest and chin-quivering cries.
If you’ve never changed a diaper in your life, here’s what to do. (We’ll assume that you’re among the 95 percent of parents who use disposables.)
1. Prepare by getting out a clean diaper and a wipe or two. Usually the design on the diaper will indicate where the front is.
2. Lay the baby down on his back on a changing pad or towel, being sure to support the head and neck at all times.
3. Remove the old diaper. If it has Velcro tabs, you can roll it up, and use the tabs to make it a tidy package.
4. Use a damp washcloth or a premoistened baby wipe to clean off the baby, being sure to wipe from front to back, and keep all fecal material out of the urinary tract area.
5. Apply diaper rash ointment or kaolin clay powder if your baby’s bottom looks red.
6. Lift up the baby by the ankles, and slide the new diaper under his rump.
7. Peel off the tabs that cover the tape, pull the diaper firmly around your baby so it will stay on, and press the tape into the soft, patterned area of the diaper. Voilà. You’ll become so expert at it that you can do it in the dark with your eyes closed by the end of the first month (or sooner).
but lack of stools in the first week could mean that he isn’t getting enough milk, so be sure to tell your pediatrician if your newborn doesn’t poop at least once per day in the first week. Dark urine or dryer-than-usual diapers may also be signs that your baby isn’t eating enough, or is becoming dehydrated.
As long as his stools are soft, rather than hard like pellets, everything is probably okay.