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Changing a nappy

Do not worry if you have not changed a nappy before. You'll soon get the hang of it!

Have a look at our guide to what you'll need and how to change your baby's nappy

How often should I change my baby's nappy?

In the beginning expect to change your baby's nappy around 10 to 12 times a day. When your baby is a bit older, you'll probably change them 6 to 8 times a day.

You should change your newborn's nappy whenever they have done a wee or poo – this will help prevent nappy rash.

Always put a fresh nappy on your baby at bedtime as they will be wearing it for a longer period of time.

Did you know?

You may change as many as 4,500 nappies before your baby is potty-trained.

How to change a nappy

Use a changing mat or towel on the floor. If you are using a changing table, stay with your baby at all times – never turn your back or walk away from them.

  1. Remove the dirty nappy.
  2. Clean your baby's nappy area thoroughly from front to back.
  3. If your baby has a nappy rash, apply ointment or barrier cream.
  4. Slide the opened nappy underneath by carefully lifting your baby's legs, then pull the front of the nappy between the legs and over the belly.
  5. If you are using disposable nappies, secure the sticky tabs. If you're using reusable nappies, put a liner in and then fasten the nappy.
  6. Adjust the nappy to fit snugly around the waist and legs. Check it is not too tight by running 2 fingers between the nappy and your baby's tummy
  7. When you're finished, dress your baby in clean clothes and wash your hands again.

Video: How do I change a dirty nappy?

Bond while changing

Smile, chat or sing to your baby while you're changing them. It all helps with bonding and your baby's development!

Things you need for changing a nappy

Before changing your baby's nappy, wash your hands and get all the things you need:

  • a changing mat or towel
  • cotton wool and a bowl of warm water, or gentle, non-scented, alcohol-free wipes
  • a bag or bucket for the dirty nappy and cotton wool or wipes
  • barrier cream to protect your baby's skin and prevent nappy rash
  • a clean nappy
  • a liner and cover if you're using reusable nappies
  • clean clothes

Types of nappy

Some parents use disposable nappies, while others prefer reusable nappies. You could also use a combination of both.

All these decisions can feel quite overwhelming. To help you decide, have a look at the pros and cons for reusable or disposable nappies on the NCT website.

In the early days, expect to change your baby's nappy around 10 to 12 times a day. When your baby is a bit older, you'll probably change them 6 to 8 times a day.

Newborn baby poo

During the first 1 to 2 days, your baby's first few nappies will contain meconium – a dark greenish-black, sticky substance. After a few days, the poo turns to a yellow or mustard colour.

If you're breastfeeding, your baby may poo at each feed in the early weeks. Then, after about 6 weeks, not have a poo for several days.

Breastfed babies' poo tends to be runny and does not smell.

If your baby is having formula milk, they may poo up to 5 times a day in the beginning, but after a few months this can go down to once a day.

Formula-fed babies' poo tends to be firmer, darker brown and more smelly.

Read more about newborn baby poo in nappies.

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