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How to Change Baby Diapers: A Step-By-Step Survival Guide for Dads

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. Second, I'm an educator & organizational development professional.

A baby bag can organize all your diaper and baby needs.

A baby bag can organize all your diaper and baby needs.

Dads Need to Change Diapers

Diaper changing is not for the faint of heart. I say this because I’ve seen grown men gag and throw up at the sight of baby poop. Some cringe with just the smell of the baby excrements. Well, this article is a call to all dads and dads-to-be to suck it up and face the truth. Your baby will poop, and diapers need to be changed.

You can rely on your wife or the nanny, but the skill comes in handy when you’re alone with your little one. Moreover, by doing this task, you lighten the load for your wife. So give your wife a break and take on this challenge.

Let’s take the stink out of changing nappies!

How to Change a Diaper

Step 1

Have everything you need within reach. I usually open up the new diaper ready for use.

Note: My wife has a changing bag with everything needed in it. This beats having to fumble with stuff every time we need to change our baby’s diaper. This also ensures that everything we need is available.

Here are the things that you need:

  • Changing pad
  • New diaper
  • Plastic bag for the soiled diaper
  • Cotton or gauze pad for wiping the baby
  • Baby wipes (don’t use wipes with alcohol, they can irritate your baby’s skin)
  • Anti-rash cream
  • Petroleum jelly

Step 2

Wash your hands and sanitize. You should also remove your ring, bracelets or any accessories that may scrape your child’s skin. It is also a good idea to warm your hands first before you touch your baby. Cold hands can be uncomfortable for them.

Step 3

Place your baby on the changing table or bed.

Note: Changing tables have straps to secure your baby so use them. For those who don't have a changing table, your bed or any flat surface is good enough. Just make sure you put a blanket or towel underneath your baby to make them comfortable. Likewise, ensure that there is ample space for the baby.

Make sure the baby is comfortable and secure.

Make sure the baby is comfortable and secure.

Step 4

Unstrap the dirty diaper and fold the flaps so it does not stick to your baby’s skin. Some diapers don’t use sticky tape but it is still a good idea to fold it back.

Step 5

Fold down the top part of the dirty diaper. This will expose the baby's poop. Some poop may still be sticking to your baby’s skin so scoop them off with the top part of the used diaper or you can use a damp cotton/cloth to do this. If the skin is sensitive, you can use sterile gauze. Make sure you clean the whole area.

Note: To avoid infections, use a top to bottom motion when cleaning the genital area, especially when the baby is a girl. Also, change cotton or gauze frequently.

Step 6

Remove the soiled diaper underneath the baby and replace it with a new one. Some suggest placing the new diaper underneath the baby even before you unfasten and clean the baby. But it does not really work for me. You can try it if you want. Tell me how it goes.

Note: place the soiled diaper away from your baby’s reach. I’ve had numerous incidences I don't wish to share. Suffice to say, they were not pretty.

Consult your pediatrician before slapping on any type of cream on your baby.

Consult your pediatrician before slapping on any type of cream on your baby.

Step 7

Before securing the new diaper, make sure your baby is dry. Also, this is the time to put on anti-rash cream, ointments or petroleum jelly or whatever your doctor recommends. Once done, fasten the straps of the new diaper.

Note: Make sure that the diaper is not too tight or too loose. Also, the right size of diaper should always be used. Lastly, the weight recommendation on the diaper's label is just a guide. There are times when you need to experiment on the best size for your baby.

Step 8

Sanitize your hands before picking up your baby. It is essential that you keep your hands and surroundings clean.

Congratulations, you just changed your baby’s diaper. Now, get ready to do this 6 to 8 times a day. Don't worry, as your child grows, the need to change diapers becomes less frequent.

You'll use lots of diapers so get ready to stockpile them at home

You'll use lots of diapers so get ready to stockpile them at home

Tips for Dads

  • Change the baby’s diaper frequently. Some diapers are more absorbent than others. Moreover, some can last longer and keep your baby dry. In spite of the advertised claim of the diaper brand, don't max out the capacity of the diaper.
  • You don't need to wait for your baby to poop before changing diapers. Of course, it is more economical if you do that, but prolonged use of urine-drenched diapers is not good.
  • Know the schedule of your baby so you can anticipate diaper changes.
  • Have a toy ready for your child to play with while changing diapers. A mobile or some other toy can redirect the baby’s attention.
  • Be quick but thorough. The faster you get the poop off your baby, the better.
  • Stockpile diapers at home. Newborns need more changing than older babies.
  • Check the diaper often.
  • Choose quality diapers. Some diapers leak because of poor material. Others have loose fibers that can cause infections.
  • Always have extra plastic bags to place your used diapers when you go out.
  • Dispose of used diapers properly.

Diaper changing is bonding time with your baby. Of course, the poop can be a turn-off but spending quality time knows no limitations.

Perhaps the first few tries will still make you squeamish. However, as you change more nappies, the easier it becomes. Likewise, you will find your own technique and the best way for you to accomplish this.

I've done it and I'm sure all dads out there can do it as well. It's one activity every dad should experience. When you experience changing your baby's nappies, you'll never look at baby poop the same way again.


JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on October 18, 2012:

Hello SUPERFLY831,

I can't do anything about the smell. But you can opt to open a window or switch on the exhaust fan. :)

jose santiago from salinas ca on October 18, 2012:

Hopefully i can get over the smell and not gag all the time.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on October 18, 2012:


Glad to help. After the initial shock everythings seems easier.

jose santiago from salinas ca on October 17, 2012:

thank you for one of those dads who gag at the sight of my babies poop...but i still get in there and change her.this article gave me some tips on how to do it more quickly.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on September 30, 2012:

Hi there Mama Kim 8,

I know what you mean about the wrong diaper size the the disaster that canfollow. We had our own messes in the past. Of course as the baby grows, we are in constant look out for the best fit. Even the material of the diaper is a huge factor. Thanks for the vote up. Thanks for finding my hub useful. Like and link to your heart's content. :)

Aloe Kim on September 30, 2012:

Perfect hub on changing diapers! I liked the part about finding the right size of diapers for your baby. The weight range was never right for my babies. You could end up with some serious messes in the wrong size ^_^

voting up and useful! Plus I'd like to like to this in my swaddling hub if that's ok with you. ^_^

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 15, 2012:

Hello Lisa,

He's missing on a lot of fun.

Lisa on August 15, 2012:

I learned from my mom. My husband still does not know how to do this. He sometimes go out of the room when I change our baby's diaper.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 08, 2012:

Congratulations Mark. I'm sure the info here will help you with changing diapers. dads often leave it to the moms to do this task. But I believe dads must learn to do this as well.

Yes, it's my daughter Yna. She's turning 1 this May 24.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 08, 2012:

Hello Danette Watt. Changing diapers is really a tricky task. But once I got the hang of it, it was no problem. Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day.

Mark P. on May 07, 2012:

Hi sir, JP. Is that your baby Yna in your avatar? She's cute. Congratulations. BTW, the tips here will come in handy. My wife and I are expecting our first baby this August.

Danette Watt from Illinois on May 07, 2012:

Good tips - and I agree with you, Dads, suck it up and take care of the job! Fortunately, my husband helped a lot in that regard. We used cloth diapers 90% of the time our boys were in diapers. It's a tricky task learning to change a diaper with pins on a squirming baby but it can be done without sticking him or her!

Voted up and useful