soggy bottoms:
how to change your baby's nappy

Your darling newborn will probably get through twelve nappy changes every day (they're quite the little poo-machines!). This means that, in no time at all, you will be an expert at this messy process. However, if you are feeling a little less confident in your poo-management abilities, here is a quick and easy guide to get you and your changing station up and running.

deciding on disposable nappies versus reusable nappies

There isn’t a right or wrong answer over which to choose – cloth nappies or disposables – but you will have to stock up before baby arrives. The arguments for and against are worth considering. Washable nappies need laundering and this uses both energy and your time. On the other hand, disposables take a long time to decompose in landfill. Many parents opt for a combination of both.

get your station ready

Setting up a dedicated nappy-change station makes a lot of sense. You can have everything to hand, keep the area clean and tidy, and set up a mobile to distract and amuse baby. Avoid back strain by picking a surface where you don’t have to bend to attend to the task.

Custom-made tables are great, but you may have a chest of drawers or sturdy table top which is just as useful. A changing mat that you can wipe down is a necessity. Have a stash of nappies, wipes and barrier cream in a basket close by. If you prefer to use cotton wool and warm water to clean up, you can use a thermos to store the water.

doing the deed

Lay baby gently down and undo or remove any bottom layers of clothing. Take off the soggy nappy and lift the little one by their ankles so you can pull it out of the way. Keeping bottoms up, carefully wipe and clean. Little girls need to be wiped from front to back. Little boys have a few more nooks and crannies, so clean under and around their bits, but never force the foreskin.

Check nothing has crept up behind their back, as poo has a habit of escaping upwards! Apply a thin layer of cream if you are using it. Slide the new nappy underneath and do it up. Dispose of the old nappy and the wipes or cotton wool, redress baby and congratulate yourself.

assessing the nappy contents!

The number of wet and pooey nappies your baby gets through is a good indicator that they are getting enough milk. It’s easy to tell if cloth nappies are soaking wet, and disposables should feel squishy and heavy. Don’t be alarmed at changes in poo. The first few days will be meconium, which is dark green or black and sticky, a bit like motor oil. This will turn into soft, yellowy poo for breastfed babies, and slightly browner poo for formula feeders.

The great news is that this stuff is not really smelly at all! It’s only after starting on solids that baby poo becomes more like an adult’s, with a bit more of a whiff to it. By that time, you will be an expert nappy-changer, and will (hopefully) hardly notice.

review as you go along

You can always do a nappies review as your baby grows. You might find that disposables are easier for being out and about, while cloth nappies are economical and don’t run out. Whatever suits you as parents best is fine.