Diapering and dressing your baby can be a fun way for both mom and dad to bond with a new baby. Whether you decide to use disposable or cloth diapers, you will go through many during your baby’s first weeks of life. If you choose disposable diapers, you will need the newborn size to start.
Some disposable diapers have thicker linings in different places for boys and girls. Most have elasticized waist and leg bands to help prevent leaks.
During the first twenty four hours, babies pass their first stool, called meconium, which is a greenish black, sticky substance. After that, stools may appear green or brown and eventually turn yellow. However, color and consistency vary greatly.
As you change your baby’s diapers, you’ll probably notice that breastfed babies have soft, odorless, golden colored, seedy stools. While formula fed babies may have more formed, smellier, darker stools.
It is important to properly care for your baby’s sensitive diaper area. Clean it during every diaper change by wiping the area from front to back with a soft cloth and clean, warm water.
Your baby’s skin has natural oils to protect it, so there is no need to use powder or lotion on your baby’s bottom. If your baby gets diaper rash, expose your baby’s bottom to air, but remember to keep your child warm. If the rash lasts longer than two days, contact your baby’s doctor; ointments or creams may be recommended.
Umbilical Cord Care
During each diaper change, be sure to look at the umbilical cord area carefully and keep it dry and clean. To allow the umbilical cord to heal, make sure you don’t cover the area around the umbilical cord with a diaper. Fold the diaper back or under to keep it away from the cord area.
The umbilical cord usually falls off within ten to fifteen days. It’s normal to see a small amount of bloody discharge from the belly button for a few days after the cord has fallen off. The area around the cord should not be red or inflamed and there should not be any drainage.
If your baby boy has been circumcised, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on caring for the penis. You may be told to apply a lubricant to a piece of gauze and place it in the diaper at each diaper change. This will prevent irritation or infection and help with the healing process.
When dressing your baby, you don’t want to choose clothes that are too hot or too cold. It’s too early for your baby to regulate her own temperature so don’t overdress newborns in the summer; a t-shirt and diaper may be enough. And remember, cotton breathes better than polyester, rayon or other synthetic materials.
In the winter, dress your baby in the same amount of clothing that you would wear, adding one more layer and a hat for extra protection. You should choose clothing that is easy for both of you.
Loose shirt sleeves, clothing that fastens down the front, and materials that stretch can also make dressing much easier. For bed, one piece sleepers or pants with feet usually retain body heat, and keep your baby comfortable.
In the beginning, you may feel a little awkward trying to diaper and dress your squirming baby. But with practice, and you will get plenty of practice, you will soon feel comfortable putting a diaper on quickly and with a cute little outfit too.