As a parent, you grow into diaper changing. You won’t get it perfect all at once — there’s a lot that can go wrong. You may be conceited (as I was) and think that everything will fall into place, and those other crazy parents that have explosions and crazy stuff happen are total idiots. So I thought I’d share a few of the things we’ve learned over the past couple of months so that you don’t experience the same craziness that we did.
1. First and foremost, you absolutely don’t need a cute changing pad cover. I have a cute changing pad cover. I don’t use it. Know why? If I used one of these, I’d probably be throwing it in the wash with every other change. There are surprise poops, pees, and squirts. There’s sticky diaper cream. And there are surprise projectile vomits. We simply keep our changing pads uncovered and lay prefold cloth diapers or old towels on them — those are a lot easier to have a lot of and wash. It is pretty silly to spend $15 on a changing pad cover when you’ll be changing it almost as frequently as you do diapers. Get these prefold diapers instead of a cover! (They suck as real diapers, but are great burp cloths and changing pad padding. They soak up poo and pee on the spot, so you don’t have it running all over the place.)
2. Don’t change an infant right after he wakes up. Give it 5 minutes or so — they’ll either pee or poo on you and the table if you change them right away after nap time or in the morning.
3. Just because you hear one poo, it doesn’t mean the kiddo is done. Again, give it 5 minutes or so after the first blast. There may be more! Let the diaper catch it instead of your hand.
4. Wipes are expensive, and you go through WAY more than you think you will. If you don’t get a giant pack at your baby shower, get a giant pack of store brand diapers (Safeway has the best in our opinion). Always get unscented or sensitive skin — the perfumes and chemicals can cause some kiddos to break out. Also, be aware! If you have the beginnings of a rash, the stuff in disposable wipes can make it worse or feed yeast and bacteria. In that case, use a baby washcloth and warm water. (This is what we’re using now anyway … cheaper and much more effective at clearing … debris.)
5. You should change every two hours. This is a great rule of thumb. Sometimes we go one hour, or three hours. But two is a good rule of thumb. This is the same for cloth or disposable. Don’t wait til either kind is saturated! Even if there is a stay dry interior, moisture is sitting against the skin and should be removed often to prevent diaper rash. (You will eventually have to move to all night … but I still change Sam most of the time when he wakes up to eat.) It may be tempting to leave a little one in a diaper for long stretches of time, especially since disposables can get fat and hold a lot of pee. But this is just ASKING for diaper rash … and you gotta keep that butt fresh!
6. There are all kinds of diaper rash creams. But what do you really need?
- Something with zinc oxide in it (Desitin, Aveeno, Butt Paste or California Baby for a cloth diaper safe alternative). This is a barrier cream great for preventing moisture from getting at your little one’s skin — you want this during a diaper rash invasion.
- A natural moisturizer — plain coconut oil, CJ’s BUTTer or plain olive oil. Great for keeping your baby’s bum soft! I use something like this at every change — it keeps poos from sticking to the skin, and it lubricates the area so that wiping doesn’t cause as much irritation. (A&D ointment is great too, but not great for cloth diapers.)
- Lotrimin or Monistat on hand! These are great to have if the Yeast Beast pops up. (This is what your doc will tell you to use before giving you a prescription for something else.) I also use CJ’s BUTTer yeast formula, which works very well.
- Cortisone cream … This will take down the swelling in any rash. Use it sparingly as it can thin the baby’s skin. We’re dealing with a rash right now, and I’m using it mixed in a very small amount with the zinc cream. I would say to use it every other change or every third change when dealing with a rash.
7. Your newborn may HATE getting his diaper changed at first. It’s cold, it’s weird, it’s new, and you may have had to wake him up to do it! This has changed for us over time, and now Sam loves getting a diaper change. He kicks his legs, coos and giggles. It’s super fun! He loathed it at first, and now it’s a fun, special time.
8. I’ve mentioned this before, but disposable diapers LEAK, especially newborn poo explosions. If you are set on using disposables, ALWAYS keep a total outfit near your changing area. Keep one in your diaper bag as well. Newborn poo is liquidy and easily propelled from the butt. It goes out leg openings, up the back and everywhere it shouldn’t. We’ve had about 95% less explosiveness with cloth diapers … just a reminder that cloth is cool!
9. Don’t leave baby socks on while changing. Our little potato likes to kick his fat little legs while we’re changing him. This means socks go into poop faster than you can say poo.
10. The easiest clothing items for diaper changes are sleep sacks and nightgowns. We used these almost exclusively for the first few weeks. And we still use sleep sacks at night! If you’re not going out of the house, who cares what baby is wearing? Make it easier on yourself … you’ll be changing so many diapers in the first few weeks, you’ll need something super duper easy to take on and off.
11. And another word on disposables … babies grow out of diapers FAST. And the sizing isn’t generous. When you start having leak and explosion issues more than usual, it’s a sign you need to move up a size. If you see some plumber’s crack, move up a size. If you have trouble getting the tabs to meet on baby’s thighs, move up a size. If you are strapped for cash, sell extra dipes on Craigslist! If not, save them for the next baby or a friend. Don’t hold on to a smaller size just for the sake of it … you’ll be washing far more than you like.
12. You know? I’m going to make a plug and recommend that you have ONE (or two) cloth diapers on hand so that you can make it through til morning if you run out of diapers. (Bumgenius 4.0 one size or FuzziBunz one size are great for all size babies!)
Hope this helps at least one new mom out there! Enjoy your diaper changes. We do.
Since I’m a cloth diaper geek at this point, and somewhat crunchy in terms of what goes near my baby, I’ve found a whole lot of amazing products made by WAHMs. What’s a WAHM? Why, that’s a Work at Home Mom. She’s a SAHM — but usually with a page on Etsy or Hyena Cart, or even her own big time website.
I’ve also learned that you should be pretty particular with what you put on your baby’s butt when your baby’s butt touches your nice cloth diapers all day. Lots of baby balms and diaper rash creams have sticky cod liver oil (A&D Ointment) that can make your diapers smell like fish, or they have zinc oxide (Desitin, Aveeno, Bordeaux’s Butt Paste) that can stain your diapers and make the repel liquids — i.e. leak. But you need SOMETHING to put on baby’s skin. Why? Because it’s getting wiped constantly — every two hours or so. It can get red and raw from the wiping, and it can get red and raw from sitting in moisture.
So what’s best? You can find natural, cloth-safe diaper creams at the store or online at Amazon — California Baby, Angel Baby, and Grandma El’s all make good stuff. But … I found the BEST stuff, and it’s made by a small business owner WAHM. (Gotta love supporting work at home moms!)
CJ’s BUTTer is the Best Stuff Out There. I love it! CJ is a WAHM who makes this lovely butt cream. The cream itself is all made from food grade products. I myself have the spray as well as the tube of cream. The spray includes: coconut oil (naturally antibiotic), olive oil, castor oil and vitamin E. My cream includes: shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, lanolin, beeswax, cocoa butter and vitamin E. I also broke down and ordered her yeast formula, which includes all of the same ingredients as the regular cream but excludes lanolin and adds sesame oil and neem oil (natural antifungals).
What fabulous ingredients! Non-irritating, rash preventing, and overall safe for baby (and mom!). I use it at every diaper change. Since my thrush has been in full swing (and acting up again), I’ve been using the yeast formula every day as a preventative. I don’t want to deal with a yeastie rash — and the one time his bum flared up and got all red and bumpity was when I went to my parents’ and forgot my CJ’s yeast formula. That alone recommends her products to me! And when Sam was just a couple of days old, he got a tiny rash that cleared up with the application of CJ’s BUTTer.
Well, now maybe I have some of you mildly interested. Perhaps. Why would you buy this over Desitin or Aveeno if you don’t use cloth diapers?
Because you can use it for everything!
Round here I use it for …
- Dry, cracked nipples (and the yeast formula works for thrush externally!)
- Dry patches on baby’s (or my) face
- Dry hands
- A leave-in conditioner
- Stretch mark cream (soothed itching in late pregnancy)
- All purpose lotion
And if that wasn’t enough … it comes in all kinds of delicious scents. I have it in New Mown Hay, which smells sort of like baby powder but also fresh and crisp. She even has holiday scents, like Apple Spice. Yum!
If you want to buy from a site with free shipping, I fully recommend Sew Crafty Baby and Vermont Country Baby. They are fabulous websites run by WAHMs, and they always have free shipping. (If you like them on Facebook, they always have discount codes as well.)
Here’s what others have to say about CJ’s BUTTer. Happy shopping!
Welcome to the Savvy Mom Space
I’m a liberal feminist that believes that liberal, feminist ideals should gel with embracing your gender and motherhood (if that’s what you feel like doing). I support all kinds of moms and dads and parents. Oh and, although I totally love that natural vibe and not harming the environment, I supplement my organic milk and fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional Twix, the frequent Oreo, and the daily Coke Zero. I’m opinionated, not easily offended, and a loudmouth in person and on the internet. I am what I am. Welcome.