Diapering is one of the least fun things about being a parent. It might actually get first prize when it comes to the least favorite activities of the day. Not only is it exhausting and boring, but also it is messy and disgusting. If that is what diaper changing is in normal conditions, how bad can it be when it goes wrong? Very! Parents, especially first-time ones, make a lot of mistakes when changing diapers and it takes them a while to master the skill. They also discover that there are certain situations in which diaper problems are more common, like nighttime when the diaper isn’t changed for a long time or during sickness when the baby’s pooping patterns are unpredictable.
Accidents happen and there is no way to prevent them completely no matter how careful a parent is. Nothing can prepare a parent for the leaks, the smells and the socially awkward situations when the poop starts showing from under the baby’s cute onesie. There are ways, however, to keep those accidents at a minimum. Additionally, some of the diapering issues affect the baby’s skin, which can lead to an amazingly loud night of crying if the baby is in pain. Of course, the effort saved by not having to do laundry and change clothes frequently because of a leaky diaper is huge. This is why every parent should know what problems can happen and how to avoid them. Here, we explain some disasters that result from incorrect diapering and what the underlying mistake probably is.
15 Wet Clothes
No matter how careful a parent is with diapering, sometimes the inevitable happens. Diapers often leak and lead to wetting the baby’s clothes. This is a very inconvenient issue especially in winter when the baby is dressed in several layers. The amount of laundry produced from leaky diapers is exhausting. It is also a very annoying thing to change all the baby’s clothes often because of diaper problems.
There are some factors that can make a diaper leak. First, not securing the diaper will make it leak quicker. Second, it is common for parents to forget adjusting the sides, which makes urine leak into the clothes instead of being contained inside the diaper. Lastly, when parents are outside the home, changing can take a backseat, and going for long hours without a change take a toll on the strength of the diaper, making it more prone to leaking.
14 Smeared Everywhere
Parents are actually considered lucky if only urine leaked outside the diaper. When poop starts leaking, it is a whole other situation. Unlucky for new parents, newborn poop is usually softer and more liquid-like that that of a baby that eats solid foods. This is why leaking poop is more common with a a new baby, except for the rare cases when the baby is constipated.
One of the mistakes that parents make is forgetting to raise the back of the diaper. Parents focus of fastening the elastic waistband and adjusting the diaper from the front and forget that the back of the diaper needs to be adjusted too. As a result, they often see poop leaking from the back of the diaper all the way up the baby’s back. It is extremely difficult to clean and can stain the baby’s clothes. Such clothes must be washed immediately to prevent the stains from persisting.
13 Torn Waistband
The elastic waistband on the diapers is one of the most important features for securing a diaper in place. Sometimes, the waistband is torn during or after use. When a parent pulls the band too hard or uses it to adjust the diaper, the elastic band can rip, making it impossible to use the diaper and it has to be replaced. Other times, the band rips on its own under pressure.
The pressure is usually due to two reasons. First, incorrect sizing of the diaper makes it unable to sustain its structure with the movement of the baby. A diaper that is too tight will detach with the baby’s first movements after the diaper has been changed. Second, not changing the baby for a long time will make the diaper heavier, so the band will not be able to endure the weight and rips. When this happens without the parents finding out, it is as if the baby is not wearing anything at all. All urine or poop immediately leeks into the clothes and possibly the floor.
12 Exploded Diaper
An exploded diaper is not just when a diaper leaks. Sometimes, the situation gets bad enough that the diaper itself explodes, revealing the crystal-like substance inside. This substance is sodium polyacrylate, which is a polymer that absorbs water and is used to keep the surface of the diaper as dry as possible to prevent rashes. It is generally safe, but can be irritating for the baby, which may explain the fussiness before changing a diaper.
Diapers explode for the same reasons that make a diaper unable to handle the waste. Either the diaper is too small, or has not been changed for a long time. This is a much bigger emergency situation than simple leakage. When the diaper explodes, the baby’s skin is annoyed by the crystals, may develop rashes from the moisture it brings to the skin and is not protected against further leakage. The first diaper change in the morning is the one with the most common diaper explosion incidences, because the diaper stayed all night without changing.
11 Red Marks
Diaper rash is a major concern for parents. They read about it before the baby is born and stock up on all necessary (and often unnecessary!) products to prevent it from happening. However, sometimes simpler problems happen. It is not uncommon for babies to develop red marks from the diaper, especially on their thighs. The sides that protect from leakage stick to the baby’s skin all the time.
Red marks usually happen from not changing for a long time, regardless whether the baby has pooped or not. Sometimes it happens in potty-training toddlers who do not pee at all. They happen due to prolonged contact and not due to moisture. They are simply treated with moisturizing creams and diaper rash creams or lotions. They usually do not require creams that are too thick or those with lots of active ingredients, because they are easy to treat and diminish quickly.
10 Frequent Rashes
Sometimes, diaper rashes are more painful and complicated than simple red marks. It comes in many forms either caused by friction or fungi. It is manifested as red skin that is extremely painful. The main causes are excessive moisture and lack of aeration. Its harshness depends on the persistence of the causing factors. Sometimes it is severe enough to require medical attention if blisters or pus develop.
When a baby is locked inside the diaper for too long, the skin does not breathe. This creates an ideal environment for diaper rash to occur. Some experts recommend allowing the baby to stay without diapers or clothes for some time every day to prevent rashes. It may not be convenient, but if the baby is prone to rashes, it might be the best option. Rashes are usually treated topically and the cream depends on the cause. Regular rashes heal with zinc oxide creams, but really severe ones may call for steroid creams.
9 Dry Skin
Lack of moisture causes dry skin, but since the diaper area is constantly in unhealthy (and disgusting!) moisture, the equation is not that simple. As much as the baby’s skin craves dryness to prevent rash, it also requires the right amount and type of moisture. Applying lotion or baby oil to the skin after removing the old diaper is a way of preventing dry skin and also protecting the skin. It is also essential to moisturize after baths before the new diaper is worn. Wipes alone cannot achieve the required moisture.
In cloth diapering, a parent must make sure that the core does not come in direct contact with the skin. The core is made of microfiber and its mechanism is moisture absorption, so it could absorb moisture from the baby’s skin, because it cannot distinguish pee from normal skin moisture. This causes dryness and irritation. A layer must be placed between this core and the baby’s skin.
8 Stains In Cloth Diapers
Washing cloth diapers with urine is relatively easy. Cloth diapers with poop are a different story. Poop is very hard to remove from cloth diapers, especially those that do not have diaper liners. If the poop is left in the diaper for a few hours, it could stick and become a pain to clean. Soaking a poopy diaper may not be that effective to remove poop and may stain the soaking water.
If liners are used, they must be removed immediately. If not, the poop must be disposed of in the toilet and then the diapers get soaked prior to washing. Soaking a poopy diaper may help get rid of poop that sticks, but it will still leave behind remains and stains. In worse situations, the whole diaper may need to be thrown away and new ones may be needed. To prevent running out or having unusable diapers, regular washing and following correct procedure is a must.
7 Pee Showers
It’s something that not many people think about until it happens to them, that is, getting a shower of pee from your darling baby when you take their diaper off to put on a clean diaper. Many a parent has thought in dismay, “Couldn’t you wait until I got the new one on?” Well, we all know that when it comes to babies, the answer is probably “No.” Parents of little girls aren’t showered as often it seems, but they can still do a number on your nice clean pants or skirt. A little boy is liable to get you right in the face.
Doctors often think that the cold air hitting the child’s privates is what can often make the bladder contract, thus providing the warm shower. Whatever the reason, parents learn quickly to move quickly when they are changing baby; having the clean diaper run defense whenever possible by placing it strategically while the dirty diaper is removed.
6 Changing In Public
Public changing tables are never the favorite part of a day outside the house. Sometimes they are filthy and sometimes they are uncomfortable for the baby. They are difficult to use and offer less space than the baby’s bed or changing table at home. If a parent has to change the baby in public, there are a few tips that they have to consider before using them.
First, a parent has to take good care not to leave the baby even for a second, even if they are secured by the belt. Second, it is advisable to wipe the table before use, preferably with antibacterial wipes. After all, babies have this crazy tendency to put their hands everywhere and then put those cute hands in their mouths, which is a recipe for disaster. The baby’s delicate head may also need support by their folded covers or a small pillow, instead of being directly placed on the hard surface of the table.
5 Changing A Toddler
Toddlers are the masters of movement and fidgeting. Imagine having to change the uncontrollable creature in all its glory! If babies fidget, move and get distracted by surroundings, then toddlers are definitely expected to do more. They are a combination of moving around and not even wanting to respond to parents when they decide it is diaper changing time.
To prevent messes, toddlers must be placed in a sleeping position. As tempting as it is to change a baby upright, especially of he/she is wearing panty-like diapers or pullups, this can cause a very messy situation. Some toddlers understand that they are changing and stay still for it, but that does not mean that they are able to control themselves and not pee or poop during changing. It can be hard to fasten the diaper well on a toddler, which can lead to any of the above mistakes happening regularly.
4 Girl Problems!
Changing boys and girls does not necessarily have very different mechanisms. Yet, the difference between boys and girls needs to be considered. It is more common for girls to have poop trapped in their genitals, which can cause irritation and infections. This is why a girl has to be thoroughly checked and cleaned if the poop leaks into the front area. The vagina is generally self-cleaning, but everything around it has to be cleaned well to remove any cause of problems. All the crevices and creases should should be checked and cleaned.
As a general rule, it is crucial that wiping is done front to back and not the other way. Wiping back to front will let all the bacteria in the poop be transferred into the genitals. This goes for both boys and girls, but is more important in girls. Babies with diarrhea are more vulnerable to this situation.
3 Umbilical Stump
The umbilical stump is the remaining part of the umbilical cord that remains in the baby’s body after birth. It is umbilical cord is clamped and then cut relatively short. It falls off on its own in a week or two. There is controversy about whether or not alcohol is necessary to keep the stump sterile, but it definitely needs to be kept clean. One thing everyone agrees upon is not covering up the stump with the edge of a diaper. The stump needs to breathe and only exposure to sufficient air will make it dry and fall off.
Some newborn diapers come with a space cut out for the umbilical stump. This is a very convenient option for the first couple of weeks. In rare cases, the umbilical stump may get infected. It is very dangerous, so this is why adequate diapering for newborns is crucial. The elastic waistband must never be placed over the stump so it does not create unnecessary pressure on it.
2 Uncomfortable Walking
Moving on to the late months of the first year and toddlerhood, babies start walking. They are too young to stop wearing diapers yets, but are on the move all the time. When they walk, the diaper may get in the way if it is full and heavy. It is easily recognizable when the toddler is limping or rocking side to side while they move. In some cases, they may start crying because they are not happy playing and unable to run around.
To prevent this, the diaper must be of the appropriate size. Extra-large diapers will make the toddler feel dragged and a too small one will hinder mobility. Also, a full diaper will be moved downward by gravity and resist the toddler’s motion. This is why a floppy diaper means that it needs to be changed right away. If recurrent, the diaper size may be an issue. This goes for pull-ups as well that are worn while potty-training.
1 Inflammation In Urinary Tract
Pediatric urinary tract infections (UTIs) are alarming and troublesome for parents. They are displayed as uncomfortable urination, usually accompanied by fever or cloudy urine. One of the causes of UTIs is bacteria, which can be transferred by problems in diapering. If diapers are not changed for a long time, the bacteria in feces may be shifted to the urinary tract, causing infections. It is also common to develop UTIs from fungi.
Another cause is wiping from back to front. Of course, all the microorganisms in stool can cause inflammations and infections in the urinary tract. Although it is common for boys and girls, they are more common in boys throughout the first year of life. It is advisable to clean babies well after stools and during baths. Efficient drying is also important, because moisture and bacteria that is retained from urine can be as bad as the bacteria in stool.