Throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, mom is tasked with the all-important job of making sure her baby is as healthy as possible. Routine prenatal checkups; avoiding foods that are restricted (even though she’s desperately craving a sandwich piled high with cold cuts); sleeping on her left side to ensure proper blood flow to her baby (even if sleeping on her stomach is the most ideal position); taking giant prenatal vitamins on a daily basis (even if they’re difficult to swallow)… The list of things a mama-to-be does to ensure her little one thrives seems endless. Once the baby arrives, that seemingly endless list triples in size.
To be frank, babies are high-maintenance. They’re completely dependent on their mothers for survival, which means a new mom (well, all moms) has her work cut out for her. Of all the jobs that mom has to do for her little one, diaper changes are the most tedious and undesirable. Let’s be honest: Who likes dealing with someone else’s bathroom waste? And unfortunately, changing diapers is a job that has to be done several times a day and over a span of a few years (most kids aren’t potty trained until they are at least 2-years-old.)
While changing a diaper might be gross, for a lot of new moms, it seems like a pretty straightforward task takes just a few steps: 1) remove dirty diaper; 2) wash baby down; 3) put on a new diaper. However, truth be told, there’s more to changing a little one’s diaper, and a lot of new moms make mistakes; some of which can be extremely dangerous for their little ones.
If you’re expecting or you just had a baby, here’s a look at 15 mistakes you’re going to want to avoid when it comes to diaper changes.
15Turning Around For Just One Second
The baby’s diaper needs a changing, and mom is ready to get the job done. But for one reason or another – she needs to grab something, she hears a noise, etc – she turns around while her little one is laying on the changing table. Bad idea. In fact, turning your back on your little one in the middle of a changing can be downright dangerous. Why? – All it takes it one little wriggle and your baby could roll right off the table and onto the floor. This is particularly true for older babies who can roll over, but it’s also true for newborns. While they may not have mastered the art of rolling, they sure can flail about. Make sure you face forward and keep your eyes on your little bean throughout the entire diaper changing process.
14Keeping Hands Far Away
During diaper changes, moms should have at least one hand on their little ones at all times. It might seem completely harmless to have both hands off the baby, especially if you’ve got your eyes on her; however, all it takes is a split second for a baby to make any type of movement and roll right off the changing table. Babies, especially newborns, make jerky movements, and those movements are completely unpredictable. A simple kick or a swing of the arm could launch him down to the floor. Even if your reaction time is quick, you might not move fast enough to prevent your little one from taking a spill. To avoid the potentially devastating consequences of a fall, it’s best to keep one hand on your little one throughout the entire changing process.
13Using The Bed As A Changing Table
Location, location, location: it’s a saying that applies to more than just real estate; it also applies to diaper changes. Believe it or not, where you change your little one is very important. Sure, it might seem like a soft surface would be more comfortable for your baby and is a perfectly safe spot for changing a diaper; however, soft surfaces are a bad location for this all-important job. The reason? – It can be hard to stabilize a little one on a bed, a sofa, or any other surface that has “give”, which means there’s a greater chance of a tumble. Plus, it’s harder to pull the old diaper off and put the new one on. Experts recommend changing babies on flat surfaces to prevent any potential mishaps. Even the floor (which a changing pad underneath) is a safer option than a bed or a couch.
12Wiping Back To Front
Women know (at least I hope so) that they should wipe from front to back. Your lady bits are extremely delicate and wiping in the opposite direction could expose your little lady bits to fecal matter. Even worse, the fecal matter could pass up the urethra and cause a serious infection. Well, the same is true for your little one. Wiping a baby from back to front during a diaper change may be easier and it may seem harmless; however, just like this direction could be dangerous for you, it could also be dangerous for your baby. Of course, girls are more prone to an infection if they are wiped from back to front, but it can be harmful to boys, too. Whether your baby is a girl or a boy, front to back is the safest direction for wiping.
11Ignoring Signs Of A Rash
When it comes to babies, some things are a given, like diaper changes and diaper rashes. While most moms know that diaper rashes can happen, not all of them pay attention to the signs that their little ones have one, or know what the signs are that indicate a rash has developed.
If your little one’s diaper area looks red, irritated, inflamed, or otherwise questionable, it’s a pretty safe bet that he has a rash. When the skin is repeatedly exposed to wetness, the skin can become irritated, and even the most absorbent diapers can’t whisk away all moisture. Bowel movements are even more likely to cause a rash, as fecal matter contains dangerous substances that can be highly irritating. Other causes of diaper rashes include chafing; sensitivity to chemicals, such as fragrances and detergents; antibiotics, and yeast.
If you suspect your little one has developed a rash, thoroughly clean and dry the area, apply and diaper rash ointment and make sure you keep on top of diaper changes. If the rash is severe, make an appointment with the pediatrician.
10Not Being Careful If It's Been Snipped
Circumcisions are an extremely common practice for baby boys. While they are perfectly safe (and in fact, many pediatricians recommend them), it does take time for circumcisions to heal. Until it does heal, moms of little boys need to be mindful of the area during diaper changes. The area is going to be highly sensitive and it can be more prone to an infection. Moms should make sure that they change wet diapers as often as possible (twice an hour), and they should change dirty diapers right away. During changes, they should avoid wiping the penis down with a baby wipe, as they can contain chemicals that can irritate the area. Instead, a clean, damp, soft cloth should be used. Also, moms should apply a small amount of Vaseline to the area to prevent the diaper from sticking.
9Getting The Diaper Size Wrong
Babies grow so fast. Before you know it, you find yourself lamenting because your newborn has outgrown her first onesie. Clothing isn’t the only thing that needs to be re-sized, though; so do diapers, and it’s something that a lot of moms overlook. Or, maybe they realize that their little one’s diapers are fitting a bit snug, but they want to wait to go up a size because until they use up the ones they currently have. After all, diapers can be pretty pricey. However, using the wrong sized diaper on a baby is a problem. Not only can frequent blowouts occur, but if a diaper is too snug, your baby is going to be uncomfortable and there's a greater chance of chafing. Imagine how uncomfortable you would feel wearing a pair of pants that are too tight around your waist or thighs…
8Not Changing The Diaper Often Enough
Babies relieve themselves frequently. In fact, for the first few months of life, they urinate about 20 times a day! With that said, changing your little one’s diaper every time he wets would not only be incredibly time consuming and exhausting, but it would also get very pricey. It’s not necessary to change him every time he wets; diapers are designed to wick moisture away from the skin. However, you do want to make sure that you keep tabs on it and give him a fresh one before it gets too full. When it comes to bowel movements though, you do want to make sure that you change it as soon as possible. Fecal matter is highly acidic and leaving your little one to sit in it for too long could cause a severe rash. Plus, the longer you wait to change a dirty diaper, the greater the chance you'll have a messy blowout on your hands (and up your baby's back!)
7Not Watching The Umbilical Stump
There is nothing cuter than a baby’s belly button, but it takes a few weeks for that adorable little button to reveal itself. That’s because when a baby is born, a small piece of the umbilical cord remains attached to her belly button. Eventually, it will fall off, but until then, being mindful of it is extremely important. The little piece of the cord that remains is known as the umbilical stump, and it should not be covered up by a diaper. Covering it up increases the risk that it will be pulled off before it has fully healed, as well as infection. You can either fold the diaper down so that it doesn’t cover your little one’s belly button, or you can make things really easy on yourself and use diapers that have a notch cut out at the top specifically to avoid covering the umbilical stump.
It might sound disgusting to many, but some moms attempt to reuse diapers. When they change a diaper, only to find that it is dry, they think that there’s no harm in putting it back on. While it might be tempting to reuse a diaper, especially considering how much they can cost, it’s definitely not a good idea. Even if the diaper appears to be completely clean, it probably isn’t. Think about it: would you wear a pair of underwear that you wore yesterday, even if they looked clean? Well, I would hope you wouldn’t. Appearances can be deceiving, and while the diaper may look clean, bacteria and dead skin cells that you can’t see have collected inside of it. Putting your little one back in a diaper he has already worn could lead to an infection, so it’s always best to toss the used and put on a fresh one.
It’s so easy for moms to get distracted. They have so much on their plates and often, they find themselves trying to do a million things at once, or at least thinking about what they have to get done. Being distracted while you’re changing your baby’s diaper can be dangerous. Like I’ve mentioned before, little ones can wriggle about, especially when they are being changed, and if you’re not paying attention, there’s a real possibility that she could flip off of the changing table. Plus, if you are distracted, you might not clean your baby thoroughly, which means that she could end up getting a rash. Though it might seem hard, make sure you are giving your baby your complete and undivided attention during diaper changes. The laundry, the ringing phone, the knock on the door and whatever else you have going on can all wait.
4Leaving The Room
It might seem utterly absurd, but leaving a room during a diaper change can happen. There’s a knock on the door, the phone rings, there’s a loud bang in another room… There are a number of reasons why mom may leave the room while she’s in the midst of a diaper change, but whatever the reason is, it’s never a good idea. Leaving your baby unattended while he is on a changing table, even if he is strapped in, could lead to a devastating accident. Even if you are changing your little one on the floor, if you leave in the middle of the job, there’s a pretty good chance that you are going to walk back into an absolute mess. Do your baby – and yourself – a favor and make sure you are present throughout the entire changing process.
3Not Being Fully Prepared
Too many moms aren’t completely prepared before they dive into a diaper change. For example, they might not check to make sure that there’s a new diaper available, or that there are enough wipes to get the job done. So what happens when you aren’t fully prepared? You could end up having to take both hands off of the baby, turning your back, or walking out of the room. As I’ve already mentioned, none of these things is a good idea, as they could put your little one at risk of being harmed. Before you start the changing process, make sure you have a fresh diaper within arm’s reach, that there are plenty of wipes available (also at arm’s reach), and that you have a fresh pair of clothing ready to go in case things get a little messy.
2Changing The Diaper Too Soon
When it comes to dirty diapers, it’s super important to change them as soon as possible. Waiting too long can increase the risk of a rash and a messy blowout. However, I’d also like to point out that changing it too soon isn’t a good idea, either. Let’s say you see your little one is having a bowel movement and you rush to clean him up. That’s great! However, he isn’t quite finished and when you pull down his diaper, he ends up, well, you know… Not only are you going to have a huge mess on your hands (literally), but you’ll probably also become pretty distracted, as you’re trying to figure out how to handle the diaper debacle. To avoid a literal $h@t show, wait a bit to make sure that your little one has completely finished his business before changing him.
1Not Washing Your Hands After A Changing
I know it sounds gross, but a lot of moms forget to wash their hands after they change a diaper. It happens. There’s a lot to attend to and about a billion things running through your mind, so forgetting to wash your hands is a real possibility. However, it’s something that you really don’t want to skip out on. Just like it’s important to wash your hands after you use the bathroom yourself, it’s also important to wash after changing your little one. If you don’t, you could spread bacteria from urine and fecal matter to your baby, yourself, and anyone else living in your house. Plus, it’s just kind of gross to leave your hands unwashed after dealing with a dirty diaper. Not to be gross, smells can remain behind, and certain (brown) things can get stuck in your fingernails…
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