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Nappy Changing 101

Nappy changing is a skill. Consider it a constantly evolving art. But don’t worry, if you're still to new to it, you will get ample opportunity to perfect this skill - sometimes 12 times per day in the most challenging locations and circumstances. Here are seven tips to help you achieve level expert in the nappy change game.

  1. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

Be prepared. There have been occasions where I have been caught off guard - one hand holding the baby out of the unbelievable mess he created, whilst trying to grab wipes or a nappy just out of reach and no ability to call for reinforcements. I still have flashbacks.  To learn from my mistakes, have these essentials close to hand:

Wet Wipes:

Don’t underestimate the gravity of the situation and have an inadequate number of wipes. One or two wipes is usually enough. However, there will be times when you will need more. Lots more. Keep them handy. You have been warned.

Tissues or cotton wool:

Moisture is the enemy. Best practice is to pat, rather than wipe baby’s skin dry, to avoid irritation.

Tissues and cotton wool balls are cheap and plentiful and are gentle on the skin.

Changing pad liner:

We may be a little biased, but a changing pad liner just makes sense. To avoid adding to your ever-growing mountain of washing with soiled changing pad covers or to protect baby when changing on the go, grab yourself a soft, super absorbent and waterproof change pad liner.

Barrier cream:

Nappy rash is horrible. Again, moisture is the enemy. After you have patted baby dry, use a good quality barrier cream to protect baby’s skin. Get some samples and try before you buy.


Cloth or disposable, the choice is yours. Just make sure you have lots. Unless of course you want to emulate MacGyver and repurpose a towel into a nappy in the wee hours of the morning.

Other items:

Have your nappy disposable bags or a nappy disposable system nearby.

Once you have the nappy, you want to get rid of it. It is not a trophy. The last thing you want is for the smell to linger, long after the act has been done.

  1. Avoid the ouch factor

We have seen how awful nappy rash can be despite taking great care to avoid it. The reality is, nappy rash is common and not an indicator of poor performance as a parent.

Nappy rash is commonly caused by a combination of wetness and skin irritation.

To combat these:

  • Change the nappy frequently, or as soon as possible after the nappy is soiled;
  • Clean thoroughly but gently with wipes (always front to back);
  • Pat dry with tissues or cotton wool;
  • Use barrier cream;
  • Give baby nappy free time. This allows the skin to breathe. Use your changing pad liner to protect against any unexpected mess.
  1. A lot can happen in a second

NEVER EVER EVER leave your baby unattended during nappy change. Even for a second. They may be small, but geeze they can move… and quickly. Make sure the place where you change your baby is stable.

An ill-timed roll off the change surface can result in potentially life-threatening injuries.

  1. Distract the…that dog has a fluffy tail!

More often than not, you’ll feel like you’re trying to change the nappy on an angry octopus rather than a placid infant.  The key to getting the job done without experiencing substantial collateral damage is distraction. A small toy, a mobile hanging over the change station, or your dulcet tones will hopefully buy enough time for you to get in and out unscathed.

  1. Keep ‘em clean

In case this was not obvious, make sure your hands are clean. Wash them before and after nappy change. This prevents the spread of any nasties you or your baby may have. There are other ways to build immunity. For times when you can’t get to a sink, keep some hand sanitiser handy. If you can manage it, wash your little ones hands, even if you think their hands haven’t wandered south. The odds are they have.

  1. Expect the unexpected

You may come under friendly fire during nappy change, particularly if there is a cool southerly and you have a boy. So, keep it covered - with a cloth or tissue to prevent the inadvertent spray that can leave you scrambling to find a new shirt when you’re already late for something important, like life.

  1. Share the advice

Don’t be afraid to share your tips.  Being a new parent is challenging but along the way you’ll discover little gems that can make your life infinitely better.  Chances are if you have struggled with something, someone else is having trouble to.

A big issue we had early on was our little boy constantly wetting down the side of his onesie, despite our careful attention to make sure the nappy was correctly fastened.  One of our friends gave us the great advice to make sure everything was pointing down before doing the nappy up, and those dreaded accidents have become a rarity.

If you have any nappy hacks, feel free to share them with us and other new parents in the comments section below, or over on our Facebook page.  If you would like to pick up a set of super handy changing pad liners for yourself, check out our store.

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