How To Change A Nappy In 5 Easy Steps

14/08/2014 17:01 | Updated 20 May 2015

Dad changing baby's nappy

What is it about new dads and changing their baby's nappy?

Simon Cowell flatly refuses to get his hands, er, dirty with baby Eric's. Kanye West has never so much as had a sniff of North's smelly diapers. And even modern dad Prince William has begged for some respite from Prince George's doody duty.

Look, chaps, it just isn't a big deal. Just imagine you're changing a wheel in the pits at an F1 race. Bish, bash, bosh. Over in as little as 10 seconds (my personal best).

Just leave out the coochie-cooing and blowing raspberries on your gurgling baby's belly (no matter how tempting) and you'll be a pro in no time.

But if confidence is part of the problem, we've recruited father-of-twins Nick Harper to share his wisdom.

Very helpfully, Nick has written a manual for first-time fathers called 'Help! I'm a Dad'. It covers everything you'll need to get you through your baby's first 12 months, with advice on sleep, feeding, costs and transporting your little darling.

But the advice you'll need most if you want to truly be a modern hands-on dad is in the section appropriately titled: 'Waste Management'. Over to Nick...

"At the time of writing, I have 24,192 nappy changes to my name, and 24,191 of them can be considered a success, bar the one I accidentally smeared on the cream bedroom carpet in the middle of the night.

"So, what I know about nappy changing is that it's a breeze, particularly if broken into a very simple step-by-step guide . . .

All Change

Your baby will need his nappy changed after he's had a feed, before he has a sleep and if he's crying because he's filled his nappy to the brim and doesn't like the feeling of sitting in his own slurry.

And let's be honest, who does? Note also that newborns are said to urinate every 20 minutes, which goes down to once an hour by the time they're six months old.

While his wee should be clear or pale, making it hard to distinguish, you'll know it's there by the weight of the nappy. Wet nappies should be changed quickly to avoid nappy rash.

The Nappy Change

Before you begin, find a flat, sturdy, safe surface – a changing mat on the carpet works very well, providing you have the flexibility required to get down and back up.

If you're going to change on a high surface, remember to keep one hand on your baby's tummy at all times, otherwise he may roll or wriggle off the changing station and fall to the floor, and that isn't a risk worth taking. Once ready, the actual nappy changing should literally unfold as follows:

Step 1

With your baby on his back, place the spare nappy underneath his bottom. (This is good practice, having the new nappy close to hand, but it's also means that if, when you remove the spent nappy, your baby suddenly and without warning 'backfires', that spare will at least absorb some of the blow).

Another wise manoeuvre when changing boy babies is to place a piece of tissue over his widdler, just in case he decides to water you.

This is a common problem and an eye full of baby piddle will sting. To speed up the changing process and reduce fiddling around, make sure the replacement nappy is the right way round, with the sticky tabs at the back and the happy animal face (or similar) at the front.

Step 2

Carefully undo the soiled nappy. You might recoil at its pungent innards the first time you change one, but you'll soon get used to it. Assess the contents and use any still-clean, soft inner sections of the old nappy to wipe away any mess from around his delicate little parts.

Gently, grab both ankles and hoist your baby's bottom into the air, just high enough to whip the old nappy out from under him.

Step 3

Now, dip a cotton-wool ball in a bowl of warm water and wipe clean 'around the back', taking care to get into any baby creases.

If your son is actually a daughter, it's important to say again that you should only ever wipe her front to back and never ever back to front, otherwise you risk spreading bacteria that can cause urinary-tract infections.

While you're there, check for any nappy rashes that could later cause discomfort – the skin will be red and irate. Apply a nappy-rash cream if required.

Step 4

Lower him back onto that replacement nappy, pulling the front section through his legs and onto his tummy.

Bring the side bits to the front and attach with the sticky tabs. Make sure it's snug but not overly tight, and if the umbilical stump is still there, fold down the top of the nappy so that it's outside the nappy.

When all's good, dispose of the old nappy in the bin. If your baby is still on a changing mat on top of a work surface and you wandered off to the bin to dispose of the nappy, he might now be wriggling off towards the painful fall we spoke of at the start. Run back as fast as possible to avert any danger and pay closer attention from now on.

Step 5

Re-dress your baby, congratulate yourself on a job well disposed of, and try to blank from your mind that you have around 2,687 more to do over the course of the next year.

Wash your hands a few times and prepare to change the next nappy in about five minutes.

Nappy changing: Eqiupment you'll need

You will need more nappies than it bears thinking about. If you aim for a fairly average eight nappies a day, then times that by seven, you get fifty-six nappies a week. So, 56 x 4 = 224 a month, and 224 x 12 = by crikey, you're suddenly looking at 2,688 nappies in a single year, and that's a fairly conservative guesstimate.

Obviously you don't need them all from the off, but you will need a big pile to get you through the first few days. And even if using reusable nappies, you'll need some disposables as well, just in case. But that's not all.

You'll also need nappy bags, because where are you going to put all those soiled nappies? Buy one hundred nappy bags from the pound shop, or 300 dangerously thin bags from the 50p shop.

And because your backside would be chafed too if you were getting through 56 nappies and a million bum wipes a week, you'll also need nappy rash cream, which offers blessed relief from the very common sore bum syndrome.

Finally, you'll need a nappy changing 'station', on which you will perform your nappy changing duties. Should you opt for a handsome, hand-crafted mahogany cabinet with superb storage space for nappies and creams; a glorified cake trolley on wheels; or a cheap oblong of plastic-covered foam that sits on the floor?

I'd suggest the latter, based on experience, because it's cheap, easy to store out of sight and because a wriggling baby falling half a centimetre off a mat on the floor will do himself far less damage than a baby falling five feet off an ergonomically impressive mahogany changing station.

But it's all about opinions in this game and really, only you can decide."

Help! I'm a Dad by Nick Harper (Michael O'Mara books, £9.99): a survival guide to new dads the confidence and positivity they need to be brilliant new fathers and partners.

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