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30 Diaper Changing Hacks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

Changing diapers is something every parent is very familiar with. But these diaper changing hacks will change the way you change diapers. You’re going to wish you’d known them sooner.

woman changing a baby's diaper

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Being a parent is one of the best things in life. While it’s full of joy and fun, it also brings a few less pleasant jobs…like diaper changing.

There’s no avoiding it. But that doesn’t mean it has to be harder than it needs to be.

Parents all over have found ways to make changing all those diapers just a little easier. And I’ve gathered all the diaper changing hacks I could find, plus all the ones I was told as a new parent, into one list.

With these 30 hacks, diaper changing may still not be your favorite part of parenthood, but at least it won’t be quite as difficult or messy.

30 Diaper Changing Hacks for New Parents

Most of these diaper changing hacks apply to any diaper change, however old your child is. A few are specifically for a newborn. And a few are about how to make things easier on the go.

Let’s jump right in.

Newborn

1. Buy newborn size and size 1 diapers before your baby is born. You won’t know for sure how big your baby is until he or she is born, so it’s a good idea to have both newborn size and size 1 diapers on hand.

BONUS: Don’t buy too many newborn size diapers. Unless your baby is born prematurely, they won’t be in newborn size for long, if at all. Just start with one small package. You can buy more later if you need to.

2. Use olive oil to clean meconium off your baby’s bum. Meconium – the dark, uber-sticky first poop of newborns – can be hard to get off skin. Use olive oil (from a small bottle designated for diaper changes) to soften the meconium and make it easier to wipe off.

3. Fold diapers down to protect the umbilical cord. Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will dry up and fall off within a few days or weeks of birth. While it’s still there, fold diapers down in the front so that the umbilical cord stays dry and clean. (It is rare for the cord to get infected but it can happen and it’s definitely something you want to avoid.)

Daily Changes and Blowouts

4. Buy Costco diapers. Every baby is a different shape and size but nothing contained blowouts for us like Costco diapers did. (And we tried a LOT of brands.) They were tight enough around the legs, secure around the waist, and went up high enough in the back to contain most of the mess. Plus, they’re the most affordable diapers I’ve found.

5. Don’t change the diaper too soon. Especially as a newborn, your baby might poop once, wait a while, then finish a few minutes later. If you don’t wait long enough, you might be changing twice as many diapers.

6. Go up a size if you’re having a lot of blowouts, not down. This was a tip I got from a family member and it seemed to hold true. The bigger the diaper, the more it can contain, I suppose.

7. Pull the leg ruffles out. In addition to making sure your baby is in a big enough diaper, make sure to pull the leg ruffles and elastic out. If the ruffles stay tucked in or the elastic isn’t pulled far enough out, you risk having to clean up a blowout that could have been avoided.

8. Roll a dirty onesie down instead of pulling it over your baby’s head. Most onesies have that envelope-like top and are designed to roll down off a baby’s shoulders instead of having to come over the head. After blowouts, this can keep your baby much cleaner.

9. Get a foam changing pad. Anyone who knows me knows that I’d rather do things for free or cheap if I can. But buying Bumbo brand’s foam changing pad was absolutely worth the money. Fabric changing pads and covers are a pain to keep clean (even though they say they’re waterproof). With foam, you can just wipe all the poop right off then disinfect and it’s as good as new.

10. Use the onesie to contain your baby’s arms. If you want to keep your baby’s hands out of the way, try using the onesie. Turn the bottom ends up like you do to get it out of the way of the diaper. Tuck your baby’s arms in. Pull the back end up over their shoulder and snap it to the front end. Voila.

11. Soak poopy clothes before washing. Blowouts happen and clothes get covered in poop. To avoid stains, throw the dirty clothes into a bin of water and let them sit for a few minutes. Then rinse the majority of the poop out, spray with your normal laundry stain remover, then wash as normal. If it was an extra messy one, you may want to run it through the washer twice before drying.

12. Use the diaper as your first wipe. For poopy diapers, use the front of the diaper as your first wipe. Using the clean front flap of the diaper, start from their belly and wipe down, rolling the now-dirty edge in once you’ve wiped. You can get a good amount of poop off this way and save a few wipes. 

13. Put a clean diaper underneath the dirty one before you start changing. Before you open the dirty diaper, tuck an open clean diaper underneath it. This will make for an easy transition and a quick cover in case of peeing.

14. Touch your baby’s belly with a cold wipe before starting to change. If you run a cold wipe over your baby’s abdomen BEFORE opening the dirty diaper, it might make them pee. A full bladder takes more heat so our bodies urinate to conserve heat. This can help avoid those messy moments of getting peed on in the middle of a diaper change.

15. Have a portable bin of diaper changing supplies. If you have a big house, it’s a good idea to have a portable diaper changing station. Especially in those first few weeks postpartum, you aren’t going to want to be hiking around your house every time your newborn needs a diaper change (which is 10-12 times a day!). Instead, keep a bin of a few diapers and a pack of wipes in an area where you spend a lot of time, like the main floor living room. 

16. Distract your baby with a toy or a song. Especially as babies become more mobile, it can be hard to keep them still and keep them from touching their bum as you change their diaper. A song can help them stay happy and a toy can keep them occupied so they don’t try to grab the diaper or roll away.

17. Have an emergency stash of diapers so you never run out. Even the best of planners sometimes run out of diapers before buying a new box. To avoid a situation where you have literally no diapers in the house, keep a small stash on hand for emergencies, even if they aren’t your favorite brand. You’ll be glad you did.

18. Use a dresser instead of a fancy changing table. You can find lots of cute changing tables meant solely for that purpose. But why not make one purchase instead of two and just get a waist-high dresser to use as your changing table. This way you’ll have a good place to keep clothes and other things you might want nearby while changing your baby, and you won’t have to buy a new dresser when your kid gets a little older.

BONUS: Find a dresser with legs so you can fit your feet underneath and you don’t end up stubbing your toe every time you step up to it.

19. Buy or make a hanging diaper caddy. When you’re changing a dirty diaper, you’ll want a clean diaper and wipes easily accessible without having to open a drawer. To make that easy for yourself, buy a hanging diaper caddy to put on the wall or over the edge of the changing table. (You can also make your own. I crocheted a little basket for diapers that we hang on the wall near the changing pad.)

crocheted hanging diaper basket

20. Put together a portable diaper caddy, too. While a hanging basket is nice to have right by the changing table, if you have a big house or multiple floors, a portable diaper caddy is great, too. Pack it with the essentials and keep it on the main floor to make everyday diaper changes easier.

READ MORE >> What to Put in a Diaper Caddy (Just the Essentials)

21. Fold the back of the diaper down to create a barrier. While blowouts are still bound to happen, you can contain the mess a little bit by folding the back of a new diaper down to create a barrier. The hope is that this barrier will keep poop from exploding up your baby’s back. Before you put the new diaper underneath your baby, fold the top inch down and in.

22. Use plastic bags to contain extra smelly diapers. If you won’t be taking dirty diapers to an outside trash right away, tie them inside a plastic grocery bag (or doggy poop bag) to contain the smell.

BONUS: Don’t buy a diaper pail. Every person I’ve talked to that bought one said it wasn’t worth it because it hardly worked. Newborn diapers don’t smell that bad. And once your baby is older and is only having one or two poopy diapers a day, it’s better to just take the diapers to the outside trash right away.

23. Get a soft light for night changes. If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night and needs a diaper change, you aren’t going to want to turn on all the lights. Instead, get some fairy lights for a nice soft glow or buy a red light bulb to put in a nearby lamp.

Diaper Rash

24. Pay attention to the ingredients in your baby’s diapers. For those of you who are conscientious about reading labels, you’ll be interested to know that all kinds of less-than-ideal ingredients hide out in diapers. The main ones to avoid are plastics, fragrances, dyes, and bleach. Part of the benefit of avoiding chemicals in diapers is that it reduces irritation to your baby’s bum and therefore reduces the chance of diaper rash.

25. Let your baby roam free every once in a while. Part of the reason diaper rash can develop is because your baby’s skin stays wet and has little airflow most of the time. To remedy this, let your baby go without a diaper for a few minutes every once in a while. You’ll want to take them outside or put them on a waterproof mat to protect from messes, but their skin will thank you.

26. Use a spatula or disposable glove when applying diaper rash cream. Diaper rash cream is sticky. To avoid getting it all over your hands, use either a mini spatula meant just for that or a disposable glove so you can just toss it when you’re done.

TIP: If you do use your bare hand, use a wipe to get most of it off before washing with water and soap.

On The Go

27. Develop a diaper bag restocking system. When you’re leaving the house, you’ll want to be sure you have all the things you’ll need in case of a dirty diaper or a blowout. The easiest way I’ve found for this is to develop a system of packing the diaper bag. Whenever I restock it, I know what items go in which pocket and how many. That way I don’t have to think too much but I know I’ve got what I need.

28. Restock your diaper bag when you get home, not when you’re about to leave. Another hack for not being caught on the go without important items is to restock your diaper bag when returning home from an errand instead of right before you leave. This way, you can grab and go, even if you’re running late, and know you’ve got everything.

29. Keep plastic bags in your diaper bag. If you’re out and about and have a blowout, you’re going to want somewhere to put the dirty clothes until you get home. Keep a few extras in there in case you want one for the dirty diaper and wipes, too.

30. Use an extra burp cloth as a cover in case of a car seat blowout. If your baby has a blowout while in their car seat, use an extra burp cloth from the diaper bag as a cover until you get home to wash things up. Lay it down where the poop got on the car seat before you put your freshly-cleaned baby back in.

And there you have it: 30 diaper changing hacks that will make your life so much easier. Do you wish you’d known them sooner?

If I missed any that have helped you stay sane, let us know in the comments!

Until next time,

Allison

READ MORE:

What to Pack In a Diaper Bag (+ free checklist)

How to Prepare for Postpartum: The Ultimate Guide

20 Breastfeeding Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

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