Changing a nappy can be a daunting task which is why our 10 tips on changing a nappy for the first time will make sure you level up from the word go!

Before you change a nappy for the first time there are a lot of important things to consider. You need to know what brand to buy, what type of nappy you want, how to put them on, take them off and dispose of them!

Our 10 tips on changing a nappy for the first time will help you level-up and own this often smelly task and see you changing your baby’s nappy in the dark with one hand tied behind your back!

Trial and error will see poop on places you didn’t realise poop could get…so be prepared to fail a few times first!

#1: Choose the right nappy

Ok, first things first – what type of nappies are there?

There are disposable nappies (one poop and throw it away) and reusable nappies (which tend to be made of cloth).

Nappies are a fixed expense for the first few years of your baby’s life. Think very carefully about which type works best for you.

There is no right or wrong choice when deciding on what type of nappy to use. It is entirely a matter of personal choice, and will likely be decided in line with your lifestyle.

Although disposable nappies can be convenient, if you value the environment you might want to look into biodegradable nappies. These break down much more quickly than conventional, less expensive, disposable nappies.

If you consider using reusable nappies there tends to be three different choices:

  1. All-in-ones are nappies with their inner and outer layers sewn together
  2. Flat nappies are your traditional cloth nappies and also come pre-folded
  3. Pocket nappies have an outer layer where you can insert a liner

Remember that you will reuse the nappies right up until your baby is using a potty, so they will work out cheaper than disposables in the long run. If you decide to use reusable nappies you might also want to consider investing in an energy-efficient washing machine. This can have a considerable impact on your carbon footprint and protect the environment and your energy bills.

A dedicated laundry bin for your reusable nappies helps you to easily separate and wash your dirty nappy loads in one go.

Is changing a nappy simple? Yes, all it takes is practice but there are a few ground rules for preparation.

#2: Buy the right sized nappy

Most Brands have standard sizing that scales from 0-6:

  • Size 0 (1-2.5kg, 2-5lbs)
  • Size 1 (2 -5kg, 5-11lbs)
  • Size 2 (3-6kg, 7-14lbs)
  • Size 3 (4-9kg, 8-20lbs)
  • Size 4 (7-18kg, 15-40lbs)
  • Size 5 (11-25kg, 24-55lbs)
  • Size 6 (16kg +, 35lbs +)

If in doubt, look out for words like ‘dry,” or “super dry” on the packaging because the key focus at newborn age is keeping your baby dry and free of nappy rash. When your little one starts to become mobile and crawl you will notice the wording changes to movement, such as ‘active” and “stretch.”

When they hit toddler age the nappies tend to be branded with phrases like “pull-ups” and “easy up”.

#3: Stock-up your nappies

A newborn baby sleeps, eats, and poos. And poos. Did I mention they poo? Where do you think all that milk goes? Your baby will wee and poo several times a day when newborn. That’s a lot of nappies! (at least 10 nappy changes a day).

If you decide to use disposables, make sure you stock-up well in advance of your new arrival. I wish I’d known just how important nappies were going to be prior to having my first child. If friends or family ask what you’d like as a baby shower gift nappies are never a bad suggestion.

Do make sure you choose your preferred nappy brand before making these types of requests. Most parents and carers tend to choose one brand and stick to them religiously.

Your baby will grow very quickly in those first few months so keep that in mind when stocking up.

#4: Buy a good-quality changing mat

One of the most important tips on changing a nappy for the first time relates to equipment. Your changing mat needs to be unbreakable! It will be used multiple times throughout the day and get covered in muck.

For use at home, there are lots of different types of mats available online. We recommend one that has inflatable sides for newborns. Please make sure you NEVER EVER leave your baby unattended on a changing mat. Start off using the changing mat only on the floor until you become proficient using it.

You will also need to consider a portable changing mat. Look for one that you can easily pop into your baby bag when you’re out and about. Changing bags often include these.

#5: Buy those nappy changing essentials

You will need a lot of accessories to keep your newborn baby clean, fresh and rash free:

  • Cotton wool pads and disposable wipes to keep your baby fresh
  • Nappy grips (if you use nappies that don’t have fasteners)
  • Nappy bags (absolutely essential and double-up as fantastic rubbish bags when out and about!)
  • A good quality antiseptic healing cream to help keep your baby rash free
  • A good quality nice sized baby changing bag. Trust us when we recommend you don’t try to skimp on this item!

#6: Learn the nappy-changing basics


So far our 10 top tips on changing a nappy for the first time have focused on preparation. Now is the time to think about the process of actually changing the nappy.

Always be sure to wash your hands and try to have everything you need to change the nappy around you before you put your baby in place to start changing.

Never leave your baby alone whilst you go off to find all the things you need to change the nappy. If you are out and about and using a public changing toilet which at times can place your baby quite high up above the ground.

Your baby may decide it is a good time to roll over!

When you have your baby on its back and remove the dirty nappy, make sure you thoroughly clean the whole area. Use either some cotton wool and cool boiled water, or a reputable wet wipe if you are out and about. Don’t forget to apply the antiseptic cream should your baby need it.

It is fine to use wipes, but if you are at home try to use a cotton wool ball.

#7: Wiping & disposing of the nappy

Remember, front to back wiping please for little ladies. For boys, you need to make sure you wipe and clean around the penis area.

Once you are finished the dirty nappy gets wrapped up and placed in a sealed nappy bag. Put it into the appropriate bin (if outside the home).

#8: Change your baby’s nappy frequently


Your newborn baby will need a new nappy after every feed, and whenever a poo appears. Don’t worry, you will know when there is a poo in the nappy!

Wetness is not pleasant, especially on a newborn’s soft delicate skin. Keep an eye for a wee if you are using disposable nappies because they absorb moisture so well that you may not realise the nappy is wet until it becomes heavy. Try to keep an eye out for a wet nappy every few hours.

Don’t be worried about waking your baby to change a nappy through the night. Baby’s tend to wake when hungry or when they need a new nappy. If you notice a poo in the night just be calm and quiet and simply change the nappy with minimal fuss. Whenever your baby wakes through the night for a feed take that opportunity to quickly check to see if you need to change a nappy.

If your baby has some of its umbilical cord still attached (this is common) make sure you are careful not to catch it, especially at night. Whenever a new nappy goes on always take that opportunity to check for nappy rash. If you detect a rash apply your antiseptic healing cream.  

#9: Make nappy changing time fun!

Think about how you can provide visual stimulation to your changing station. Some parents like to place mirrors, pictures, or soft mobile toys that help your baby focus on something. Remember, a newborn baby can spot high contract colours best in those early months.

Super Tip: In those winter months remember to warm your hands up! No one likes a cold hand at 3.30 am less than a newborn baby. Trust us.

Nappy changing time can be a lot of fun for you and your baby. It’s a fantastic way for Dads to bond with their newborn baby, especially for breastfed baby’s that spends a lot of time with Mum.

Check out our favourite video of a wonderful Dad doing a fantastic job of bonding whilst changing a nappy…

#10: Newborn poo colours

Lots of new parents and carers worry about changes noticed in the colour, smell or texture of a newborn baby’s poo.

The texture, colour, smell and consistency of your baby’s poo will change in its first year.

After your baby is born you should expect to see a greenish-black, sticky stool. Don’t panic! Your baby’s first bowel movement is called meconium. This is their bowel clearing out everything that has accumulated during those nine months chilling out in your womb. After a few days your baby’s feces will become lighter in colour and much less sticky.

For those parents that decide to breastfeed, expect to see yellow/green colour which will be very creamy (think mustard or chicken curry!). Formula-fed babies tend to poo pasty and peanut buttery faeces. You’ll quickly be able to tell what’s usual (and unusual) for your baby and WOW will you be able to recognise the smell!

We hope you enjoyed reading our 10 top tips on changing a nappy for the first time and for more information on the types of poo to expect from a healthy, full-term baby, check out this article (with pictures) apply titled ‘what’s in a nappy‘…ideally after you have eaten!

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