Diapering Your Hospitalized Infant :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Diapering Your Hospitalized Infant

You will need to start changing your baby’s diaper while he or she is in the hospital. It is important that you check with the nurse about any special instructions or precautions for diapering, especially if your baby has IV lines or tubes or is on any respiratory support.

You Will Need

  • A clean disposable diaper or cloth diaper, if you are using cloth
  • A new disposable wipe, as approved by the nurse
  • Diaper cream, as approved by the nurse
  • Any other items special for your baby, as advised by the nurse

How to Diaper Your Baby

Diapering Your Hospitalized Infant

  1. Wash your hands, and place all supplies close to the changing area.
  2. Open a new diaper and place the soft side with the tabs under your baby before opening the dirty diaper. This will keep the linens clean if there are any accidents.
  3. Unfasten the tabs on the dirty diaper and fold them over.
  4. Pull down the front of the dirty diaper. If there is stool, use the clean front part of the dirty diaper to wipe most of the stool off your baby’s bottom.
  5. Fold the dirty diaper in half. Place your baby’s bottom on the clean side of the folded dirty diaper.
  6. Clean your baby with the diaper wipe approved by the nurse. To clean, you may gently roll your baby to the side or lift the baby by the ankles (Picture 1). Make sure you wipe your baby from the front to the back. Do not forget to also clean the creases in the bottom and the top of the thighs.
    *Tell the nurse if you see that your baby’s skin is red or irritated (has a rash) in any part of the diaper area. The diaper area includes your baby’s front pelvic area, buttocks, and thigh and buttocks creases.
  7. Remove the dirty diaper. Let your baby’s bottom air dry or gently dry it with a cloth.
  8. Put the diaper cream approved by the nurse on your baby’s diaper area. This cream may be different for each baby, so make sure to ask the nurse.
  9. Fold the front of the clean diaper over your baby’s belly. If your baby is a boy, make sure to point the penis down in the diaper before you fold it up to fasten it. Make sure to fold the top of the diaper down under the umbilical cord or belly button.
  10. Open the tabs in the back of the diaper and snuggly fasten them to each side of the front of the diaper. Make sure it is not too tight. If you can easily fit two fingers into the top of the diaper, it is okay.
  11. Pinch the diaper between the legs. This will let your baby move his legs more easily.
  12. Secure your baby’s crib or put him in a safe place.
  13. Put the dirty diaper on the scale or in the trash, as instructed by the nurse.
  14. Wash your hands.

Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips to remember when changing your baby’s diaper:

  • Gather all the things you will need before you start changing your baby’s diaper.
  • Never leave your baby alone on a high surface unless railings are raised or safety straps are secured.
  • Keep one hand on your baby if you turn away from him or her or step to the side.
  • If your baby has any lines or tubes, ask the nurse to help you. It is important to know about the equipment, so that your baby stays clean and safe.
  • Ask your nurse for assistance if your baby is on respiratory support.

If you have any questions, please ask the doctor or nurse or call ____________________.

Diapering Your Hospitalized Infant (PDF)

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