Childr Health Information

Diapering Your Baby

Print this page Bookmark and Share

Topic: Infant Health Care

This handout was written to answer some of the questions parents ask about diapering their infant.  Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to go over any information you do not understand.

When should I change my baby’s diaper?

A good time to change your baby’s diaper is before or right after the baby eats or sleeps.  Usually a baby will have a wet diaper at feeding times.

You may have to change it before and after depending on how often your baby wets or has a bowel movement (also called stools).  Rashes can begin if the skin rubs against a wet diaper, so it is best to keep your baby dry.

Be sure to clean your baby’s skin well when changing a diaper.  You can buy disposable wipes or use a regular wet wash cloth.  Be sure to clean between the folds of the skin well.  Clean from the front to the back with little girls.  If your little boy is not circumcised, just wash him off with a wet wash cloth.  Do not retract the foreskin for routine cleansing.  Your baby’s doctor will talk with you about cleansing under the foreskin when your son is older (about 2-5 years).

If you use your own cloth diapers, be sure to wash them in a gentle soap (like Dreft [trademark]).  Rinse well to remove all the soap.

What should a “normal” stool look like?

In the first few days of life, bowel movements (stools) are thick, sticky and almost black.  This is called a meconium stool and is normal.  Slowly this will turn lighter and be less thick and sticky.  This is called a transitional stool.

After about a week, breast-fed babies usually have light yellow, loose stools several times a day.  Babies who are fed formula have more formed, “thicker” stools less often.  If your baby has not had a stool for over 48 hours and seems uncomfortable, call your baby’s doctor.  If you think your baby’s stools are not normal in color or texture, check with your baby’s doctor.

What can I do if my baby develops a diaper rash?

If your baby develops a rash, ointments such as Desitin (TM) or A & D Ointment (TM) might help.  It might also help if you give your baby a bath more often.  If your baby is not rolling over or crawling yet, you can also try to clear up the rash by leaving your baby’s diaper open to air.  Be sure to keep your baby away from drafts.  If you have tried everything mentioned here, but your baby’s rash gets worse or will not go away, call your baby’s doctor.

PDF: Child Health Information - DIAPERING YOUR BABY

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001
Revisado: 2004, 2007, 2010

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001
Reviewed: 2004, 2007, 2010


Sign up for Pediatric Link

Finding the latest trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. Pediatric Link, Dayton Children's e-newsletter offers timely and up-to-date information for health care professionals from the experts you trust at Dayton Children's.  Sign up

Upcoming Events

Fun family health fair

REGISTRATION: Sign up online at By mail: Fill out this entry form and mail with a check payable to Miamisburg High School to Miamisburg High School C/O Jenny Brockert 1860 Belvo Road Miamisburg, OH 45342 For more information all Jenny Brockert at (937) 866-0771 ext.1414 or email her at

Dayton Children’s cordially invites you to attend our upcoming state-wide pediatric trauma symposium. The symposium will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, Miamisburg, OH on April 25, 2014.

View full event calendarView full event calendar

The Right Experts

Just right for all kids


The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815