Infants wear diapers until they are fully potty trained, which can usually be around the age of three.
During that time, they will go through 6-10 diapers each day. As a parent, finding the right diapers for your child is an important part of childcare that will ensure comfort for them and an easy cleanup for you.
Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers
There are two different types of diapers: cloth and disposable. While there are advantages to each, your choice should be based on your child's body shape and the regularity of their bowel movements.
In general, cloth diapers:
- Are made of soft, reusable material
- Come in a variety of fits and textures
- Allow for your baby's skin to breathe
- Can lessen your child's risk of diaper rash
However, cloth diapers can be difficult to use during travel. Washing and sanitizing the garments requires access to a washer/dryer, along with the cost of water, detergent and energy. Cloth diapers are also known to leak for some children, requiring the use of a diaper cover or pants.
In contrast, disposable diapers:
- Facilitate cleanup
- Are ideal for travel
- Are highly absorbent
- Keep your child's bottom dry for extended periods of time
The downsides of disposable diapers are their cost and negative effect on the environment. They are composed of non-biodegradable materials that will collect in landfills for years to come. Additionally, some parents put too much confidence in the diapers' absorption abilities and wait too long for changings, ultimately increasing the child's risk for a rash.
How to Properly Change a Diaper
Changing your baby's diaper properly is the best way to ensure he or she is comfortable until their next change. Here are some tips for a proper change:
- Prepare your area, such as a waist-high changing table with a washable or disposable cover and keep everything within your immediate reach.
- Undo the tabs on the diaper. If your baby is male, use a towel or cloth to cover his genitals to prevent the release of urine into the air.
- With a careful grip, elevate your baby's legs with one hand and use your other hand to pull the diaper down, removing any stool from front to back.
- Check your baby's back, legs and clothes for leaks as they may require a bath instead
- Clean the diapered area from front to back with damp washcloth or cleansing wipe to avoid urinary tract infections. Keep wiping to a minimum to avoid rashes.
- Raise your baby's legs again and place the back of the diaper underneath the baby while pulling the front of the diaper up to fasten it between their legs.
- Secure the diaper using adhesive tabs.
- Make sure the diaper is not too tight as it could increase the risk for diaper rash.
Diaper sizes and fits differ among certain brands and manufacturers. As your child grows, a new size or fit may be needed to deter leaks and increase comfort. Ask your doctor for some recommendations for different options.
How to Properly Deal with Diaper Rash
Diaper rash is a common skin condition that occurs throughout a child's infancy and toddler years.
Regardless of the diapers you buy, diaper rash can still pose a problem. They occur when your child's bottom is exposed to moisture, bacteria, and ammonia within their diaper. It can also be caused by over wiping during changes. Together with the constant motion of a highly active child, they are the perfect conditions for the development of a rash.
Here are some suggestions that should be a part of your treatment and prevention process:
- Perform Frequent Changings
- Less is more—wipe gently with as few wipes as possible
- Gently clean the area with mild soap
- Air dry your baby's skin (no diaper) or gently dry with a soft clean cloth
- Protect your child's skin using mild lotions or petroleum jellies can provide your child's sore, reddened bottom with a protective coating that wipes away clean.
If you notice the start of a diaper rash on your child or toddler, stay calm. Most children will experience some form of a rash while they are still in diapers.
When to Contact Your Child's Health Care Provider about Diaper Rash
Be sure to get in touch with your health care provider if:
- Your child's rash is accompanied by a fever
- Your child is fussy or irritable and unable to sleep
- Your child's rash has spread beyond the diaper area
- Your child has large blisters or sores
- Your child's rash has not improved in three days
- Your child's rash becomes extremely red, raw, or bleeds
- Your child's rash develops into blisters, sores, boil or crusts.