June 23, 2006

Life Lesson: Changing Diapers

TheMonk and Bri,

In my continuing quest to educate you (see my other life lessons here) on all-things-important I have come to realize just how important changing diapers can be. Now, I understand that you have a long ways to go before you actually change a diaper (unless you’d like to start today. Your mother and I wouldn’t mind) but you can never be too prepared. So, here it goes.

First, you have a choice between cloth diapers and disposable diapers. In the long run, cloth diapers are cheaper and more friendly towards the environment but disposables are, well, easy. And, if you have twins (a real possibility for you Bri) then disposables are the only way to go, in my opinion, if you want to stay sane. In fact, I’m actually amazed that there are still people out there that use cloth diapers. But, hey if that’s your thing, more power to you.

So, for the sake of argument, I’m going to assume you picked disposable diapers. Now, my biggest advice when choosing diapers is not to be a cheap bastard (although you might have to fight some genetic tendencies passed down by your old man). Spend the few extra pennies on a good box of Huggies or Pampers. The generic diapers seem to have a few paper towels stuffed in the crotch and that’s about it. Huggies and Pampers actually seem to put some absorbant gel into their diapers. This is important because no baby (or adult, for that matter) looks cute with urine running down their leg. Your mommy and daddy actually use two diapers (Well, we don’t. You use them. We just buy them). We use Huggies during the day (mainly because they work and Costco sells them in bulk) and Pampers Baby Dry during the night. This is a heavy-duty diaper that seems to do a better job of absorbing the copious amounts of fluids you two seem to deposit into it each night. This is important because it’s already been well-documented how hard it is to change the sheets on a crib. Trust me, no one wants to do this at 3:00 a.m. while listening to a screaming baby.

Okay, now that we’ve settled on the diaper, we have to talk about the approach. Everyone seems to have their own way of approaching the change. Coming at the baby directly head-on is probably the best approach but when changing tables are being used, it’s often best to change from the side. This can be done with the baby pointing to your left or to your right – it’s a matter of preference (your mother is left-handed and I’m right-handed and we both point the baby to the left. Not sure why). Once you are positioned, it’s best to get all of the implements needed before you whip the soiled diaper off first. No one wants a geyser or a gusher coming at them when they’re ill-prepared. (TheMonk, I’m not admitting to anything but let’s just say boys don’t like it when they shoot themselves in the face with their own gun). This is where setup becomes extremely important. You must have the new diaper ready to go. Have your baby wipes ready to go and if you’re using a diaper cream, have that ready to go as well. It’s also helpful to have an absorbant cloth diaper nearby just in case someone decides to fire a shot off the starboard bow.

Speed is of the essence here. This is not the time to play goo-goo eyes with the baby (at least not before the exchange to a new diaper has been made). Get in and get out. If the diaper is filled with toxic waste, speed is definitely key. If you suspect that toxic waste might have eminated from your baby’s butt, having several baby wipes already pulled from their container is helpful in getting in and out. This is important because let’s just say poop has a tendency to rise up the back and the next thing you know you’re wiping the kid’s entire back wondering how anything can migrate quite like that.

And here’s what separates the pro from the amateur: Don’t gag. You will see some things that no human was ever meant to see. You will smell things that will be burned into your mind forever. Show no fear. This is not a time to be wimpy. You have a job to do so do it!

After removing soiled diaper, wrap it up quick. You might be tempted to look at consistency or color but nothing good can come of this. You’ll spend the entire night wondering how those carrots can just pass on through looking the same way coming out as they did coming in. Trust me, just wrap that baby up and dispose of it quickly into a well-sealed diaper receptacle.

Apply any ointments you might need (but not baby powder!) and then pull the new diaper on quick. The velcro straps go in the back. This might seem obvious but you too will have to switch it around – even after doing hundreds of diaper changes. Once the new diaper is securely fastened you can breathe a sigh of relief. Put clothes back on (or new clothes if the previous clothes were soiled in any way) and get ready to go about your day.

Wash your hands. Please, wash your hands. And, if you’re doing hundreds of changings, a nice hand moisturizer works wonders for overwashed hands.

Okay, that’s it. Now, go change the world!



  1. [...] Life Lessons [...]

    Pingback by Childs Play x2 — Because having one just wasn’t enough. » Life Lesson: Changing Diapers — June 23, 2006 @ 7:47 am

  2. I know this lesson was meant for Bri and JT, but it was very informative for me! We’re expecting our first child in December, and my husband and I are pretty clueless about diapers. I’m pretty sure that the last time I sat for a friend’s one-year-old, I put the diaper on backward. But at least it was snug!

    Comment by It'sMommy2u — June 23, 2006 @ 10:24 am

  3. Okay, I must be a crazy person, because I use cloth for TWO kids! Granted, the Munchkin is in the process of potty training, which cuts down on the number of diapers used, but we’re using cloth training pants, not pull-ups.

    I’m not trying to be environmentally-friendly or anything… using cloth diapers, especially here at home, was more cost-effective and practical. We use disposables for nighttime (the kids would just soak through even a double-cloth diaper after 10 hours and I was tired of changing sheets and doing all that extra laundry) and for when people who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with cloth are watching the kids. All it meant when Baby Boy came along was that we got a bigger diaper pail and did maybe one more load in a week.

    Actually, I find that the Costco Kirkland brand of disposables are pretty decent. Of course, any disposable diaper will break down when you feed your child and then don’t change them for hours. Um, but that wasn’t me…

    We keep a hand sanitizer pump on the changing table for an extra cleaning “boost” when we’ve got two kids to change and can’t wash hands in between. After using that stuff, though, a good hand lotion is a must.

    Comment by Deanna — June 23, 2006 @ 10:43 am

  4. If it weren’t already busy enough in our home with 2 year old twin boys, along came our baby daughter. With money really tight it was cloth diapers and rubber pants for all, and lots of hand lotion. My hands were already red and raw with the boys, (dunking and rinsing diapers), but when my daughter came along they only got worse.

    Comment by Barbara — September 17, 2006 @ 8:02 am

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