In our series of ‘New Dads’ post we delve into some of the most popular things men think about, or want to know more about when becoming a dad. From changing nappies to feeding we have tried to provide some support for men to feel more comfortable navigating parenthood. This post contains all you need to know about nappy changing.
When you first discover you are going to be a dad all sorts of things go through your mind. No matter what kind of person you are, you will most probably find something that you are not confident or comfortable to deal with. This is natural. Every dad goes through this and continues to go through it as their kids get older. One thing new dads often need a little help with in the beginning, is changing nappies. Unless you had siblings who were much younger than you or you’ve looked after baby nieces and nephews, chances are you’ve never done it. Well here are is some advice to help you get started.
Dads Should Get Involved with Nappy Changing From the Start
The first nappy change is a right of passage for new dads. Some dads are nervous to get involved with nappy changing, and put it off. We know why, it is a messy business and can seem scary! But, there are some great reasons why you should get involved as soon as possible.
Taking on the nappy changing gives you time with your baby throughout the day. It provides opportunity for baby to get to know you as dad and helps the dads bond with their baby. Use nappy changing as a chance to talk to baby while you change them, or sing to them, make jokes and funny faces. Let them see their dad in action. Nappy changing is also a great opportunity to support your partner in the early days – especially if baby is being breastfed.
Those early few weeks and months can be tough, and getting involved in nappy changes can help to take the pressure off mum. If you’ve been on paternity leave and and had to return to work, those nappy changes can give you critical time with your baby. We also recommend getting involved in Bath Time for the same reason.
How Often Does My Baby Wee or Poo
This can depend on a lot of factors – from how much and often baby is feeding, and how old baby is, to whether baby is formula or breastfed…
Your babies first poo is called meconium and is very sticky and greenish black in colour. It happens at some point within 48 hrs of birth and after this your baby should start to poo and wee quite regularly. Newborn babies often poo around 4 times a day in the first few weeks. This can seem a lot, but is completely normal, Newborn baby’s poo is often yellow, or dark green in colour – again this is normal. After the first few weeks breastfed babies may not poo as often, sometimes even going a few days without pooing. Whereas formula fed babies tend to poo more – up to five times a day.
Wet nappies happen more regularly – and your baby should be producing around 6 wet nappies a day. The NHS website has more information about this – typically a newborn baby may need changing up to 10 or 12 times a day.
Things You’ll Need For Nappy Changing
The basics for a newborn nappy change are:
- A changing mat or towel (either on the floor or on a changing table.)
- Cotton wool and a bowl of warm water, or fragrance and alcohol-free baby wipes
- A plastic bag or bucket for the dirty nappy and dirty cotton wool or wipes
- Barrier cream to protect your baby’s skin
- A clean nappy (and liner and cover if you’re using cloth nappies)
- Clean clothes (just in case!)
How to Change Your Baby’s Nappy
With a new baby, preparation is key. So get everything you need to hand before you start the nappy changing process. Lay out the things we’ve listed above in the order you’ll need them, this will make it easier. Once you have what you need, gently lay baby onto the changing mat, or towel, and remove clothing from the waist down to get access to the nappy.
Open the nappy using the two tabs that will be secured in the middle and open the front of the nappy. If the nappy is dirty use the front (clean) part of the nappy to wipe as much poo off of their bottom as possible. Then gently lift their bottom remove the dirty nappy and use the cotton wool dipped in warm water (or fragrance and alcohol-free baby wipes) to remove any more poo away and make sure they are nice and clean. If this is a wet nappy, you can skip straight to the cotton wool without wiping with the nappy.
Once you’ve cleaned baby entirely, it’s time to put on the clean nappy. Slide the nappy under your baby’s bum making sure it is the right way round. Then if you are using barrier cream apply a small amount to baby’s bottom and genital area, before securing the nappy using the tabs on the side. And that’s it you’re ready get your baby re-dressed and move on to whatever is next!
Things To Look Out For
Nappy changing a new born can be daunting – so here are some things to look out for and be aware of.
- Never leave baby unattended on a changing table, even one with straps. If you’ve forgotten something, take baby with you to get it.
- Always wipe a girl from front to back, this is really important to stop bacteria entering the vagina.
- Boys can get poo everywhere – so make sure you clean well around their testicles and penis.
- Let sleeping babies lie… if your baby has a wet nappy, but is asleep, it is ok to leave them for a little while.
- Never leave a poo-y nappy. Unlike the wet nappy, a poo needs to be cleaned up as quickly as possible – and most babies won’t sleep through a poo!
- Babies poo a lot. But if your baby is pooing more frequently than normal, and the poo has become much darker in colour, smells worse and is more watery, they may have diarrhoea. You should seek advice from your GP, Health Visitor or 111 if your baby is showing signs of diarrhoea.
Listen to Tim Talk About Nappy Changing
Tim is a member of the Dadvengers community and father of 2 girls. Listen as he talks about nappy changing.
More Help for New Dads
If you enjoyed reading this blog post or if would like more support as a new father we have a few of suggestions.
- Firstly You might want to check out the other posts in our New Dads Support series. The series is still very new but it’s growing all the time and will become a useful and informative hub for New dads.
- Secondly you should try the Baby Buddy App. Designed for new parents, it gives dad specific prompts on a daily basis up until your child 1st birthday. For more detailed information read ‘What is Baby Buddy 2.0‘. Or download the app now and start using it. It should help alleviate some of those new dad worries.
- Finally if you are in the North of England make sure you check out Dad Matters. They work with soon to be dads and new dads with children under 2, and cover a wide range of topics. From attachment to postnatal
Have a Listen to the Dadvengers Podcast
The Dadvengers Podcast is a great way to be inspired by the experiences of other dads. Hosted by Dadvengers founder Nigel Clarke each episode hears a well known dad talk about his journey. The ups and downs, the highs and the lows. Showing us that we all go through the same things, and all we can do as fathers is be the best we can be. We hope you enjoy listening.