Raising a child means making many important decisions, including ones about diaper changing. Diapering can be challenging, but fortunately certain products can help things go smoothly and keep baby comfortable. Our guide will help you figure out which products may be best for keeping your baby clean and happy during and after diaper changing time.
What they are: Diaper-changing pads, which are placed between your baby and the changing surface, may be plastic or cloth, thick or thin, disposable or reusable, and contoured or flat. At home, changing pads offer a comfortable place for diaper changing. In public, they act as a barrier between your baby and a potentially germ-laden, cold, or otherwise uncomfortable surface.
Why to buy: Many people like to have a sturdy, washable changing pad for home and a thinner, more portable version to take on outings. Disposable pads are a convenient option in a pinch, such as during plane travel. Changing pad covers also may be a good option if you use a thick, contoured pad at home. The covers can be washed frequently, while the thicker pad is washed or wiped down weekly.
Things to consider: If cost or environmental impact is an are important considerations for you, reusable pads are the best option. A contoured pad may help keep a fidgety baby on the changing table, but even so, never leave your baby unattended, even for a few seconds, during changing. Wash pad covers or cloth changing pads in the hot cycle with plenty of laundry detergent and/or bleach (chlorine or non-chlorine). Wipe down plastic changing pads with hot water and soap, bleach, or an antibacterial cleaner every few days, at a minimum.
What they are: Disposable baby wipes are a convenient way to clean your baby during diaper changing. Wipes come in thick or thin versions, and may be created for different skin sensitivities or conditions, described as hypoallergenic, chlorine-free, lanolin-free, or made with lanolin, or special cooling and soothing ingredients for diaper rash. Travel-size or plastic cases are available for carrying a small number of wipes when you’re on the go.
Why to buy: Many parents find disposable baby wipes are the best option in terms of convenience and cleanliness during changing time. Some parents use a clean, damp cotton diaper to clean up their baby during changing, but this generates a lot of extra laundry—a new cloth must be used at each changing.
Things to consider: Use only wipes that have been designated baby-safe on your child. Wipes for cleaning the changing pad or area should not be used as diaper wipes; they contain potent disinfectants that can harm a baby’s delicate skin. If your baby has frequent diaper rash, consult your pediatrician or pharmacist about finding a gentler, softer wipe. Chlorine-free, hypoallergenic, or wipes with ingredients to combat diaper rash may be better tolerated by extra-sensitive babies.
Diaper Rash Products
What they are: Diaper rash products include creams, ointments, and special baby wipes that are used to prevent or treat diaper rash.
Why to buy: Occasional diaper rash isn’t unusual, but if your baby has frequent rashes, he or she may be allergic to some ingredient in the products you’re using. Try switching brands or selecting hypoallergenic changing products.
Things to consider: Non-medicated creams and ointments may be a good option for creating a barrier between your baby’s skin and the wetness that can worsen a rash. Use antibacterial, antifungal, or other medicated creams only when directed to do so by your doctor or pharmacist.