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How to Change a Cloth Diaper

Cloth diapers have come a long way, baby: Pins are passe, and there's now countless styles to choose from. Here's the most popular: a cotton diaper with a separate cover.


  • : Never turn your back or walk away when your baby is on the changing table, even if she's strapped down or not old enough to roll over.
  • Step 1: Gather supplies Make sure you have all your supplies within easy reach. Once you start changing your baby, you won't be able to go off in search of wipes.
  • Step 2: Prepare diaper With your baby in a safe place like her crib, for example, prepare the diaper. First, lay it out with the short ends at the top and bottom. Fold the bottom of the diaper up to make it roughly as long as the diaper cover.
  • Step 3: Fold diaper Fold the right third of the diaper over the middle third, then fold the left third of the diaper over that. Put it aside, but within reach, and get your baby.
  • TIP: Take a few minutes when your baby's sleeping or entertaining herself to fold the stack of diapers ahead of time, so all you have to do is slip one into a cover.
  • Step 4: Unfasten cover Lay your baby on the changing table or a safe surface and unfasten the diaper cover she's already wearing. Open it out, and bring the front part down, but don't remove it.
  • Step 5: Fold soiled diaper Leaving the cover in place, fold the soiled diaper in half, clean side up. You'll have to lift up your baby's bottom a bit to do this.
  • Step 6: Clean bottom Using as many wipes as necessary, gently clean your baby's bottom, being sure to wipe from front to back. Be thorough, so there's no mess left hidden.
  • TIP: Little boys have been known to pee as soon as their diaper comes off. To avoid a soaking, lay a changing cloth over him as soon as possible.
  • Step 7: Slide out dirty diaper Slide the dirty diaper out from under your baby. If the diaper cover is clean, leave it in place and slip the fresh, folded one inside. If the cover is soiled, use a new one.
  • Step 8: Apply cream If your baby's bottom is red or rash-prone, spread a generous amount of diaper cream on the area.
  • TIP: Studies show that babies in cloth diapers develop rashes more frequently than those who wear disposables. If your baby is one of them, try switching to disposables.
  • Step 9: Fasten cover Fold the front of the cover, with the clean diaper inside, up and over your baby's belly and fasten it.
  • Step 10: Put clothes on Put your baby's clothes back on, or dress her in a fresh outfit if needed.
  • Step 11: Discard & wash Flush away whatever you can, put the dirty diaper into the diaper pail or hamper, and thoroughly wash your hands or wipe them clean with a fresh wipe before giving your baby a post-diaper-change cuddle.
  • FACT: Babies in Elizabethan times could wait as many as four days before getting a diaper change. Only royalty did so daily.

You Will Need

  • A baby in need of changing
  • A changing table or another safe surface
  • A clean
  • pre-folded cotton diaper or two
  • Some baby wipes
  • And a fresh diaper cover
  • if the one being changed has gotten wet or soile
  • A cream for diaper rash
  • preferably one made with zinc oxide
  • And
  • if the diaper has leaked
  • a change of baby clothes

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