How to Change a Cloth Diaper

Have you decided to cloth diaper your baby but find yourself bewildered when looking at your diapers? How exactly are you supposed to get the parts to work together, and most importantly to work on your baby? There are some fundamental supplies you will need for every diaper change, no matter the style of the diaper used. Once they are gathered, you will follow some basic steps in changing the diaper. There is a slight learning curve with diapering babies, but don’t fret...your baby will make sure you do it often enough that you will know how to change a cloth diaper quickly!

Supplies You Will Need For a Diaper Change:

  • A clean and safe changing area
  • A clean diaper
  • Moistened wipes
  • A dry pail or wet bag for storing the soiled diaper
  • A Snappi may be needed for prefolds (in place of pins)
  • A dry wash cloth

Steps For Changing a Cloth Diaper:

Step One: Lay baby down and remove the soiled diaper. If you have a baby boy, you might want that dry washcloth ready to lay over him right away to prevent the potential for getting sprayed! Set the diaper aside. If using a changing table keep one hand on your baby at all times for safety.

Step Two: Wipe baby throughly dry. If any diaper ointment is needed, apply it after the skin has been dried. When using cloth diapers, ensure that your diaper ointment does not contain any petroleum (petroleum will hinder the absorbency of cloth diapers.)

Step Three: Lift baby’s legs and bottom slightly off the table and slide the clean diaper underneath.

Step Four: Fasten the diaper closed using the snap or hook & loop features of the diaper you are using. If using a diaper that requires a cover, ensure that none of the cloth diaper underneath is peeking out of the legs or the back of the cover. To check for a good fit, slide a finger under the leg elastics and waist, one finger should slide in easily; if three slide in, then the fit is too loose and should be tightened. See below for help fastening prefold diapers.

Step Five: Flush "solids" in your toilet before placing the diaper in the pail. Then place soiled diaper in the diaper pail. Newborns who are not yet eating solid foods do not need their diapers rinsed before washing, at this stage it is optional. Make sure to launder all soiled diapers according to the manufacturer's instructions, which is usually within 2-3 days of use. Are you using prefold diapers and wondering how to fasten them on? There are several different methods of folding and fastening prefold diapers. Below is a helpful video explaining the process in more detail: