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A Baby Diaper Troubleshooting Guide

It’s time for a change. And then another. And another. If you’re a new parent, you’re probably a little shocked at how often your newborn’s diaper needs changing. Whether you use cloth or disposable baby diapers, you’ll change more than a thousand diapers in the first year alone.

WebMD has put together an easy diaper and diaper rash troubleshooting guide, detailing some of the common hazards of baby diapering and suggesting how to meet them with grace -- and sense of humor.

How Many Baby Diapers Will You Need?

Whether you decide to use cloth diapers, disposable diapers, or a mix of the two, your first question is probably how many you’ll use a day.

We asked moms, dads, and pediatricians, and their estimates were pretty similar: Expect to use about 10 to 12 diapers daily.

Of course, every baby is different. Some poop and pee frequently; others, not as often. What’s normal is what’s normal for your baby.

Which Size Diapers Should You Use?

Cloth diapers generally come in one size. As for disposable diapers, it’s not always easy to tell which size to choose for your baby. That’s because diapers are sized by weight, but the weights overlap. So if your baby weighs 24 pounds, should you buy a size 3 diaper, geared for a 16- to 28-pound baby? Or would a size 4, for babies who weigh 22 to 37 pounds, fit better?

Parents offer this advice when trying to find the right diaper size:

  • Make sure the diaper fits well around your baby’s leg.
  • If you’re experiencing a lot of leaks, it may be time to go up or back down a diaper size.

 

Diaper Rash: Prevention and Treatment

Allergic reactions, leaving a diaper on too long, and switching to solid foods can all cause your baby to get diaper rash.

To prevent diaper rash:

  • Change baby’s diaper more often than you normally do.
  • Let baby’s bottom air dry during a diaper change and leave the diaper off for a while, if you can.
  • Use unscented, mild soap and a warm washcloth to clean baby during a diaper change. Perfume and deodorant soaps can be harsh on baby’s skin.
  • If you use baby wipes, choose those that are free of perfume, alcohol, and chemicals.
  • When washing cloth diapers (and baby’s clothes), avoid using fabric softeners, antistatic products, or perfumed clothes soap. These can also cause rashes.
  • Avoid any foods that seem to worsen baby’s rash.

Diaper rash treatment:

  • Over-the-counter zinc oxide cream can soothe diaper rash.
  • For irritation and allergic reactions, a mild topical zinc oxide cream or petroleum jelly ointment may offer relief.
  • Diaper rash related to a bacterial infection -- usually caused by Staph or strep bacteria -- appears bright red and in some cases can blister. It requires medical attention. Your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics.
  • For diaper rashes related to yeast infections, your baby’s doctor may recommend an over-the-counter topical antifungal cream.

 

WebMD Medical Reference