How to get way better at changing dirty diapers right now, with seven tools you’ll need for a quick and easy diaper change. This is the second post in my series, How to Make Diaper Changes as Pleasant as Possible.
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I took the risk of changing my wiggly baby on the carpet—my mother-in-law’s plush, unstained, freshly vacuumed carpet—and almost instantly regretted it. This little disaster could have been averted if I’d simply remembered to bring my changing mat upstairs.
I’ve found diaper changes can be a lot less daunting when you have the right tools. I’m all about containing the mess, keeping everyone healthy, and minimizing unpleasant odors. I use seven helpful items to get the (neverending) job done and I’ll share them with you below!
Tool #1: A Wipeable Changing Surface
While changing pad covers can be really cute, you’ll want to change diapers on a durable surface that you can simply wipe clean. This streamlines the cleaning and sanitization process. I’ve used two different options that I’ll describe below.
For the first year, we used the Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad. I’d read rave reviews of this wipeable changing surface and I liked its modern look. The Peanut is a contoured waterproof changing pad that easily attaches to a standard dresser or changing table so that it doesn’t slide around.
My newborn loved this changing pad! She was always so happy during diaper changes: smiling, babbling, and oh wait, sometimes making a huge mess! But the “Peanut” was easy to wipe down daily. Bigger messes only required a bit of soap and water. I really appreciated that it didn’t add to my laundry pile. (Changing pad covers can create extra laundry.)
Don’t let the price throw you off. By the time you buy a nice changing pad and a couple of covers, the cost quickly evens out.
Leander Matty Changing Mat
Similar to the Peanut, the Leander Matty Changing Mat is a stylish, modern changing mat. It’s also waterproof and wipeable. It has a thinner profile than the Keekaroo and a beautiful range of color options.
Gathre Changing Mat
I’ve praised the chic and portable Gathre changing mat before. Gathre makes a small, foldable mat that wipes down easily and fits anywhere. At $20, it’s a great deal for a quality item. It’s definitely less expensive than a traditional changing mat plus covers, and also significantly more affordable than the Keekaroo Peanut. However, it’s not designed to be used on a traditional changing table. If you’re set on using a traditional changing table, I’d recommend the Keekaroo Peanut or the Matty. If you plan to change most diapers on the floor (or another safe, flat surface) I recommend the Gathre mat.
Bottom Line (No pun intended!): A wipeable changing surface makes it easy to keep your changing table clean and minimizes laundry. Buy one to save yourself a lot of time and hassle.
Tool #2: Diapers with Wetness Indicators
Did you know that some diapers have indicators that show you when the diaper is wet? A simple yellow stripe will turn green, then blue, right before your eyes. Then you’ll know it’s time for a diaper change! There are definitely other ways to determine that your child needs a diaper change, but I like how simple it is to just look for the blue stripe. As a rule of thumb, I changed my newborn’s diapers at least every two hours OR when I saw that the indicator had turned blue.
There are two brands I used and loved that had this unique feature. The first brand is Pampers Swaddlers, which I used for the first three diaper sizes. The second brand is the Up & Up diapers you can purchase at Target. This is the brand I am still using today.
All of that said, I believe that different babies may need different diapers. Find a diaper that you trust, and if doesn’t have a wetness indicator, it isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Regardless of which diaper you choose, definitely set up automatic delivery. Having plenty of diapers on hand will ensure that you’re always prepared for a diaper change.
Bottom Line: The wetness indicator feature makes it simple to know when your baby needs a new diaper.
Tool #3: Wipes
You’ll need plenty of baby wipes. Create a diaper subscription and have your wipes delivered with your diapers so so you never run out of this necessity.
Bottom Line: Set up automatic delivery for diapers and wipes.
Tool #4: Baby Bottom Wash
I didn’t know I needed this, but Honest’s Soothing Baby Bottom Wash has really improved messy diaper changes. I learned about it from a friend who started using it to manage blowouts and she convinced me to get it. This is a cleansing spray with organic aloe, witch hazel, and other botanical extracts. I use it when diaper duty is particularly daunting. I find I need fewer wipes and can clean up messes more quickly when I use this spray. I love the sweet orange vanilla scent!
The soothing bottom wash can be sprayed directly on to your baby’s skin, or you can spray it on to a wipe. I usually use the latter method.
Bottom Line: Bottom wash will help you when you’re facing the worst blowouts. And it will mask some of the unpleasant smell.
Tool #5: Diaper Cream
I keep a full-size diaper cream at my changing station and a travel-size in my diaper bag. I don’t use diaper cream on a regular basis, but you’ll want to have some on hand when diaper rash suddenly appears. (It always seems so sudden!) I’ve tried several different brands, and I think you should try several too! It may take some trial and error to figure out which product works best for your child. My favorites are Boudreaux’s Extra Strength Butt Paste and Tubby Todd’s All-Over Ointment.
(Psst… Save $10 on your first order with Tubby Todd when you use my referral link!)
When diaper rash does show up, I’ll apply diaper cream during every diaper change for a few days and the rash will usually clear quickly.
Bottom Line: Test various diaper creams. Keep one on hand for when diaper rash takes you by surprise.
Tool #6: A Hardworking Diaper Pail
A good diaper pail is absolutely a baby registry essential. A diaper pail will serve you most in those early weeks when you’re changing a million diapers every day. If you breastfeed your baby, those diapers are actually a lot less smelly than they will be in the future. I’m still using my diaper pail daily.
I chose the Ubbi Diaper pail for many reasons. First, it doesn’t require specialty bags. It’s designed to hold regular kitchen trash bags, which means there’s one less thing to worry about buying all the time. Second, it’s made of durable steel and it’s then powder-coated with a range of stylish colors. I try to minimize the amount of plastic I buy, so having a stainless steel option really appealed to me. Third, it has a clever locking mechanism that keeps my curious toddler out of the garbage. Finally, the Ubbi is compatible with cloth diapers if you purchase the special washable cloth diaper liner. I hoped to experiment with cloth diapering, so this was an added perk for me.
After using it for two years, I highly recommend this diaper pail. We only use it for disposing of wet diapers at this moment of time. (We flush solid waste and then take those soiled diapers directly to the outside garbage cans.) It contains the dreaded diaper smell and my toddler can’t open it.
Bottom Line: A hardworking diaper pail is a tool that will simplify diaper changes and keep the nursery smelling fresh.
Tool #7: Non-Drying Hand Sanitizer
Sanitizing your hands after every diaper change is a must. Knowing I’d be sanitizing my hands many times I day, I wanted to find hand sanitizer that didn’t contain alcohol so my hands wouldn’t dry out. I buy the huge 32 oz container of EO Botanical Hand Sanitizer Gel and keep it with my other changing supplies in a small basket. (This is the same hand sanitizer you’ll often find at the checkout line if you visit Whole Foods.) We go through two containers a year. Even though I use it a lot, it lasts a long time. It absorbs quickly, it isn’t drying, and I like the calming scent. It’s also great to have when visitors come over.
I use Honest’s hand sanitizer spray when we’re out of the house. I keep several of these one hand: one in my diaper bag, one on the kitchen counter, a few in the car. Everyone seems to love the fresh citrus scent. (It smells a lot like a creamsicle!)
Bottom Line: A great hand sanitizer is the perfect finishing touch to a “professional” diaper change.
Now You’re Ready For The Perfect Diaper Change
Now you’re ready to change a million diapers! (Really, it will feel like that, especially at first.) When you use these seven smart tools, your diaper changes will be quicker and a lot less messy—they might even smell better, with any luck!
Check out the first post in my diapering series, which is all about how to set up diaper delivery for your baby.
My name is Kate and I live in a California beach town with my husband & baby girl. At High Low Baby, I review baby products at high and low price points.