All posts by Baby Knowledge

How to change a disposable nappy

You should change your baby’s nappy as soon as you realise he has a poo. How often you change your little ones wee filled nappy is dependant upon the quality of the nappy and sensitivity of your newborns skin. As a minimum I would recommend before every feed (if feeding every 3-4 hours), and of course as much as required in between feeds, particularly if the nappy looks heavy.

Get organised

Organisation is key. If you have everything in one easy to access place, the whole process will be much quicker and much more military like (I’m talking efficiency – not dropping bombs). You will need:

  • A good supply of nappies
  • Some cotton wall balls and a bowl (to be filled with warm water) or some wet wipes.
  • A changing mat or an old towel
  • Some barrier cream
  • Some spare clothes (particularly in the early days).
  • Some nappy bags
  • A small clean towel (to dry your baby’s bum)
  • Step by step guide

  • Place the changing mat on the floor and gather all the above equipment within arms reach
  • Place your baby on the changing mat and remove the bottom half of his clothes
  • Place your baby’s feet next to each other and gently lift them up with one hand.
  • If your baby has a poo, wipe as much as you can with a clean part of the nappy.
  • Remove the dirty nappy from under him and place out of reach of your baby (hands and feet)
  • Wipe your baby clean with wipes or damp cotton wool; for girls wipe from front to back so you don’t spread germs to her vagina (I prefer to call it her minnie. For boys wipe around his penis (again, willy is my preferred choice of words ) and around his testicles. There is no need to pull the foreskin back
  • Now place the clean nappy under his bum so the flaps with the sticky bits on are under his back but easy to get to.
  • Once he/she is completely clean, dab the bottom area dry if needed and apply a barrier cream. This is to prevent nappy rash
  • Fold the nappy up to his tummy and fasten the sticky tabs on both sides. If your newborn still has an umbilical cord, fold the nappy underneath this.
  • Dress your baby and give him big cuddles.
  • It is recommended you empty poo down the toilet, you should never put a nappy down the toilet, this would be an expensive mistake. Just put it in a nappy bag and throw it in the outside bin!
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    How to burp a baby

    If your baby looks uncomfortable, in pain (such as grimacing or crying) or has stopped feeding unexpectedly and won’t re-start, it could be that she has wind and needs a little helping hand in getting rid of the gas. There are a few ways you can do this, you will probably find that one position is more affective than the others.

    4 Ways to burp your your baby

  • Over your shoulder: Firstly, place a muslin or something similar over your shoulder, lift your baby so his head is resting on your shoulder, support his head and neck so he doesn’t fall backwards, gently pat his back (very softly) or rub patiently in a circular motion. There is no need to bounce or rock your baby at all. In fact, standing still is much better! Once your little one burps, look him in the eyes and give him a big smile and a kiss.
  • Sitting upright: You need to be seated comfortably for this position. Sit your baby on your lap and support his head and neck so he is leaning forwards slightly, with your other hand gently rub his back in circular motions, the pressure on his tummy from being seated and your gentle rubbing of his back will encourage any trapped air to make its way out.
  • Over your lap: Some babies find it easier to burp when lying flat. An easy, safe way of doing this is to lie your little one on your lap, ensure her head is supported and gently pay her back it rub in a circular motion. You may find she lifts her head when burping, again, plenty of smiles and kisses are always well received after a big burp.
  • Across your forearm (newborns only): This is a fantastic position if your newborn seems particularly uncomfortable or if she suffers from colic. Slowly and carefully place your newborn onto your forearm with her head in the palm of your hand. Her legs and arms should be free to dangle and her stomach should be flat against your arm. Place your free hand on her back to ensure she is safe and won’t slip off. If you are doing this for the first time, it may be safer to try it whilst sitting on a bed. There is no need to pat or rub whilst in this position, don’t do it if your baby is too heavy, too big or too wriggly for you!
  • A little tip; If you feel your baby is uncomfortable but am unable to burp him, it may be that he needs to release some air/gas from the other end. Try lying him flat on his back and gently bending his knees up towards his tummy, hold them there for a few seconds and bring then back down again. After doing this a few times you can also try rubbing his tummy in a clockwise, circular motion, this helps the digestive system and can help to alleviate minor constipation issues.

    Hunger cues and what they mean

    Hunger cues are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for, your baby is much more likely to feed well if he is fed at the early stage of feeling hungry rather than the late stage, this is because the hungrier he gets the more likely he is to be irritable or upset and he may not have a full feed because of it.

    Stage one – Early signs your baby is getting hungry

  • Opening and closing her mouth
  • Licking her lips or smacking them
  • Sucking on her fingers, hands, toys, lips etc. (this is a reliable cue up to around 6-8 weeks)
  • Stage two – Signs your baby really needs feeding

  • He is ‘rooting’ on the chest or arm of the person holding him
  • He is fidgeting more than usual
  • He is trying to position himself for feeding (ie lying back or pulling you closer)
  • He is repeatedly banging his arms or head against you
  • His breaths are shorter and faster
  • Stage three – You have left it too late

  • She is frantically moving her head from side to side
  • She is crying and is inconsolable
  • Feeding on demand is the best way to ensure your newborn never has hunger pains and never has to cry for her food. By spotting the early signs, or if not, the later signs (stage two), you are not only keeping your baby well nourished but boosting his confidence by letting him know he is able to influence the people around him to tend to his most basic of needs.

    Why is my newborn crying?

    Crying is the only way a newborn can communicate with you. If your little one is crying, she is trying to tell you something important. My advise is to not ignore her, tend to her needs and let her know that you are there for her. Imagine if the only thing you knew was a safe, warm place and then all of a sudden that secure world has been ripped away. Now there are bright lights, lots of different people, loud noises, bodily functions and hunger pains. Sometimes your little one will be crying because she simply needs reassuring and needs to feel safe. Sometimes what your baby needs is obvious, sometimes it is a bit of a guessing game. Overtime you will get used to your baby’s cry and what it means. For starters, here is a list of the possibilities that you may need to explore:

    12 reasons your baby may be crying

    • Hungry
    • Dirty nappy
    • Tired
    • Needs to be burped
    • Needs to be comforted and feel secure
    • Is too hot
    • Is too cold
    • Is having tummy troubles
    • Is bored and needs stimulating/attention
    • Is over stimulated and needs a rest
    • Is teething (generally from around 6 months)
    • Is not feeling very well/ has a temperature
    • Is uncomfortable in her clothing

    This list is not exhaustive and never will be, let me know in the comments section how you soothe your little one and how you recognise his/her different cries.

    What do new babies need?

    What new babies need is much less than you may think, check out my complete guide to what you need for those first few weeks both in your home and when out and about.

    In your home

    Sleeping
    Your baby obviously needs somewhere to sleep both during the day and at night time. For now we will just call it a baby bed as I want you to choose the bed that best suits you (ie Moses basket, crib, cotbed etc). Here is my list of everything you will need, you must make sure your mattress fits your choice of bed:

  • Baby bed
  • Tightly fitted mattress
  • Monitor
  • At least 4 well fitted sheets
  • Age appropriate sleeping bag – check which tog rating here
  • 3 blankets
  • Room thermometer
  • Feeding
    This list obviously depends on how you are going to feed your baby. I liked to have a few bottles at home anyway just in case I had Breastfeeding problems, here is what I recommend you have at home, reduce or ignore the bottle feeding items if you plan on Breastfeeding:

  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Maternity/feeding pillow
  • You may also want a breast pump.
  • If you are solely bottle feeding I recommend you have the following, if you are mix feeding you will probably need half of these quantities.

  • 6x bottles
  • 6x new born teats
  • Bottle brush
  • Steriliser
  • Thermal flask
  • 3-5 cartons of ready made formula milk
  • Storage container for transporting small amounts of formula
  • Plenty of bibs
  • Bathing
    You baby only needs to be ‘top and tailed‘ until the umbelical cord has fallen off. In preparation for bathing your little one, I recommend you have the following at home:

  • baby bath tub
  • Bath thermometer
  • 2-3 soft hooded towels
  • You may also want some baby soap or shampoo but this really isn’t necessary, particularly for newborns as they don’t tend to get very dirty.

    Changing
    There is going to be a lot of nappy changing in those first few months, you are probably going to change anything between 8-15 nappies every day. Whether you are using disposable or re-usable you will need a constant supply. Here is what I recommend you have at home to get you started:

  • 100 nappies (if using disposable)
  • Lots of cotton wall balls
  • a changing mat
  • A big tub of Vaseline(to prevent nappy rash)
  • Nappy rash cream (such as metonium) to treat nappy rash
  • Wet wipes (although you should try to avoid using these for the first few weeks)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nappy bags
  • Clothing
    Babies look the cutest when they are in sleepsuits and you don’t really need much more than that for the newborn stage, here is what I suggest you start off with and you can buy more if need be. (Which I am sure you will – this obviously also depends on how quickly your newborn grows)

  • 8 sleepsuits
  • 8 babygrows (what’s the difference?)
  • 2 wool or cotton cardigans
  • A sun hat (if likely to be out in the sunshine) see more on sun safety
  • A wool or cotton hat, booties and mittens (if it’s cold or likely to get cold).
  • Safety
    There is no need to baby proof your house until your little one is showing signs of becoming mobile. The only essential I would say you need for the first few weeks is a reliable thermometer.

    Out and about

    Safety and comfort are the two main things your baby needs when out and about,

    In the car

  • Car seat
  • Baby on board sign
  • Sun shade
  • Walking

  • Pram or travel system
  • Baby sling or carrier
  • Sun shade/parasol for your pram/travel system
  • You may also want some additional blankets for use in the car/pram
  • Over time you will discover things you wish you had and buy things you don’t really need but this list should serve you well when preparing for your little ones birth, as far as I’m concerned this is everything you need to ensure your baby is clean, comfortable, fed and safe, which is pretty much what you are responsible for ensuring from the second she is born. As always I welcome your feedback so please let me know what you’re thinking in the comments section below.