How To Change a Cloth Diaper

Truth be told, changing a cloth diaper isn’t much different than changing any disposable diaper! There is a slight learning curve to fitting any diaper, cloth or disposable, onto a baby, but rest assured… your baby will make sure you get plenty of practice.

There are some fundamental supplies you will need for every diaper change, no matter the style of the diaper used. Once they are in place, you will follow some basic steps in changing the diaper.

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 or diaper pins if you wish to fasten prefold cloth diapers

Step One:

Lay baby down and remove the soiled diaper. Set the soiled diaper aside. If you’re using a changing table, keep one hand on your baby at all times for safety.

Step Two:

Wipe baby thoroughly with a moistened wipe. If any diaper balm is needed, apply it after the skin has been dried. When using cloth diapers, ensure that your diaper ointment does not contain any petroleum, petrolatum, or fish oils, as these ingredients 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. Place the top of the diaper over the baby, in line with the baby’s hips—about two finger spaces below the belly button.

Step Four:

Fasten the diaper closed using the snap or hook & loop features of the diaper you are using. If you’re using a diaper that requires a cover, ensure that none of the cloth diaper or absorbent soaker 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 the 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 are some helpful videos explaining the process in more detail:

How to Use Prefold Diapers

How to Use a Snappi Fastener

How to Pin a Cloth Diaper