Health Topics

Diapering and Clothing Your Newborn

Diapering and Clothing Your Newborn


Clean the diaper area with every diaper change. Wash it well with soap and water after each bowel movement. Baby wipes may be used if baby’s skin is not sensitive to them. Do not use powder or cornstarch on diaper area, as these can breed bacteria.

    Changing and keeping your baby girl or boy clean can be an overwhelming task. Use the guidelines listed below when changing your newborn’s diaper.


    • During diaper changes, gently separate the labia and wash the area with water.
    • Always wipe your baby girl from the front to the back with a clean washcloth.
    • This helps prevent bacteria that may be present near the rectum from entering the vagina.


    Circumcision Care:
    1. Cleanse the area with warm water 3 times a day or whenever the baby wets or soils the diaper. Do not touch the circumcised area.
    2. To wash the area, simply squeeze clean, warm water from a washcloth over the area and let it run off.
    3. To help the penis heal, apply some petroleum jelly on the area where the diaper will cover the penis. This will protect the circumcised area from urine and prevent the diaper from sticking to the penis.
    4. The penis will heal within 7 to 10 days, and any scabs should be healed by this time.

    If your baby was not circumcised, don’t pull back the foreskin of the penis to clean it.

    Dressing Your Baby

    Keep your baby’s clothes loose. Look for snaps or zippers on the legs to make diaper changing easier. Be cautious of strings or buttons on clothing; make sure they are not in danger of choking your baby. Do not use clothes that tie around the neck because they can choke your baby. Also, do not put your baby to sleep with a bib on. Dress the baby as you would feel comfortable dressing for the weather. To prevent heat loss through the head, put a hat on your baby and keep your baby’s hands and feet covered when the temperature is cool.

    Washing Baby’s Laundry

    It is a good idea to wash all clothing and bedding in a detergent safe for baby’s laundry. Some popular brands are Dreft and Ivory Snow. These products have been tested for their safe use for all skin types, especially infants.

    To remove tough stains (such as spit-up), spot-treat the item with one of these detergents or soak prior to washing. Always rinse fecal soils from cloth diapers or clothing in cold water immediately.

    Wash cloth diapers separately from other clothing. Use hot water, and limit load to no more than three dozen diapers. Use soap or detergent and chlorine bleach for diapers.