How to … Really change a nappy

Most baby books and magazines will go into intimate detail about poo. They will focus on colour and consistency with full charts and question and answer sessions. Whilst it’s important to know what to look for in your little one’s nappy, they don’t always tell you what to watch out for.

When changing a boy

Firstly, if you don’t want them weeing into their armpits, make sure you have their penis facing down. And yes, it’s normal for new mums to have a giggle as they get used to dealing with this part of the anatomy.

Books also tend not to mention that happy little boys can and do get erections from any age. Be careful if you have to get this back into a nappy. It still needs to point down despite defying gravity.

Watch out for that fresh air. Boys are prone to weeing as soon as the nappy comes apart and the colder air hits the vitals. Despite what you see in films, they won’t necessarily wee up into your face. Regard this part of the anatomy like an out of control fire hose. It will act like a sprinkler system, showering you and the room. Some baby boys have even managed to hit the ceiling and make wee rain down on everything. You may find everything in the room including yourself is soaking, but your happy little man is smiling away dryly on the changing mat.

Boys tend to wee into the front of their nappy, so if you are using folded up square natural ones make sure the thicker padding is here.

When changing a girl

Girls tend to wee at the bottom part and into the back area of a nappy. This makes them more likely to leak out the back. Make sure this is where the extra padding is.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that girls can’t create havoc if weeing without a nappy. It can come out with equal force and pool around them soaking them, their clothes and whatever they are lying on.

As they get older and are caught short miles from a toilet, they cannot conveniently aim the stream of wee like a boy. This means having to hold them at the right angle to stop you and the child from getting a soaking.

Dealing with poo – Both genders

Babies on a milk diet pooing during nappy changes will also create a horrendous mess. A stream of yellow milky poo can jet out in a stream at a velocity high enough to pebble dash several estates of council houses.

Baby poo is also bright yellow and can stain clothing forever.

Bottle fed babies will be prone to constipation, even if your health visitor tells you this is not possible. Some brands of formula milk are not so rich and even do their own line of milk for babies suffering constipation and colic.

As it is against the law to advertise formula milk for newborn babies, seek advice from a sensible health visitor or midwife who does not militantly support the breastfeeding campaign. It is also possible to mix feed your baby bottle and breast despite what you may be told.

But it is true bottle fed babies may get constipation. If you see your baby going bright red and straining this is what they may be struggling with. If you find when you open their nappy there is only a smallish hard lump in the bottom region take extreme care. With a wet wipe, move this away but be prepared. This could be a cork holding in several ounces of high pressured poo. As you move this lump, make sure you have the front of the nappy acting as a barrier shield or you could find yourself coated from head to toe in hot, fresh, organic yellow matter.

But bottle feeding mothers take some heart. Though breastfed babies will likely have no issue pooing freely, those that do so during the night with a leaky nappy can spend a happy eight hours  turning round like a clock in the cot. Imagine the pretty circular patterns that fresh leaking poo makes on white sheets.

The final word on poo is this: when taking off the soiled nappy, move this far, far away. No matter how far away you have put it, somehow, a hand or foot will always dip into the contents.