Ahhhh, the joys of changing nappies!
No parent can get out of it and by the end of the first month, you will be an expert on all things poo and wee and will be changing nappies like no-one’s business!
However, for the first couple of days, you may feel a little uneasy and concerned about whether you are changing a nappy the right way or not. So here are some basic differences between changing your little man and your little lady’s bits – and some tips from real mums on their nappy changing prowess!
Mum’s Opinion: Girls are a little trickier to change than boys, but not by much!!!
Nappy Changing for Boys
Boys have an uncanny ability to wee as soon as the nappy is off and their penis hits the freedom of air.
So, be prepared with a towel or extra nappy on hand to catch the wee (and not in your eye). As funny as it is to have your own spray bottle, it can get messy.
The penis needs to be facing downwards in the nappy. Make sure you position the penis so that it is down before you put the nappy on. This will ensure that the moisture doesn’t leak into the tummy (and you will have little yellow stains on the bottom of their shirts!).
Nappy changing for boys will vary slightly between circumcised and uncircumcised boys. A newly circumcised baby will need extra care and attention. If your baby is uncircumcised, you don’t have to worry about pulling the foreskin and cleaning underneath it. During the infant stage, this area doesn’t need any special attention.
When cleaning a boy, you need to clean all around the genital area, including under the scrotum and inside all the little folds. This means you may need to lift his penis up to stretch out the nads and wipe in a downward fashion in order to get all the scrotum crevices clean. Be gentle but don’t worry about pressing too lightly – this area is not as sensitive as you may think. Use some gentle wipes or a soft damp washer to make sure the area is clean and poo-free. Baby powder is no longer recommended for use with boys or girls in the genital areas.
Mum’s Advice: Little boys get little erections right from the start. So if this happens to you, it is perfectly normal!
Dealing with a Poo Explosion
Mum’s Advice: Well, honestly, regardless of boys or girls, a poo explosion is easiest cleaned up with a nice warm shower (you in the shower holding bub) – where all the poo can be waffle-stomped down the drain. Baths are just gross as they will literally be sitting in their own poo. And don’t feel bad if you want to throw that onesie in the bin – we have all done it. Some things are not worth saving!
Nappy Changing for Girls
You may feel a little uneasy cleaning your little girl as you know how sensitive this area can be. Furthermore, many dads are also a little concerned about changing their little girl. It is natural to feel a little scared, but in time, the situation will get easier.
Always wipe from front to back when changing a girl. Girls are more prone to UTIs (urinary tract infections) so it is important that you avoid getting any bacteria into the vagina. Opt for a sensitive fragrance-free wipe when cleaning a little girl and limit the use of soap as it can irritate the vagina. You will need to clean the labia as well as the creases and folds on your baby’s legs, especially if she is chubby (a chubby baby is a happy baby).
Mum’s Advice: Baby girls can have vaginal discharge!
New baby girls may have a discharge like film around the vagina and inside. This is leftover vermix from the birth. There is no need to scrub it away – it will go in time. Some discharges are normal during the first couple of days. However, if the discharge continues, has an offensive odour, changes colour or becomes excessively blood-stained, then it’s best to speak to your doctor about any concerns you are having.
What About When They Get Bigger?
The differences between genders in regards to their bits do not end here. Toileting in babies and toddlers often vary in boys and girls. You can expect little girls to get the hang of it much faster than little boys. Most girls are toilet-trained by the age of 3 while boys usually take a bit longer. Furthermore, girls are generally quicker at learning how to pee, learning how to pull their underpants down and learning how to poo on the toilet.
Regardless of the gender, the key to a successful nappy changing is to keep them interacting, engaged and focused on your face or another distraction. Work as quickly as possible and have all the essentials right there. Smile, giggle, touch and pull faces at your baby during this special time.
Changing nappies shouldn’t be difficult!
If you have any questions or concerns please speak with your GP, child health nurse or call one of the many helpful health hotlines we have in Australia.