How to diaper a newborn | Bitty Baby Basics

Diapering a baby seems pretty straightforward, right? Ask a new parent and you'll find that's not quite the case.

Sure, the basic concept is simple, but how do you know if you've got the right fit, if you're using the right size, common culprits for those pesky leaks and blowouts? And what's the deal with cloth diapers? We're talking about diapering in part 3 of our Bitty Baby Basics Facebook Live video series with our tiny newborn co-host (who had a lot to say this time!) and co-owner Lindsey Hanna.

How to make sure your baby's diaper fits

When checking for fit with a disposable diaper, you want to make sure that the waist is neither too loose nor too tight. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit your finger between the diaper and the baby, but not much else. The legs should have no gaps, and make sure you have fanned out the elastic so that it's not inside the diaper. If you have a boy, make sure the penis is pointed down or the diaper will leak out the top. The gussets in a diaper are the protective barrier and what keeps the poop off of your baby's clothes ;).

It's time to size up when the diaper fits well, but you start to experience leaks and blowouts. With longer, leaner babies you may start to see a bit of "plumber's crack" as they outgrow the diaper in length, and with more chunky babies you might see their bottoms coming out the sides at the leg. When you size up, or if you're between sizes, make sure the diaper is tight around the waist to ensure that there aren't any gaps in the leg.

What's the deal with cloth diapers?

Cloth diaper tutorials abound online, but in our video we give a basic overview of different kinds of cloth diapers available.

All-in-one diapers: The diaper is in one piece, and there's nothing to stuff. It goes on much like a disposable and can only be used once. All-in-ones are available in both newborn and one-size diapers for bigger babies.

Pocket diapers: These diapers have a soft inner layer and can be stuffed with an insert or other absorbent materials. You can find them with snaps or velcro closure, and they are highly adjustable to your growing baby. A standard one-size pocket diaper will last your baby from the disposable equivalent of size 1-2 all the way up to size 6! With a one-size pocket diaper, there are snaps to adjust both the waist/leg and the rise of diaper (how tall it is).

Newborn pocket diapers: A smaller version of the pocket diaper. These will often come with a couple of settings and last from about 8lbs and until 3-4 months old.

Diaper cover: In our video, we show a one-size diaper cover. There is no soft inner layer and you place your baby's diaper directly onto the waterproof layer and against the baby's skin. You can put absorbent material in a cover, or put it over a disposable to prevent blowouts.  Options to go in a cover include an insert made of cotton, bamboo, or charcoal bamboo, prefolds, and flats/flour sack towels. Prefolds and flat diapers can be folded to lay in or folded and fastened onto your baby.

https://youtu.be/aSkPitRQvJk

How to swaddle a newborn | Bitty Baby Basics

 Learn how to swaddle a newborn with Bitty Baby Basics: A Newborn Care How-to Series (Facebook Live)!

If you're a new parent or parent-to-be and don't have much experience with newborns, this series is for you. Caring for a live, wiggling newborn is a whole new ballgame compared to the demo dolls you may have encountered in parenting classes. We'll be taking time during this Live series to highlight different aspects of baby care, with our own newborn baby to demonstrate so that you can have a glimpse into what it's really like. We'll share our tips and tricks so that you can feel confident with your bitty bundle!

Swaddling is a skill that often leaves new parents feeling frustrated.

We'll de-mystify it for you in this video and show you how to do a basic swaddle with an aden+anais muslin swaddle blanket, how to use a SwaddleMe velcro swaddle, and sleep sacks for when your baby is too big to swaddle anymore.

Help! My baby doesn't like to to be swaddled!

Yes they do. Sure, some babies legitimately don't like being swaddled, but in our experience most of the time it's not that the baby hates a swaddle. There's a learning curve and a poorly-done swaddle is often rejected by a newborn who just wants to be snug as a bug in a rug. Here's some tips to remember:

Babies don't like getting swaddled. They like being swaddled.

Don't worry if your baby fusses and complains while you're swaddling with them. If you've done it correctly, then your baby should be easy to soothe quickly after you finish.

Your swaddle probably isn't tight enough.

No, you aren't going to hurt your baby. Chances are your baby doesn't like the swaddle because it's not tight enough. Muslin in particular is a very stretchy material that gives almost immediately after you let it go, which means you have to pull it much tighter initially so that when you tuck that last tail in, the fabric relaxes into a comfortable snugness for your baby. Same goes with the "cheater" velcro swaddles.

Don't swaddle once you see signs of rolling, or phase it out if your baby is 8 weeks old or more.

If you have a very young newborn, think 1-3 weeks, you might see them roll to their side naturally when you put them down. This is an infantile reflex and not the rolling you are looking for. Once your baby shows signs of rolling from front to back or back to front, it's important to stop swaddling immediately. A baby who is swaddled cannot turn themselves back over and is at risk for suffocation.

Skip the blankets in the crib and move from a swaddle to a sleep sack.

Blankets in the crib are another big hazard for small babies, so it's best to save them for snuggling. When your baby graduates from a swaddle, move them to a wearable blanket called a sleep sack. These are made by many different companies, including Halo, aden+anais, IKEA, Gerber, Carter's etc... they are easy to find, easy to use, and safe for your baby. Make sure you don't put your baby in a sleep sack that is too big.

https://youtu.be/fxhBwu1anFs

How to dress a newborn | Bitty Baby Basics

Bitty Baby Basics: A Newborn Care How-to Series (Facebook Live)

If you're a new parent or parent-to-be and don't have much experience with newborns, this series is for you. Caring for a live, wiggling newborn is a whole new ballgame compared to the demo dolls you may have encountered in parenting classes. We'll be taking time on the Doulas of Memphis Facebook Page during this Live series to highlight different aspects of baby care, with our own newborn baby to demonstrate so that you can have a glimpse into what it's really like. We'll share our tips and tricks so that you can feel confident with your bitty bundle!

In our first video, we talk about how to dress those sweet scrunched-up squishes with confidence and ease, and whatever else we encounter along the way.

Our #1 Rule for Dressing a Newborn: Don't hesitate!

Many parents fear they're going to hurt their baby if they dress them too quickly, so they take their time and try to be as gentle as possible. While this is well-intentions, it also has the result of making newborn babies really, really mad. You don't have to be rough to be firm and efficient! You won't break the baby, we promise! Watch to learn more:

How Hard Could It Be?

When I had my first baby, it was the first time I had ever seen a newborn in person. I’d changed maybe two diapers, ever. In short, I was clueless.

My husband, John, helped his mom run her in-home daycare when he was younger. As far as I was concerned, he would be a diaper changing pro! The rest of the stuff like holding a baby, or soothing them, well, he’d probably remember it. Like riding a bike or something, right? Never mind the fact that he was a child when he did all this (seriously, what was I thinking?)

I had family in town. My own mother, in fact, lived just a few minutes away. And this was her first grandchild, so of course she’d be over all the time and would help fill in any blanks.

So Rex came out, we all got cleaned up and tucked into bed to rest, and suddenly, my husband and I were alone with a brand new baby.

I remember thinking it was a little bit ridiculous that we were expected to be able to take care of this baby without any practice or formal knowledge, completely responsible for someone else’s WHOLE LIFE. I mean, sure, people have been doing this since the beginning of time, but WE had never done it before!

I’m pretty good at rolling with whatever comes my way, so we jumped right in.

John was great at helping with diapers. We might have eaten more take-out than I cared to, but that was ok. My mom was happy to spend her free time with her first grandbaby. But she had to work, too. And eventually, John had to return to work.

Nights were relatively easy – John was home, even if I did feel bad waking him up to help me when I felt overwhelmed, knowing he had to work in the morning. Sometimes I woke him up on purpose, just because I was so irritated at being woken up yet again, and hey, this is his kid, too. (I love you, dear!)

Days were another story.

I was tired but unable to nap

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is impossible when you feel compelled to clean house and get the chores caught up. Or shower. Or eat.

I was bored out of my mind

Babies don’t make great conversationalists. Who knew?

I was jealous

My husband got to actually go spend time outside the house talking with other adults, even if they were just coworkers, and the only other place he went was work.

I was jealous that other people were able to take care of themselves, their children, and their homes, apparently without breaking a sweat.

I suddenly didn’t feel comfortable or confident

It took more energy than I ever thought just to pack the baby up and get him into the car, and nursing in public or dealing with a crying baby in public was just too much, so I never went anywhere. I used to be a smart, career-minded woman, an organized go-getter. How had this small person reduced me to this? Why didn't anyone warn me?

I needed a postpartum doula. If only I had known there was such a thing.

Magical postpartum doula fairy

Abby says postpartum doulas are like a fairy godmother, and I have to agree.

Postpartum doulas are the women who have seen it all, so they are great troubleshooters when things aren’t going well.

They are the ones who let you sleep (or shower!) while they magically take care of the baby AND get some of your chores checked off, or get dinner started so your husband can relax, too.

The wonderful postpartum doulas I know are also the best listeners. You’d be amazed at how easy they are to talk to – so understanding, so loving and caring, and somehow they always leave you feeling content and refreshed. That’s way more than I can say for some of the friends and relatives that visited after Rex was born!

Postpartum doulas are more popular now than ever, and for good reason. Doulas of Memphis offers some of the very best doulas in the area, and they are worth their weight in gold.

Scheduling a consultation is quick and easy, and you'll be so glad you did it.

Planning for baby? | Mom Self Care Free Printable

When you're planning for baby, the vast majority of pregnancy and birth checklists out there all about what you need to do for your baby. But what about you? Giving birth is a feat no matter how you do it, and in the flurry and excitement of packing, it's easy to forget about the things you'll need after baby is here!

planning for baby

Planning for baby means planning for you, too. We asked some veteran moms about their must-have items for the hospital and back home. Here's what they said:

Of course you're going to pack toiletries and clothes for you and baby. Here's what to pack in your hospital bag for you:

Pillows from home: Because we know hospital pillows aren't known for their extra-fluffiness. Extra-long charging cable: Keep in touch when you want, from anywhere in your room. Oh, and Netflix. Chapstick: Trust us, it's a must-have. Mints: Freshen up until you can brush your teeth again. Comfy leggings or pajama pants: There's nothing quite like slipping on a pair of cozy pants after a nice shower. Soft, light robe: Be visitor-ready in no time! Fuzzy blanket from home: Hospital blankets are thin, and who doesn't love a fuzzy throw? Your favorite instant coffee (ex. Starbucks Via): Coffee emergencies are a thing. Water bottle: Skip the styrofoam and stay hydrated in style! Snacks for after birth: Your favorite takeout menus and a Designated Bringer of Food wouldn't hurt, either. Post-birth beverage: Finally, you can have that drink you've been craving your whole pregnancy! Nursing pillow: Save your neck and arms by bringing baby up closer to you. Nursing tanks/clothes to labor in: Nursing tanks are great for skin-to-skin after birth. Pair with a knee-length maxi skirt for an alternative to that hospital gown. Button-down or pull-down shirts: for easy nursing access.

You're back home with all of your stuff, and a new baby. Here's what to keep around for those days after birth:

Depends (No really, trust us!): Because it's no fun when your pad moves around. Tucks Pads: A common hemorrhoid relief, but they're oh-so-nice for a sore perineum too! Peri Bottle: A lifesaver when wiping is the last thing you want to do. Constipation relief: No shame in that stool softener game! Water bottle: Between taking care of a newborn, nursing, and recovering from birth, hydration in reach is essential! Late-night snack basket: When nighttime hunger strikes, you'll be prepared. Dim night light: So you can see to change that diaper and then get everyone back to dreamland Freezer meals: Consider hosting a freezer meal shower to stock up before baby comes. One-handed snacks: Feed baby and yourself at the same time! Fresh, cut-up fruits and veggies: Because you can only eat so much lasagna. Baby carrier: For hands-free snuggling and walking around. Lanolin/nipple butter: Relief for nipples that are adjusting to a newborn feeding schedule. Journal: A place for your thoughts and feelings. Extra phone chargers: It's no fun when you phone dies and you're stuck under a baby.  Postpartum doula: A postpartum doula is a valuable member of your village! We're there to make sure you have all of the help, rest, and support you need after baby comes home.

Love our list? What would you add?

Click here to download our Mom Self Care Free Printable!

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