Let me preface this by saying that most of this is taken from memory. I haven't had the good fortune of changing a diaper for at least eight or nine years now but I'm guessing not too much has changed in technology or technique since then. It's the old "once you've learned to ride a bike, you never forget" kinda thing. Let me also say that these instructions only apply to changing a baby diaper. I'm sure adult diapers are a whole nuther story...
Babies are a wonderful thing. If you're anything like me, you're apt to find yourself gazing down at the fruit of your loins with sense of awe and wonder. Naturally, you'll want the best for your little bundle of joy and thoughts about the future and what it will hold in store for your offspring seem to conduct random dances in your head.
When that starts happening, take a moment to relax. There's some other matters at hand that have to be tended to first. Even though each one of us thinks our child is the cutest, most darlingest little creature that ever took a breath, they also can leave behind some pretty nasty reminders along the way.
Tools of the trade
Just like a craftsman or an artist can't do their job properly without the right tools or equipment, a parent should also come to the table prepared when it comes to making little Johnny or little Susie more comfortable. That being said, here are some items that you should have on hand when it comes time to do the deed.
A clean diaper - I can't stress how important it is to have one of those on hand. The last thing you want to do is have your baby lying there naked in all their glory with their little legs kicking and their little arms flailing and rolling around in their own excrement while you go off and search the house for a replacement. Not cool. Not cool at all.
Wipes - A must have. Preferably pre-moistened one. Babies, especially infants, don't pass the most solid of products through their little digestive systems. As a result of this, what comes out is usually in some kind of semi-liquid form and what I called the "ooze factor" might just come into play. It's nice to have wipes on hand to mop up all the stuff and to get inside those rolls of baby fat where the stuff seems to congregate.
Baby powders and ointments - Not a must have but certainly useful in preventing rashes and killing odors.
A changing table - While not necessary, a changing table is the preferred location for making Johnny or Susie all fresh and clean. Usually, they're constructed so that you don't have to bend or stoop too much like you would if you'd use the floor. Should any "accidents" occur (and believe me, they will), they are also much easier to clean.
A diaper pail - Purely optional. Some people like to have one on hand so that they could get rid of any evidence in a swift and forthright manner. As for me, the trash can worked just fine. A word of caution though, if you have any pets, especially puppies, be on guard. Since they are inquisitive by nature and possess a much higher sense of smell, they are attracted to any piles left unattended. They also don't seem to care about what they eat.
Now that you're armed, it's time to boldly go where many before you have already ventured.
First, lay the baby down. Trying to change a baby in a stand up position is almost physically impossible. If you're using a changing table, chances are that it has a strap in which to secure the baby so that they don't go rolling all over the place or falling off and landing on their head.
Next, remove the baby's clothes from the waist down. Don't just roll them down halfway either. Take them all the way off. Since babies are unpredictable when it comes to bodily functions, they might let loose and soil themselves midway through the proceedings. This means more outfits to wash and laundry to do.
In my experience, I only used disposable diapers. I tip my cap to parents that use cloth ones but it just wasn't for me. Besides that, being a natural born klutz, I'm sure I would've stuck either the baby or myself somewhere along the lines with a safety pin. Not cool either.
Ok, now that baby is unclothed from the waist down, untape both sides of the old diaper. Do not remove it just yet. Slowly peel it back and savor the aroma emanating from the source. Let it fill your lungs and your nostrils and waft over you like a cloud. Take a deep whiff and be proud of what you have created!
Once you've got the diaper peeled back, grab one of the wipes and commence cleaning up. Depending on the size and texture of what you were given to work with, this could take more than one. Always make sure you wipe from front to back and to get inside of those baby cracks and crevices. This is to ensure that no bacteria forms that might cause infections or diaper rash.
Next, get the clean diaper all open and ready. No sense having you lift the baby by the legs and have them dangling in the air while you fiddle around trying to open up a clean one.
When that's all done, gently take hold of the baby's ankles and lift them up from the surface. If the old diaper sticks to their behind, gently pull it off and re-wipe the area. Place the old diaper far from the field of play and slide the new diaper with the tape side facing the bottom underneath the baby. Lower baby onto the new diaper.
It's at this point where you can apply any baby powders or ointments deemed necessary.
Gently pull the front of the clean diaper through the baby's legs. With one hand holding the baby down, use the other to unfasten and then fasten the tape that holds the diaper on. Make sure it's not too tight to cut off any circulation or too loose so that it won't fall off or can't handle the load. Repeat on the other side.
Re-dress the baby with the clothes you had previously removed and dispose of the evidence as you see fit.
Be prepared to repeat as often as necessary.
Note: Some people might have a gag reflex when it comes to cleaning up excrement. I know I did. I have no advice on how to conquer it though. Sometimes life just hands you a pile of $@#$% and you just have to deal with it.