The First Year: Diapering
In the first year, you’ll be going through approximately 2,500 diaper changes with your baby, so how you spend this time together can make a big impact.
It's important to offer respectful diaper changes from the very beginning. Don't distract while you change!
Cloth vs disposable is totally a personal family decision, and NO ONE has the right to make you feel guilty about your decision. You can also do both! Personally, I start with disposables for the first week to month, then cloth diapers when the child is big enough for size 2, except for travel. Learn more about cloth diapering at Fluff Love University.
You don't need a giant changing area, but you will probably find it helpful to have a flat counter-height area available, especially in the first few months with frequent diaper changes. As your child becomes more mobile, you’ll want a large space on the floor, or move to standing changes.
In addition to the items listed below, you’ll want wipes, rash cream, hand sanitizer, and perhaps a diaper pail and swim diapers.
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Keeping your diaper supplies together will make for calmer changes for both you and your baby. A whole separate diaper bag is by no means necessary. but can be very useful to grab and go. Look for a bag that any adult in your family can carry with pride. I'm a fan of this backpack for it's durability and style. The insulated side pocket for bottles is super convenient, as well as the outer pockets for keys and snacks.
Diaper Pouch for Travel
This travel pouch from Skip Hop is my favourite system I've used for older infants. Easily holds a handful of diapers, wipes, spray hand sanitizer, and tube of cream and can be unlatched with one hand. The changing pad zips off for easy cleaning, and there's a wrist strap. I ended up using this over the dedicated changing area most of the time.
Wet bags are a necessity for cloth diapers, but even if you do disposable, you'll want a wet bag for soiled clothes. This one has a second zippered pouch which is helpful for holding food-soiled clothing or drool-soaked bibs.
Even if you choose to do elimination communication, you'll need some diapers. There's so many to choose from, and I haven't found a particular brand that's more developmentally helpful than any other for infants.
As your child gets older, you'll want a diaper that allows her to feel wet so she can begin to connect the feeling of needing to go with actually going. Seventh Generation's disposables have this feature, as do cloth diapers.
Not sure about cloth diapers? Read this overview and guide.
Changing Pad and Table
There's no need for a separate changing table, unless you want one. You can use the top of a dresser, the bed, the floor, a table, etc. What you will need is a flat, waterproof pad to lay your infant on. This one is larger than most, offers your child plenty of room to move for respectful diaper changes, and is washable.