Health & Safety

Should A Diaper Cover The Belly Button?

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As a new parent you’ll probably find yourself changing your baby’s diaper a lot – sometimes up to 10 times a day!

Even if you know how to change a diaper, one thing you may be wondering is whether the diaper should cover your baby’s belly button.

The answer comes down to whether your baby is a newborn or not.

If your baby is a newborn who still has their umbilical cord stump attached, then you should not cover their belly button with a diaper.

But for older babies, it’s fine to cover the belly button with a diaper.

Should A Diaper Cover The Belly Button?

During pregnancy, your baby is supplied vital nutrients and oxygen via an umbilical cord.

This cord is not needed after birth, so within a minute or two of being born, the doctor will usually cut the umbilical cord off and a stump will remain.

This stump will normally fall off naturally after around one to three weeks, but in the meantime it’s important to keep the stump clean, dry and exposed to air.

For this reason, you should not cover the belly button of a newborn until the umbilical stump has fallen off.

Once the stump has fallen off, there should be no issues with covering a baby’s belly button with a diaper.

At this stage you may be wondering what exactly is the proper diaper fit?

Let’s find out.

Proper Diaper Fit

Your baby will spend virtually all its early life in a diaper, so it’s very important that the fit is correct.

For a proper diaper fit, try to ensure the following:

  • The diaper closes easily without having to pull the tabs too tightly.
  • The waistband and thigh cuffs appears snug, with no gaps around the edges, but with enough room for you to fit one or two fingers underneath.
  • Your baby’s bottom and belly button are covered.
  • You are experiencing regular leaking or dreaded poop blowouts, which are especially frustrating if your little one is wearing a lovely cotton outfit.

How Do You Know If A Diaper Is Too Big?

Waistband Too Loose

The fit of the waistband should be snug with no gaps around the edges.

If there are gaps around the edges, you are much more likely to have leakages.

Gaps Around Thigh Opening

As with the waistband, you want to ensure there are no gaps around the thigh openings.

Hangs Too Low

If your baby’s diaper sits too low and sags (even when it’s not full), then you probably need to go down a size or two.

Overlapping Tabs

When the diaper is done up, the tabs should not overlap at the centre.

How Do You Know When A Diaper Is Too Small?

Red Skin Marks

If you see any signs of red marks around your baby’s legs or waist, your baby likely needs to move up a size.

Difficulty Attaching Tabs

The tabs on regular disposable diapers should be easy to do up.

If you’re having to pull and stretch the tabs too much, chances are the diaper is too small for your baby.

No Room Under Waistband

If there is little room under the waistband, and you cannot fit one or two fingers underneath, then the diaper is too small.

Doesn’t Cover Bottom or Belly Button

The correct size diaper should completely cover your baby’s bottom and cover the belly, all the way up to the belly button.

How Do You Stop Diapers Leaking?

The best way to stop a diaper from leaking is to ensure the fit is correct.

By following the guide above, you should reduce the chance of major leaking and poop blow outs.

Quite often, the main reason a diaper leaks is because it is too small.

As a bigger diaper can naturally withstand more pee and poop, the chances of leaking are smaller.

If you are in doubt about the correct diaper size, there is no harm buying one size up and testing, because even if the diapers are too big, you can always store them away until your baby grows into them.

When you do move up in size, be sure to check the fit around the waist and thighs, and pay special attention to make sure there aren’t any gaps between the diaper and your baby.