Quick Guide: How To Change A Diaper With A Pavlik Harness

Welcome to this quick guide on how to change a diaper with a Pavlik Harness! Something that may seem so simple can feel so overwhelming if you have just begun your DDH or hip brace/harness journey! But we are here to help.

By the end of this post, you are going to feel so much more confident and ready to tackle diaper changes with your new harness! In no time you will be an old pro again.

We have a library of resources when it comes to using/having a baby in a Pavlik Harness so make sure you check that out here.

Things You Must Know

There are so many elements to having your baby in a Pavlik Harness that even changing your baby might feel like an overwhelming feat at the beginning!

So let’s get into everything you must know when changing your baby’s nappy or diaper when they are in a Pavlik Harness

Avoid Poo Explosions At All Costs

The one thing you should avoid is poo explosions! This is not always possible and if it happens don’t panic too much just get in touch with the person providing the treatment for your baby.

A poo explosion shouldn’t be taken lightly though, especially if it gets anywhere on the harness where it is going to be touching your baby’s skin.

By avoiding poo explosions you save yourself the hassle of another doctor’s or hospital trip and ensure your baby isn’t going to get any rashes caused by a dirty harness.

Double-checking the placement of the diapers you put on is key to ensuring less chance of a blowout.

Where Do The Nappy Flaps Go?

This is another key factor in changing a diaper of a baby in a Pavlik harness. Knowing where the do-up flaps of the nappy go!

*image of poppie in nappy*

The nappy flaps on a general Pavlik Harness will come under two of the harness straps and fasten around the baby like they would if it wasn’t there.

Remember to ask your healthcare professional specifically if you are unsure as these are only round guidelines based on our experience.

What Are The Best Types Of Nappy

In the end, the best type of nappy for you and your family will be the one that works best! For your baby’s skin, your budget, and any other important factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the important features of a good (less likely to cause a poo explosion) nappy or diaper!

  • Wide closure flaps
  •  Good leg flaps (the things you pop your finger in and roll out)
  •  The correct size for your baby
  •  Secure fasteners to ensure there is no chance of it popping open
  •  Enough absorbency for what you want it to do – Overnight nappies need to be more absorbent and less likely to leak
  •  Comfortable and good for your baby’s skin, no nasties!

Can I Use Reusables?

Absolutely! Reusable nappies are just as useable as disposables. Make sure you take a look at our reusable nappy articles for more info on how to use reusable nappies.

Reusable nappies are a doable option when your baby is in a Pavlik Harness. There is always a chunk of time when you will be figuring things out…

Go easy till you have the hang of it! It takes time to practice and figure out what is going to work for you and your baby.

Reusable nappies are useable when in the harness, just do your usual.

Sometimes in reusables in a harness in a car seat, the leg wholes can be compromised, and leaking can happen, just something to consider!

How Do You Do Tummy Time?

You can still do tummy time with a baby in a Pavlik Harness, it can be a little trickier and sometimes they may just not want to do it for very long.

The harness tends to put their bum in the air and their face into the floor when you place them on the ground so bear that in mind.

What I found most comfortable for my baby was to prop her up on a tri pillow so she could play with toys sitting on the other side of it.

Following your baby’s cues and remembering them lying against you or upwards helps with neck strength and stability as well.

How Do You Bathe Your Baby?

Sponge baths!

This was the hardest part of having a baby in a Pavlik Harness. I felt guilty as before she was in the harness she loved the shower!

But it is a small price to pay for hopefully fixing your baby’s legs for years to come!

Sponge baths are as easy as setting them up on a towel and with a sink or bucket full of warm water wiping down all the places that get icky.

Good places to always wipe down are;

  • Face
  •  In the neck rolls
  •  Bum
  •  Leg rolls
  •  Under arms
  •  Feet and hands
  •  Anywhere a strap from the harness sits against their skin

Other Posts You May Like:

How To Change A Reusable Diaper With A Pavlik Harness

Choose Your Nappy Carefully

Choosing a good nappy is key to avoiding any explosions and unneeded hospital trips!

During your Pavlik Harness journey, it isn’t the time for testing the new cheapest, or worst-rated nappy brands out.

The best thing you can do is stick with the tried and true old faithful nappies that you know are going to pull through for you!

Anything with extra coverage that fits correctly is 110% the best way to go.

Make sure you use nappies you’ve used before and have a good idea of just how often you will need to change them to avoid any unnecessary messes.

Ensure You Have A Correctly Fitting Nappy

The correct fit is just as important as a good quality nappy and one you know is tried and true. By making sure your nappy fits well you can avoid again any unwanted leaks.

Signs nappy fits well:

  • The nappy should be snug, but you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers into the waistband
  •  The legs should fit snuggly as well, if the waistband is correct generally the legs will follow

Signs your nappy isn’t fitting well:

  • Rub marks caused by the nappy
  •  Leaks in odd places
  •  Your baby can get their nappy off
  •  Any red or indented areas
  •  You can’t fit two fingers into their nappy waistband
  •  You can fit more than two fingers into the nappy waistband

Do As Much Research As You Can

This is always a good way to choose a nappy and one that will work well for you and your baby.

Reviews are the best way to find out how good or how bad certain nappies are. Make sure you look at the overall reviews to make sure there are some bad ones as well as there could be some biased editing going on.

OR it is a great nappy brand!

By researching you can ensure you are going to get nappies that have limited chance of leaking and are going to keep your harness clean and tidy.

Car Trips x Reusable Nappies x Pavlik Harness?

One thing I found which may not apply to everyone but I think it is important to note. The car + harness changed the fit of the reusable nappies.

This mean the chance of leaking the car was a lot higher. I believe because of the angle the hip was certain reusable nappies of ours were far more likely to leak!

In hindsight, I wish I’d popped her in her car seat in just the reusable nappy to see how it affected the fit to ensure we didn’t have any leaks.

Change In Leg Position Means Change In Fit

Similar to what I have said above when it comes to nappy fit, a change in leg position can change the fit. This is generally not so bad when it comes to disposable nappies.

With reusable nappies as they are slightly more rigid and not as light the fit changes so easily.

The best way to test things (after researching) is always going to be trial and error and crossing your fingers.

How To Change A Diaper With A Pavlik Harness

Assess The Situation

This is great advice for any situation! But by opening the nappy and checking out what is inside you can figure out exactly what the best way is to handle it!

Is it up the back?

Uh oh…

Is it leaking out the legs?


Is it more to the front?

Knowing exactly what you working with means you can change the nappy accordingly so that you avoid the chances of having to head to the hospital and get a new harness.

By the way, grab our nappy bag packing list so you are never caught short again!

Plan The Attack

Like we said above, once you figure out what you’re dealing with… just a wee or a good old poop?

Either way with a wee you can generally just get on with your nappy change as you usually would!

Different poop situations are as follows:

  • Back Poop – You can roll your baby to the side and begin clean-up duties. By tipping them to the side you avoid it going up the back onto the harness.
  •  Front Poop – Hold the legs even grab an assistant to help hold the legs without compromising the harness position this way you can ensure that you get no poop on the stirrup parts of the harness.
  •  Leaking Out The Legs Poop- The best plan of attack is to get the poop cleaned up near the harness straps ASAP and hope for the best!

Check Back Area And Front Area

Make sure you check and use the strategies above! Making sure you check for leakage out the top and front of the nappy and back and front of the nappy will ensure you don’t miss anything and get your harness dirty!

Adjust Baby, Remove Nappy

Adjust your baby depending on your situation. Sometimes rolling or folding the nappy up works better than just pulling it out.

Especially when it comes to your babies flailing legs! I had a few close calls with the stirrup parts of the harness.

Wipe Clean

Wipe the rest of your baby clean now… tackling the ‘danger’ areas first is key to ensure that you don’t get poo on the harness and that is the whole goal of this post!

How to change a diaper with a Pavlik Harness, this is saving you a hospital trip…

Let Dry While You Organize Nappy Cream + New Nappy

With babies skin being so sensitive from a lack of baths time with their nappy off can feel good.

REMEMBER: never leave your baby on a changing table unattended, while I sort my nappy cream and a new nappy I would allow her to dry off and just enjoy some time out of the nappy.

Even blow some raspberries on her tummy and tickle her. Just intentional time spent with her.

Put Hand Under Lift Baby

The best way to get the nappy back under your baby to do up is to pop your hand under their bum/lower back and lift.

I used to roll my daughter to the side sometimes as well but I wouldn’t recommend this as your normal procedure as it could compromise the harness’s position.

But in some situations, I just had to do my best. This was a situation where it had gone up her back and it was crucial to avoid getting it on her harness.

Do Diaper Up, Ensure Flaps are Under Any Straps

Make sure your nappy do-up flaps are done up under the two straps that attack the top of the harness to the stirrups of the harness.

Making sure the do-up flaps are under the straps ensures nothing will leak onto the harness straps or irritate your baby’s skin.

how to change a diaper with a pavlik harness image of where the straps go

Top Tips On How To Change A Diaper With A Pavlik Harness

There are some things I discovered that made life just a little bit easier with a baby in a Pavlik Harness, here they are…

Roll Them To The Side If Up The Back

If you have a poo that’s gone up the back (eeek) rolling your baby to the side to wipe up most of the mess can save you ending up with poop on your harness.

Which in turn saves your baby from any rubs or skin irritation and saves you, yes that’s right another hospital trip!

Other Posts You May Like:

  • How to Dress a Baby in a Pavlik Harness
  •  How to get your newborn to sleep in their bassinet
  •  When to travel with a newborn

Use Warm Water On A Cloth To Deal With Any Slight Leaks

If you have had a leak or either poo or wee and just a little one a cloth with warm water can help remove it quickly.

The important thing is to ensure that the harness dries and doesn’t irritate your babies skin!

If there is too much ring your health care professionals.

Always Ensure The Harness Is Clean And Dry Where It Is Touching The Skin

Any areas touching the skin HAVE to be clean and dry to avoid any sort of irritation.

You know how annoying a bug bite or rash can be, irritated skin will affect your baby’s skin and the whole experience a lot.

Educate Yourself On What You Can Adjust And What You Can’t

Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can adjust at home! We were allowed to adjust any straps that went around.

We were not allowed to touch any straps that went up or down, so the ones controlling the positioning of the hip.

If In Doubt Ring Your Health Care Provider

Your healthcare provider is going to be willing to help! If you are having any issues the best thing to do is ring them and make sure.

They will be happy to help and they truly KNOW what they are talking about.

If in doubt… RING THEM!

Always Have Plenty Of Wipes On Hand

I can’t say it enough, wipes are life savers. No matter what sort of nappy you changing or what mess your dealing with.

Wipes are a lifesaver. Find nice natural, scent-free ones and stock up on them because while you are on your Pavlik Harness journey, you will need them.

Learning how to change a diaper with a Pavlik Harness is so much easier with wipes on hand.

So Now You Know How To Change A Diaper With A Pavlik Harness

Now you are armed with all the tools and knowledge that you need to face this Pavlik Harness with a little bit of confidence. It may feel like forever when they are in it but it will be amazing when they are out…

Always talk to your healthcare provider if you ever have ANY doubts! They are there to help and make it as easy as possible.

But trust me, from one Pavlik Harness mumma to another, don’t overthink it and just take every day as it comes!


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