Changing the diaper of a squirming baby
Every new parent goes through the process of learning how to change a diaper. For new dads, the learning curve of changing a wet or soiled nappy is not very steep as long as we take the “chance” to do it on the first few months of our infants. You could watch how the wife does it or maybe watch some YouTube videos (just type in ‘how to change diaper’) and take the initiative to change your baby’s diaper.
The first few months are crucial in building the foundation of your diaper changing skill because by the time your baby learns to roll over, crawl, or stand, it is a whole new ball game. Each baby is different but once a baby is mobile, he or she would rather be out exploring than just lie there to be changed. My son is the wriggly kind when changing diapers and at 14 months, although we still “battle it out” sometimes, I have learned a few things along the way.
I’m guessing most babies will wriggle at some point while being changed, so I hope the following tips will help you out when in that situation.
When changing a baby’s diaper, whether a wriggler or not, preparation is very important. Although mentally preparing yourself for the upcoming task of handling pee or crap is a good idea, I’m referring to the items you would need in changing a baby’s diaper. These may vary but generally you would need: a clean diaper (disposable, cloth, or anything in between), a cleaner (baby wipes or water), some toys (more on this below), and maybe a changing pad or that blue/pink rubber thing.
Before attempting to change a diaper, make sure all the things you would need are at your arm’s reach in order to avoid leaving the baby alone, and always have one hand on baby especially if you are changing on the bed or changing table. Having prepared all the things you need is half the battle won.
The key to successfully changing the diaper of a wriggler is to distract him/her. Engaging their attention will make them forget that they have things to do and places to explore (which are apparently more important than cleaning their buns).
Toys are great for distracting a baby. You could set aside some toys to be used only when diapering. Mobiles, rattles, tethers or toys they hold would really help in keeping their attention. Remember to also prepare more than one toy in case they get bored or you are taking some time in changing the diaper. If you notice that the baby has become familiar with a toy and is no longer entertained then rotate the toys with the ones that are not usually played with or
Let the baby play with non-toys, things around the house which are safe for baby to play with. This could be anything that will keep your baby mesmerized until you finish the job putting on diaper. Some items we used to distract our son are his hair brush, plastic cards like credit or membership cards (preferably expired and cleaned), tv remote, small box, wet wipe, and another diaper. Just make sure that the baby won’t get hurt when playing with a non-toy item.
Singing or any silly sound that will keep the baby’s focus on you should also buy you some time. Before my son became a wriggler, we invented a song just for changing diapers. It doesn’t have to be complicated, the lyrics of our song were just two words: changing and diaper. Of course overtime he learned to associate the song to diaper changing time, and it became a cue for him to start wriggling. Brush up on your nursery rhymes, make some silly sounds or even just talk to your baby with some eye contact, you’ll know which songs work and you’ll also bond with your baby in the process.
Talking to baby with no sound was invented by my wife. I was wondering one time why they were quiet while changing diapers and then my son was laughing hysterically! Why didn’t you teach me this trick earlier, I asked her. And she said, Oh I thought you knew. I was just stunned, I really wished I knew about it sooner. It was so simple yet very effective in keeping the baby’s focus. But as with all the distractions, effectiveness diminishes as the baby grows older.
Making silly faces is probably the same as talking with no sound that the baby is focused on our face. Babies study faces, the reactions we make to different situations, the way we look at them when we hold them, and even when they are just breastfeeding looking at mom. It is an important part of their social development and communication. While changing diaper may not be the ideal time for this type of bonding, we can capitalize on this to hold the baby’s attention while diapering. Try practicing on the mirror, see if it makes you laugh. I think it will be trial and error which silly face works, it will either make your baby laugh or horrify him.
Changing while standing may work when your little one learns to stand on his own or walks however, it is just an alternative to the changing while lying down position. Preparation and distractions are still essential to successfully change a dirty diaper. Wriggling is no longer an issue but it just evolved into moving about and probably running around. With soiled buns.
If screen time is allowed in your home, place the tablet or whatever tech you are using on the sofa and open your toddler’s favorite movie or game while standing on the changing pad on the floor. You’ll be a lot quicker by this time in changing diapers, hopefully. And before you know it, potty training will be just around the corner.
Do you have a squirmy baby? Feel free to share on the comments your own distraction methods while changing diaper. We all could benefit from a new trick or two.