You might be dreading diaper changes because it can get messy and stinky. We cannot help you with the smell, but we hope these tips make the experience easier!
Prepare multiple changing stations
You may have a diaper changing station inside your shared bedroom or your child’s room. But chances are you won’t always be in the bedroom when you need to change her diaper. Set up changing stations in the different parts of the house, especially in places where you and she are likely to be found.
“This can be as easy as having a few decorative boxes around your home with a changing pad, some diapers, ointment, a little toy, and perhaps a change of clothes,” Susan G. Groner, founder of The Parenting Mentor and author of Parenting: 101 Ways to Rock Your World, tellsParents. “This is efficient and will also help your child feel more comfortable having his diaper changed anywhere — on a couch, the floor, or the back of your car (where you might also want to have a station set-up!).”
For ideas on how to create a diaper changing station in a small home, click here.
As Parentspoints out, there’s no such thing as “too safe” when it comes to kids. When you set up your changing stations, look for a flat surface with a stand that is securely anchored on the floor. Do not put your baby on wobbly tables because your baby does not always stay still. And, of course, while your essentials should be accessible, make sure they are out of reach for children.
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Mary Ann LoFrumento, M.D., medical director of the Newborn Nursery at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, U.S., recommends being careful about storing items like powder and rash creams.
“To avoid the baby accidentally getting into the creams, try putting them inside double plastic zip lock bags (one smaller one inside a larger one) and avoid any powders that are not necessary and also dangerous if inhaled,” she tellsParents.
Little ones can get fidgety, so give her a toy or a book to entertain as you change diapers. Try singing songs, blowing raspberries on her tummy, or tickling her a little. These simple things can make diaper-changing a less dreadful experience!
Pediatrician Alison Mitzner, M.D. recommends singing and maintaining eye contact. “Singing songs that you also sing off of the changing table and other times of the day and know your baby loves will go a long way in helping to keep him calm,” she tellsParents.
Be sensitive to your baby’s feelings
Sometimes the reason babies are fussy during diaper changing is they get irritated by diaper rashes or feel uncomfortable because of ill-fitting diapers. Observe and see any of these could be a problem.
Be extra patient because losing your cool might just make your toddler less cooperative and escalate to screaming and power struggles.
“Staying calm yourself really does have a calming effect on your child and a stressful situation,” says Dr. Mitzner. “Take breaths, laugh, and giggle even when your little one is fussy — and keep on changing him despite his mood, instead of picking him up and calming him, which will ultimately make things longer in the end.”
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Think of diaper changing as an opportunity to get to know your baby
Motherly also notes that diaper changes, when children are usually stripped of their clothes, are opportunities to learn about their bodies. During diaper changes, parents can also learn how a child’s body works, as well as any physical occurrences that might need some attention, like diaper rashes. These are also great moments for kids to listen to your voice, how you talk, and how you pronounce words, which are helpful in her language learning process.
Changing a child’s diaper is not always a pleasant experience, but it is also an invaluable chance to spend some one-on-one time with your child. Motherlywrites, “The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication.”