Being a parent or caretaker means being willing to make a fool of yourself in order to distract an upset baby, redirect a curious toddler and diffuse a difficult situation - and diaper changes are no exception!
If you have a baby older than four months, then you understand the challenge of those dreaded diaper changes – it seems your baby will do anything to escape the ordeal. Well now you can say goodbye to the squirming, the twisting and turning and the leg kicking with these sure-fire ways to get that diaper on and keep the wiggles at bay.
1- Be prepared
The first and most important tip is to have everything ready to go; the new diaper unfolded, toys to distract and wipes out (and if you use dry ones or cloth ones then having run them under water first is a must!). Make sure you take baby's pants off and unbutton him while he's still in arms to maximize efficiency before laying him down.
2- Change your baby on the floor
Ditch that changing table for a more comfortable mat on the floor. You can lay your baby down right there near whatever activity he's enjoying. A lot of the time, he can go on playing while you quickly get the job done. If you're lucky, he might not even notice the interruption. It's also safer and more baby friendly, so everybody wins.
Have a few interesting items for his inspection that he ONLY gets to play with during diaper changes. This helps keep his interest long enough for you to sneak a clean diaper on and before you know it, you're both done! Household items that are safe for babies to play with are best: a wooden spoon from the kitchen, a small water bottle, an empty pill container, a bowl etc...
4- “Forbidden” items only during diaper changes
Give baby “forbidden” items during a diaper change. This is particularly helpful with older toddlers who hate to have their diapers changed. Playing with mum or dad's keys, wallet, glasses, lipstick etc. is a real treat!
5- Offer a drink
A sippy cup with a very small amount of expressed breast milk, formula, yogurt or even water while you get busy can serve you well. Just make sure there's only a tiny amount to prevent choking.
6- Use your mouth
If you have a baby who wants to take off with anything you stick in his little hands, then consider sticking them in your mouth and passing them to him periodically. Play this “feeding” game only during diaper changes and you'll both find yourselves enjoying this once tricky time more than you ever thought possible.
7- Make some noise
Silly voices and faces go a long way in keeping a baby's interest for a few minutes. Sticking out your tongue, snorting, low gurgling, loud siren-like noises and singing his favorite songs in a voice he's never heard before might get him wide-eyed and staring at you like you're an alien, but at least quiet and still while you pull that final tab closed. A special and silly song that you can both sing only during diaper changes can work wonders.
8- Get some help
A friend, a relative or your partner can play a key role in entertainment while you wipe a poopy bottom so don't be afraid to ask for some help. Have them dangle an object above his head, put on a play with one or two sock puppets (plain socks serve just fine in a pinch), flip the pages of his favorite book at his eye level while reciting the story or any other creative distractions they can conceive of.
9- Take advantage of naps
Change baby when he has just woken up from naps as he is more mellow and compliant during this time.
10- Change baby standing up
If all else fails, consider changing him while he's standing up. Many babies don't object nearly as much if they don't have to lie down for the deed. Put a toy in his hand and have him stand against a chair, home toilet or the like and you'll be surprised at how smoothly it all goes. If you choose to go this way, consider pull up diapers - no tabs to fiddle with and no crooked diapers to adjust.
The key to keeping a baby still during a diaper change is to keep him entertained for those few minutes – even more entertained than his usual environment does. I hope you have found these suggestions helpful. If there is a sure-fire way that works for you and you don't see it on this list consider leaving it in the comments. We can all stand to learn something new and make diaper changes extra fun for everyone!