Squirming During Diaper Changes
by Jeri Carr
Once babies start becoming mobile, diaper changes can become a real struggle. A diaper change can quickly turn into an experience dreaded by both babies and their parents.
I know because I've been there! When my son started crawling, he began squirming and resisting diaper changes with all his might. He protested with with screams and kicks. Sometimes he turned over and started crawling away. So it was under those circumstances that I began my search for some ways to make our experiences more positive. Hopefully something here will help you if your child hates diaper changes.
Once your child starts feeling more positive about diaper changes, you won't have to work so hard at making him happy during the diaper changes, and you won't have to worry about always keeping to the routine. But these things can possibly help you get out of a negative rut and help your child learn to lay still during a diaper change.
- Set a good example. Take a look at how you approach diaper changes. Do you feel annoyed, impatient, happy, etc.? Whatever your attitude is, your child may sense it and react accordingly.
When you change a poopy diaper, what do you say? What does your face say? Do you say, "Ewwwww, it's a stinky diaper"? Or perhaps you have said, "Oh, no, you wet your diaper already? I just changed it!"
Try to be as positive as you can, and see if some of it rubs off on your child.
- Change diapers as soon after your child goes as possible. Sometimes parents feel like putting diaper changes off; this may be especially true if your child hates diaper changes. But try your best to change them soon after he goes, because--not only is it better for his skin--he is less likely to become comfortable with the feeling of wearing a wet or poopy diaper.
- Change the diaper as quickly as possible. Be sure to have all your diapering supplies close at hand so your child doesn't have to wait any longer than necessary, and also so that you are not distracted looking for something when you should be making sure your child doesn't fall off the changing table (if you use one). If you change his diaper wherever you are in the house, to make this easy, put all your supplies in a basket that you can quickly grab and take to the place where you are going to change the diaper.
- Make diaper changes as fun as possible. As he lets you, interact with him during the diaper changes. If you start this when he is a little baby, he will probably bring some positive feelings about diaper changes with him as he gets older. Some parents give their young babies short massages during diaper changes. You can sing to him and try doing little rhyme games with his toes like "This Little Piggy Went to Market."
Sometimes blowing on your baby's tummy and making funny faces and sounds might work. Some parents find that doing silly stuff during diaper changes helps their baby laugh and helps to successfully distract him enough to get the diaper changed.
Try giving your baby a toy that he can only play with during diaper changes. Perhaps have a basket with several toys and alternate toys to keep his interest. As he gets older, let him choose which toy he wants.
If you use your diaper changing table, get some pretty windchimes to hang above the changing table. Make them ring while you are changing the diaper. It's a great distraction. Or put a mobile above the table, or a mirror beside the table so he can see himself.
- Give your child a warning. When changing activities, children appreciate a chance to mentally prepare for the fact that there is going to be a change in activity and sometimes they might want to quickly finish something before continuing on to the next activity. Try giving your child a little warning that it is about time to change diapers. You could say something like, "Mommy's going to change your diaper." Pause, and then say, "Okay, it's time for your diaper change!"
As he gets older, he may enjoy having the chance to lay himself down, rather than having you automatically pick him up and lay him down for a diaper change. You can try telling him, "I'm going to change your diaper after I count to three." Give him the option of laying down by the time you count to three, but, if he doesn't, try scooping him up in your arms on the three and lay him down in a fun, playful manner.
- Give your child choices. As he gets older, he will enjoy having more control over his environment, and having choices helps him feel more in control. Let him choose a toy to play with during the diaper change.
As your baby becomes a toddler, he might also start to enjoy choosing the place when he wants his diaper changed. If the whole house is too overwhelming for him to choose a place, try giving him a couple options... would you like your diaper changed here or there?
Other choices you can give him include letting him pick a diaper and handing it to you, and, if you use cloth diapers, he might enjoy picking out the diaper cover he wants to wear.
- Try using a consistent routine. Your child may really like a diaper changing routine. Routines can help children feel good because they know what to expect. Experiment and see what works best. Some children may enjoy having their diaper changed in the same place every time while at home; while out of the house, try using a diaper changing pad similar to one you use at home if he seems to need a more consistent routine and craves familiarity.
Or you can create a routine for an older child based on the idea of them laying down by the count of three. You can tell him pleasantly, "Okay, I'm going to count to three, and then I'm going to change your diaper. Grab a toy and lay down where you want your diaper change; lay down by the count of three." Work with him and help him learn what you mean. At first you might have to help him pick up the toy, and don't expect him to always lay down exactly by the time you get to three. If he points to where he wants the diaper change, help him lay down there. Soon he will learn the routine. Or, if there is no place for him to chose--for instance, if you have to change his diaper while sitting in the car--you can still let him know the diaper change is coming after you count to three.
This article was first published on suite101.com.