TIPS for changing diapers worn by wiggly babies!
So, I just sat down after a diaper change, but it might as well have been a wrestling match. My 10 month old is tired. He’s halfway between his afternoon feeding and his afternoon nap so he’s at that place where he acts like he has all this energy to play, but he’s really rather grumpy and sleepy. Needless to say, this meant that his diaper change didn’t go well for either of us.
I laid him on the table and removed his pants. I placed said pants over his head to keep him occupied. He chewed on them for all of two seconds and then flipped over. I flipped him back and removed his diaper. He flipped over again while I pulled the insert out and stuck the pocket and it’s absorbency in the pail.
I flipped him back and investigated his butt for rash. He flipped over while I grabbed the coconut oil.
I flipped him back to apply the coconut oil. He flipped over while I reached for a prefold.
I flipped him back and was holding his legs up to stick the diaper underneath his bum and he tried to flip while in the air. This didn’t work very well for either of us so he screamed at me, frustrated that was now dangling in the air rather than on his belly. Just as I got him on his back again and pulled the prefold up through his legs, I noticed his belly button seemed irritated and decided the prefold wasn’t a good idea because he was too wiggly for me to be able to fold it low enough. I put the prefold back and grabbed a smaller fitted and he flipped over.
I flipped him back. I grabbed his feet to stick the fitted under his bum and he was twisting and grunting in the air again.
I flipped him back and snapped the fitted and then grabbed some antiseptic and a q-tip to clean his belly button. He peed while I cleaned it. I removed the diaper. He flipped over.
I flipped him back and removed the fitted diaper. I held a hand firmly on his belly while dumping the soiled fitted and reaching for a clean one and he grunted and screamed. I replaced his diaper. He flipped over as I reached for a diaper cover. I let him flop happily on his belly for the minute it took me to snap the cover down low enough to give his belly button breathing room.
I flipped him back and stuck him in the cover. I decided his belly button might be yeasty so I prepared to squirt some breastmilk on it. He flipped over. I flipped him back and filled his little belly button with my milk. He screamed while I held him flat, eager to let the milk sit in there for a few seconds at least. Then, I gave in and pulled him up, holding him close while he complained about the whole ordeal into my shoulder. That may have been one of the most exhausting diaper changes ever.
Diaper changes aren’t always that bad. Certain factors such as a tired baby, and a Mommy who is not feeling creative are definitely contributing factors to difficult diaper changes with wiggly babies. But diaper changes with Bear are always a tad more difficult than they were with his sister. She did the flipping thing too, but not so vigorously or with as much perseverance as her brother and she was very easily distracted from whatever it was that caused the flipping or the wiggling. He’s a very physical little guy and sometimes changing his diaper requires a bit more muscle than the average diaper change. I still prefer using my angel folded prefolds fastened with pins and covered with a diaper cover despite his wiggles so I’ve had to find ways to keep the little man still and on his back with his fingers away from the sharp pins as I poke them through the layers. When he’s not flipping over, he’s grabbing the cover of the changing table mat, trying to eat his diaper cover (the one that’s been used a couple times already today), pulling my hair, or grabbing his toes or other body parts. Sometimes, he’s even trying to remove the diaper that I’m trying to fasten. He’s a busy little guy and quite honestly, I think diaper changes cramp his style.
Sometimes, little tricks can help keep him occupied for the 30 seconds I need to change his diaper. Sometimes they don’t and 30 seconds stretches to 3 minutes. But it’s worth a try.
TIPS for making diaper changes easier
Here are some of the things I try:
My little bear loves fabric in his face. Blankets, clothing, diapers—he loves that moment of breathlessness when the fabric first touches his nose and mouth. He squeals, giggles, and flails excitedly, completely forgetting that his dirty diaper is being removed as he revels in a swaddling blanket, a pair of pants, or the corner of the curtain in his face.
Sometimes it helps to give him a toy he never gets to play with—a toy strictly reserved for the changing table. Our bottle of unpetroleum jelly was that “toy” for awhile. He loved that thing and would hold it, shake it, twist it, wiggle it, and eat it to his little heart’s content. Soon, though, he started experimenting with the container by dropping it and rolling over to play with it, which sort of defeated the purpose.
A favorite toy might be helpful too. Recently I found these indestructible baby books that feel like real paper but can safely be chewed and Bear loves eating, crumbling, and manipulating those. Before the novelty has worn off, those are a helpful diaperchanging distraction. He also really loved playing with my canning rings for awhile. But only for awhile.
I also bought a chewbeads necklace. I wear it and he chews on it. When he’s being changed, I’ll often remove it and give it to him until we’re all done.
I’ve never tried this, but it seems that hanging a mobile or something fun to look at above the changing table might help. We have polkadots painted on his ceiling, but he’s long since tired of those. Maybe a spinning or fluttering mobile might help. Maybe not.
Distracting him with silly songs or weird noises sometimes works if he’s in the mood to be amused. Usually high pitched, crazy noises or songs work. But it only buys me a few seconds before the rolling, kicking of the diaper cover, eating of the curtains, and kicking begins again.
Tickles are currently the best weapon in my arsenal. He loves when I blow raspberries or tickle his little chin and he waits eagerly for the next round of tickles while I unfasten a pin or wipe his little bum. He’s so excited to be tickled again that he’s waits there perfectly still for 510 seconds which buys me enough time to move the diaper changing process along.
I’m blessed to have a little helper this time around. Baby Bear’s big sister, Bunny, is a huge help! He thinks she’s hilarious and often she’ll hang out at the head of the changing table during a diaper change to interact with him. She sings or talks to him and he is sometimes in the mood to giggle back at her. Other times this backfires. He is so excited to see her he starts rolling over again, though! Mainly, I love how Bunny is able to come and grab his arms when I remove a poopy diaper because that’s always the time that he’s most interested in touching his diaper and private parts. She has saved me from many a messy cleanup that way!
If Baby Bear is hungry or fussy for whatever reason, he’s going to hate his diaper change even more than normal. He will scream, and kick, and fight which is definitely worse than the curious, playful wiggly diaper change. I usually like to change diapers immediately, but if he’s really hungry or in need of some Mommy snuggles, sometimes it’s best to just do that first so he’s a happy baby on the table rather than an angry one. It’s less stressful for both of us that way.
Each baby is different. My daughter was usually successfully distracted with one or all of the above mentioned methods but they only work %25%50 percent of the time with my curious, busy, little son. He is SO much more interested in anything but a diaper change and often gets angry any time I so much as bring him close to the changing table. So frankly, the best tool in my arsenal is a strong arm. He hates me for it, but I’ve learned to change his diaper onehanded so I can hold him down with my other arm. I’ve also found that he has trouble rolling over if I’ve grabbed both his feet by the ankles and bent his knees. If his legs are straight, he’ll just roll over in the air and I’ll have a planking little baby hanging from his feet while I try to wrestle him down into the diaper again! My pinned prefolds under a cover can be tricky with a wiggly little one but they’re my favorite so I’ve learned to cope. My husband still prefers pockets most of the time with an occasional fitted diaper under a cover. I default to a fitted diaper if he’s giving me a super hard time.
So, what are your tricks for keeping your baby occupied when it’s time to change their diaper? Do you have a cooperative little one like my daughter Bunny or is your baby more like Bear who prefers a wrestling match? Do you have any advice for keeping him happy and on his back for the duration of his diaper change? I’m always looking for new tricks!