Changing baby's diaper. It's one of the most basic parenting tasks and one that you'll find yourself doing over and over (and over) again. It's not rocket science but take it from those who diapered before you, there are some great tips and tricks to make it easier, drier, quicker and more entertaining for everyone involved.
"Take it from those who diapered before you...."
Also? Diaper time can be such a fun, sweet, special time for the change-r (that's you) and the change-e (that's your baby) ;). I have had countless parents ask me, how will my partner bond with the baby if I am exclusively breastfeeding? And my answer more often than not!? Diaper time! (Well, there are LOTS of ways to bond with baby that have nothing to do with feeding, actually. But that's a topic for another post).
Let me tell you a little secret. My husband had to TEACH me how to change our daughter's diaper 2 WEEKS into her little life. He was walking out the door, heading back to work (2 weeks, I know, sheesh) and he paused and said, "Hey, do you want me to show you how to change a diaper?" OMG! My response was yes! If only I'd taken a course prenatally with all of that information. In my defense, I WAS pretty focused on healing, attempting to rest and mastering breastfeeding during those 2 weeks so I was still quite busy. This is actually a great Pro Tip: The Birthing Person SHOULD be spending those first few weeks recovering, being taken care of and feeding and snuggling with baby. If you have the support, let them do EVERYTHING else for a while.
Now, back to you and baby hanging out in what will quickly become a fave spot: the changing station.
Maybe this sounds silly, but asking permission from your baby to change their diaper is just good manners! Of course, they are not going to say no (at least not with words) but letting them know your intentions and talking them through the process is simply polite. Oh, and also it helps them to hear your soothing voice even if they don't understand what you're saying. They will someday, though, and by then this little conversation will be a habit!
Your newborn can't see much beyond the distance from your breast to your eyes (how brilliant is that!?) so maintaining a certain amount of eye contact during your diapering interaction (since you'll be close to their eyes if you're close to their diaper area) can help to calm your baby and help this task to feel more like a shared moment between the two of you.
While we're on the topic of eye contact, babies, even newborns, will mimic our expressions. Faces are one of their very favorite things to look at so they will be intently watching you. Try sticking out your tongue and see if they copy you and do the same. Give them a little time, they're learning but it's amazing how even very young babies learn social cues and benefit from interaction.
Singing and Soothing
If talking through the diaper change does not seem to be helping (not all babies love every diaper change), try turning it into a song! Or sing or hum a song you've been sharing with your little one. Pro tip: this can be started while baby is still in the womb. Pick a song and start singing it to baby at about 20 weeks gestation. When you sing that same song once they are born, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as to how quickly this calms your baby. This is an especially great trick for partners to try.
So, try a song and some gentle shushes during diaper time.
Take your Time
Well, take your time but also? hurry up! What I mean is, babies don't love every diaper changing session and brand-new babies (0-2 weeks ish) especially don't love them. For one, they're not great at regulating their own body temperature. Also, they don't like to be away from their gestational parent, or main caregiver for very long. And the many many sensations of the air, the wipe, your hands, the diaper, the clothing, well, it can be a lot of sensory overload for a brand-new person. Remember they used to float in a temperature-controlled swimming pool.
So, what I mean by take your time is this. At the very least, get the diaper changed. If you can't get them dressed immediately after you're done, that's okay. Pick up your little one and soothe them first. Make sure they know you're on their side, and going at the speed of baby is a-okay.
So, there you have it! Try to enjoy diaper time as much as possible. You might as well, you're going to change about 1 trillion (this is an accurate mathematically calculated number, by the way) of them before potty training.
To get more Tips and Tricks for Baby Care including Diapering, check out my IG @newfamilyneeds (which features a quick diapering tips video) and my Newborn Classes where you'll every you ever wanted to know, and MORE!, about newborns and the postpartum period.
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