If your baby fights diaper changes, rolls around, kicks, squirms, and prevents you from getting the job done cleanly, these hacks will help.
All day every day.
That’s how often you have to change your little ones.
And if you are having a power struggle with something you do all day every day, well, you are annoyed all day every day.
The trouble is, the more something happens (i.e. the more baby fights diaper changes) the more they end up doing it because they get such an interesting reaction from mom and dad!
We make funny faces, funny noises, and get all animated! The key here is to remain calm, make some changes, and stick with them.
They may never love love diaper changes, but they will let you get on with it and get back to their day.
Here are some typical ways little ones fight diaper changes:
- Crying, fussing, and whining
- Rolling over
- Trying to run away
- Bouncing up and down
I’m sure there are more, but those are the biggies and will get us started.
How to stop the diaper changing battles
If you feel like diaper changes are now a dramatic affair, or if they are actually becoming quite stressful because babies are squirming and getting their mess everywhere… these tips will help.
Prevent crying from the cold
Babies who are cold during diaper changes are very likely to be resistant and cry. It’s no wonder!
- Change them in the warmest room of the house
- Warm your hands up beforehand by rubbing them together or blowing on them
- Get everything you need right beside you before you start so it takes less time
- Don’t get riled up or fry your nerves because they are crying. They’ll stop when it’s over.
Have a specific toy (or object) for the diaper changes
Put a certain special or interesting toy (or anything they don’t normally play with, really) near the diaper changing area but out of sight or reach.
Then, when you begin changing diapers, grab it and hand it over. If you regularly change diapers all over the house – and that seems to make the issue worse – then keep the diaper changing Object Of Interest in their room.
And change their diapers there.
Give a spoonful of something good
My dog trainer gave me advice once on how to keep a dog still or calm while washing… to slather some peanut butter on the side of the tub while you wash.
Well, babies are not dogs, and we don’t change their diapers in tubs, but I think you get the principle.
You can give your baby a frozen mesh food feeder to suck on or your toddler a spoonful of something yummy. Just a little bite, a tiny snack, something to get their focus off the diaper changing shenanigans.
Help your little one practice lying still with your hand on their tummy in intervals
If you are dealing with a frequent fighter of diaper changes, and it’s making you nuts, focus on it for a while.
Throughout the day, when you think about it, practice having your little one lie still. You can turn it into a game. Lie down beside them, even!
Tell them you are practicing to be still during diaper changes, and count to 5 (or whatever number you choose) while they lie still.
This is something like training in times of non confrontation. Always more effective than yelling when you’re angry.
Try a “after this, we’ll do that, if you do this” approach
If you have a toddler, they’re able to understand what you’re saying when you say it.
Before you start changing their diaper – when they are able to listen to you and make eye contact – tell them what you expect.
Use my South African method of getting cooperation, and tell your little one they can do something they enjoy after they cooperate in their diaper change.
But not if there are shenanigans.
Try changing from the other direction so you can stabilize them
This really only works if you change baby’s diaper on the floor! I probably changed 50% of my diapers from 5 kids on the floor, so if that’s you, this is worth a try.
Now, this is a weird one, but novel for mom and baby. You can better prevent your little one from rolling all around if you change your position.
Put baby on the floor with their heads towards you, and their feet away from you. Then position baby’s body firm between your knees so they can’t roll over.
Change the diaper that way, sort of “upside down” from where you’d normally do it.
Mean business, be firm and kind. Make it a wall
Now, babies and early toddlers (aside from those 1 year old tantrums) don’t really require a lot of disciplining.
However, at times like this – when they are rolling around, fussing, whining, crying, getting poop everywhere because they won’t sit still – you’ll have to pull out your boundaries.
Kids respond when their mothers create walls. You simply, without going all angry and hysterical, do not let them roll over, buck, or kick.
Change location for novelty.
Hold them still while they wiggle.
You remain calm and provide a distraction.
Need sample routines for babies 6 weeks to 5 years?
By now, you know how to handle the newborn days, but what after? The good news is this: you’ve set your baby up for a foundation of success.
Now all you need to do is continue to find routines that work for you and your baby as they grow up and begin getting bigger and bigger. Sob. After having had 5 babies with 5 different personalities, I know a thing or two about finding a good schedule.
This is why I’ve created a book of sample routines and schedules for babies ages 6 weeks up to 5 years.
The book includes information on how long to let baby stay awake, how much play time is good for each age, what to do with baby when baby is awake but not quite mobile, and even how to manage toddler and baby joint routines.
Chapters covered in Rhythms, Routines & Schedules include:
Section One: Sample Schedules
- 6 Weeks to 3 Months Old
- 3-6 Months Old
- 7-9 Months Old
- 9-12 Months Old
- 12-18 Months Old
- 2-3 Years Old
- 4-5 Years Old
Section Two: Tips and Tricks
- Tips for Managing the Day With Multiple Children
- Daily Rhythms for an Only Child Ages 1-4 Years Old
- Daily Rhythms for Multiple Small Children Ages 0-5
- Sample Bedtime, Mealtime, and Playtime Routines
- Tips for Keeping Kids Busy Throughout the Day
For more sample routines, mom tested and approved schedules for babies ages 6 weeks and up, check out Rhythms, Routines & Schedules right now.
Could be a number of things including not liking the cold air, being disturbed, or maybe baby is hungry and doesn’t like having to wait for food. If baby is overtired this can make diaper changes worse.
If you follow my tips above, baby will cry less. But if you’ve done it all right and baby fusses through a diaper change, just get on with it and get it done.
Whenever they’re wet! Typically, you’ll change a baby’s diaper after you’ve fed them during the day, or before you’ve fed them at night. No need – in fact please don’t – wake baby up from sleep to change their diaper if they aren’t uncomfortable.
Unless baby has skin so sensitive it is bothered by wipes, you’ll typically wipe baby at every diaper change to keep them fresh.
No! If baby isn’t awake or fussy, then wait until the next feed to change their diaper. No sense in disrupting their sleep and causing irritability with baby when they are not disturbed.
No. If baby’s skin is not irritated and you keep it clean and fresh there’s no need for diaper cream. That should be reserved for actual skin irritation.
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