Diaper changing battles
Babies are little bundles of energy! They don't want to lie still to have their diapers changed. They cry, fuss, or even crawl away. A simple issue can turn into a major tug-of-war between parent and baby. Here’s how to avoid toddler diapering battles and make changes easier on both of you.
Diaper changing as a ritual
The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication. What's more, this golden opportunity presents itself many times during each day; no matter how busy you both get, you have a few moments of quiet connection. It's too valuable a ritual to treat it as simply maintenance.
If she wants to help
Find her a job to do. She can hand you supplies, like a clean diaper or a tube of cream (with the top securely tightened). Or she can dab herself with a clean wipe after you’ve finished your end of the cleanup. If she needs a change of clothes, she can choose from the two outfits you offer. Another way she can help: by washing her hands when the diapering deed is done, or letting you wash them (a good habit to get into, anyway).
Have some fun
This is a great time to sing songs, blow tummy raspberries, or do some tickle and play. A little fun might take the dread out of diaper changes for both of you. A game that stays fresh for a long time is "hide the diaper." Put a new diaper on your head, on your shoulder, or tucked in your shirt and ask, "Where's the diaper? I can't find it!" A fun twist is to give the diaper a name and a silly voice, and use it as a puppet. Let the diaper call your child to the changing station and have it talk to him as you change it. (If you get tired of making Mister Diaper talk, just remember what it was like before you tried the idea.)
Keep a flashlight with your changing supplies and let your baby play with it while you change him. Some kids' flashlights have a button to change the color of the light, or shape of the ray. Call this his "diaper flashlight" and put it away when the change is complete. You may find a different type of special toy that appeals to your little one, or even a basket of small interesting toys. If you reserve these only for diaper time, they can retain their novelty for a long time.
Try a stand-up diaper
If your baby's diaper is just wet (not messy), try letting her stand up while you do a quick change. If you're using cloth diapers, have one leg pre-pinned so that you can slide it on like pants, or opt for pre-fitted diapers that don't require pins.
Regular diaper changes create rhythm in your baby’s world and afford the sense that the world is safe and dependable. They are regular and consistent episodes in days that may not always be predictable. Your loving touches teach your baby that he/she is valued, and your gentle care teaches him/her that they are respected.