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Baby Basics

How Can I Stop The Diaper Table Wars?

I can't get baby to sit still during diaper changes — it's an all-out war every time I put him on the diaper table. Any suggestions?

Ah, we see baby has finally developed an opinion (and it’s that lying still isn’t his thing). Lots of babies get squirmy on the changing table, and it can be stressful and messy. Different methods work for different folks, of course. Here are a few to try.

Use the art of distraction

Keep a basket of fun objects above the changing table — toys that baby only gets to see at changing time. Basic things like wooden spoons and empty boxes work just fine. The trick is picking things that don’t seem like toys — he'll want everyday objects more. Let baby choose a toy to play with during the big change, sing and talk about the toy while you wipe, and return it before leaving the table. “I change the toys out every couple of weeks,” says Bumpie abpdjs.

Get him involved

If toys don't work, get baby involved by doling out responsibilities. Let him choose the diaper, pull out wipes and hand you things. In addition to giving baby something to focus on, it's a big part of prepping for potty training and a lifetime of hygiene.

“Our latest thing is the bottle of lotion we keep on the table. I squeeze a drop into his hand and he likes to rub his hands together,” says SeaSoul.

You might even want him to see what it’s like to be the changer, as opposed to the changee. “Sometimes ‘changing’ his Elmo doll helps. He seems to be more willing to do things if Elmo has it done to him first,” says jennyelf.

Ham it up

Objects aren’t the only things that can be distracting — you can be too. “Make funny faces, dance, clap, pretend to drop something and say ‘Oh no!’” recommends HeyJune.

“Sometimes if my son is thrashing around on the changing table, I’ll say in a jokingly threatening tone, ‘Don’t make me put the diaper on my head!’ That will usually catch his attention enough to stop flailing and look at me, and then of course I do put the diaper — a clean one! — on my head, and he finds it hilarious,” says KittyKatMom.

Make a change in scenery

Maybe the diaper table just won’t work. “I stopped using the changing table — the floor is way easier, says jlw2505. The bed may also be a good option, because it’s bigger than the changing table, baby might not feel as confined.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Changing Table Safety 

Before I Became a Mom, I Swore I’d Never

Things You Never Thought You’d Say, But Do

By The Bump Editors