6 Tips for Making Even Diaper Duty a Bonding Moment With Baby
If you were to catalog the things new parents look forward to when baby arrives, changing diapers would be pretty low on the list—maybe somewhere between middle-of-the-night feedings and that first round of shots. But the truth is, this messy task is one of the earliest and best ways to bond with baby (because it’s not like newborns are laughing at our jokes). Infants basically just want to eat, sleep and yes, get cleaned up after nature calls. While you may never love changing baby’s diapers, there are tricks that can make the process at least a little more pleasant. And that’s good news for you, baby and their precious little bum.
A changing area should be well outfitted from the moment baby comes home. That means lots of extra diapers, wipes, diaper cream and the all-important diaper pail. When everything is in place (and within arm’s reach), your focus can be on baby, not searching high and low for supplies.
Giving baby a running commentary of your every move may seem silly or awkward at first, but it really works, even for newborns. Talk to baby in a peaceful, quiet voice as you go through your diaper-changing routine, explaining what’s happening and what you’re going to do next. If the diaper cream is a little cold, make sure they know beforehand. Of course a newborn can’t understand our words, but they can begin to sense our intentions, and it’s respectful and calming to let them know what you’re doing with their bodies.
Place a stuffed animal next to baby on the changing table. Not only will it be a comforting sight, it’ll also give your little one something to focus on (and possibly distract them from what you’re doing down there). Even better, having an object to hold could help keep baby from wiggling around too much as you work out which tabs go in the front.
You know a multi-pocketed diaper bag and foldable changing pad are absolute must-haves. But beyond their main purpose—keeping diapers, wipes, balm and other changing essentials with you at all times—they also provide a sense of security for baby. The familiar pattern and feel of the changing pad can be a cue for babies in a public restroom, letting them know that even if the place may look different, the diaper change will be the same.
It’s happened to the best of us: Just after you’ve removed the dirty diaper and are trying to fasten the new one, baby’s foot or fist lands right smack-dab in the middle of the dirty diaper. Ugh! Between a squirming baby and the confusing combination of tabs, sticky adhesives and elastic that doesn’t always fit properly, it can be a challenging maneuver to say the least. But patience is key: The calmer and more deliberate you are, the more at ease baby will be.
Will you always treasure being up at 3 a.m. with a crying baby? No, and that’s perfectly fine. Not every moment should be treasured. But a diaper change is a chance to create shared trust, a time when you can look into baby’s eyes and let them know you’re there for them. Pretty soon you just might find yourself looking forward to these moments more than you ever thought possible.