I need diaper-changing tips and tricks
October 27, 2010 7:58 AM   Subscribe

I need diaper-changing tips and tricks

If you have any advice on changing disposable diapers on a new boy, please let me hear them. How do you know when is too soon and when is too late and when is just the right time to change him? What is your technique? How do you reduce the shock of the midnight strip-and-change routine and soothe him afterwards?

(Bathing tips would also be cool.)
posted by pracowity to Human Relations (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Always and I do mean ALWAYS have an extra diaper or washcloth over him because he WILL splash you in the face when relevant parts are exposed to air.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:03 AM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: A trick I read somewhere (here maybe?) that seemed to work well is once you open the tape wait a few seconds before you pull the dirty diaper off. A lot of times they pee immediately upon "release" and this way it'll just shoot into the diaper.

How often you change them is up to you and your baby. In this land, one brand of diapers advertises that they'll hold up to 12 hours of pee and I regularly see people pushing the limits of their diapers. (I'm used to these and found American diapers amazingly leak-prone.) Poop should be changed immediately. Your baby's skin sensitivity may dictate how often you need to change him.

So much of parenting is trial and error. Figure out what works for you both and do it. It's okay.
posted by wallaby at 8:11 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's probably too late for you, but others will read this, so, for their benefit:

During the first few days, wipe the baby's diaper area down with vegetable oil when you're done. Meconium won't stick to their skin if you do that; if you don't do it, you practically need a belt sander to get the poor kid clean.
posted by richyoung at 8:12 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: At first, I did it on a 1.5-2 hour schedule, or as soon as I noticed he pooped or he was wet. It became longer and longer as months went on. Oh, and at night, I think I just changed him once in the middle of the night, so the interval went to four hours or so. Unless he was super fussy and wet, obviously. It sucked for both of us to get out of bed but I pretty much had changing materials readily available and did it at the end of the bed.

My son isn't circumsized, I'm not sure if yours is or will be and what advice would change in that case, but if you did, they should've probably outlined what you need to do while at the hospital.
posted by kpht at 8:13 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: The most important advice I can give you is to always assume a gun is loaded, especially one that is aiming at you. At some point you will get peed on.

Context? Is this your child or are you sitting for him?

Set up your mise en place. Wipes, new diaper, etc. Hold legs. Remove diaper. Use the diaper to wipe of any large cling-ons. Toss the daiper. Use wipes to clean the rest. Be methodical. Attack the source first, then work your way around the thighs, legs, 'taint, the balls, and the penis if it's gotten that far. It usually does. Do this with one hand so you can hold him with the other hand. Be careful you don't get poop on the walls or yourself. It'll happen. Collateral damage. Once clean, put the new diaper on. Put him in a secure place and wash your hands.

Once you get this down it takes under a minute, unless you've got a 15-megaton poop explosion, which happens and which takes a little extra time. Often in the middle of the night he'd go right back to sleep as soon as he was clean. Every baby is different though, and babies are crazy, so your mileage may vary.

Bathing tips: Never leave him alone and have a plan ready for when he poops in the tub. He will.

It gets easier. I was more afraid of changing than anything but the diaper part of it turned out to be one of the easier things about having a child. I actually enjoyed it a bit because he'd look up at me like I was superman and it was something I could actually do that would make him feel better right away.
posted by bondcliff at 8:15 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I change mine anytime he's wet. The pampers with the wetness indicator is helpful. I assume you're trying to avoid being drowned in a shower of baby boy pee - here's what I do:

Get several large waterproof flannel pads. Put one down on your change pad/area. Pull the onsie WAY up to avoid a full change should the waterworks start. I put a folded Imse Vimse cloth wipe over the penis and with another wipe, wipe everything else leaving the danger zone for last. I lift and place the new diaper then a quick swipe to clean the penis and up the new diaper goes. The unexpected peeing does seem to taper off the older they get.

I never worried about bathing too often. I figure twice a week is plenty because I'm cleaning the butt, hands and face so often. I love my Primo tub! I put a piece of foam (cut up mattress topper) on the floor next to the tub and lay out everything I'll need - baby, towel, diaper, lotions & potions, clothes and a washcloth. I also use a large 4cup measuring cup and fill it with warm clean water for the rinse. Start at the top and work down (rinse hands immediately so baby doesn't get a mouth full of soap) doing the bottom last.

I'm guessing congratulations are in order - enjoy your new bundle!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:16 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: check out "the baby whisperer" videos. They're on demand from netflix, I think.
posted by kristymcj at 8:27 AM on October 27, 2010

Response by poster: I'm guessing congratulations are in order

Thanks. It's been a month and a few days and I still haven't figured out how to get him to relax during a change. Almost every change is screaming time from when I pull the old diaper comes off him until I get the new diaper on him and hand him back to mama for feeding.
posted by pracowity at 8:32 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: A drop in temperature seems to trigger them to pee, so you can pretty much rely on a little shower at changing time. I used wallaby's trick of waiting after opening the tape to actually pull off the top of the diaper so it would catch the pee.

Note that you will use your dominant hand to perform all the changing actions, while with the other you hold the baby's legs up in the air, and lift their bottom off the changing pad, until you have cleaned them up and put a new diaper under them.

Also, as a matter of principle you don't want to disturb the baby at night for any reason, so you also minimize night-time diaper changes as much as possible. Only a poopy diaper will warrant a change, and you want to do that in silence, with minimal light and no eye contact. (That rule applies to any night-time activity, including feeding. It helps them distinguish between night and day: at night we sleep, during the day we play. I stuck to it religiously, and still do, four years later.)

As for how to know when to change them, for poopy diapers it's easy, you change them as soon as you can smell it. For pee, when it feels full (it'll get heavy) is a good time. It also looks more yellow, so that's another way to tell.

Enjoy your little one, this is all part of the fun and it doesn't last too long! I too found diaper changes bafflingly messy at first, and even used these disposable plasticized paper liners on the changing pad till I got the hang of it.
posted by Dragonness at 8:34 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: For the bathing, it is easy and nice to just bring the kid in the shower or tub with you. Have another adult or a little baby chair-type thing handy so there's a place to put him when you're grabbing for towels.
posted by kmennie at 8:34 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: For a quicker change, have the new diaper opened and spread out underneath him before you begin removing the dirty one. If there's a big poopy mess, add another layer in between so the new diaper stays clean. This is quite easy to do with cloth diapers (which is how I did it, back when it was an issue) - not sure what the best tactic is if you're using disposables.
posted by expialidocious at 8:46 AM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I think a lot of diaper change screaming is due to the poor kidlets being cold. As a nanny, I've had two families use the hair-dryer trick. Have a hair-dryer set on low rigged up to blow warm air in the baby's general direction. The white noise coupled with a warm breeze is soothing and helps dry off the tiny bum and bits.
posted by annaramma at 8:56 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For us, a wipes warmer made the screaming stop. Also one of those black-and-white graphic mobiles hung over the changing table gave him something to look at, even at that young age. You can also try a pacifier for changing times, even if you're otherwise avoiding them.
posted by xo at 9:01 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: For the screaming try singing to him before and during the change. That worked for my son. You could sing a sensible song, or borrow my original lyrics: To the tune of 'She'll be coming round the mountains':

Well, we hope that it's a pee and not a poo
We hope that it's a pee and not a poo
Oh we hope that it's a pee-pee, and not a smelly poo-poo,
We hope that it's a pee and not a poo
posted by IanMorr at 9:21 AM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I put the dipe-changing stuff in a basket, with a mat that was flannelized rubber. So we changed the baby on the couch or bed, with the mat under him, not a hard table. If he's cold, maybe a blankie over his legs? We used disposables, but had a bunch of cloth dipes; very useful as blankie, spitup cloths on the shoulder, etc.
posted by theora55 at 10:15 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: Some babies just hate being changed. He will grow out of the screaming. Meanwhile continue to talk to him in soothing tones or sing to him while changing. Not much else you can do really.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:20 AM on October 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: For a quicker change, have the new diaper opened and spread out underneath him before you begin removing the dirty one.
That's exactly what I came in here to say. It was the single most important thing I learned in childbirth class and I'm surprised more people don't do it. Works just as well with disposables as it does with cloth.
posted by jrossi4r at 10:30 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: Agreeing with changing only in low-light at nighttime, the singing, the softer surface, keeping things warm and gentle and slow and all - and you can just warm the wipe in your hands - and that some babies do indeed hate being changed, but also suggesting:

Try putting him in one of those nightie-type sleeping gowns - they're less disruptive for changing, especially at night. (If he's wearing onesies, putting a dab of nailpolish/paint/sharpie on the centre snap means you have a visual clue for doing them up correctly in a hurry or at night.)

He may have sensitive skin, and so the alcohol in some wipes may sting. Perhaps try gentler wipes, maybe home-made. Oily wipes are also way better for cleaning messy poops than regular wipes. Do look for signs of a yeast infection - my daughter was prone to them.

Make a "lasagna" changing pad - I was lucky enough to have quite a few of these waterproof change pads, and would layer them so that if there was a really messy poo, I could just whisk the top one away and be ready for the next one. And having everything within arm's reach meant I could soon do changes in my sleep.

Go up a diaper size? My daughter would freak when her diapers felt small. Maybe he'd like some ball room? I learned that just because my daughter was a newborn didn't mean newborn things fit her.

And, I'm not quite getting when it is that you're changing him and handing him over. Is he waking to be fed, and so you're getting him and changing him before handing him over? Then let him eat first and then change him after, when he's full and sleepy - unless he's waking because of a poopy diaper.

And, for bathing tips? My daughter actually loved showering with me from very early on, but didn't love baths until she was older. I'd wear cotton gloves so she wasn't slippery. But the noise and the feel of the water and skin was very comforting for her.

And, relax. Babies have to learn that other people can soothe them, and soon you'll both figure out what works for the two of you.
posted by peagood at 10:54 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: FWIW, I see alot of new parents run into problems because they lack confidence. Don't over think the whole diaper changing procedure... and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. The more smoothly and quickly you do the whole procedure the more likely you'll see success.

Also... I can't say enough good things about target store brand wipes. By far and away the hardiest and most affordable wipes I've found. I buy them my the case, but try out a single pack and see how you like them before you commit yourself to that many.

posted by cheesyburgercheese at 11:23 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: Aww, sorry about the screaming. Maybe singing or making faces to distract the little guy? Fast is not neccessarily better than calm in these situations. Watch out for wipe warmers as they can breed yeast like nobody's business.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:30 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: One thing that I learned that the books never told me is that diaper wipes are good at cleaning, but are very irritating to, diaper-rashed skin. If my kids were going through a bout of diaper rash, I would bring a small tub of warm water and paper towels to the changing table and skip the wipes. I would moisten the paper towels and clean with that. Also, my rule for diaper changing was change BEFORE feeding them. That way, they got all the screaming over with before I filled their tummies. Diaper change AFTER feeding meant they just got upset again. (This plan failed during the stages when a good meal created a good poop right then and there.)
posted by molasses at 11:50 AM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: Congratulations, pracowity. The screaming is normal. Maybe it will go away soon and maybe it won't for a long time. Don't expect anything.
posted by rahnefan at 2:11 PM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: My mom always warmed up the babywipes first by rubbing them between her hands.

In my personal babysitting experience, White Cloud diapers leak. Every time the boy I watched had one on and took a nap, even if I changed him immediately before naptime, his diaper leaked. Frequently all over me. (Fortunately I lived next door and could bring him over after he woke up and change clothes.) Other than that I have no specific brand recommendations.

When he is old enough, how about a special toy he only gets to play with during diaper changes?

Desitin is not just for babies. It's good for adults when you have painful chafing/pimples/boils.

Bathtime: Sometimes babies/toddlers hate having their hair washed. This is more for when he's older: Have him look straight up at the ceiling, hold a washcloth against his forehead, and pour water slowly from a large cup/small bucket to prevent water from running over his face.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:05 PM on October 27, 2010

Best answer: Newborns hate diaper changes. This is just kind of how it is. They don't like being undressed because it's cold and uncomfortable. If you're talking about middle of the night changes here, I recommend leaving diapers that are just wet (not soaking) until morning, unless diaper rash is an issue. It's less stressful for the baby and you. As for techniques, if you're changing just a wet diaper, hold the old one on him and switch it for the new one as quickly as possible, or you'll get sprayed. A lot.

For bath time, run the water a little warmer than you think you should. I know the baby books all tell you to use room temperature water, but it's actually pretty uncomfortable to sit in water that cold. Turn the heat up a few degrees about a half hour or so before bath time, so the baby isn't shocked by cold as soon as his clothes come off. Really, at this age, you can probably skip baths altogether if he really hates them, and just give a little sponge bath when you're changing his clothes for bed. Get a washcloth wet with warm water, and wipe him down.
posted by lexicakes at 10:05 PM on October 27, 2010

Response by poster: Dude pissed on me again last night and he's still all noise when the pants come off, but I'm working on things.

And baths, he's enjoying. It's getting out of the bath that drives him crazy.
posted by pracowity at 5:12 AM on October 29, 2010

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