My son hates having his diaper changed. He’ll cry and kick all the time and it can be very frustrating, especially when you’re in a rush and need to leave your home. But I know he’s not the only one. In fact, it’s very common.
So if you’re experiencing this problem you know it can be disheartening to hear your baby cry and fuss when they have their diaper changed. Furthermore, trying to keep them still while you change them, especially when they kick, scream and even roll can be a real challenge.
There can be a number of reasons why your baby doesn’t like diaper changes, including feeling cold as you remove layers of clothing, having a sore bottom or generally feeling uncomfortable throughout the process. Let’s talk about why babies hate diaper changes and how to manage the situation.
Why does your baby hate diaper changes?
Most babies do not like to be messed with and in turn do not like to have their clothes taken on and off. Add in being wiped and changed and it can all feel a bit uncomfortable for them. It may also feel cold for them all of a sudden as they lose the layers and lie down on the changing mat. At other times when babies have sensitive skin or a sore bottom they might react by crying when they’re being wiped and cleaned.
More often than not, your baby is just telling you that they’d prefer to snuggle with you or play with a toy instead of having their diaper changed, and who can blame them?! It’s not usually something to worry about and it is very normal for babies to dislike diaper changes.
For some other things that your baby may hate, check out this blog post.
Why do they cry?
Babies cry to communicate with you about how they feel. When you change their diaper and they aren’t impressed with the situation they cry to let you know. Remember that babies can’t talk to you yet or signal to you in other ways and they are using the few tools they have! Young babies tend to fully wake up during a diaper change due to the temperature change and movement. This can remind them that they are hungry or need to be close to you and they cry to let you know. In this case, their crying could have nothing to do with the diaper change at all!
When your baby cries more than usual during a diaper change, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Perhaps, they have diaper rash, sensitive skin or are under the weather. It’s worth noting when they cry and the intensity to sense whether they are just resisting a change or have an issue you need to address.
Why do they suddenly hate diaper changes?
Once babies clock onto the fact that you are going to change them and are old enough to know what is coming, they may fight you a little. They typically don’t like being fussed with, and a diaper change brings undressing, wiping and redressing. Plus they might get cold along the way and it takes them away from whatever they were doing like playing with a toy or resting.
How do you get your baby to stop fighting diaper changes?
There are few things you can try to get your baby to stop fighting diaper changes:
- Use a calm, reassuring voice and talk or sing to them as you change their diaper. Your baby will find your voice to be a comfort.
- Give them a small toy to hold and look at while you change them. This can be a helpful distraction.
- Make sure you have everything you need ready ahead of time to make the whole process as smooth and quick as possible.
How can you make it less traumatic and keep them calm?
Try these things to help make diaper changes less traumatic and keep your baby calm:
- Get everything you need ready before you lay your baby down. This way the process is as quick and painless as possible.
- Undress your baby before you lay them down. You can do this as they play or as you snuggle with them. Of course, this only works if the diaper you need to change isn’t an explosion!
- Sing or talk to your baby as you change them. Your voice will comfort and reassure them.
- Be gentle as you wipe and change your baby. Sometimes in the name of speed we can do things too quickly and compromise on soft movements that will help your baby stay calm.
How can you stop your baby from crying in a diaper change?
There is no exact science to stop your baby from crying during a diaper change but it can help to sing, or talk to them as you change them. Take a quick break if need be to give them a kiss and let them know you are there.
How can you distract your baby when changing diapers?
It’s a good idea to have a small toy to hand that your baby can hold while you change their diaper. This can be an excellent distraction as can talking or singing to them. An older brother or sister can also be a big help to pull faces or sing songs and keep their sibling entertained. Some families play music while they change diapers and this has a calming effect on their little ones too.
How do you stop your baby rolling over during a diaper change?
The best way to stop your baby from rolling over during a diaper change is to hold their legs with one hand or gently hold their middle. This way you can keep them on their back while you clean them up with the other hand. It’s helpful to pull out a few wet wipes before you start the process so they are ready to hand rather than battling to get them out of the packet in the moment.
How should you hold your baby’s legs when changing diapers?
Hold your baby’s legs in one hand by the ankles and lift them up so you can clean their genitals and bottom. Do this gently so as not to hurt your baby. You only need to lift their legs high enough so that you can clean them underneath.
How can you keep your baby warm in a diaper change?
To keep your baby warm during a diaper change you should look out for clothing that reduces your need to take everything off to change them. For example, most baby clothes have poppers or buttons to help with this. Some parents choose to buy a wipe warmer or alternatively keep their supplies in a warm spot in their home. This helps because when they get wipes and diapers out for a change they are not too cold.
Babies tend to find diaper changes inconvenient at best and downright annoying at worst. They might tell you so by crying and wriggling on the mat. Remember that in most cases they are okay and that it will be over soon. Prepare yourself for a change before you start the process, then try to calm and distract them as best you can. They will get used to being changed and it will become a normal part of their routine over time.
It is normally recommended that you change your baby before you feed them so that they are fully awake in time for their milk or food. Babies are often sleepy after a feed and don’t want to interrupt their nap for a change. That being said, babies don’t always play by the rules and may fill their diaper during or after a feed anyway. Be prepared to change them at any time!
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.