What types of activities do you do that help you bond with and observe your newborn? Some parents try to change a diaper as fast as possible and get it over with. If you look at diapering as a time to bond and have special interactions you will find much more joy in it for you and your baby.
The biggest tip we can give for fun diaper time as your child gets older (not for newborns) is to keep special toys that your child only plays with while you diaper. Our son didn’t squirm to get away or turn over as long as he had a toy he was interested in! Another tip when they are older is to let them pick a toy to play with while you change their diaper. Kids don’t want to stop playing, so you don’t have to make them quit just for diaper time.
Diapering Can Be Fun
Diapering is an opportunity to watch your baby and learn more about their needs. Your newborn's goals are to feel love, comfort and warmth. As you diaper, take time to observe his/her new movements, range of motion, and facial gestures.
As you lay the baby down (on changing pad or table) notice if they are comfortable or if they need comforting. Take time to comfort any baby that is insecure, fearful or crying.
This may include bending over them to cuddle or pat them while they are laying on the table, chatting, looking into their eyes and soothing them. Once they are calm, make sounds and facial expressions that are cheerful or fun then proceed. If at any time, your newborn resumes crying, take time to sooth them.
We suggest placing a clean diaper over your baby's private parts while you clean them, to protect them and you from stray urine flow during a change. Have you seen that commercial where the man is changing the baby on a bed and the baby pees on the ceiling? This may not happen, but while exposing your baby to the air and cleaning their bottom they are likely to urinate or defecate so be prepared!
Tips to Connect with Your Baby
Speaking of cleaning, there's nothing like a cold wet wipe to make a baby cry. You can invest in a wipe warmer, or run your diaper wipe under warm water prior to diapering (or even better, warm up a reusable wash cloth).
After your baby is cleaned we suggest engaging in some naked play time, giving your baby's bottom time to air dry. This is your opportunity to touch, smell and look at every aspect of your baby’s body and face. Since your baby is already relaxed, this is an ideal time to move their body and teach them new movements. Use gentle slow movements and never force a movement your baby resists.
We often move our grandson to a clean cushy blanket on the floor. If he happens to wet, we can easily toss the blanket in the wash; in the meantime he can play naked and air dry his bottom. You’ll find as your child grows older that they will make movements and sounds while they are naked, that they don’t while they are clothed. Babies exhibit uninhibited joy!
In the winter: You may need to warm up the area where you change diapers (with a space heater) for your baby to feel warm. Inspect the area where you are going to lay the baby while changing. Especially in the winter, make sure you are changing the diaper in a place where there are no drafts or cold air. When babies are first disrobed, they can become uncomfortable due to the temperature change and absence of clothes.
After your baby is a few months old: The Baby Whisper suggests that the person changing the diaper describe what they are going to do to prepare your baby for the movements you need them to make.
For instance, before you take the diaper off say " I'm going to lift your legs up", then lift their legs. When we want our grandson to relax so we can clean every wrinkle between his legs, we say “relax” slowly, while we gently push his legs apart.
In the same manner you can show them the clean diaper and say "Let's get your clean diaper on, let’s lift your legs up". If you use diaper cream, you can say "I'm going to put that nice cream on". Repeating the same phrase each time lets your baby know what to expect. Eventually, they will lift up their legs for you!
What About You?
What are your best tips for connecting with your baby? Do you use diaper time as an opportunity to connect?
We have been providing clean fresh cotton diapers delivered straight to your door for over 30 years. We are also a family run business, with children and grandchildren of our own. Now let us share some of the parenting wisdom we have learned along the way!