What if Baby’s Fighting Diaper Changes?

Here are some suggestions to help.

Diaper changes happen multiple times a day, so when every single change feels like a wrestling match, it can quickly wear you down. The good news is most babies go through a phase of loathing diaper changes, and it usually is just that – a phase. So what should you do when you’re in the thick of “I’m going to scream like it’s the end of the world every time you put me on the changing table”? Here are things to try:

  1. Don’t use the changing table! This might seem too simple of a solution, but if baby knows the routine of first the table, then the diaper, breaking that association can help ease their blind rage. Use a changing mat and change them on the floor. Or even take them into a different room to change their diaper.
  2. Diaper changes might have been painful or unpleasant at one point, so your little one might be prepping for the worst, even when their bottom is free of diaper rash. Try to rewire what they think about changing time by making it fun. Sing to baby. Nursery rhymes like “The Itsy Bitsy spider” that incorporate movement can be especially fascinating and enjoyable. Diaper and a show – who wouldn’t love that?
  3. On the theme of making diaper changes as pleasant as possible, try giving your little one special toy (or, let’s be real, any safe household item) that they can play with during the change. With this one, try doing it before you start changing them and they start getting upset rather than a response to their displeasure.
  4. Talk to baby during their change. Tell them what you are doing and why. Have you ever gone to the doctor and felt helpless and clueless? No one likes to feel like that. Do a running commentary as you change their diaper. Or, try turning diaper changes into an anatomy lesson. Point to their hands, their feet, their legs, their arms and tell them what they are and how amazing they are. Once again, this is just to help them calm their mind and start thinking of diaper changes as fun convo time with dad/mom.
  5. Is the room cold? Or are they wearing an outfit where you have to do significant undressing to change their diaper? Sometimes baby is just cold, so warm up the room or try wearing outfits that have quick diaper access.
  6. Is baby crying because they are in pain? Sometimes baby might have diaper rash or some other type of skin agitation. Check to see if there is diaper rash or any skin discoloration, which could be a sign of skin irritation and inflammation in the skin. Make sure to consistently apply a diaper cream after every change to ensure protection from irritants.

Fussy diaper changes can be frustrating, but after implementing these tactics, hopefully your baby will start to change their outlook on the process and enjoy diaper changes for what they are – fun face-to-face time! Also, one last suggestion – if you’ve tried all of these tactics and things aren’t improving, try switching off with a partner or another caretaker share each the emotional load and duty (pun intended) of diaper changes.

Good luck!