Have you ever struggled wondering how to change a squirmy baby’s diaper? It can be really difficult to change a diaper when your baby is rolling over!
After learning how, changing a newborn’s diaper isn’t too bad. But as your baby gets older (say, somewhere between 5-7 months), diaper changes may become much more difficult. That’s because your little one is excited about all his new skills, and wants to flip over, squiggle, kick, or lock his legs during nappy changes.
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And if your baby is frustrated by being held still, he may even throw a tantrum during diaper changes! Here, I’ve partnered with Starbright Books, publisher of Twinkle, Twinkle, Diaper You! to talk about how to make your baby’s diaper changing time more fun for both of you (while handling your little one’s constant rolling over and squirming).
Make diapering about connection
Just like the mother in Twinkle, Twinkle, Diaper You!, it’s important for you take time to connect with your baby during diaper changing. Make eye contact, smile, and talk to your baby. If baby babbles to you, make sure to respond lovingly.
By staying playful and loving, you’re making diaper time special for both of you.
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Have your diaper changing station ready to go
There are few things as stressful as getting your baby’s dirty diaper off, only to find that you don’t have everything you need on hand. That’s why it’s a great idea to have a diaper changing station prepped beforehand.
If you have a nursery, this is a beautiful changing table. The shelves are perfect for placing baskets with nappies, wipes, and cream in them. Even better, it comes with a changing pad and safety straps, so you don’t have to buy a separate pad.
But I’ll be honest: I’ve never been big into dedicated changing tables. While this table is lovely, you won’t need it after a few years, and it doesn’t really have much other purpose afterwards.
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We have always used our dresser (our baby stays in our room, so we don’t have a nursery) for changing diapers. We just put a changing pad with cover on top of the dresser, stack some diapers, a pack of wipes, and some diaper rash cream beside it, and we’re good to go.
NOTE: The safety straps are a good idea, but once your baby is rolling over regularly, they don’t do much good. NEVER just trust that the safety strap will hold your baby in place as you go find something you need to change diapers.
Make sure your baby’s bottom isn’t irritated
Your little one might be squirming during diaper changes because it hurts! Is his bottom red? Does he look upset or fuss during diaper changes? If so, you may need to use some diaper rash cream. We got this brand with zinc oxide, and it’s great whenever our little one has red, irritated skin.
Read a baby book about diaper changes
While your baby will figure out the diaper changing routine just from going through it multiple times a day, it’s always a good idea to reinforce routines with a story. Twinkle, Twinkle, Diaper You! gently and sweetly talks baby through the diaper change process.
Remember to let your baby enjoy looking at illustrations. You can point out the smiling baby and happy mommy in the book, giving your baby a chance to learn about feelings.
Have a special diaper changing song
I actually got this great idea from Twinkle, Twinkle Diaper You! In the book, the mother sings to her little one before she changes his nappy.
You can sing or play patty cake with your baby while she is laying on her changing pad. The fun thing about patty cake? Eventually, your baby comes to expect it and starts clapping with you, even before you start the song again. It’s super cute.
Give baby a special toy during diaper changes
One of the best ways to get your baby to stay still during diaper changes is to have special toys ready. These are toys that they only get to play with during diaper changes (you can keep them in your diaper supply basket). Make sure you have a few different toys so you can rotate them and keep them fresh.
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A sensory toy or rattle that is interesting to look at is a good choice for a diaper changing toy. I also suggest picking something that’s easy to clean, in case the toy somehow lands in the dirty diaper.
The Winkel rattle toy, with its interesting colors and loops is a great option.
This sweet little fox teether, made of safe and easy-to-wipe silicone, is another great choice.
If your baby prefers soft toys but you want something that definitely can’t be thrown into a dirty diaper, try wrist rattles like these. This pack of 4 is great so you can put one in a few different areas where you sometimes change diapers.
Looking for more open-ended, fun toys for your older babies and toddler (and maybe your older kids too)? Grab your battery-free toy guide here.
Let baby play with something of yours
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a toy nearby, find something novel your baby can play with while you change his diaper. It could be a tube of lotion (that stays well closed), the crinkly bag of wipes, whatever you can find. Since you’re literally right there watching your baby the whole time, you can give him something you usually wouldn’t with much less risk of your baby making a mess.
Get your baby involved in diaper changing time
Especially if you have an older baby or a toddler, you can let her “help” with diaper changes. For example, you can let your baby hold the pack of wipes and possibly even hand you a wipe when you need it, or you can let your toddler hand you a diaper when it’s time to switch out to a new one.
If your toddler is older and showing interest, you can introduce potty training instead. In fact, your child wanting to help during diaper changes might be an indication that they’re ready to move towards using the potty!
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Keeping your toddler engaged like this will keep her from squirming away during changing time. Plus, letting her feel like she’s helping will give her a sense of power and control in her world, making her more likely to cooperate with you.
Change your baby on the floor
If your baby is just too squirmy and/or you’re afraid she’s going to throw herself off the changing pad, just change her on the floor. You can put the changing pad on the floor or use a foldable travel changing pad if that’s easier.
If your baby still tries to roll over as you change her, you can sit in front of her and (gently) use your legs to hold down her arms and legs. This is kind of a last resort, but it might be what you have to do to make changes manageable.
Conclusions on how to change a squirmy baby’s diaper
It might be difficult, but it is still possible to change your baby’s diaper after he starts rolling over. I hope this post gives you ideas on what to do when your baby won’t stay still during a diaper change.
It can be difficult to change a diaper when your baby keeps rolling over, but hopefully these tips help. Remember to use diaper time for connection like in Twinkle, Twinkle, Diaper You! and let me know what other tips you have for changing wiggly babies.