I flunked diapering my first time out. At a parenting class I took during my first pregnancy, I was practicing on a baby doll when one of the disposable diaper's tabs refused to open. Next thing I knew, the doll was flying off the table and thudding onto the floor. So who could blame me, a few weeks later, for letting my husband, the nurses at the hospital, and my visiting mother all do the honors on my newborn son before I mustered the courage to change him myself?
But practice makes progress. Four kids and ten continuous years of diapering later, I can deftly finish the job -- whether the child is sleeping, rolling, crawling, standing, or running away. I've changed diapers in the dark, on a plane, in a car, and on a train (and once while reading Dr. Seuss aloud). If there were a frequent-changer club, I'd be lounging on a tropical beach right now courtesy of my accumulated diaper points. Here's what I've learned for quick-change success:
First, the Good News
- Despite its stinky reputation, the job of changing a baby's dirty diaper does have its upside.
- It's a great time to get to know your infant. For a few uninterrupted minutes, it's just the two of you. I admit, the actual changing can be tedious, but I relish the delicious nuzzling after my child's clean and fragrant again.
- It's fun for your baby. Consider it playtime. Talk about what you're doing. Tickle some piggies. Blow a raspberry on her belly. You can have fun too.
- It's a wonderful way to monitor how much she's grown. You start with the tissue-size newborn diapers, and in no time you're wondering whether your toddler will be potty trained before she makes it to the newest King Henry VIII size.
Contributing editor Paula Spencer is the author of The Parenting Guide to Your Toddler.