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Making Diaper Changing a Positive Experience
Stop the Diaper Changing Battles
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care
Babies are little bundles of energy! They donít want to lie still to have their diapers changed. They cry, fuss, or even crawl away. A simple issue can turn into a major tug-of-war between parent and baby.
Diaper changing as a ritual
The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication. Whatís more, this golden opportunity presents itself many times during each day; no matter how busy you both get, you have a few moments of quiet connection. Itís too valuable a ritual to treat it as simply maintenance.
Learning about your baby
Diapering offers a perfect opportunity for you to truly absorb your babyís cues and signals. Youíll learn how his little body works, what tickles him, what causes those tiny goose bumps. As you lift, move, and touch your baby, your hands will learn the map of his body and whatís normal for him. This is important because it will enable you to easily decipher any physical changes that need attention.
Regular diaper changes create rhythm in your babyís world and afford the sense that the world is safe and dependable. They are regular and consistent episodes in days that may not always be predictable. Your loving touches teach your baby that he is valued, and your gentle care teaches him that he is respected.
A learning experience for your baby
Your baby does a lot of learning during diaper changes. Itís one of the few times that she actually sees her own body without clothes, when she can feel her complete movements without a wad of diaper between her legs. Diaper-off time is a great chance for her to stretch her limbs and learn how they move.
During changing time, your baby is also a captive audience to your voice, so she can focus on what you are saying and how you are saying it ó an important component of her language learning process. Likewise, for a precious few minutes, you are her captive audience, so you can focus on what sheís saying and how she is saying it ó crucial to the growth of your relationship.
What your baby thinks and feels
Many active babies could not care less if their diapers are clean. Theyíre too busy to concern themselves with such trivial issues. It may be important to you, but itís not a priority for your child.
Diaper rash or uncomfortable diapers (wrong size or bad fit) can make him dread diaper changes, so check these first. Once youíre sure all the practical issues are covered, make a few adjustments in this unavoidable process to make it more enjoyable.
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This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)
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