Changing Wriggly Children

4 CommentsSaturday, 26 July 2014

No, this section does not tell you how to swap them for less troublesome offspring, but offers tips on how to minimise the hassle at nappy change time!

Because of the separate liner, a wriggly child in real nappies can be more difficult to change than one in disposables. However, there are techniques for dealing with this. What follows are some alternative suggestions. Whether you want to try them will depend a great deal on your own attitude to parenting, and how much the wriggling bothers you. Bear in mind it is just a phase, and some babies grow out of it very quickly while others do not - the more it annoys you, the longer it is likely to last, with some children.

It is partly to do with what your child is like, but also partly to do with whether you let them get away with it! Your first child is far more likely to be a wriggler at nappy change time than your second, simply because you don't have the time to put up with it for number two. It's a bit like nature's way of making subsequent children faster at breast feeding than number one.

Wriggling (and then escaping) is something that develops gradually, so some of these techniques work best early on, while others are for when you have a child to chase round the room. Most nappies have Velcro closures, for speed, but popper nappies do actually have major advantages at the wriggly stage, as you will see below.

Don’t Change on the Floor

Anecdotal evidence suggests that wriggling is less likely to develop into full scale escapology if there is nowhere for your baby to go except down! The more limited the surface they are used to, the soooner they learn that the best thing to do is just lie back and submit to the inevitable. Change tables are great, but the fridge freezer will do just as well. I should of course point out that you should never leave your child unattended on such a surface, even briefly.

Distraction Techniques

Have something to hand to occupy them. This can be a toy or something as simple as a set of car keys or a toilet roll inner. There are two tricks to using this technique: don't always use the same item (it's the novelty factor that engages them), and don't show them the item until the critical moment when you want to actually do the nappy up (otherwise they will lose interest too early).

Physical Limitation

Also known as "Pinning 'em Down"! The trouble is, with some children you may have to practically fling your body over them in order to hold them down. You certainly need to be able to use arms and elbows as well as hands. The problem with this technique is that when someone else comes to change your child, they are at a disadvantage, especially as this method does tend to encourage the escape mentality in your baby. Bear in mind, when you grab an ankle and drag them back that they may think this is quite a lot of fun.

When there are two of you to hand, one can employ a mixture of limitation and distraction techniques while the other sees to the business end of things. Although this is not practical for everyday use (unless you always travel in pairs), it can be quite useful where you have a partner who changes nappies as well, but not frequently enough to have mastered the art of holding their offspring down at the same time, particularly when a poopy nappy is involved.

The less comment you actually make about the wriggling, and the less fuss you make about getting them into the nappy, the sooner this phase will pass.

Incidentally, a child that is usually changed on a changing table at chest of drawers height will soon work out that wriggling will not get them very far without a bump - if you change on the floor, that gives them a lot more possibilities.

Forbid It

Being firm at nappy change time from the beginning, before wriggling has a chance to develop, may save you a lot of wasted time later on. You would need to be consistent, if this is your route. I have never managed it for my children, because it is just not my style, but it might be yours.

Work Round It

Traditionally, you change a nappy by having your baby lie on their back, and put on the nappy round them. However, there is no rule that says this has to be so. Once your baby gets to wriggling stage, they are usually fully capable of sitting or standing, and in fact are usually much less mobile once allowed to do so, if something catches their attention.

Although popper nappies are harder with a wriggling child on the floor, they are in fact very much easier than Velcro if changing the nappy with your child either sitting or standing, for precisely the same reason: you know what poppers need to be done up, and so you know you have got a good fit, regardless of how it feels. With Velcro, what appears to be a snug fit may not be so at all once they move.

With the Motherease Airflow wrap you can do up three of the four poppers, put the wrap on like pull on pants and then do up the final popper. You could also do up the fourth popper, but then you would be stretching the elastication every time, which might weaken it. Leaving one popper open avoids this risk.

During peak wriggling phase, I changed my son's Motherease Onesize nappy with me sitting or kneeling on the floor, the nappy on my left leg. When I was ready to put his nappy on, I lifted him bodily in a kind of chair lift manoeuvre from the right leg to the left, straight onto the nappy. If I found that the nappy was not quite in position, I could hold him in the air in my left arm and he was unable to escape, and so did not usually bother to try. When I put him on the nappy, he usually sat there quite happily, especially if he had a distraction to hand - or at the worst would stand up and sit down. Also, I could use my left arm around his waist to keep him in place. I could work by feel to snap the poppers together, and this position also prevented the liner from scrunching up. Leaning backwards slightly if he was in a very wriggly mood also helped to keep him off balance and therefore less mobile!

Be Philosophical

If it helps, you can bear in mind that there will come a point at which your child will actually help at nappy change time, by lying down on the mat themselves, or even helping to wipe (which can be a mixed blessing, especially if poo is involved!). Like everything else, escapology at nappy change time is simply a phase.

The Nappy Lady Technique!

As babies get even older, stronger and quicker even these techniques may no longer work. If this happens and you’re at your wits end and dread those nappy changing battles here is a technique that has been handed down through generations of Nappy Ladies and is one of the best tips i’ve ever been given.

To change nappy...

Sit on floor on your bottom with legs out in front of you, in a V shape. Place baby at right angles to you, with your thigh over her chest to pin her down, and her feet in the direction of your other leg. You can then change her quickly and easily, with both hands free, without her moving, and even if she protests it will all be a lot quicker and less frustrating/traumatic than the general baby rolling and crawling away, poo everywhere, stressed out, red sweaty Mummy thing.

Usually, you only have to do it for a week or two and they'll stop playing up about nappy changes anyway because they realise you’ve got them beaten!

Take to Drink

Umm, actually I'm joking - it won't help your co-ordination!

Sunday, 11 February 2018  |  21:03

This was so reassuring ! I thought I was a bad mum for "pinning" my son down ! He's a nightmare at changing time and I only do it every so often when he's very bad but I might try it more if he will learn quicker ! At the moment there's no point in a changing mat 😂 lucky I have wood flooring !

Nikki Rowan
Monday, 15 October 2018  |  7:12

Love the tips. Especially the last one 😃 my fitbit thinks I'm doing a workout when changing my son.

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