Standing Diaper Changes
When Marley was around nine months and standing stably, she started rolling away every time I laid her on her back to change her diaper. Laying in her back clearly wasn’t comfortable for her any longer, the world is just too exciting. Rather than try to wrestle around with her, which never felt respectful, we switched to standing changes and haven’t looked back. I love this method of changing diapers because it has decreased resistance, encourages participation of the child and is good preparation for toilet learning. If you’ve ever wondered how to make diaper changes easier, this is how!
As always, a prepared environment is a necessity to making these types of changes successful. When Camden was small, we lived in a different house that had a full length mirror in the bathroom. It was such a fantastic setup that I wanted to recreate it in our new house. I loved how it gave him a different view of his body and gave us so many things to talk about during changes, from facial expressions to body parts. (You can read more about the set up in our old house in this post.) Our current house doesn’t have a mirror, so I added this baby body length acrylic mirror to an open wall in our bathroom.
The most helpful tool for standing changes is a low bar that the child can hold for balance (and to give those little hands something to do) during a change. We have this absolutely wonderful pull up bar from Heirloom Kids (Do you recognize that baby in the product listing?? We love this bar so much that we have one in our playroom, too!). It is so easy to install and very stable. This bar is 15 inches off the ground, which is an easy height for her to reach from a sitting position to use to pull up and comfortable for her to hold during the change.
Next to the mirror, we have an Ubbi diaper pail. I love the design of this pail because it allows for the child to use it independently. The door slides open easily and is just at toddler height. When she starts walking, she will be the one to carry the dirty diaper in the pail. Now, she crawls to the pail I hand her the diaper and she puts the diaper inside. Right now this is her favorite part of getting her diaper changed!
I’ve found that using a pull-up style diaper makes standing changes a breeze. We use the Honest Company pull ups in size 2T-3T. I know that you are probably thinking that they would be huge on her, but at 11 months these pull ups fit Marley well. She is 22lbs and her baby chub fills out the diaper perfectly. If anything, they are a bit long, but that hasn’t been a problem. It is much easier to have her step into the diaper than it is to fasten it on, but we do it both ways. I also love the fact that the pull ups will give her practice pulling up her pants on her own.
It is always my goal to use these times of care as a time to connect. It is too easy to rush through these moments of care, but using this time to slow down and focus on your child brings intimacy and builds partnership. Diapers always need to be changed and it is wonderful to have time to connect built right in to your day. I love this article from Janet Landsbury on how to love a diaper change.
Each diaper change follows the same general routine. I say “Come. It is time to change your diaper.” I give her the chance to move to the changing station independently, time and mood permitting. I always tell her what I am going to do before I do it to keep her involved. For example, I say “Now I am going to pull down your diaper.” If it is a pee diaper, I just pull the diaper down. If it is a poopy diaper, then I rip apart the sides of the pull-up (or unfasten the diaper) and use the diaper to wipe front to back while closing the diaper together with my hands. I’ve found that this method catches most of the poop in the diaper and avoids a mess. Then I wipe her. As she gets older, I will ask her to squat. For now, I either help her lift one leg at a time or sometimes even have her lay briefly in my lap before returning to standing, depending on how messy things have gotten. Getting her clean is my top priority!
To include her in the process, I ask her to help me take out wipes and to chose a new diaper from the basket that I keep on the floor. I usually have at least two different prints in the box. It’s fun seeing which prints she has a preference for!
Friends, I am also happy to report that standing diaper changes also make changes on the go easier. She stands in the car and holds on to the head rest or stands on a changing station, which I love because sometimes they aren’t as clean as one might hope.
I love giving her the chance to be included in self care. For us, diaper changes are a time to connect, not a stressful wrestling match. Giving her the respect of standing during diaper changes goes a long way towards making diaper changes easier. So if you are struggling with diaper changes, give standing diaper changes a shot!
What tips do you have for making diaper changes go smoothly?