We have all been there; the stench in the air is telling you it’s time to change your baby’s diaper, or maybe it’s their crying giving you the gentle cue. As child care professionals, here are a few tips and reminders we want to share with our parents:
- Prep your space and supplies first!
- That starts with washing your hands first (yes, before reaching for your child). This is to ensure you have less germs to pass along to sensitive areas of your child.
- Then get your supplies ready: Unfold your disposable diaper or get your reusable one ready. Pull out a few wipes to use from the container and put a dollop of diaper cream ointment (if needed) onto a tissue or your wipe container top. Get a change of clothing (if needed) and have within arm’s reach. Why all this prep? All of this preparation will avoid cross-contamination opportunities from fecal matter or harmful bacteria getting into your diapering supplies or other surfaces.
- Make sure you have a sturdy surface to change your baby on. Yes, this can be a changing table or the floor (not back friendly, but an option). Just make sure you have a barrier between your baby and the changing surface. If you are on the run, most diaper bags have a pull-out mat you can use just be sure to complete the next step in sanitizing regardless of the surface. Avoid diapering your child on an unsteady, elevated or unlevel surface. If your baby does manage to squirm or roll away from you changing them on a counter, table or even the back seat of a car can be a dangerous fall hazard.
- Disinfect the diaper changing surface when you have completed your diapering activities. This is a key step for the mat or pad you had your child on. Use disinfecting wipes or another non-aerosol spray.
- Keep one hand on your baby at all times! Don’t rely on the straps on changing tables as they are only there to assist you. Yes, it may be a little challenging at first, but you will get the hang of it!
- Talk through it! This is a fantastic time to talk to your baby, sing, make eye contact, show them affection with kisses or hugs and make changing time a special parent-to-child bonding time. Making your diapering routine a positive one, your child will be less likely to fidget or be upset. We don’t recommend handing your child a toy during diapering for several reasons; It can end up in the dirty diaper OR diapering becomes a play time for your child and they may end up squirming or moving around more than you can handle. Additionally, children’s attention spans are incredibly short, so that toy distracting them is not necessarily going to last the entire time you need to accomplish the entire change.
- Final step Wash Hands! This means your hands and your baby’s hands after diapering is complete! Why? Well, it’s simple it’s THE BEST WAY to eliminate germs and bacteria that can result from the diaper changing process from entering you or your child’s system. HOW do you wash a baby’s hands? Here are some techniques:
- For little babies, it may be as simple as using a wet paper towel to gently wipe their hands or anything that may have come into contact with their diapering region like their feet (after you wash yours of course!).
- For older babies who can hold their head up and young toddlers, you can use a buddy system to get them to the faucet: If you have a child’s step-stool handy, have it directly in front of the sink. Start the water running (cool to mildly warm water) and then pick your child up, one arm wrapping from under one armpit to the other with your other hand supporting their bottom. Put one of your legs on the step stool with your knee close to the counter. Rest your child’s bottom on your leg as support and use the hand that was under their bottom to help guide your children’s hands under the water, using soap and rinsing. Switch arms to wash both of your hands and expect to get a little wet. Dry both sets of hands completely. If you don’t have a child’s step-stool yet, now might be a great time to invest in one.
- For preschoolers and up, set the expectation that washing hands after any diapering or bathroom use (even while potty training and nothing comes out) and role model that expectation. Show them how to wash their hands (rubbing hands together, palm over the back of the hand several times) with soap (yeah, they forget that a lot) and then dry completely using a towel or paper towel (not their clothing).
- Choose products that are free of scents or ones containing triclosan. Soaps with fragrances means there are more chemicals in them than young sensitive skin needs. Steer clear of anything with possible allergen triggers in them such as nut extracts, perfumes or harsh chemicals. There are lots of all-natural moisturizers for children’s hands should the winter or frequent trips to the sink start drying them out.
Are you a visual learner or need more tips? Here’s a great how-to video from our friends over at Babycenter.com: