My son, who just celebrated his first birthday, has been a real mover-and-shaker since the second he was born. (The hospital’s note beside his Apgar scores at birth literally reads: “Jittery.”)
Diaper changes as early as his six-month checkup were such a scene with this kid that the pediatrician likened it to trying to stuff an octopus in a bag. When our precious, squirming bundle of joy almost flew off the changing table and then again off our bed — while covered in poop and on the same day — I realised the problem was getting out of hand. I sought out solutions from experts: Mums with thousands of diaper changes under their belts.
Enter: The Toy of Distraction
The key, I learned, in addition to speed-changing your child, which gets easier with practice, is to keep a special toy by your diaper-changing spot. You present this toy to them when — and only when — you wipe them down, cream them up and get that clean diaper on.
It’s an exclusive, limited-time offer reserved for this specific activity. For a brief, precious (if unmemorable) moment, you need a toy that will keep their little hands and minds fully occupied.
Most effective, in my experience, is an interactive gadget that will wow, distract and engage your wiggly one while you take care of business, big and small. Think buttons, lights or sounds. For our son, who flails around like a fish out of water the moment you lay him down, a musical stuffed octopus works wonders (and I know other parents who swear by this very same miracle mollusk).
Other highly successful distractors could include a toy flashlight, a baby phone, a rattle or a small musical instrument, like a tambourine or maraca. Serve it up like a treasure: “Hey, psst, kid — look at this! But hurry, because I’m going to hide it as soon as we’re done here.”
For changing a baby outside your home, keep a toy whistle, a soft activity book or a teething necklace with colourful, chewable beads in your diaper bag.
If your babe has a surprise blowout on the fly, a notebook, piece of paper folded in half, or your wallet all work well in moments of sheer desperation — anything easy to open and close will keep them busy, at least momentarily.
To keep things interesting — and to keep your kid from getting jaded — stay on the lookout for items that really grab their attention and are not too bulky as they grow. This way, you can switch up your special toy stash once in a while to ensure that diaper changes remain a non-disaster in your home.