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My baby squirms too much during nappy changes
Q: I’ve been having trouble getting my 1-year-old to stop squirming long enough so I can change his nappy without making a huge mess with the contents of it. He screams and tries to turn every which way. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Dawn Colorado Springs
A: Dawn, it’s common for 1-year-olds to refuse to lie quietly for nappy changes. Now that your son knows how to roll over, stand up and walk, it’s a lot more fun for him to move around than to lie on his back.

You can try different strategies to encourage your son’s cooperation with nappying, or distract him long enough to get the job done. Here are some ideas:
  • Add some interesting things to your nappying area. Hang a mobile above his head, or put up photos of babies or a mirror on the wall.

  • Turn on children’s music. Sing with the music and have him clap his hands or play a plastic toy trumpet. Sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and have him do the hand motions.

  • Give him a plastic baby book to read. Ask him to look for and show you things in the book: “Where’s the doggie? Where’s the baby?” Ask him to show you his body parts: “Where’s your nose? Where are your ears? Where’s your tummy?”

  • Give him a piece of Mylar to crunch in his hands, a noisemaker to shake or a colourful scarf to play with. Ask for his help. “I need a nappy helper! Could you be a big boy and please hold the nappy for mummy?”
If all else fails, try nappying him while he’s standing on the changing table or on a nappying mat on the floor. This works well for urine-only nappys. If there’s stool in the nappy, it’s a little more challenging to get your baby clean, but you can do it.

Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician