Kicking during diaper changes.
Let's go ahead and just broaden this to all difficulties during diaper changes. Not all children will specifically kick, but all will do something. Some might try to roll over. Some try to sit up. Some arch the back. Some grab at the diaper...oh the list goes on.
This is another one of those things that is just going to happen. It will. Your child starts life out laying relatively still as you change the diaper, but one day, she will start to squirm and cause you trouble.
First of all, let's discuss something. Do what you can to keep things clean and your child safe. Don't leave the child unattended at the changing table or on any surface. Perhaps buckling the child down will help keep your child more still (though not more happy). If you change your child on the floor or other surface that is not "baby deification proof," put a pad under your baby or something so if and when baby creates a mess with the wiggling, it won't be so traumatic for you.
Next, I think the best thing to do with these diaper changes is to keep the child distracted. Distract, distract, distract. A baby does not want to hold still for a diaper change. Does she need to? Absolutely. But this isn't a situation that requires complete reverence.
If any experienced mom is like me, she finds herself trying to had her four week old a toy before she changes the diaper. I did this with both of my girls. I would put them down for a diaper change and try to give them a toy...then I realized they couldn't hold a toy yet :) It is so much a part of the habit of diaper changes, it is what we do.
Keep some interesting toys at the changing table. Rotate often. I will also hand McKenna the new diaper to hold or her diaper cream. She likes to "brush" her hair currently, so I will give her a brush while I change her diaper. Distract, distract, distract.
Sing songs. Engage your child. Talk about what you are doing. Explain you are taking her pants off. Talk about her having a messy diaper, then talk about it being fresh and clean. This is an opportunity to teach opposites and various concepts.
Distract, distract, distract.
Despite your best distracting efforts, there will be times your baby will not have it. She will not be deterred! I have had this problem with McKenna at times. This happens when she wants to sit up. Well, I just can't change her diaper sitting up. I am not that talented. So I lay her back down, hand her something to play with, and tell her to stay down. I do this in a firm voice. I give her "the look." I do not give in. You can't really give in with situations like this; the diaper must be changed.
Now, let's discuss when the behavior moves from simply wanting to play to outright anger at the situation. Your child might kick in anger. She might throw a fit. She might scream. In this situation, I would simply look at the child with "the look," tell her that's a no, and keep going. If your child kicks you, I would grab the foot, lay it back where it should go, and say, "That's a no. You do not kick Mama."
If she is crying out of sadness rather than anger, I would talk to her as you change her diaper and say, "I know this isn't fun. Mommy is hurrying as fast as she can. You can play as soon as Mommy gets you all clean."
If your child is old enough to understand, you can give warnings. "In one minute, we are going to change your diaper, then you can play again."
If your child tends to make a messy diaper right when she wakes up, you can change her before any fun even begins.
The older the child, the firmer I would be with not being allowed to move around during the diaper change.
I think this is a situation that will be easier remedied if your child obeys you in other areas. Your child needs to know that when mom says no, it means no. So be consistent in all areas of life, not just the diaper change. If screaming and crying can get her out of other things, she will try it for diaper changes, too.
As a recap, here are some dos:
- Do distract. Go to the toy or other item to play with first. Also, sing songs, count toes, count how many seconds it takes, etc.
- Do go fast. Go as fast as you can go.
- Do be firm.
- Do be consistent. Don't delay the diaper change if the fits come.
- Do repeat. You might have to do these things over and over again before your child gets it.
- Do warn. Give your child fair warning before the diaper change if she is old enough to understand it.
I don't really have any standout experiences with this. It is something my oldest and youngest did do or does right now. Kaitlyn wasn't really ever too bad about this for the most part.
Right now, it is prevalent in the life of barely 14 month old McKenna. She always wants to sit up. I lay her back down over, and over, and over again. It takes time, consistency, and patience. If I can give her something of interest, she will be just fine. But if I expect her to lay still with nothing to do, I will be laying down the little girl soon.
This time period requires patience. You can both work through this. Hang in there!
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