7 Hacks to Make Diaper Duty Easy and Calm

Diaper changes can be filled with drama, but these techniques straight from parenting experts can help minimize the chaos.

New York City Legislation Promises Changing Tables in All Men's and Women's Public Restrooms
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Whether you're a parent-to-be making preparations for the diaper changes to come or a new parent fresh on the front lines, the whole thing can feel like a mammoth task. After all, there's much to consider when it comes to changing your baby. You need to contain the mess, prevent diaper rash, navigate baby clothes with varying methods of snapping (or zipping). And on top of all that, you often have to calm an incessantly crying baby.

"Some babies absolutely hate being changed, so the whole thing can quickly turn into a stressful situation filled with unknowns: What fun present will we unwrap? What mood is baby in? How is this activity going to go down?" says Eirene Heidelberger, parenting coach and founder of GIT Mom.

While it's true that diaper changes can be drama-filled, there are myriad techniques and solutions you can adopt to help minimize the chaos. Read on for parenting experts' best-kept diaper-duty hacks that ease new parents' lives.

Practice Before Your Baby Arrives

You might think you have your hands full in the months and weeks before your baby's due to arrive, but you can expect to multiply that load once they're here. For this reason, Heidelberger recommends practicing diaper changing well before your baby's due date.

"This will get you to used to what needs to be done and when," she says. "Gather your supplies and do a couple of run throughs with a stuffed animal or doll, and make sure you get your partner involved too."

Choose the Right Diapers

If you're hoping to make diaper changes easier, cleaner, and fuss-free, you'll want to stock up on the right kind of diaper to handle the task. A leak-free contoured diaper, like Huggies Little Movers, which offer active babies the close fit thanks to its special contoured shape. Bonus: Their SizeUp Indicator clues new parents into when their baby needs to move up a diaper size, so you always know the fit is just right.

Have Multiple Changing Stations

Ditch the solo changing table concept, as it will only serve you well when you're in the nursery itself (which won't be as often as you imagine it will). "This can be as easy as having a few decorative boxes around your home with a changing pad, some diapers, ointment, a little toy, and perhaps a change of clothes," says Susan G. Groner, founder of The Parenting Mentor and author of Parenting: 101 Ways to Rock Your World.

Having multiple changing stations is efficient and can also help your child feel more comfortable having their diaper changed anywhere—on a couch, the floor, or the back of your car (where you might also want to have a mobile station setup), says Groner.

Safety-Proof Your Changing Stations

You can never be too careful when it comes to changing table safety. Mary Ann LoFrumento, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University suggests making sure your diaper changing area is a secure, flat surface for younger children.

Also, never leave a baby unattended even for a second. So, make sure you always have everything within reach that you will need.

"To avoid the baby accidentally getting into the creams, try putting them inside double plastic zip lock bags (one smaller one inside a larger one) and avoid any powders that are not necessary and also dangerous if inhaled," she adds.

Keep Your Diaper Bag Stocked

When you are on the go, make sure your diaper bag is packed with diapers, clothes, wipes, and refill as you need. Alison Mitzner, M.D., a pediatrician in New York City and author of Calm and Confident Parenting, suggests refilling as often as possible, well before you run out of items, and anticipating your baby's growing size.

"The weeks will fly by quickly and your baby will be growing fast in those first months and years," she says. "It just adds stress to be out and about and go for your diaper bag and realize you do not have enough wipes, diapers, or spare clothes you need or they are the wrong size."

Create Distractions

As a new parent, you'll quickly learn the importance of mastering the art of distraction. And there's no more important time to use it to your advantage than during diaper changes.

In addition to having a physical distraction on-hand for your baby, such as a lovie or toy that they can hold onto and play with during diaper changes, Dr. Mitzner recommends singing songs to your baby and maintaining eye contact throughout. Singing songs your baby loves will go a long way in helping to keep them calm, she says.

Stay Calm Yourself

Of course, you can expect some kicking, screaming, and mess at times, but it's important to stay as calm as possible despite whatever situation might arise. "Staying calm yourself really does have a calming effect on your child and a stressful situation," says Dr. Mitzner.

"Take breaths, laugh, and giggle even when your little one is fussy," she says. Finishing the job as quickly as possible and then offering comfort afterward is usually the most efficient way to handle the situation.

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