At the age of 31 I changed my first nappy. To be clear, this was my son’s nappy, not mine. To be even clearer, I don’t wear a nappy. Now we have cleared that up, allow me to share a few useful tips that I have picked up along this poo paved road….
Being well prepared is the single best piece of advice I have to offer. Whether it’s a nappy change, bath time or bedtime, preparation probably has the biggest impact on how much of a jibbering, shitty fingered wreck you will (or won’t) be afterwards. The main points to note here are:
- Make sure you have all the required equipment ready. The two minutes prepping your changing station/bag after each change is a must and will save you untold grief. Think about it, you wouldn’t expect a Formula 1 driver to pull into the pit only for the mechanic to be like “ooh, now where did I put that spanner?” In simple terms, being well prepared will put you in the best possible position to avoid any potential shit shower.
- Picking the right nappy – this might sound too obvious but bear with me… A good nappy can mean the difference between a nappy change and a whole outfit change (potentially for both of you). Every child is different, from the size and shape of them to the amount they pee and poo so it should come as no surprise that a nappy that works well for one child doesn’t necessarily work as well for another. Try different brands and don’t assume that the most expensive will be the best, and don’t assume that the same brand will continue to be the best whilst they grow (we switched at about 12 months).
- Get that fresh nappy opened up, laid out and ready to go before you even think about removing the dirty one. Nothing gets the heart pounding like frantically trying to unfold a nappy with one hand whilst holding your child’s hands away from their shitty arse with the other.
- Wet wipes at the ready – get these life savers out before you start and lay one over them to act as a pee shield. If it’s a number two then take out how many you would normally use then take out three more (you can always put them back in if you don’t use them) unfold them and lay them out so they’re ready to swoop into action when you need them. You might think that laying the wet wipes out in advance is going a bit far but trust me, once you’ve tried to pull a single wet wipe out of the packet with one hand and ended up with about 15 stuck together that you can’t separate, you’ll be glad of those nicely laid out wet wipes.
Much like a paramedic, response time is critical. Respond too soon and you’ll risk getting sprayed/pebbledashed halfway through the change, as you come to the crushing realisation that they hadn’t quite finished, and as we all know a poop halfway through a change is right up there with leaving a pizza in the oven for too long in terms of disappointments in life. On the flip side, respond too late and you could have some Chernobyl-esque fallout on your hands that’s clung to your child’s behind, back and neck like some sort of industrial superglue. To enable your sixth ‘poop’ sense you need to get to know your child’s toilet schedule like your local pub’s opening hours. To make this as easy as possible ensure that you get into a rigid military-like feeding schedule. Feeding your little one at the same times every day will lead to a toilet schedule that you can set your watch by (to be clear, this is just a turn of phrase, I do not recommend you set your watch to anyone’s bowel movements, use GMT or your iPhone/android device). Get this right and you’ll be a true giant among nappy changing men.
This part is crucial as no matter how well you’ve prepared, if your child manages to quickly grab a handful of turd and smear Rambo-style markings across their face, then all bets are off. Before you get started ensure you have some distraction tools to hand. Now, I’m not talking about their favourite toy, it just needs to be something they don’t usually get hold of. It could be the most boring thing in the world to you but to them it is an interesting and forbidden artefact. A classic in our house is a bottle of bedtime lotion or tub of Sudocrem. These types of distraction are ideal as if your child manages to dunk them into the nappy of doom, they’re wipe clean, unlike their favourite Iggle Piggle cuddly toy…
Whilst this may seem obvious it is, in my view, one of the most important parts of a stress free nappy change. The quicker you can do it, the less likely they are to get upset, roll over, pee on you etc, the list goes on. But remember, just like any piece of DIY, a rushed nappy will only come back to bite you on the arse, so do it quick, but do it right. And importantly, if you have a little boy make sure their old chap is facing south when that nappy goes on (this alone will reduce wet through nappies by at least half). Unfortunately, like any top athlete, if you want to be the best then you have to put in the work and practice really does make perfect so embrace these tips and hone your craft. Pretty soon you will be a nappy changing tour de force, earning brownie points galore that can be spent on trips to the pub and days out with the boys.
A few minor points to clarify before I leave you:
- This is not a paint by numbers, one size fits all guide. Unfortunately nappies are like fingerprints, they are unique to the owner and no two in the world are the same so roll with the punches and you’ll get there in the end.
- This guide is for standard, run of the mill dirty nappies. For exploding ones, there is no helping you, you’re on your own, deal with it and get hosed down after.
- I learnt most of this from Kate.