Experienced moms are diaper ninjas. They have their babies on and off the changing table in the time it takes a new mom to find the wipes. I don't think anyone actually enjoys changing diapers (if you do, I have a toddler I'd like to introduce you to who goes by the name of Poop Butt), but it can be especially challenging when you lack experience in the nappy department. The fact is, there are just struggles every new mom has changing a diaper.
It's not like I'd never changed a diaper before. I remember watching my mom deftly secure my baby brother's cloth diapers with ducky safety pins in the '90s. Before I was married, I spent a summer as a nanny to an infant. I remember calling my mother when I'd changed six diapers by noon, just to make sure it was normal. I cared for my friends' babies on occasion, and I thought I had the diaper thing down.
However, having my own baby turned out to be a whole different story. I'd never seen newborn poop before, so its transformation from sticky, black meconium to green transitional stool to seedy, mustard-colored breast milk poop was, well, startling. I was also dealing with a growing baby who moved up a size every few months and kept meeting milestones (I mean, yay) that turned diaper changes into wrestling matches.
We've all been there at one point or another, so in solidarity with all new moms, I hereby recognize the following diaper struggles:
The "Surprise Poop"
You know what I'm talking about. There you are expecting a pee diaper, only to open it and discover that your child has buried you a hidden treasure. A poo nugget, if you will. At least when you get a whiff of feces, you know what you're dealing with. A surprise poop feels like a personal affront.
Nothing could have prepared me for the bombshell my newborn baby was about to drop that first week home. My husband and I were changing her in the middle of the night. She'd just urinated all over the changing pad, and as I held her up so hubby could wipe it down, she dropped a deuce. Slow. Clap.
Running Out Of Essentials
Veteran moms are like Boy Scouts — always prepared. New moms are still getting the hang of everything. That's why us newbs are more likely to run out of diapers, wipes, diaper cream, or hand sanitizer in the middle of a diaper change. We know we can't leave baby unattended, so we carry around a half-naked tiny person in search of the missing item.
I have a bad habit of not emptying the Diaper Genie. I will stuff that thing so full that not even a one-pee diaper will fit into it. And the last diaper is always poopy. It pays to plan ahead.
Getting Peed On
I understand that with boy babies, it is necessary to cover them with the new diaper or employ a so-called peepee teepee. Supposedly, it's the cold air that does it, but I happen to suspect malicious intent on the part of that sweet cherub.
Now I have a girl, but I've still been tinkled on. When she was a newborn, baby girl liked to pee during a diaper change (I choose to believe she was personally victimizing me). On my hands. If I wasn't careful about tucking her onesie up her back, she soaked that too.
Changing A Spinning Baby
It's so exciting when your baby finally learns to roll over. Next comes sitting, crawling, pulling up, and walking! This is all good news until you realize you have to diaper your newly mobile child. Once they've learned a new skill, they really like to practice it. I don't know about you, but I still haven't managed to change my kid stinky side up.
Am I the only one whose kid is obsessed with sticking her hands in her diaper? She's almost 2, and I've had to buy 24 month onesies to keep her paws out of there at night. You know how many times I want to smell pee on the hands of my little thumbsucker? Zero.
Ever since she discovered she had hands and that she could bend them to her will, they've been like poop magnets. I get that it's itchy and uncomfortable, but why aren't babies born with a natural aversion to sh*t?
Ah, the dreaded blowout. It refers to the phenomenon in which poop has escaped the diaper, usually through the legs or up the back. Charming, no? It requires an entire change of clothing and evasive maneuvering (on the part of mom) to keep the mess from spreading. (Did you know that onesies have those envelope folds to help a sister out?)
Whether it's you or the baby, someone's going to end up in tears. My newborn loathed having her diaper changed. I hated seeing her so upset, and I couldn't reason with her that what I was doing would actually help her feel better.
My daughter has recently decided this process newly displeases her as a toddler. It's all I can do to keep it together as she tantrums and makes it virtually impossible to get a diaper on her.
Ripping The Tab
Of course I'm referring to disposable diapers here. (Moms who use cloth diapers have a different set of challenges, I'm sure.) It is so freaking frustrating when you place your baby on the open diaper only to catch the tab under her. Pulling it out without ripping it and ruining the whole diaper as a result? May the odds be ever in your favor.
Too Tight/Too Loose
My husband is in the former camp, and I'm in the latter. He likes to place the velcro tabs so that there's one on each side of Cookie Monster's face. I think that's too tight, and I don't want to see any red marks on my daughter's legs. However, when I've put them on too loosely, I've had to deal with leaks. I'm talking through her pajamas, sheets, and mattress pad.
It's all about finding that balance — the Baby Bear fit (you know, "just right"), and it takes time.
Seeing Diaper Rash For The First Time
The first time I saw puffy, red, raw skin on my daughter's vagina, I was horrified. I know how awful it is when I get a yeast infection, so I was super sympathetic. It was so tender that the act of wiping caused her to shiver. Trying to get diaper cream on her is a battle because she understandably doesn't want me to touch her.
Not Having Enough Hands
As a mom, I pretty much always feel like I need more hands, but it's perhaps never more evident than when I'm changing a diaper. Seriously, how are you supposed to hold the baby's legs up and keep their hands out of the way while changing a diaper? I'm not Quicksilver.
But you figure it out with time and practice. Either that or veteran moms have developed mutant powers, in which case, sign me up.