When my daughter was 6 months old, diaper changes changed from pretty peaceful (if sometimes gross) occurrences, to full-on wrestling matches. She would arch her back and fling her limbs around, making it nearly impossible to get a diaper around her tiny butt. It quickly became apparent that my partner and I were going to have to outsmart and distract our daughter in order to get diapers on her. Thankfully, the games I made up to get through a diaper change made all the difference.
My daughter is petite, but she is wiry. I'll never forget the time my partner and I left our daughter with my sister and her family physician husband. When we left they were two confident adults. When we returned they were two exhausted adults who had spent much longer than anyone could have imagined trying to get a diaper on the 6-month-old's butt. In all my instructions, I had forgotten to give them a list of my tricks to get her to lie still long enough for a diaper change.
While I felt a bit bad that I'd forgotten this critical information that would have made their babysitting experience easier, I was pretty pleased that I'd come up with so many tricks and games that made changing her diaper possible, in the first place. So, if you're struggling to change a diaper on your squirmy child, try a few of my go-to tricks:
The "WWF Narration" Game
I've never watched wrestling religiously, but it's pretty funny to narrate your diaper changes with some WWF style inner monologue. Best keep it in your head, though, lest your mother-in-law ask where exactly your child picked up the term "epic throw down."
The "Find The Toy That Will Keep My Daughter's Attention The Longest" Game
On the way to the changing pad, I like to pick up a few small toys (or random-but-not-harmful household objects) for my daughter to fiddle with while I'm changing her diaper. Sometimes I can even get through a whole clothing change if I pick just the right combination of toys.
The "How Much Lotion Can My Daughter Put On Herself Without Ruining Her Clothes" Game
When my daughter had a particularly bad bout of eczema a few months ago, we realized we could distract her during a diaper change by letting her help put lotion on herself. The key was to give her the tiniest amounts of lotion, then hope she didn't happen to be wearing anything that the extremely thick lotion would ruin.
The "Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes" Game
When my daughter started getting old enough for "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," that started making diaper changes slightly easier (when she was in the mood for that particular song, of course).
If you think this game is for you and your kid, I definitely suggest you focus on the head and shoulders part of the tune for the earlier part of the diaper change. Otherwise, your kid will probably and up spending so much time trying to grab his or her feet that you'll never get that damn diaper on.
The "Speed Racer" Game
Sometimes you've just got to go for speed. Get everything ready, then fling the child on the mat and hope you can get the diaper on fast enough your kid won't even notice what you're doing until it's all said and done.
The "Twister" Game
It's sort of like Twister, but you basically see how many limbs you can hold down with one elbow while using both hands to secure the diaper. It works especially well for that arched back thing they do that makes diaper changes particularly annoying.
The "Can You Help Me?" Game
Sometimes I'm feeling energetic enough, and have enough time, to play "Can You Help Me?" with my daughter, which really means I let her pick out the diaper, take out two wipes (because one is never enough), and even let her squirt a little diaper cream into her diaper even though she probably doesn't need it.
Getting her involved and asking her the same, "Can you hep me?" question over and over again somehow distracts her enough from her thrashing to get us through a diaper change.
(Bonus points for this one, because it has led to adorable doll reenactments already.)
The "Funny Noises" Game
Maybe my daughter and I are weirder than most, but so long as no one's sleeping in the next room, we often make funny, loud noises while we're doing a diaper change. One of us will make a funny shriek and the other will copy it, and this goes on until one of us fizzles in a fit of laughter or the diaper is changed. May as well make a tedious task a little more fun for all involved, right?