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Respectful Nappy Changes

“Nappy changing is not just about getting a job done, or having a clean baby. Our hands are a baby’s introduction to the world. If they touch slowly, gently, and “ask” a child for cooperation rather than demand it, we are rewarded with a relationship bound in trust, respect and the inexorable knowledge of our importance to each other.” – Janet Lansbury
Respectful Nappy Changes Respectful Nappy Changes

The most significant thing about a nappy change is not the new nappy. It’s the good feelings shared between baby and parent. It’s the relationship. ⁠ How can you slow down your nappy changes and give them your full attention?

At Only About Children our in-house Children Services Curriculum Advisor, Jenny Kable, explains that nappy changes are not just another routine caregiving task to rush through so that you get to the more important parts of the day. They are valued as important opportunities for learning and relationship building.

Nappy changes with toddlers can be tough for both the parent and toddler! Here are some ideas, inspired by Janet Lansbury with How To Love A Diaper Change , to help support a more mindful and respectful experience for babies and toddlers:

  • A respectful start –  toddlers don’t like to be interrupted when they are playing, wait for a gap in their playing before starting the nappy changing process.  You may wish to give your toddler some autonomy and ask “Would you like to walk to the change table or should I carry you?”
  • Give the undivided attention your toddler loves – slow down and focus on your little ones for these few minutes.   Toddlers sense our hurry or distraction, and it can make them tense and resistant.  Ask for your baby’s help, talk them through what you are doing and encourage the use of senses (the feel of the cold wipe, the sound of the zip in their pyjamas).
  • Be open minded – when toddlers become mobile, nappy changing may look quite different!  Continue to ask for cooperation but understand that your toddler may wish to now stand for their nappy change.  Also encourage their independence, you may ask him to take off his own nappy or wipe himself.   You may be surprised by all that your toddler can do!
  • It will not always be easy – Acknowledge that sometimes nappy changes can be disastrous, embrace it and share your feelings with your toddler, “Wow, that was a tough one for both of us, wasn’t it?”

Learn more tips & tricks from our in-house Children Services Curriculum Advisor, Jenny Kable: 5 Things To Say Instead Of Don’t Cry

Plus, read more on this topic from Janet Lansbury with How To Love A Diaper Change or from Ruth Anne Hammond in her insightful book, Respecting Babies: A New Look At Magda Gerber’s RIE Approach.

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