How on Earth to stop a baby crying while they have their nappy changed.
To begin with, our baby always cried on the changing mat because it was cold and they didn't like being put down. Then they grumbled because we were too slow, and now they just try to escape. Here are some techniques we have tried along the way in our constantly evolving parenthood experiment.
It is testament to how long it takes me to do anything that I am sharing this changing mat post after I stopped using a changing mat...
Make it less work
Use a potty with the baby so as they are quicker to clean
It is quicker to clean Babie's bums when they poo in a bucket or toilet. The poo does not stay on their skin, and spread across their back and into their clothes. This is obviously much more comfortable for everyone. However, you do have to go to the toilet frequently at first. We started when baby was nine weeks (I was no longer immobile, had more sleep, and less visitors). Read more about it here:
EC UK (elimination communication, nappy free, baby-led potty training
Dress the baby in clothes which are quick to take off and put on again
Our baby will now only wear babygrows with zips. With our old poppery ones, we would just leave the poppers undone. We also don't want our baby to wear socks as they fall off. These things can make you look neglectful when in public.
Use nappies which work properly so you don't have to change clothes and bed sheets as well
Newborn babies do a lot of poo and need to be changed a lot ( I was also often covered in breastmilk or 'night sweat'). To our surprise, older babies don't even poo every day. My advice is to make life easy at the start.
We started off with Naty 'eco' biodegradable nappies. These often leaked, meaning we had to change clothes several times a day (we now change clothes every other day if we keep track). This (plus my breastmilk drenched pyjamas) meant we had to start using the drying function on the washing machine every day. This meant we weren't actually being very eco at all. We now use Beaming Baby, which can hold a night's worth of wee.
In my experience, reusables hold less wee. They can also be massive, and raise Baby's bum in the air. Obviously, they also make a lot of washing and a drying machine if you lack space/ time (you do lack time). On the plus side, the Velcro ones are quick to take on and off again, providing the liners are ready and to hand. Poppers take a while and come undone. There is also something called a flapawrap which I haven't got my head around yet.
Make it less boring for older babies
Keep the changing mat on the floor
This way Baby can roll around and practice crawling without the danger of falling. I am now learning to dress Baby in many different wriggly positions.
Have a toy
Something we talked about, but never got around to, is investing in a mobile. Now Baby is a bit old for that anyway, and happy grabbing whatever stuff is in reach. This is only a problem when that is a bucket of wee or dirty nappy. As a distraction, I have now provided some bricks.
Make it more comfortable for younger babies
I talk about what I am doing as I go along, or sing. Another adult can hold Baby's hands or feet, or put a finger in their mouth. You can also have Baby's favourite song to hand to play (Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac), or apparently some white noise works.
Change nappies on a person
It is possible to use another parent as a changing mat. Catch them as they try to go back to bed. Baby can lie on the parent, and think they are being cuddled. I'm also getting better at changing Baby on my own lap since we started leaving the house. And now that Baby uses a toilet, I always wipe them on my lap.
Make the mat less cold
One weary night we unearthed a startling reality; finally cottoning on that wipes and changing mats are cold. This (but mainly being put down) made Baby cry. It also transpired that the liquid we found on Baby’s face was not the result of a leaky ceiling; but rather Baby's own urine, which was released when the chilled air hit.
Obviously, we decided to convert the changing mat into a luxury spa resort, so that Baby need never suffer again. Our natural nappy treatment area is designed to ease the emotional strain of baby ablutions, and rejuvenate tired parents- because what family member doesn't like a good pampering? The changing mat become a favourite place for Baby to kick and roll around on... before they got bored of it again.