Hello everyone, Jenny here! I am finally back from maternity leave (many, many thanks to the lovely Brynja for being more than the best maternity cover), and I am eager to share more of my previous year with you all.
Remember my last blog for Real Nappy Week 2021, on life with two children in reusables? If you look back to it, the picture of my daughter Lynnie lying in just her fluffy bamboo nappy is the perfect summary of every changing time in our house. She usually ends up bare-bummed on her tummy, surrounded by a mountain of toys but she will only reach out for the puzzle that her older brother is trying to complete next to her. I can understand, from watching films and listening to the horror stories of older grandparents about poo-namis, why a lot of parents see changing time as something to be dreaded, and then dealt with as quickly as possible to prevent any mess. I have personally found that, once I let the dread go, “changing” times got longer and longer and became one of our favourite parts of the day.
As your baby will be on their back watching your face with wonder, changing time is the perfect opportunity for talking with your little one. Smiling, blowing raspberries and babbling are all communication milestones for babies as young as six weeks old, so you can talk to your baby from the get-go. When they’re older but not quite able to speak, you can start signing the words “wee” and “poo” during a change. Whether you’re interested in early potty training or keeping them in nappies, it’s always great for a baby to communicate that changing time is needed. It’ll make them feel more in control and independent, and it will help you out too.
I don’t know about you, but if I was wearing nappies 24/7, I’m sure I would appreciate a break every now and then! We always recommend regular changing to avoid nappy rash, but it’s also important to give baby’s skin some nappy-free time too. It doesn’t have to be for long – when Lynnie was very little I would leave her on two towels under her baby gym while I washed my hands. The same can be done for a sitting baby by giving them a little basket of toys to explore. By the time they’re crawling or walking, you’ll know how much time you have before your child does another wee. As baby boys tend to go as soon as they come into contact with fresh air, the chances are that they’ll have emptied themselves for a little while at least.
Any parent will tell you that changing time can be a messy affair, but I’ve gradually realised, along with my older son, that changing a nappy is also a very intimate affair and a perfect place to create positive body image. If Rawrie is around and his sister has done a poo, he’s always interested as I talk him through what I’m doing. I take care not to appear too grossed out at the contents of a nappy in front of the children, and so Rawrie mirrors what I do and say. After all, all grown-ups poo too! It’s important to let little ones know that it’s a completely normal process.
Now Lynnie is obsessed with rolling and standing, it’s far easier to put her nappy on while standing up, and I already do this with Rawrie. This is completely do-able and requires nothing more than a really interesting toy and a little patience on your side. If your little one is also at this stage, there’s nothing stopping you from handing them an extra wipe and guiding them to wipe themselves as soon as they’re able. This will take a little practice for both of you, but the earlier they practice the sooner they can take control of both changing and potty time.
There is only one practical tip I need that ensures a slick changing process, and that is having a trusty wet bag nearby. I have one hung up in our bathroom and the children’s room, where I am most likely to end up with a used nappy. I got a bundle of wet bags second hand, and I find, with children who can run around, they are easier to hang up high and out of reach.
Changing time is bonding, talking, and teaching time in our house and we truly love it. It’s very easy to use our beloved nappies in our little routine, and I would always encourage parents to get a free voucher, or head to their local nappy library or nappy network, and give them a go.