If the much-touted theory – which states that 10,000 hours of practice makes you an expert – is true, then I can’t be that far off being named an expert nappy changer. How cool is that going to look on my LinkedIn profile?
As the dad to a 3.5-year old daughter and one-month old son, it’s fair to say that I’ve been up to my elbows in nappy changes – both literally and figuratively. As a parent, nappy changes are just part of the job description. Love them (?) or hate them, nappies need changing and bums need wiping. Unfortunately, shit happens – in a newborn’s case, up to ten times per day and don’t I know it!
I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt. I’ve also got wee, poo and other bodily fluids on said t-shirt during nappy changes. I’ve therefore teamed up with nappy care experts Bepanthen to bring you some of the nappy change-related challenges you’re likely to encounter as a newbie parent:
Challenge 1: Nappy Change Juggling
It’s always perplexed me why humans have just two hands when every parent knows that they need a minimum of three to (successfully) change their baby’s nappy. At times, it almost feels like a cruel joke is being played on us by the powers that be. When you consider everything that needs to be done – both concurrently and simultaneously – with a nappy change, it’s surprising that nappy change juggling hasn’t yet made it into the circus or Olympics.
Think about it for a second. Nappy changes require you to unbutton and remove clothes, undo a nappy, lift the legs, dispose of the nappy, wipe the area, dispose of the wipe, apply nappy ointment, slide under and secure a new nappy, then put clothes back on. But that’s in a perfect world. The reality is that you’ll probably have to do this as your baby screams, kicks and wriggles – plus, if your particularly lucky, there may be an appearance of fresh bodily fluid halfway through the palava.
To deal with this challenge, make sure you have everything you need right there – the last thing you want is to have to dash into another room to get a missing item. If possible, you may also need to call in the cavalry for their extra hands – a partner, a sibling or even a random passer-by. Finally, remember that every nappy changed is one less nappy to change in the whole scheme of things – it won’t be long until your baby is a toddler and out of nappies (I won’t scare you by mentioning the hell that is potty training just yet…).
Challenge 2: Changing Nappies In Public
Sooner or later, you’re going to want to leave the house with your baby – I know, scary. Left behind are the comforts, familiarity and (organised) chaos of the home, which is instead swapped for the uncertainty of being out and about. When you’re still learning about what to do with a baby, figuring out how to deal with an explosive nappy in the middle of Superdrug is an unwanted complication.
If you find a public baby change facility, in my experience, they leave much to be desired – the pungent aroma of other babies’ nappies, questionable stains on the changing mat and used wet wipes left on the side. Grim. That’s if you find one – despite it being 2018, many male public restrooms still lack the equipment to allow dads and other male carers to change nappies.
Sometimes – whether it’s lack of facilities or just bad timing – you may be forced to go rogue. Sometimes a nappy just needs changing there and then – we, for instance, have had to change nappies in the boot of the car, in the pram and even on a park bench.
So, what can you do? Well, remember to prepare a bag overflowing with baby products and spare clothes likely to rival any large supermarket. If you can, plan ahead so you know where the nearest John Lewis, Costa, Mothercare or other family-friendly place is. And finally, remember that you can always give up and go home – do you *really* need food, clothes and a social life after all?
Our first public nappy change with ‘Beetle’ resulted in one piss on the floor, one crap on the changing mat, a second piss on the changing mat and a complete outfit change. Apart from that, it was a success.
— The DADventurer (Dave) (@The_dadventurer) February 21, 2018
Challenge 3: Dealing With Nappy Rash
Nappy rash can be a pain in the arse – literally and figuratively. It can be caused by a number of things such as allergies or antibiotics, but the most common cause is moisture from wees and poos against your baby’s thin and delicate skin. Although nappy rash is pretty common – up to a third of babies and toddlers in nappies have it at any one time – and is unlikely to have any lasting impact, it can make your baby’s bum red, sore and uncomfortable so it’s best to deal with it as soon as possible.
L never really had nappy rash, so it’s been a pretty new experience with ‘Beetle’. During his short time on the planet, it feels like he’s always had some form of nappy rash though. I’ll refrain from including an accompanying photo, but he has a few red blotches on his cheeks which sometimes look quite raw, blistered and cracked.
He doesn’t seem to be in pain or too much discomfort which is a relief, but we’re doing what we can to clear it up – and it’s definitely working. This has included a number of different things at once. For example, we’re changing his nappy more regularly, ensuring the area is properly cleaned, avoiding soaps and giving nappy-free time where we can (although the latter is dangerous in its own right!).
We’re also using Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment as this helps protect and aid his skin’s natural recovery – this basically consists of rubbing some ointment onto the area, which forms a breathable and transparent layer. We’ve found this to be particularly key at night when nappies are on for the longest period of time.
Challenge 4: Nappy Changes At Night
As you’ve hopefully established from the points above, nappy changes in the day are difficult enough and pose many a challenge. Despite the actual nappy changing process not altering at night, the fact that it’s at night complicates things even more. Firstly, it’s dark. Sure, you can turn on the main light, but you’re then in danger of waking your partner – or worse, fully waking your baby. Something no-one wants at 2am in the morning.
Secondly, you’re knackered. Not only because you have a baby, but also because chances are you’ve been rudely awoken from your slumber by a baby crying, or – more likely – by a sharp elbow to the stomach by your partner. Both of these points combine to make a difficult task even harder – you can barely see and your brain is only just working.
The bad news is that there’s nothing you can do about it – it’s a necessary evil. Apart from pretending to be asleep so someone else deals with it (note: not advised as this will lead to more serious issues!), you’ve just got to wake yourself up and try to feel your way out of the situation. Oh, and eat plenty of carrots.
So those are four of the biggest challenges when changing nappies. What do you reckon? Agree, or would you add something else to the list? Let me know below!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Bepanthen.