Parenting expert Lisa Clegg shares her top tips for dads on clean-up duty.
Nappy changing offers a great bonding experience with your baby but for new parents in particular, can feel like a pretty daunting task.
It can also be very easy to fall into a debate between couples on ‘whose turn it is this time’ or ‘who does a better job at it’. In truth, there is no right or wrong way to do the change as long as the baby gets cleaned properly, the fresh nappy is put on and your little one is left happy. Just because one parent does it differently, doesn’t make either of you right or wrong.
To help dads navigate the messy situations ahead, Lisa Clegg – The Blissful Baby Expert, has shared these golden guidelines:
1. Try not to snipe at each other. You will put your partner off wanting to change nappies at all if you are always nagging about the way in which they are doing it – which won’t be fun for either of you.
As a dad you may change the nappy in a different way to mum – it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong, even if you do need to use half a packet of wipes and a nose peg, and mum doesn’t – or vice versa!
2. Don’t watch each other do it. Take the baby upstairs or to another room on the first few occasions if you are both feeling a little overwhelmed and nervous about nappy changes. The last thing you need is someone else quietly scrutinising the way in which you do it (even if they don’t say anything to you vocally!)
It will become far easier and more relaxed if you can have that time alone with your baby.
3. Accept and ask for help when needed. This is particularly important at the beginning when it’s all so new. It’s not a failure to say you can’t do something on your own and need help to do it more effectively.
4. Try to divide nappy changing as equally as you can without it becoming a debate. Whoever is the main carer tends to be at home with baby for most of the time, so it’s only natural that they are going to be on nappy duty more frequently. As long you offer to change when home from work, without being ASKED, then that will go a long way to being appreciated by your partner.
5. Protect their skin. Newborn babies’ skin is extremely sensitive and lacks the required defences against risk factors that can cause skin problems such as nappy rash. A thin layer of a protective nappy cream will create a barrier to help keep skin smooth and moisturised. Resist the temptation to slather but use sparingly like you would with hand cream.
6. Laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes you will be met with a baby covered in poo from head to foot – if you don’t laugh you will cry!
7. Don’t forget about bedtime. Babies’ bottoms have to cope with some tough conditions – especially at bedtime, when the nappy is on for the longest period of time. Apply nappy cream as part of your baby’s bedtime routine and start your journey towards a good night’s sleep.
For more great tips on nappy changing, check out Bepanthen’s new e-book, What The Parenting Manuals Don’t Tell You, which was developed in collaboration with Lisa and contains advice for new or expectant parents from mums and dads who have experienced it all.