Dear Father Hood: how do I change a nappy?

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Are you a panicked father-to-be, or some kind of weird fetishist? Either way, I have good news. Changing a nappy is actually pretty easy if… your subject is sleeping or smiling submissively. If they’re not, good luck.

My baptism of fire came at the hospital on night one. Due to our complete lack of forward-planning, my wife and I had only been able to attend two NCT classes before the big day. Neither of these featured the art of nappy swapping. Thus when I was presented with a screaming baby who’d just emptied his bowels in the maternity ward at around 5.12am, I had two options. I could close my eyes, get into the recovery position and hope everything would be okay when I woke up. Or I could swallow my pride and ask the midwife for help. Social services will be pleased to hear I chose the latter option. And I am pleased I did, because the lovely (if a little moody) midwife taught me the following…

  • Get the replacement nappy and nappy bag primed before going near the dirty one.
  • Undo the sides and pull down the front to assess the damage.
  • If you’ve had a boy, use a wet wipe or similar to cover his dingle. Otherwise, how should I put this? I know. Pee in your face.
  • Holding your baby by the ankles, lift its behind slightly off the changing unit, fold the front of the soiled nappy onto the back and then slide it down towards you.
  • Still holding the ankles, clean your bubba’s sensitive undercarriage with cotton wool and warm water rather than wipes.
  • Slip the new nappy underneath, bring your little one’s legs down, pull up the front and stick together. Et voila he or she will be a picture of contentment (until she pees or poops again in roughly 37 minutes).

What the midwife didn’t tell me, however. Was that the game totally changes when your kid works out how to turn over/sit up/move/crawl (delete as applicable). So what do you do when this happens? One word: distraction. If I dangle a toy/watch/phone/empty bottle of water/packet of wet wipes in my son’s vision, he’s far more docile than he is if we’re just asking him to lie there and stare at a ceiling. And by this I mean, I probably have a 70/30 chance of getting out of the baby change in five minutes without having to call for back-up or change both our clothing. Yup, this is one thing that really does not get easier as they get older. Good luck. You’re going to need it.

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