5 Guidelines for Changing a Diaper

Posted by Mission Commander on July 13, 2015 in Dad Field Manual |

Every Diaper an Adventure

So last night my wife and son are sound asleep in bed with the mutts when I finally get done working on the blog and came to bed. All is well for a little bit, despite some rumblings from the mutts, and then it happens. Iโ€™m awoken from the edge of sleep as my wife sits up to change the little minion quickly there on the bed in the hopes that a fresh diaper will help him get back to sleep. Unfortunately she decided to forgo one of the cardinal rules of diaper changes, and as Murphy will tell you: the worst will happen when you least expect.

And that’s exactly what happened to my wife.

5 Guidelines for Changing a Diaper

1. Buttons vs Zippers:

This is more a consideration in general. Outfits with buttons are fine and all, but do you really want to spend more unneeded seconds trying to button and re-buttonย  their outfit back up (because inevitably at 3am you’re going to forget one somewhere) while they’re screaming their head off and still flailing like a spider monkey? The wise choice would be to invest in outfits that have zippers. Trust me on this one. The only downside to zipper outfits is having to wrestle the one leg into the side of the outfit the zipper doesn’t go down. It never fails that they’ll be kicking like crazy up until the point you need to get them zipped back up, and that’s when they’ll kick those legs down and hold them stiff.

2. Prep for Diaper Surgery:

Every experienced parent will tell you that you have to treat a diaper change like you’re about to perform heart surgery. Wet diaper, one wipe will do. Blown out diaper? You might need half the box of wipes. Either way, you need to have everything ready before you ever open that diaper: wipes set aside individually, clean diaper opened and ready to go, and maybe even another outfit on standby. Once you have everything in place, you’ll slowly unwrap their outfit from them like you’re working a crime scene. Just be sure to grab and ankle and pull their hips up off the changing pad and get a look to see if they’ve expelled anything out the back of the diaper so you aren’t stuck cleaning up more than just the baby.

3. Know your load:

They call it the ‘whiff test’. Those who don’t have kids will gaff at the thought of intentionally bringing a child’s butt up to your nose to sniff out whether they need a change or not. Sometimes you’ll just know from the power of the blast you just felt that there’s probably something wretched down there. But if you weren’t fortunate enough to be holding them and feel it, or they were bouncing like crazed little meth addicts in their bouncer and you couldn’t hear it, then you’ll need to go to the whiff test. These days some diapers have an indicator strip that will tell you if they’re wet (hint: they’re always wet) but those don’t do so good against the old number 2. Knowing what you’re going to be dealing with when you unstrap that little absorbent package of vile will tell you what you need to do before you can triage the thing.

4. Flailing Spidermonkey:

Unless you can use your Jedi mind-powers to get an infant to lay still until you can get a new diaper on them, prepare for them to kick and flail like a little spider monkey all hopped up on Mountain Dew. So control the feet as best you can, otherwise next you’ll be dealing with a heel caked in poo that is now spreading it everywhere. This might not be so bad when they’re a fresh newborn, they’re still too small to get too crazy with their movements. But give it a month or two and you’ll feel like a bond villain strapping them down before explaining your whole evil plan to them.

5. Block the Fire Hose:

Number five, and perhaps the most important, is blocking the fire hose. Once that diaper is unstrapped you need to cover that little super soaker as quick as possible. Whether it’s with a ‘pee guard’ or a wipe, or even just the new diaper. You never know when they have a little more fuel in the tank and right about mid-diaper change is right when they’ll hose you down. My wife learned this the hard way again that night she changed his diaper in bed. She decided in haste not to cover him up, after all he hadn’t let loose the other times she’d done it, why would he now?ย  That little guy let it rip like the bed was on fire and our only hope of survival was his little extinguisher.

Suck it up Jack

When you get initiated into the fraternal order of fathers you can expect to pay your dues in diaper changes for the next year or two. Yeah, it’s gross, and you’ll be hesitant at first. But once you get a dozen or so changes under your belt in that first week or so of being a new parent you’ll be changing diapers like a seasoned pro.


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  • sharon says:

    hi I loved the picture of your son such a sweet looking boy, very eye catching.
    the background doesn’t work very well as the blue looks blurry and the black writing doesn’t stand out well making it harder to read. your article is well thought out but needs more information like having a bin of some sort for soiled nappy, if you re read it you might think of more.
    good luck.
    from sharon

  • Diana Worley says:

    Wow!! Mission Commander you make this all sound easy! Your fantastic take on the daunting job of diaper changing is so refreshing. A must for any new parent, mom or dad as well as caregives and older siblings assigned with the duty. This should be required reading for parent prep classes!
    Carry on Commander, Carry on.

    • Mission Commander says:

      Thanks for stopping by Diana! Glad you liked the article on diaper changes, they certainly can be a challenge! It’s almost refreshing having a 1 month old now, his changes are so easy compared to our 14 month old who kicks and writhes around like a possessed spider monkey!

  • Emily says:

    Mom of three checking in!

    The “whiff test” is an invaluable tool in your child battle arsenal. It will save you much brown coated embarrassment in public situations, once you get the sneaky sniff down. Getting caught brazenly sniffy a small bediapered bum is a whole different bit of social faux pas.

    Regarding buttons vs zippers: Oversized shirts are where it’s at after they outgrow gowns. Flip those suckers up, change that diaper like The Flash, and return to bed. It’s not as cute as tiny pajamas, but you’ve got to trade something for the sake of your own sleep sanity.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Commander!

    • Mission Commander says:

      Thanks for checking in Emily! The whiff test is definitely crucial, especially when you’re out and about! Maybe it’s because I’m a dad, but I’ve got no qualms flippin the minion up for a quick whiff just to check when we’re in public, odd looking onlookers be damned!

      Good tip on the oversized shirts! We were all about the zip up sleepers for awhile, but now that he’s in 12mo sized outfits we’ve switched to shirt and pants combos for night time. Might take an extra step to slip the pants off as opposed to flipping the larger shirt up as you suggest, but it gets the job done! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Debra says:

    OMG, I absolutey loved your post. So creative, entertaining and informational for not only new dads but even new mothers.

    Coming from a mother of three boys, you hit the nail on the head with the guidelines of changing a diaper. Preparation is key to a positive encounter and end game.

    Keep up the blogging. Your articles are great

    • Mission Commander says:

      Thanks Debra, glad you liked it! Changing diapers is pretty easy when they’re still in the first month or two, but once they get to around 4-5mo and can start moving their little bodies more it really can be challenging! Our son is almost 10mo now and I might have to add the step of ‘give them something to distract’ as he’ll twist and turn the whole time if we don’t give him something to occupy his hands lol

  • Titus says:

    I have twins and as a father I HATE the buttons! My wife can do them ok, but it seems totally inefficient to me. Go zippers! Your right about the flailing. That is also why you need everything at the ready or your going to have to carry a poopy baby to go get what you need so they don’t fall off the changing table.! very amusing article and great advice. I will be returning in the future!

  • Chris says:

    This made me laugh – I have a ten month old baby boy and the ‘whiff test’ often comes into play – what an awesome way to describe something so horrible ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love the tips and tricks you have provided here. Will be showing them to my partner later tonight.
    Good luck with the site – thanks for sharing!

    • Mission Commander says:

      Thanks Chris, glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully the guidelines will help when it comes to diaper duty! Thank you for visiting and we hope you’ll check back with us for other good info on all things Dad related! ๐Ÿ™‚

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