Make nappy changing fun, not a chore

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Nappies take up much of a mom's time. But before you complain, heed the advice of a doctor.

Lungani Manzi, a pediatrician at Frere Hospital, says although nappy-changing can seem like a chore, it is a great opportunity to bond with your baby.

He says the average baby uses 15 towel nappies a day - a daunting prospect for a novice with a newborn.

Manzi says that as babies grow, they also become more active. As this activity increases, nappy changing becomes a bit of a challenge.

"One day you will wake up and your baby is no longer a newborn, but a very active baby. No longer will he lie still and allow you to change his nappy," Manzi says.

Tips on changing nappies:

l Make nappy changing fun with lots of songs and giggles to distract your baby;

l Have some toys, a book and other interesting and safe objects on hand for your baby to hold and look at while he is being changed.

According to Edme Brink, a brand manager for Huggies Dry Comfort, once your baby becomes a toddler, nappy changing can get really interesting.

"Your toddler may prefer to walk away or keep playing instead of having his nappy changed. The key is to give the baby something that will distract him. Give him something to examine, but keep these objects for change time only or the novelty will wear off," Brink says.

She advises parents to try "pull-ups".

"They pull on like pants and have tear-away sides for super easy removal. This makes nappy changing easy, quick and convenient."

Brink adds that the toddler stage brings its own problems. Baby will delight in running away from you when its time for a nappy change.

"This stage often coincides with toddlers developing independence and the word "no".

Tips for this phase:

l Make nappy-change time a game. See how high you have to count before you are finished;

l Place an object under the nappy and have your toddler hold it, with eyes closed, while they step into their nappy;

l If they are busy with an activity give them a simple choice. "Would you like to change your nappy now or when you have finished colouring in that star?"

l Get them involved by making it their job to fetch the new nappy.

How often do babies need changing?

Linda Owens, a Day Care teacher, says the rule of thumb is a clean nappy for every feed.

"You can certainly break this rule if your baby is feeding more frequently than six or seven times a day."

Brink says that feeding every couple of hours during the day is normal, especially for younger breast-fed babies.

"You don't need to change at night feeds unless he's passed stools. Always change a nappy as soon as possible when you know your baby has passed stools, to prevent nappy rash," she says.