Newborns are wonderful. But it’s safe to say becoming a parent, whether for the first time or not, is anything but easy. Feeding, burping, getting them to sleep – it’s a minefield. And that’s before you get to changing!
Diaper changes aren’t always a pleasant experience – both for your little one and for you. It’s pretty common for babies, especially newborns, to cry when you change them. But why is that? And what can you do to help?
Let’s take a closer look at changing: common reasons for crying while being changed, how to make it a nicer experience for your baby and, ultimately, how to make it easier for you!
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Why does my baby cry when I change her diaper?
There are lots of reasons why your little one might cry when you change her. Let’s explore them in more detail.
- Reason 1: She could be tired
The changing of diapers itself might not be the sole reason your little one is upset. It may be that she’s simply tired. This is especially the case when you change her in the middle of the night! And if your little one is anything like mine was, that’s their favorite time to poop…
- Reason 2: She could be hungry
It might be that diaper change time coincides with meal time. A newborn’s hunger levels know no bounds, so it’s possible that she needs a top up.
- Reason 3: She has an upset tummy or has colic
Upset tummies and colic are super common in newborns. If your little one’s suffering with a bad tummy, and then they’re interrupted with a diaper change, it’s a recipe for crying, for sure.
- Reason 4: She’s too cold
Changing newborns usually involves removing layers, and that can mean one thing: cold. Try to change your little one in a warm place or room, and bear in mind that it might be the cold that’s upsetting them.
- Reason 5: The wipes are too cold
Imagine you’re a newborn snuggling up in a cozy blanket and comfy bassinet. And suddenly, you’re plucked from your cocoon, undressed and your mom or dad puts a cold wipe against your sensitive skin.
It’s easy to see why cold wipes would cause your newborn to cry.
It’s worth keeping your wipes in a warm place, or consider investing in a wipe warmer.
- Reason 6: The wipes aren’t soft enough
Not all wipes are made equal. In fact, the quality varies a lot from brand to brand. In my experience, the more plant-based materials that are used to make baby wipes, the softer and gentler they are on the skin.
And lots of baby brands pack their wipes with unnecessary chemicals, like fragrances, parabens and SLS. But there are plenty on the market that don’t, which is great news for our little ones’ skin. Ecoriginals, Healthynest and Eco Pea are some of my favorites.
How to make diaper changes less traumatic for newborn
While there are a bunch of reasons why your newborn might dislike diaper changes, there are loads of things you can do to make it better.
Let’s take a look at them in more detail…
Try talking to them
Try to distract your newborn from the diaper change by talking to them, narrating what you’re doing or simply being silly! As we know, talking to our little ones as much as possible, from as early as possible, is crucial for their language development. So during a diaper change is the perfect time to strike up a conversation!
Before you know it, they’ll be a walking, talking toddler answering back with words! And lots of ‘no’…
Try a wipe warmer
While wipe warmers are rarely on the ‘must-have’ list when you’re preparing for a newborn, many parents and carers swear by them. And if you consider how cold wipes can be, especially if they’ve been stored in a cool room or cupboard, it’s understandable that some little ones hate diaper changes!
A wipe warmer like this one from Hiccapop can help to make changes more pleasant for your little one and their sensitive skin. It holds 75–100 standard wipes, is energy efficient, and has a night light for easy night changes.
Parents who swear by them report how much easier diaper changes became, so it’s worth giving them a go.
Make sure your baby is comfy and warm
Chances are, if you’ve got a baby, you’ve got a plastic changing mat. And while these mats are easy to clean, they’re not the comfiest surfaces for our little ones.
They’re often cold to the touch, especially if they’re stored in a cold room or cupboard, so there’s no wonder babies get upset when they’re taken from their warm blankets and transferred to a cold, hard surface.
Luckily, there’s a solution.
Many parents and carers said their diaper changing experiences changed completely when they got a soft plush cover, like this one on Amazon.
This uber soft cover fits standard changing mats, is stain resistant and is machine washable. It turns a hard, cold surface into a warm and plush one, making diaper changes much more pleasant for your newborn.
Sing a song
Like talking, singing is a great way to bond with your baby and build her vocabulary. Distracting her with a song is a great way to take the attention away from the diaper change, and on to mommy or daddy!
Give her a top to play with
Another great distraction technique is giving your little one something tactile to play with. Babies love playing with soft clothing, so try giving her one of her tops. She’ll love feeling the soft fabric, and hopefully it’ll distract her from the change.
It might sound obvious, but don’t let diaper changes take longer than they need to. Being prepared and having everything you need to hand so that you can get your little one changed quickly is better for them, and better for their safety too.
Even if you’ve got a diaper changing table, it might not always be convenient to use it. This super cute diaper caddy is a great addition to changing time. It has different sections and plenty of space for diapers, wipes and creams. And the best thing about it is it’s easy to move around the house, so you can be prepared wherever you’re changing your little one.
And if your caddy includes super soft and sustainable wipes like Eco Pea or Ecoriginals, even better.
Will my baby ever stop crying during diaper changes?
When I had my first baby, there were many times when I questioned, ‘Do all babies fight diaper changes?’, or is it just mine…
Fast forward 7 years, and I’m now the proud mom of two very different children, one of whom hated being changed, while the other didn’t mind a jot. Suffice to say, all babies are different. Some babies hate diaper changes from the get-go, and some don’t mind them at all.
It’s common for babies to dislike being changed at first, but when it becomes part of their routine, things often get easier.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to how long your baby might cry during diaper changes, but if you follow the advice above, they’re much less likely to be upset. Making sure they’re the right temperature, distracting them and using a soft surface for the change are super important, and should make changing a more pleasant experience for your little one and for you!
Is it normal for a newborn to hate diaper changes?
It’s pretty common for newborns to cry during diaper changes. At first, everything is completely new to them, including diaper changes. As time goes on, they get used to diaper changes being part of their routine, and so it becomes a normal experience for them.
But it’s important to say that if you ever have any concerns about diaper changes and your baby’s reaction to them, especially if you think they may be in pain in any way, contact your pediatrician.
Is it better to change a diaper before or after feeding?
Aside from making sure you change your baby often to minimize the risk of nappy rash, there are no hard rules when it comes to diaper changing. Some parents find that it’s easier to change a newborn’s diaper before feeding them, as feeding often makes them tired. If you then need to change them after they’ve fallen asleep, there’s a big chance you’ll wake them!
Having said that, some babies tend to poop just after feeding. If that’s the case with your baby, it’s probably better to wait!
As your baby’s feeding habits change and develop over time, so will their changing needs. You’ll get to know your baby more and more as the months go on, and get into a better routine.
Every baby is unique. They come with a unique set of joys, and a unique set of challenges… one of which often includes crying while being changed.
It’s normal for babies to cry when they’re being changed, especially when they’re very young. They’ve been thrust from a comfy cozy womb into the ever-changing world, and diaper time is something completely new to them.
Plus, changes could coincide with your newborn feeling hungry, tired or cold, which may make matters worse.
But many little ones cry less as time goes on, as diaper changing becomes a normal part of their routine. And there are lots of things you can do to make diaper changing less stressful for them.
Aside from being super prepared and distracting them with a chat, song or silly face, my top tip is getting hold of a super soft and fleecy changing mat cover, like this one on Amazon. It’ll make the process a lot more comfortable for your little one, and easier for you as a result.
If you’re ever concerned about your baby’s reaction to changing, it’s important to consult your pediatrician.
And remember that every little one is unique. And that’s what makes them them.