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Diapering a baby provides a chance for adult and child to spend special time together. Because diapering is a repetitive activity and because there is care, nurturing and focused time involved, it allows for wonderful learning and interaction. For the baby there are opportunities to learn about her/his body, about health and safety, about language and communication, about sequences and about trust. For adults, diapering offers a chance to get in rhythm with your baby, to learn her/his special signals, to develop your unique communication system, to teach your baby how to care for herself and to establish a sense of trust and predictability.
Diapering children at various ages provides different opportunities and challenges. Here are some things to think about as you prepare for your years diapering your young child.
- Be prepared. Once you are elbow deep in a diaper change, it is difficult to make a run for supplies, such as wipes, clean diapers, diaper pads, trash bags. Before you begin, make sure that you have a safe and well-supplied diapering area.
- Keep your baby safe. Most diaper changes take place on an elevated surface. This means that you need to have your hand on your baby throughout the diaper change. Even babies who have never rolled over or crawled may be capable of catapulting themselves off the diaper table. If you need to walk away from the table for any reason, take the baby with you.
- Tell your child what you are going to do. Talking to your child about the process as you go along not only helps her feel included, it also helps her learn language as she is given words for what she is experiencing. “I’m going to pick you up so I can change your diaper. I’m going to wash your bottom with this wipe.”