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Caring For Your Babies Bodily Needs

This article covers topics such as: Diapering Your Baby, Making Changing Time Quality Time, Choosing a Diaper and Diaper Cover, Changing Diapers, preparing baby, safe and fun diaper-changing tips, Changing the Wiggly Baby, All-In-One Diapers. There will be four more parts to this article, so keep an eye out for them.

The high-maintenance stage of the first two years is often tedious, sometimes fun, but it's also a chance to get to know your baby. In this article you will find practical ways to take good care of your baby -- and enjoy it.

Diapering Your Baby

During the early years your baby will spend a lot of time in diapers, and you will spend a lot of time changing them. There's how to be kind to your baby's bottom and to your time.

During life before toilet training, expect to change around five thousand diapers, an interaction surpassed only by the frequency of feeding your baby. Rather than being a mundane task to be handled with dispatch and distaste, diapering can be a satisfying time to interface with your baby. More happens during diapering than baby's going from wet to dry. Baby feels your touch, hears your voice, and responds to your giggles (and you to your baby's). Before you even begin to change the diaper, connect with your baby. Focus on the child, not the job. Reserve some special facial expressions, jingles, and massage strokes just for diapering time so that baby looks forward to getting more than a clean diaper, and be sure to convey this diapering attitude to any substitute caregiver.

Look forward to diapering as a time to communicate to your baby that he or she is special. Avoid expressions of disgust with the sight or smell (here's where breastfed babies have an advantage -- the odor is not unpleasant!). Your face is baby's mirror. Baby regards himself by what he sees on your face. We chatter to our babies about finding "treasures" and keep the tone of our voice excited and loving. Of course, not every diaper change will be a magical, happy, playful time. Sometimes you just to get it over with so you can move on.

Choosing a Diaper and Diaper Cover

Whether you choose cloth or disposables is a matter of convenience, cost, and your concern for ecology. And, of course, your baby's skin should be a factor. Which type of diaper is kindest to your baby's skin? Many parents use both: 100 percent cotton cloth diapers for home use and disposables when on the go. The bottom line is to choose a diapering system that is user friendly for parents, skin friendly for your baby, and kind to our environment.A question was asked, what was the biggest recent breakthrough in child care, and the response was, "The elimination of diaper pins." As a frequently stuck individual, I don't like diaper pins, and they don't like me. Cloth diaper covers with Velcro fasteners have eliminated stuck babies and parents. They're great! And because they breathe, cloth diaper coverings are kinder to baby's bottom than plastic pants, which aggravate diaper rashes.

Changing Diapers

Here is the basic approach to changing your baby's diapers. These steps may vary, depending on what kind of diapers you use.

Preparing Baby

Change baby in a warm room and on a sage and soft surface. Before starting, be sure you have all the necessary equipment within arm's reach.

You will need:

* Clean diapers ready. There is nothing more frustrating than getting baby naked, then reaching for a new diaper and finding the bag or stack empty. For cloth diapers, fold the new one before you begin changing.

* Baby wipes. For newborn girls, use warm wet washcloths for the first few weeks, or rinse the baby wipes in warm water before using them. The cleansing ingredients in wipes can irritate the vagina during the first few weeks of life.

* Changing pad or towel to lay bay on.

* Diaper rash ointment. Most newborns get a rash as their sensitive skin adjusts to life in diapers. We suggest using a small amount of Original A & D Ointment (looks like Vaseline) to protect baby's skin during the early weeks. Use a white zinc oxide cream if a persistent rash develops. Eventually you may not need to use any ointment at all, except periodically during flare-ups.

* Change of clothes. Baby will inevitably leak onto his clothes, and it always seems to happen when you don't have a new outfit handy. Keep a few outfits near the changing table.

* Cotton balls or swabs and alcohol during the first weeks for umbilical cord care.

* Diaper covers. If using cloth diapers, always keep a stack of covers ready because baby will frequently leak.

* Diaper pins or clips (if using them). Warning: Keep them out of baby's reach.It is best to have a changing table or a designated changing counter where all the items you need are conveniently arranged.

Safe and Fun Diaper-Changing Tips

* Don't take both hands off baby; babies can fall off changing tables during diaper changing, especially as they approach four or five months and begin rolling over. While you back is turned or you are searching for a diaper, it takes your infant one second to roll off the counter or changing table. Use the safety strap on the changing table, but don't rely on it.

* Handle pins safely. Don't leave open pins within grabbing distance of your baby. Avoid putting diaper pins in your mouth, as baby may imitate this dangerous habit. For easy storage, stick pins in a bar of soap, which keeps the pin sliding smoothly into the cloth.

* It is recommended that baby-sitters and other people not used to changing diapers use the floor. It is much safer.

* Change diapers frequently, especially if your baby is prone to diaper rash. It is difficult to tell when baby is wet if using superabsorbent disposable diapers. These should be changed just as often as you would change cloth diapers. With cloth diapers you don't have to count cost each time you change baby.

* Beware! Babies like to pee when naked. Have an extra cloth diaper or towel nearly in case baby decides to "spray" all over the place. Trust me, it will happen!

* A caution about baby wipes: Some babies' sensitive skin will not tolerate them. Try using an unscented brand or rinse the wipes with warm water prior to use.

* After baby is past the stool-a-feeding stage (usually by the end of the first month), change baby's diaper *if soiled or wet) just before a feeding. Baby can then drift into an after-feeding slumber without being interrupted by a diaper change.

* Be especially careful when baby has painful rash -- this is a very sensitive area. Either soak baby's bottom clean in warm water in a shallow basin or tub or use a warm cloth compress to apply soothing heat, and pat them clean with minimal rubbing. Generously apply a barrier cream, spreading gently without rubbing.

Changing the Wiggly Baby

Pediatricians often hear questions like: "Why won't my toddler let me changer her diaper anymore? She kicks and screams, and it turns into a battle every time" Well, older infants and toddlers are supposed to act this way. They are naturally going to resist anything in which they are restrained.

* Reserve special entertainment only for diaper changing. Sing a song that you have saved just for this event. When your baby hears this song, he is likely to calm down and listen.

* Dangle a special toy from your mouth (your third hand) to try to settle the squirmer; let him grab for it and play with it. Keep this toy only or diaper changing, and change the toy periodically.

* Place a mobile or similarly entertaining toy over the changing area to distract baby.

* Walk your fingers up and down baby's legs and abdomen during the change while singing a song. Your baby may enjoy this.

* Have him "find" his belly button, eyes, nose, and so forth.

* Reserve special, funny facial expressions and contortions to hold your baby's interest during the diapering, getting him to focus on your face rather than the bottom cleaning.

* If baby is a real squirmer, use the floor, the safest place to change a diaper.

Be creative in your diaper-changing techniques, especially with a toddler. A strip of masking tape can entertain a toddler long enough to get the job done while the two of you discuss this sticky subject. (The tape comes out only at changing time.) Some toddlers like holding the wipe or the diaper for you. Keep a dialogue going so baby senses your focus is on her and your enjoyment of this special time. If you are negative about diaper changing, she will be, too. There will be more articles on infants, breast or bottle feeding and other related topics to follow.

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