Does your otherwise happy baby turn into a screaming demon as soon as you change his diaper? Do you dread having to change him at night because the screams wake the entire house?
Baby cries when changing diaper can be for several reasons. Babies often cry because they have a wet or poopy diaper, but you’re still probably wondering why your baby cries during diaper change and how to make the crying stop.
Chances are, you aren’t doing anything wrong that would make your baby cry during the diaper changes. That doesn’t mean you can’t find tips and tricks to reduce the crying!
You aren’t alone in this problem, mama. All of my children have cried during diaper changes, and later, they turn into alligators that roll and try to escape. Diaper changes are rarely as simple as they should be, thanks to screaming babies. Almost all toddler hates diaper change at some point in their infanthood.
There are several reasons why your baby cries during diaper change.
The most common reason that little baby cries when changing diaper is that they’re cold. Newborns have trouble regulating their body temperatures, so going from comfortable in their clothes to naked is bothersome. Suddenly, they’re cold, and they aren’t afraid to tell you about it.
If you change your baby’s diaper before feedings, he might be too hungry to wait to be fed. It might be best to change your baby’s diaper after the feedings or in the middle to help keep baby awake for the entire feeding.
3. Doesn’t Know What’s Happening
Imagine being a newborn! You have no idea what’s happening and why. Newborn hates diaper changes because they don’t understand what’s going on with their body. Over time, changing diapers becomes a routine, and it won’t feel so disturbing and scary.
4. He Wants to Be in Charge of His Body
He Wants to Be in Charge of His Body
As your child gets older, he wants to be in charge of his body. One minute, he’s playing with the blocks, totally content in his dirty diaper. The next minute, he’s getting his diaper changed, and he isn’t happy about that!
5. You’re Disrupting Him from Skills
Babies are always developing new skills, and working on those skills is fun! Putting your baby on his back to change a diaper stops him from working on those new skills, such as rolling, sitting up, crawling, or more. Babies dislike feeling restricted.
Possible Medical Reasons for Baby Cries During Diaper Change
In most circumstances, your baby isn’t crying during diaper changes because something is wrong medically. However, there are a few possible medical reasons that might make your baby more uncomfortable during the changes. Mostly, these issues intensify when babies are laid on their back, so you might notice it happens anytime your baby lays down flat.
I’ve had two babies with acid reflux, and they highly dislike laying down on their backs. If your baby spits up, vomits, or cries a lot during or after feedings, he might have acid reflux or GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease. The discomfort is caused by the contents of the stomach coming back into their esophagus, leading to significant pain.
Babies with spina bifida have a congenital disability that causes backbones to develop abnormally. Spina bifida can cause spine and nerve damage, causing significant discomfort when babies are placed on their back.
In most circumstances, spina bifida is diagnosed at birth or before birth. However, it can be missed, so if you think your infant is suffering from a form of spina bifida, your doctor can order an MRI or CT scan.
9 Tips to Make Diaper Changes More Pleasant
Baby hates diaper change, and they can be quite challenging when your baby hates them so much. Diaper changes shouldn’t be a source of anxiety for you or your baby, so let’s look at some tips to make diaper changes more pleasant.
1. Be Efficient
First, make sure you have all of your supplies in the right place. Your baby doesn’t want to have to lay there longer so that you can gather your supplies. Keep the diapers, wipes, creams, and whatever else you need in a basket close at hand.
2. Keep Him Warm
Try to change your baby’s diaper in the warmest area of the home. Use a wipe warmer, so the cold of the wipes doesn’t surprise him. Place a blanket over his belly area to keep him as warm as possible during the change, and do it quickly!
3. Use Distraction Items
Keep small, fun objects near where you change diapers, and only let your baby play with them during diaper changes. That helps keep their novelty, so your baby will be interested in them. It doesn’t have to be fancy objects. Babies love remote controls, a soft hairbrush, or the diaper cream tube – closed, of course.
4. Give Forewarning
As your baby gets older, it’s best to give some forewarning to let him know what’s coming. Forewarning helps to avoid a power struggle and creates trust between you and your baby because he knows what you’re going to do.
5. Narrate Your Actions
As your baby gets older, narrating what you’re doing and the steps you take might keep him calm. Make eye contact while describing your actions. Telling him what you’re doing also helps to keep a positive tone for the diaper change and show that you respect your baby.
6. Connect With Your Baby
You don’t have to rush through diaper changes just because your baby dislikes them. Use this time to connect with your baby. Count his toes, smile, talk to him, and use this time to bond. Rub his belly and legs. Make it a particular time that your baby enjoys.
7. Be Silly!
Make your baby laugh by tickling, make funny faces, pretend to smell his feet, or blow on his belly. Making your baby laugh and being silly changes the entire mood of the task!
8. Sing Songs
Now is a great time to sing a few of your baby’s favorite songs. Save these tunes for changing times. It helps to distract your baby and make him smile. If he knows you’ll sing a song he enjoys at each diaper change, he might even look forward to diaper changes!
9. Change Baby Standing Up
If all else fails, you can change your baby while standing up. When babies are standing up and running, these types of diaper changes might be easier, except when they poop. Bowel movements and standing up diaper changes don’t mix too well. Overall, this tip requires some practice, but it can reduce the screaming.
Should I See Our Doctor?
Trust your instincts. Most baby cries when changing diaper, so it’s considered normal. He might be cold today, bothered tomorrow, and hungry the next day. Babies change their thoughts on things quickly. However, if your baby’s moods or behaviors seem unusual to you, talk to your doctor. He can determine if anything out of the ordinary is causing the crying.