Mindfulness is everywhere these days, so it’s really no surprise that it’s even made its way to the changing table. But this isn’t just a fad.
It’s a real way to use an interaction that happens multiple times a day to bond with your baby and to learn how he is communicating with you; his moods movements, expressions and – most importantly – his cues. Because every parent knows the more tuned in you are to your baby’s cues, the easier the baby years are.
Plus, parents initially change up to 12 diapers a day! That’s a dozen chances each day to connect, bond and even form rituals you can both look forward to each day.
So, what exactly do you do? So glad you asked…
As I’ve written about before, I had the honor of attending the Huggies Parents Council this October and while I was there, I heard a great presentation on Mindful Diapering from Felicia Fitzgerald, a Perinatal Outreach Educator at the University of Chicago. Along with being an educator and nurse, Felicia also serves on the Huggies Nursing Advisory Council and she had SO MUCH great info to share with us.
And now I get to share it with you!
5 Tips to Becoming a Mindful Diapering Pro:
Tip 1: Create a calm, clean diapering area.
Babies have an uncanny knack for being able to pick up the emotional “temperature” of a room. When parents are distracted or upset, your baby may sense it and feel stressed. Studies show babies can even tell the difference between happy and angry body language.
Whether you realize it, your baby is “reading” you every time you change their diaper. How you act, touch, talk, and care for your baby during this time has an effect on their health and well-being
Also, there’s really no way to be mindful if you’re scrambling around searching for the stuff you need to get the job done while trying to make sure your baby doesn’t fall off the changing table.
Try to keep all supplies – such as Huggies diapers and wipes – within reach. And, of course, be sure to wash your hands before and after each change (or use hand sanitizer when on the go).
Tip 2: Build a Diapering Routine that Includes Hugs and Snuggles
If you use each time you change your baby’s diaper as an opportunity to hug and touch your baby or toddler, there is evidence that you’re helping to establish the parent-child bond. You’re also benefiting your child’s growth.
Huggies believes in the power of hugs to help babies thrive. This simple, loving act represents more than a nurturing snuggles; it produces tangible, neurological effects and is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological development.
Plus, babies love routine—diapering rituals, like making funny faces and sounds, hugging your baby and ending your changing session with some snuggle time can teach your baby that diapering can be an expected and rewarding interaction.
Tip 3: Make Each Change a Sensory Symphony
Talk to your baby with a singsong voice. (Did you know there’s an actual term for this? I learned about it in grad school, it’s called “Motherese” and it’s an innate thing that caregivers do when communicating with babies.)
Also, remember as you get close that your baby loves your smell and is calmed by your close presence.
Tip 4: Smile at Baby
Conjure calmness and happiness as you mindfully gaze into your baby’s eyes; intentionally take an extra moment to make that emotional connection.
Research tells us that babies not only love to look at and interact with others, but that they also quickly recognize and enjoy seeing family members, especially parents.
Tip 5: Comfort your baby during stress.
For some babies, diapering is stressful. They don’t like lying flat on their backs; they don’t like having their legs moved. They don’t always cooperate with dressing. They squirm; they fuss. Are they stressed? In pain? It can be hard to tell unless you know how to read your baby’s signals and cues. (Again, this is something that will come faster if you’re practicing mindful diapering)
Keeping your baby as comfortable as possible during the diaper change, moving slowly and keeping your hand on your baby at all times will provide them with the calmness of your touch. I know this can seem challenging at 2 a.m., but that soothing touch will come with practice.
By practicing mindful diapering and remembering that every change matters, you can take advantage of almost-countless opportunities for healthy bonding moments with your little one.
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Huggies partnered with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) to provide additional diapering resources, including a booklet for parents. You can download it here.
Huggies believes deeply in the Power of Hugs, which is why every diaper and wipe is inspired by a parent’s embrace. The Huggies No Baby Unhugged program helps ensure all babies get the hugs they need to thrive by supporting hugging programs in hospitals and donating diapers across the country. Learn how you can help at . #HuggiesCouncil #ad
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