bond with baby

Care Routines

Nappy/Diaper Changing & Dressing

Nappy Changing

This routine can develop into being a fun time as you play with Baby at the change table using tickly rhymes, singing playsongs and playing peek-a-boo. HOWEVER, the early days of nappy changing and dressing can be very tense. Some very young babies are startled by having their nappy undone and/or with having bare skin causing them distress. And, if Baby is tired or hungry you will just want to get on with the job of changing and move on.

First and foremost, at all times you need to ensure that safety is practiced while changing and dressing Baby (see Babies' Safety → During Caregiving Routines). You may have also read information from other sources that can appropriately guide you through correct hygiene practices during the procedure and useful suggestions about 'getting organised' before you begin the task with Baby. Being organised means having thought through the steps in the procedure, which includes having Baby's clothes and the nappy changing gear ready at your 'finger tips' before you start. This will help you not to become flustered and allows you to give your full attention to Baby. Your gentle use of touch, smiling face and reassuring tone of voice will help to soothe Baby. And, like all the other routines, with just a little practise you will be an expert within no time!

Below is an example of a sequence of interactions to build reassurance in Baby during the daytime nappy routine. Importantly however, Baby's mood and the timing during the day will determine your interactions:

  1. Everything is at your fingertips so you can have your full attention on Baby.
  1. Calmly prepare Baby by talking with him about what you are going to do before you place him down on the change area such as 'Come on now, let's get that nappy off'. As you place Baby down continue with your chat and smile to reassure him such as '... oh, you will feel fresh and lovely after this'. Singing will also help to distract Baby's mind from the task if he is distressed or startled by the whole change routine. Gently massaging his feet and legs before you begin to change him can also help.
  1. Continue to sing or chat e.g. '... you are such a beautiful boy and ... you smell lovely now. Mummy will give this tummy a big kiss' as you get on with changing. As you and Baby become at ease with the changing routine you will start to introduce tickly rhymes and/or playsongs for fun (as discussed in the Songs, Rhymes and Music information). Baby will also enjoy having a kick without his nappy on while you chat and sing with him. It is a good idea to have a nappy under Baby during this time ... just in case! And ... watch out for Baby boy's fountain of wee! To listen to the fun that can happen during nappy changing click here to listen to giggle interactions.


Gradually your predictable procedure of interactions will give Baby a secure feeling, reinforcing your love.