Back to My Story

How to change a dirty nappy—dad-style

By Daniel Bell 1 min read
Thursday, December 03, 2020

As a stay-at-home dad to our eight-month-old, I'm pretty sure I earned a bachelor's in nappy changing—and I'll share my five-step wisdom at no charge. 

1. Sniff

Sometimes, it will be obvious as you can smell a dirty nappy from five metres away (proceed to step 3). Other times, even up close, it’s unclear if it’s dirty or not, so proceed to step 2.

2. Peek

If your baby is wearing trousers (not a onesie), you can prise open the back of the nappy to check. Warning: There will be times you will wish you didn’t do that as you would have just unlocked the seal with its contents right near your finger. If things aren’t obvious from this angle, assume nothing. Take trousers or onesie off and check under baby’s leg. Generally, definitive results can be obtained from this method. If a dirty nappy is established, proceed to step . . .

3. Prep

I cannot emphasise this step enough. Before opening the nappy any further, get a wet wipe out, unfolded and ready, with a second one on standby. Just having the packet nearby won’t be sufficient when the nappy is opened and you’re trying to hold flailing legs up. It will be too late! Also, make sure a new clean nappy is within reach.

Read: What it's like to be a stay-at-home dad

4. Distract

You might like to give baby a toy on the change table to keep his hands busy, as sometimes wandering hands can pull the dirty nappy away when you’re least expecting it. Note: You do run the risk of the toy being dropped where you really don’t want it to be.

5. Commit

Now that you are ready, take a deep breath (gas mask optional) and change the nappy. Easy!

Bonus tip

If you reach your daily maximum poop threshold (after five dirty nappies in one day I had had enough!), feel free to complain on Facebook and fervently hope your partner will be home soon to change the next one.

On a serious note, sometimes you may see your baby really straining trying to poop, even crying in pain. It’s difficult to watch him suffer at that time. Often, you will also notice a hard nugget in his nappy. This is time to turn to “P” fruit: pears, plums, peaches, prunes and so on to get things moving.

Also, you may also want to dial back the poop talk around your non-parent friends. They may begin to think that is all you ever talk about and might not hang around as much!