Baby, Motherhood

How to Keep a Squirmy Baby Still for Diaper Changes

Check out these easy tips to change the diaper of a baby who keeps trying to crawl away!

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Once my babies reached a certain age, diaper changes became very difficult.  What once was pretty straightforward was now like trying to wrangle a crocodile.  The baby was rolling and wriggling and trying to crawl away all while I was racing to clean them up and haphazardly secure a clean diaper on their behind.  And if it was a poopy diaper?  Yikes.  Things could get messy very quickly.

When my daughter was at that stage (which for her was most of her babyhood), I would completely dread diaper changes.  Nothing seemed to keep her still, and so diaper changes took me forever while she was doing her baby flips and kicks (only slightly exaggerating).

Apparently, this is a problem for a lot of parents because there’s even a product specifically for this issue!  I’ve heard that it’s a total lifesaver when changing wiggly babies.  I wish I had known about it a long time ago because I would have been all over that!

Luckily though, I have learned a thing or two about winning the diaper changing battle (took me long enough), and today I’m sharing those tips with you! 😉

Toys just for diaper changes

Although I’m sure almost every parent has tried giving their baby a toy to keep them distracted, I figure it’s still worth mentioning because every once in a while it does work.  I’ve found that the best way to do this is to keep a few toys only for diaper changes.  That way it’s not something they get to play with very often, and it’ll be more likely to keep their attention longer.  My kids’ favorite toys for diaper changes were anything noisy or crinkly like this adorable little book or a fun rattle like this one.

If baby toys aren’t doing the trick, keys have worked for us plenty of times or some other item that our kids don’t get to have very often.  My daughter’s favorite thing to play with when she was at this stage was the TV remote.  Sometimes the pack of wipes or clean diaper is a good distractor, too.

Make diaper changes a game

My kids love this!  If there’s ever a time I need them to stay still and cooperate, making it into a fun game is very helpful.  I’ll play peek a boo or get them with the “tickle monster”.  Other ideas are to make silly faces or sounds.  For some reason, my kids also think it’s hilarious if I blow air on their faces.  Anything that will keep them focused on you so you can hurry through that diaper change.

Sing a song

A lot of the time if I sing my child’s favorite song they’ll stop to watch me.  Both of my kids love the ABC song, but I’ve also just made up silly songs to keep them entertained.  The sillier and more animated and over-the-top, the better!

Constant noise

My husband thinks this one is ridiculous and always laughs at me when I do it, but if I make a constant, loud “oh” sound my son will completely freeze.  And then he just lays there and giggles.  I don’t know why, but he loves it!  There’s actually been a bunch of times when he’ll be in the middle of crying and he will stop as soon as he hears me.  Totally makes me feel like the baby whisperer.  Lol!

I wish that I had figured this last one out back when my first was little because it works for me every. Single. Time.  It’s crazy!

Do you have any tricks for changing a very active baby’s diaper?  I’d love to hear them!

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  1. my two year old is pretty still now but i will keep this in mind for the future!

  2. so many good tips!! this is not easy!!

  3. Oh goodness, where was this post when my youngest was still all over the place?! She was rough lol

  4. With my little I’d hold her legs gently until she’d stop. she hardly ever kicked and rolled. singing and toys just made her more antsy.

    1. Bethany

      That’s a great idea, Mihaela! I’ll have to give that a try. 🙂

  5. Pat

    Thank you Bethany! I’m currently in the ” wrangle a crocodile ” stage lol. So far the toy he only gets to play with during changes and the wipes container works as great distracts for me but I love your other ideas. I will definately to using them later on. Sometimes its the simplest solution makes a world of difference :)). Thanks again for your article.

    1. Bethany

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Pat! 🙂

  6. Great tips!!!!! Babes do get SO squirmy!! haha.

  7. Oh man our babe will not lay still at all for a diaper change! I usually enlist the help of my other kids to distract him…works like a charm!

    1. Bethany

      Older siblings can be so helpful! My son just loves his older sister and thinks she’s the funniest person ever. I never thought to have her help keep him still. I bet that would work out great! Thanks for the idea, Kelly! 🙂

  8. These are fantastic ideas! I wish I would have thought of them when my son was a baby.

  9. Oh goodness, diaper changes can be SO HARD! These are such great tips! <3

  10. Omg, I love this and mama I dread diaper changes. I have to say occasionally a toy or singing does work though. Her two older sisters can be a helpful distraction too. 😉
    xo, Nicole

  11. Great tips! I’ll have to share with my friends that are mommas!

    1. Bethany

      I’m so glad it was helpful! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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