Diaper Change Wrestling (Help!)

Updated on May 02, 2010
J.L. asks from Charlotte, NC
18 answers

I am the VERY happy mother of a beautiful and ACTIVE 9-month-old baby girl. And I am loving every minute of it,,,UNTIL I need to change her diaper. Since my little one has started crawling and pulling up on stuff she is a ball of energy and action and her diaper changes have become stressful to us both. She twists and cries and I turn her and try to keep her still. I KNOW that using a cloth diaper system takes twice as long as disposables but until now they have been working perfectly for us and I would rather not use disposables (unless we travel). And honestly even those were difficult to get on my wiggly baby when we went out of town.

ANY suggestions or advice?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for all the advice & support. It is good to know I am not the ONLY baby wrestling champ!!

Here's what has happened so far:

1st I thought I'd give her tissue paper to play with (she LOVES tearing up paper) but that back-fired when she popped out her paci & started munching on it. I, of course, had diaper cream/diaper hands & was unable to dive in there & get it back. Next, I made her "rattles" using baby bottles & jelly beans, rice, dried beans. These held her attention for about 20 seconds. I have tried a bunch of other things but have found that the best solution is to slide her changing pad under her play mat (it has arches, butterflies, lights & music) and when that becomes old hat I give her a thicker piece of paper (like a tag from clothes) to "read". We have also ordered different diapers which will hopefully work a little better for her @ this stage & be a little faster/easier to change.

Thanks again for all the help!

Featured Answers



answers from Indianapolis on

So much fun.....I found that giving them something in their hands works.....whether it's a toy, keys, whatever. I also found that putting them near something, where they could roll all over helped too......at times, I would also sing or hum......if it is a song you want them to learn, this is where to start!!! Just sing it nice and quiet, but loud enough for them to hear........it can be abc's.....a cute kids song, anything......a song they like..........try doing that and see if it helps.......
Good Luck and wait till she starts walking!!! More fun to come!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Knoxville on

It has been many years since my boys were in the diaper stage but we used these diaper covers that were waterproof. From what I remember we folded the diaper into the width that would fit inside the cover. The covers had either snaps or velcro and shaped like underware. I would get the clean one ready, take off the dirty one, wipe then put the clean one on like underware, leaving one side loose and fasten once in place. For poopy messes I would take them to the bathtub, let them stand in dry tub then the water was there if needed.

More Answers



answers from Boston on

looking forward to seeing what advice you get - I have the same issue with my 11 month old son! He is a baby on the go and HATES to be contained. He wants to pull to stand, play with the light switch, etc. When I offer him a toy, he bats it away!

I tell him "I need you to lie down while I change your diaper, then you can play with the light - first diaper, then light" as if he understands, and I know someday he will! I try to find a toy that will interest him, but I don't always succeed!

p.s. we use disposables and it is still hard for me to get him in his diaper!
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

SOOOOO normal. I wish I knew it at the time. I moved my son to the floor for changes at that age, and tried to make up games, and keep him focused on me or a toy...yeah, right. It was a struggle, but it is just a phase. As for your cloth diapers. Are you using pocket diapers? I use BumGenius and they were just as easy and quick as the disposable. You WILL get through this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

omg, do i feel your pain! my son is 19 months old and the same way! it is always a struggle, i tried giving him toys, singing, being funny, etc. the ONLY thing that has worked for me is to give him a wipe so that he can help me "wipe". lol.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

LOL I had the same problem with all 3 of mine. Try giving her a toy to keep her busy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

She just needs a little distraction. My son did the same thing, so I used to sing him a song he liked or made silly faces at him during the changing. If that doesn't work, let her hold the wipe for you. If she's distracted long enough she may lay still for you. It's tough, but it won't last long! Just look for a distraction...wear a silly hat, use a party favor that you can blow (the one that rolls out, then back in again), a special toy for her to hold, make noises with your mouth. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Honestly, I just learned to put the diaper on while my daughter was standing. Once she was on the move, forget about getting her to lie down for a moment to change a diaper.



answers from Louisville on

i have a two year old that is pottly training but still uses diaper to go number 2 and the occasional acccident and his is the same way i find singing a favorites song works as well as giving him something small he likes to play with while i change him. such as his tooth brush keeps him occuppied and he practaces brushing. H. this is helpful



answers from Huntington on

Put a mobile or bright colored picture on the ceiling over the changing area.



answers from Memphis on

Gently but firmly hold her still and say, "No! It is time to change your diaper, you must lie still!" and perhaps give her a neat toy or other item (an old cell phone?) that will keep her interested. And if necessary, give her a swat on the bottom and say, "Be still!"

This is a tough phase but completely normal for her to want to be up and exploring. Kids understand more than you realize, so you may want to start talking about how she needs to be still during diaper changes -- talk about it as you're carrying her to the diaper changing area -- and tell her that she needs to be still during diaper changes and that will be faster, that you don't like having to change her diaper and make her be still but that you need to, etc.



answers from Chicago on

So have been there, done that! Here's my advice, after 3 kids...

1. Ditch the diaper changing table. Although it's easier for you, it's a falling hazard. If you NEED to have an elevated surface, use a pack n play with the bassinet top. At least it has higher edges and much less likely chance of them rolling off.

2. We used a blanket on the floor. (Use up those receiving blankets you thought you were done with as a "pad". They are easy to resuse and wash any poop or germs off of.) Or you can also use one of those changing pads that is bucketed. It's a big foam pad that you probably already have on your changing table.

3. Keep diapers, wipes, etc. in a basket nearby. That way you can pick it up and move it if you child wants to tear it apart, yet still have it handy when you need supplies.

4. If you are using a certain area...table, stand, pack n play or blanket on the floor keep a musical toy or posterboard with pictures on it. We used a Fisher Price "radio" that sang songs. The kids loved playing "row row your boat" or "ABCDEFG...". Also we take pictures of our "friends" and paste them onto posterboard and leave it on the wall near where we change. We "quiz" the kids on "Who's that?" For older kids they love to see pictures of themselves. You can show them "baby Nina", "Nina at Christmas", etc or use pictures of family, "Where's Grandma?" You get the idea. It works like magic.

5. If diaper changes are a REAL hassle. Reward them for sitting still. ONE M&M goes a long way towards saving your sanity...esp with active toddlers. If they don't behave they don't get one. Period. We used an old pill bottle, decorated a piece of paper to make a new label that said, "Nina's Potty Treats". (That way they NEVER try to open other pill bottles that have a similar label.) The pill/vitamin bottles usually have safety caps too. So even if she found the bottle, she could never open it herself. (We used ours for successful pee pee on the potty.)

6. Start teaching the word NO or Not Nice. Fighting can't be acceptable. A firm NO while restraining their twisting legs, kicking feet, etc. also paves the way for teaching that it is not OK to kick Mom.



answers from Denver on

My son was the same way at about 10 months or so. The thing that helped us was to use the ASL sign for "change". I would say and sign "change" while looking at my son, and then just pick him up and go to the changing table. After about four or five days, he knew the change was coming because we had told him it was. I think a lot of it was that he didn't understand why he was abruptly taken from his toys. When we started to talk about it, he actually began to crawl to his room. It might work for your DD.



answers from Phoenix on

A firm voice, consistently telling her "Uh Uh" instead of "no" and a tap on the leg may help.


answers from Washington DC on

i look for something he has never seen before like a bottle of lotion, fingernail polish, kitchen utensils, a lid to a pot, etc. You have about 45 seconds until they roll away. Then I take that item away if I can. good luck.



answers from Boston on

I also moved my son to the floor for changes when he hit this stage. I have found that if I sing to him, it goes MUCH easier. Also, sometimes I am a meanie and make him stay on his back and give him things to play with, but I have gotten very good at fastening his fuzzibunz while he is on his belly, and while he is standing. I have a book that recommends changing babies at this age while they stand on a chair. I haven't tried it because there is no room for a chair in his room at this point, but it does intrigue me.
It seems to go in waves, but his is a year old today and it is definitely better now than it was at one point.
Good luck


answers from Austin on

Could you hang a something over the changing table that your child could grab for?

Change the item every few days so he will always want to see what is up there.. Stuffed animal, toy that makes noise, shiny toy....



answers from Miami on

Both of my girls were/are more wiggly if we are on the floor vs. on the changing table. Are you on the floor with her on on a table? Try the reverse of whichever and like so many have said already, give her a toy or something to keep her busy. Sometimes I'll give my little one her toothbrush or a small book to keep her busy. I know you are using cloth, but my youngest is in love with Elmo right now so I have switched from Huggies to Pampers (which have Elmo on the diaper). She is content "finding Elmo" for me on one diaper (clean, of course! lol) while I change her. Good luck to you!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions