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Newborn babies only have one method of communication and that’s to cry and wail. It can be really hard to know what the real cause is when they are able to say and emote so little, despite all of your best efforts to soothe them.
Does your baby always seem to cry when they get their nappy changed even though you feel like you’re doing them a favour giving them a fresh dry nappy? Do you feel you’ve tried absolutely everything to get them to enjoy the nappy change process only to be faced with even more crying?
Well, we’ve spoken to mums, done our research and of course, experienced this for ourselves and we’ve written down all the reasons we’ve discovered that can make newborn babies cry during a nappy change and some helpful tips to make the whole thing better moving forwards so that parent and baby can ENJOY having a nappy change and not dread the experience.
6 Reasons why your newborn baby cries when you change his/her nappy
We feel the most common reason why newborns become upset with a nappy change is going from clothed and warm to suddenly being naked and possibly on a cold changing table. It’s not a pleasant experience even for adults to be naked and cold so imagine what a newborn must go through.
For the last 9 months, your newborn will have never experienced the cold as mummy’s tummy kept them at a constantly warm temperature and now all of a sudden they can feel the discomfort of being cold and they won’t like it. To express their dislike of being cold they will inevitably cry.
A nappy change or generally having their clothes changed is one of the few events which can make them feel cold outside of the obvious like going outside without enough covers on.
They were comfortable
If you think (or smell) that your newborn baby needs a nappy change but they’re happy, relaxed or asleep and then you suddenly whisk them away to be naked, cold and not comfortable anymore then they’re going to be upset and they’re going to cry. Everything leading up to the change can be uncomfortable to them from being moved from their comfortable position to being carried and then being placed flat on the changing table which they may not like. Other factors can upset them too such as the different lighting in the room they’re being changed in and the temperature of the room as described above.
This is a shock to their system and can frustrate them – they may not necessarily cry because they’re being changed, instead, they’re crying because they were comfortable and now they’re not. So our advice is to relax with them and change them when it’s clearly bothering them.
Hungry babies are grumpy babies, and that’s a fact. It’s quite likely that your baby could be crying during a nappy change because they’re actually hungry and the inconvenience of being changed has reminded them of it. This is especially true if your newborn baby seems grumpy before you change the nappy and still the same afterwards.
When you change your newborn baby’s nappy do you always move them to another room to do it which has a different ambience and lighting? Do you find your baby noticeably more whiny when the nappy change happens somewhere other than your home?
It is quite likely your baby has become confused by their new surroundings and they’re crying to let you know all about it.
They didn’t like the last time it happened
If the last few nappy changes weren’t great then your newborn may start to cry as they think it’s going to be an unpleasant experience again. This can be a slow process to make better but we have some tips at the end of the article to help make newborn nappy changes a better time for everyone involved.
It’s not fun
Do you make an effort to entertain your baby during a nappy change or do you treat it like a military exercise? A nappy change should be a place to bond and not just for hygiene so perhaps they’re crying because having their nappy change is just not fun.
Tips to stop crying while changing a newborn’s nappy
- Make the room warm
With the use of a baby room thermometer, make sure the room you’re going to change their nappy in isn’t too cold or too hot. Room temperature of around 19-22 degrees is perfect. This is to make sure they don’t get a sudden cold breeze when you take off their clothes and nappy. Place them on a warm duvet can help, but don’t leave them with it.
- Don’t change them straight away
If your baby looks like they need changing or maybe you can smell that they do then assess whether you need to change their nappy there and then. If you’re having a chill in the house then why disrupt the flow and upset them. You obviously don’t want them to sit in a dirty nappy for hours and hours but an extra 30 minutes won’t do any harm if they seem content.
- Have fun!
Try to have fun with your baby during a nappy change. Sing to them, talk to them, tickle them, make funny faces- whatever works.
- Explain to them what’s about to happen
When it is time for a nappy change do it calmly and slowly and talk to your baby through the process. We know it sounds daft but babies can pick up on certain things and it helps a lot of the parents be calm if you’re worried about another awful nappy change then your baby can pick up on that anxiety and be anxious themselves.