Changing a diaper when you have one or two screaming babies isn’t easy. Fortunately there are some simple steps you can take to minimize the mess, stink and distress. Here are my 10 tips to make twin diaper changes easier.
1. Use multiple changing stations
Ideally you should have at least two diaper changing stations: one in the nursery on top of a low dresser or changing table, and one in a nearby room. This second changing area should include a portable mat and a small basket with the essentials. This second station will allow you to take a crying baby out of the nursery in the middle of the night without waking the other baby.
2. Stock each station with essentials
Each changing area should have a basket with the following: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, moisturizer (such as Aquaphor or coconut oil), and disposable plastic shopping bags, which can be used for discarding poopy diapers and wipes without making a stinky mess. An Oggie Bear saline nasal spray, and any medicine that has to be administered daily, such as reflux drops.
3. Put safety first
As your babies get more mobile, it’s important to put their safety first. If you continue to change them on a changing table, MAKE SURE that you secure the pad to the furniture, strap the baby in with a safety strap, and keep a hand on the baby at all times. Once they are able to roll over, consider moving the pad to the floor or a bed to minimize the chance of them falling.
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4. Change them on a schedule
Many parents of twins swear by schedules, including with diaper changes. To prevent diaper rash, you should change a baby out of a poopy diaper as soon as you notice it, but babies can usually stay in wet diapers for much longer. Wait until a set time to change wet diapers, usually before or after the baby eats. That way you can save time and cut back on your diaper usage.
5. Have places nearby to put the other baby if you have more than one!
Keep a bouncer, Boppy or Pack ‘n Play near the diaper changing area so that you will have a place to easily put one twin while you change the other’s diaper. Make sure to keep toys nearby so that you can easily entertain the waiting baby.
6. Use a reflux wedge
If your babies suffer from reflux, try putting a wedge on top of the changing pad to elevate their head. You may have to cut an existing wedge in half, since it’s hard to find ones made specifically for diaper changing areas. Elevating the baby’s head will help make them more comfortable and may reduce their reflux symptoms. Consider reading Managing Your Babies Reflux without Medicine.
7. Make diaper changes fun
You can make diaper changes more enjoyable by incorporating books, toys or songs. We keep a book with photographs of animals right next to the changing pad and incorporate the animals into “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” It makes for some pretty interesting verses – like Old MacDonald had a chinchilla – but the babies love it. Want to know what our top board books for little ones are? Read this.
8. Avoid a mess
One way to minimize a mess from diaper changes is to put the new, clean diaper under the dirty one before removing it. That way you can quickly cover the baby should s/he decide to go to the bathroom during the change. Another tip is to put a cloth diaper, burp cloth, or waterproof pad over the changing pad cover. That way if the baby makes a mess you can throw the added material in the wash rather than having to remove the changing pad cover. Remember to wipe girls from front to back to avoid infection and to point a boy’s penis down before closing the diaper to avoid him peeing on his clothes. Also, make sure to double check that the baby is completely clean before putting their clothes back on, as squirmy babies often have a talent for getting poop in nooks and crannies.
9. Mask the stink
Instead of covering up odors from twin diaper changes with artificial fragrances containing dangerous chemicals, try using essential oils. Orange, lavender and lemon are common scents that are considered safe to use around infants. Pour a few drops on a cotton ball or dirty diaper and put it into the diaper pail. You can also keep a container of baking soda at the bottom of the pail to help absorb odors.
10. Track diaper changes
When you have multiples, it can be difficult to remember how many diapers they’re going through. This information is important to keep track of, to ensure that the baby is hydrated and not suffering from constipation or another medical condition. Make sure you record each diaper change, either in a journal that you keep next to the changing area, or in an online app, like BabyConnect.
Shelley Walden is a freelance writer and mother of 6-month-old boy-girl twins. Her work has appeared in Cricket, USA Today and eHow, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @shelley_creates.