Babies just love being naked, but despite their utter joy, it can be quite a stressing experience for mom and dad with the constant worrying about when – and where – their little one will pee (and oh horror, poop!). But the accidents can be minimized by following these 8 tips for a less messy diaper-free time!
For a long time Anton’s favourite time of the day was getting his diaper changed. He would get all gitty and wave his arms and legs around and stuff his big toe in his mouth. Being butt naked and not wearing anything but his birthday suit is still one of his favourite things, though he’s is moving around a lot more by now and keeping him and our furniture wee-safe can be a challenge. And yet I prioritize his naked time and here’s why.
Why you should let your baby be diaper-free
Diaper free time is one of the best remedies for diaper rashes and an excellent aid in fighting a yeast infection. Rashes and yeast infections are after all often caused by moisture and bacteria that’s been building up in the diapers as they don’t let the skin breathe. It’s my go to solution if Anton’s bottom is showing a bit of redness.
Giving your little one some time out of his diaper – and his clothes for that matter – is actually also quite beneficial for the development of his gross motor functions. One study has directly shown that diapers – that be it disposable or cloth – have a significant influence on how babies move compared to when they are naked. Their walking pattern is restricted by having something between their legs. But you don’t need a scientific study to convince me of that. When Anton is out of his diaper he moves more freely and it’s often been in his time out of the diaper that he has taken leaps forward in his gross motorfunctional development. He was butt naked when he rolled for the first time and when he first managed to get up on all fours – and I’ll not suprised if he’s diaperless when he starts to walk.
Whether or not this means anything longterm I don’t know. But short term it might have an influence on how fast your little one catches on to new things, how confident and stable he feels when moving around and how secure you feel letting him try his new abilities like walking. So what do you do what that information? If you’re like me and don’t feel like ditching the diapers completely, then giving your little darling some daily time out of his diaper might be an option that works for you. Whether it be 1 mintues or 4 hours I think it all helps. I try to give Anton at least 10 mintues a day without his diaper which should be a good amount if you’re fighting a rash, but I aim for an hour or two when we have the time. Some days I forget, but I do my best to remember as he seriously just loves the freedom it gives him.
8 tips for making diaper free time less messy
So diaper-free time might seem like a good idea on paper, but what about the pee – and oh horror, the poop? Won’t it go everywhere? And yes, it might. But it is possible to minimize it – and possibly even avoid it if you’re lucky. I’ve gathered 8 tips for making diaper free time less messy – and thus more fun for mom and dad!
- Use a waterproof mattress protector or mat to lay your baby on. You can find them cheap at IKEA or online like this waterproof sheet protector from Amazon. It works best when you baby is not moving around too much though. When they start crawling you might need something to keep them interested in staying on the mattress to keep them put – or well, lay mattreses out all over the floor. If you have a playpen this might be a less extreme version of this.
- If the weather is warm enough take advantage of it. Put out a big blanket or flat nappy out on the grass for them to lie on. If your baby is moving around, crawling or walking just put them down butt naked on the grass. Just remember to be careful if the sun is out and make sure that they don’t get a burn by keeping them in the shade. You could also bring a potty if your baby is older and encourage them to use it, but no guarantees it will work. If you give it a go I’ve gotten this potty chair from BabyBjorn recommended from several different people and I’m definetely considering getting one for Anton.
- Do diaper free time right after your little one has peed and/or pooped. Often newborns will go right after they have gotten their diaper taken off. Let them pee and put them down for some diaper free time. Now Anton is no longer a newborn, but is rolling around I usually give him diaper free time just after a poopy diaper, so I’m sure to avoid poop everywhere. It’s not a foolproof way to avoid accidents and I’ve had to clean up an unexpected puddle or four so far.
- Make laundry your new friend. If you’re worried about extra laundry just grab a towel, a sheet or similar from the laundry basket and use it as a mat for your little one. That way there won’t be extra laundry.
- Use the diaper free time as tummy time. That way if your little one pees it won’t go far. This might seem like a silly advice with many girls (though they can pee longer than you think), but with boys this could mean the difference between wet curtains and dry curtains. Admittedly I did fint it a lot easier giving Eva diaper free time than Anton as she did not have the same pee-range as he does, but I still try to give him time out of his diaper every day.
- Get to know your little one routine of peeing and/or pooping. I’m starting to get a really good hang on when Anton will poop and a somewhat decent idea of when he’ll pee, like right after a feeding. Some people even get so in tune with their baby’s toilet habits by practing elimination communication that they rarely have accidents, but even if you don’t practice this (I don’t) it’s still adviceable to get some idea of when your youngster eliminates and how much. I would fx never do diaper free time right after he wakes up in the morning. That would be a guaranteed flood.
- Keep an eye out for signals from your baby. Both for safety reasons, both also to possible catch your little one in the act. Often your baby will give out signals like a change in movement, a specific facial expression or maybe a specific body positions (we all know the squatter from older kids) for signs that they are about to pee and poop. You could even bring a potty or a clean diaper and have that ready for when the need to go so you don’t have to run to the bathroom.
- Don’t do naked-time on a carpeted area or your bed. It’s an obvious, but the lack of sleep can make even the smartest person think that a wall to wall carpet is the best place to put a naked baby. If you have underfloor heating fx in the bathroom do naked time there. Especially during the winter when the floors are often cold. I like to bring Anton with me into the bathroom and he loves it. If he pees it’s also easy to clean up.
And 3 bonus tips to make the most out of naked time
- Make it a sensory experience. When there is no clothes or diaper to seperate your baby from the world, the skin will be allowed to experience the world in a whole new way. So remember to tickle your little one, to gently blow over their skin, cuddle them, massage their limps and let them feel different textures all over their bodies.
- Remember to watch out for signs that your little one is getting cold. Make sure your baby is not getting cold hands or feet, mottled skin or bluish lips. If they do, it’s time to get some clothes on. You could of course also just let them keep socks and a shirt or sweater on if the weather is really chilly and only air out their buttocks. I have to admit I also do this when I’m feeling lazy and don’t feel like taking his clothes off and on again.
- Make it part of your routine. I like to do diaper free time before a bath, after I take his diaper off from his nap – especially if he’s pooped and if I’m changing his clothes for other reasons. It’s just something I do by now and I really don’t think too much about it.