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Help- DD fights diaper changes like a mad woman!

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by mmeowcollins, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. mmeowcollins
    Ideal_Rock

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    by mmeowcollins » Dec 21, 2010
    DD is 2.5 years old and has strong thighs that she clamps together when it comes to diaper changes. She simply won't open her legs (she basically crosses them at the ankles) so that I can wipe her. When it's just a wet diaper, it's less of a big deal to wipe thoroughly, or so I thought. Recently, she developed a very foul odor down there and I saw what can only be described as gunk on her private parts. I called the dr, concerned it could be a yeast infection, and was told that if she didn't seem uncomfortable (she's not- no itching or saying it's burning or hurting), then I should monitor it but not necessarily take her in, and that it probably is a result of not cleaning her well enough.

    She does get a bath nightly and I kind of pat her area down with California Baby body wash. The real problem is poopy diaper changes- I have to get in between her legs to clean off the poop. Depending on how messy it is, it can migrate into her leg folds and vaginal crevices and I simply can't not clean it. Unfortunately, she hates this and cries and I end up having to hold her down and open her legs. Obviously, this is very traumatic and everyone hates it.

    Is there anything anyone can suggest to help with this? I'm concerned that even my wet diaper cleanings are leading to an infection or at least bad hygiene, but I hate to have to force her to allow me to clean her.
     
  2. cara
    Ideal_Rock

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    by cara » Dec 21, 2010
    Potty training? You will still have to wipe her but maybe there will be less mess if it goes straight in the toliet mostly.
     
  3. Tacori E-ring
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Tacori E-ring » Dec 21, 2010
    My heart goes out to you. I remember how difficult it once was to change my DD's diaper as well. I think it was a combo of a power struggle (isn't potty training all about control? ;) ) and a game. The result was frustration on my fault. A 2.5 year old understands cause and effect. When my daughter would put up a fight I would explain why I needed to change her diaper, count to 3 and give her a time out. She only had to have a few before she behaved or would behave before I got to 3. I totally pick my battles with my kid and this is one I would pick. Her health/comfort is worth it IMHO. Good luck. Stay strong mama!
     
  4. Indylady
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Indylady » Dec 21, 2010
    How about bath-time right after a wet diaper change?
     
  5. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Dec 21, 2010
    See if she might be interested in potty training and underwear. Although I have to say, Amelia only started NOT liking having front wiped after she was PTed.

    My friend washes with water her child's privates after every change. It's a pain, but might be more fun than a swipe with the wipe for your DD. Just stand her in the tub and rinse, and give her a toy to divert.

    But I agree with Tacori - it's a battle I would pick.
     
  6. dreamer_dachsie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by dreamer_dachsie » Dec 21, 2010
    Hunter fights it too at times. Honestly, I just hold him down and tell him, "I know this is frustrating, but there is no option" and then wait until he calms down. Yes he cries, but I would not really call it trauma ;) Sometimes it takes a while but if I just do not move from my position (one hand on chest one on legs) and wait it out, he gives in.

    I have found that distraction can work sometimes too. Have a toy or interesting object on the change table. Or sing him a song, or tell a funy story.

    But in the end it is a power struggle like any other. Some things are non-negotiable in our house and diapering is one.

    He is 22 months just for comparison.
     
  7. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Dec 21, 2010
    I like this method better for a 2.,5 year old. I am making note ;)
     
  8. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Dec 21, 2010
    Oh, and urine should not cause a foul odor or any "gunk". I am wondering if she is irritated in her vaginal folds and simply cannot communicate it? There are irritations and infections other than yeast that a girl/woman can get. Does it seem red or inflamed inside if you pull the lips apart? Did the odor etc go away? Perhaps try switching soaps for bathtime?
     
  9. mmeowcollins
    Ideal_Rock

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    by mmeowcollins » Dec 21, 2010
    Thanks, everyone. She's actually going through potty training now, but only for urine- she won't poop at all in the potty, so the battle continues. She doesn't seem red or inflamed or anything- no signs of discomfort or itching. In the past, if there's been a problem, she told us that it hurts, so hopefully if she really does have an infection, she'd be able to voice it. I will ask her again though if she's in pain.

    I was away last week and I asked my parents, who watched her, if they saw or smelled anything. They didn't. However, last night I thought I caught a faint odor again...and am thinking I'm going to have to stick my nose down there and sniff :knockout:

    Hopefully my calling it trauma is overstating it and that it's really not that upsetting to her. DH and I do have to hold her down- I usually have to grab her arms and hold her upper body down and DH has to hold down her writhing lower half and wrench her legs apart. When I told other people this, they told me I was violating her and that I should instead be teaching her no one has the right to touch her without her consent. It made me feel badly, like I was scarring her for life. To me though, cleaning poop out is non-negotiable, though according to some people, you wouldn't think so!
     
  10. swingirl
    Ideal_Rock

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    by swingirl » Dec 21, 2010
    I did this with every diaper change at home. We had a deep sink that was big enough to sit/squat in but also used the tub with a sprayer hose. Soap and water was the best cleaning agent. I as guessing the whipping action, temperature of the whip or chemicals is uncomfortable. Luckily potty training is right around the corner.

    And being held down for a diaper charge at the age of 2 1/2 is a bit of a violation through a toddler's eyes, even though hygiene is necessary.
     
  11. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Dec 21, 2010

    I think it's smegma. If you can't get in there to clean it, it does start to smell. More of an issue with girls, I think. I remember reading aboutt his in sex ed way back then. I was totally grossed out by it.
     
  12. Hudson_Hawk
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    by Hudson_Hawk » Dec 21, 2010
    Little boys can have the same issue in the folds of their foreskin if it's not cared for.
     
  13. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Dec 21, 2010
    HH, I read that when I looked it up again just now. So funny that back in the day, it was mentioned for girls mostly because circumcision was more common back then.
     
  14. MonkeyPie
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    by MonkeyPie » Dec 21, 2010
    If rinsing in a sink or tub isn't always an option, I would extra diligent at bath time. At 2.5 she's old enough to associate diapers with bad things happening down below, and wrenching her legs apart COULD be traumatic.
     
  15. Pandora II
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    by Pandora II » Dec 21, 2010
    I find the best thing with Daisy is to change a wet diaper with her standing up and use the wipe that way - I've had her in pull-ups since she was 6 months as she's a wriggler.

    For poopy diapers I lay her on my knee facing towards me while sitting in front of the television with her head hanging upside down - I turn it into a bit of a game and normally she's fairly distracted by the television. She'll still try and clench her knees together but it's nothing like the fight if I was to do it on the floor or a table.
     
  16. janinegirly
    Ideal_Rock

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    by janinegirly » Dec 21, 2010
    Agree that if it's a battle of wills (which all us moms of 2-3 year olds are v. familiar with), then you have to find a way to win this one. I'm assuming distractions, bribing (um, I mean bargaining ;) hasn't worked?

    On the other hand it could be that she's in pain or had some pain and she is just dreading these diaper changes. Because of the smell I would take her in. Doctors/nurses sometimes play things down unless you're specific or insist. Ask them to take a look to at least rule out and kind of infection.
     
  17. Tacori E-ring
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    by Tacori E-ring » Dec 21, 2010
    I would not physically force my child at 2.5 for diaper changes. I just feel like there are better alternatives which yield better results at that age. One time DD had two timeouts in a row before she willingly let me change her diaper. When told she would get a third timeout she morphed into an angel. The good thing is kids have great memories and she knew if she chose not to let me change her diaper, she chose a timeout. Period.
     
  18. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Dec 21, 2010
    For me with the physical approach, the key is to wait until the child is calm before actually changing the diaper etc. I do not typically wrestle with him for the process of diaper changing, but rather in the time before hand, so I can look him in the face and empathize and make the point clear. So rather than forcibly wrenching legs apart etc, I am more restraining him on his back for a moment with gentle but firm pressure until he calms and gives in, which usually takes only 2-3 seconds, and as soon as he calms I sing a song or give him a toy and change the diaper. Honestly, this issue has passed for us after some initial fussing around the 18 mo mark, so I rarely have to do it. I used the same thing for car seat fusses and not wanting to put his coat on etc. But again, the action of putting the coat on etc did not occurr while the writhing/protest was going on, but after it had calmed.

    But our son is much younger than your daughter. I think trying time outs or other methods is a better move for a kiddo who is more developed mentally like that. I do think "trauma" is too strong a word, and shame on your friends for trying to make you guilty :nono: You are her mother and in my opinion that is different than a stranger touching her. That said, the notion of autonomy is something I hold dear and can see the more general point. I think using other methods of discipline or finding another diaper changing method is a better route for a child who is in that developmental phase.

    At our daycare they change wet diapers standing up and the kiddos take the diaper off, encouraging independence. Pull ups could work well for this and would help with potty training.

    You could also try pulling off the diaper and popping her in the tub for a rinse with the hand held shower head, that too much be more appealing. You could also try letting her wipe herself, one wipe for kiddo one for mommy to follow up ;)

    I think the sooner you move away from the forced scenerio the better, so try other things until you find what works.
     
  19. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Dec 21, 2010
    Ahhhhh smegma. Yes, that rings a bell. I bet you are right and that is it.
     
  20. LALove
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    by LALove » Dec 26, 2010
    I agree with this. Force is necessary at times, like grabbing a child away from a hot stove etc, but with diaper changes I think you will probably be able to find a better alternative.

    My DS is only 22 months old but we've already experienced the diaper change battle- crying and screaming, kicking etc. It started around 18 mos totally out of the blue. I think with my DS, he was mostly protesting having his will disregarded (he didn't want to stop playing with his cars etc to lie down for a change.)

    DH and I make a concerted effort to treat our son with dignity and respect to him as an individual and try to consider his point of view- ie how would we feel if someone bigger and stronger forced us to do something (like lie down) and we had no choice in the matter? So we applied this to diaper changes.

    Here's what we do:
    1.) First I make sure he is calm before a diaper change- if he's whining because he's hungry I'd give him a snack before I attempted to change him.
    2.) Then I'd kneel down so I was on his level and tell him his diaper was wet or poopy and we need to change it. If he was right in the middle of some activity like putting the last leggo on his structure, I'd tell him he could quickly finish that and give him a minute or two to do so. (I found that if I just snatch him up while he's intently focused on some activity, it makes him mad. Makes sense though- how would I feel if I was in the middle of painting my nails and someone bigger/stronger came over and snatched me up without consulting me? I'd be mad too! :) )
    3.) When we get to his room I'd tell him to please help Mama (this is a BIG button with my son and most kids- they love to help) by holding a wipe or his bum cream. If he wasn't interested in helping I'd give him an object I know fascinates him like a cool toy or the remote control or I'd sing a made up goofy song about diaper changes or do something else funny like making faces- whatever would work to divert his attention. When we're done I tell him "Good job!", "Thank you for helping and being such a big boy!" clap clap - some validation.
    4.) If he was just not cooperating, I'd calmly tell him he had a choice- diaper change or a time out. Just like with Tacori E-ring, this works with my son. Sometimes he'd have to get a couple time outs before he'd cooperate. But mostly now diaper changes are a breeze.

    (FYI we use the Suppernanny "time outs" and it works well for my son. http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Parenting-Skills/-/Discipline-and-Reward/The-Naughty-Step.aspx)

    It takes a bit more time with all these extra steps but it is SO much more pleasant for everyone involved.

    I also find with my DS, it is soooooo important to stay positive and not get angry or frustrated. Anger, or any negative emotion just makes the situation worse.

    And shame on your friends for not offering help or advice but judging you and making you feel worse! :nono: I'd bet they don't have kids of their own yet. Raising a baby/child is hard and everyone makes mistakes (I have made more than my fair share that's for sure) so please don't beat yourself up over this. It's clear your intentions are good!

    Re the not so pleasant smell- I too think this is just smegma. If that is the cause, you just have to wash her more thoroughly. Get a wash cloth really sudsy and gently scrub between her legs making sure you get between all the crevices/folds. DS isn't circumcised and I have to make sure to gently pull back the foreskin and wash with a soapy cloth each bath.

    Keep trying new things with the diaper changes til you find something that works for you and DD! Good luck! :)
     
  21. mmeowcollins
    Ideal_Rock

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    by mmeowcollins » Dec 26, 2010
    Thanks, all. The good thing is, I think most of the fight came down to wiping her too hard. I've started wiping gentler and it's going much better; she now is spreading her legs more. I don't know why it never occurred to us that this could be the problem.

    I just wanted to make clear that I don't have to chase her around the room to force her down for a change. She very willingly lies down and helps take her diaper off. It's cleaning her folds that was the problem, so when people suggested that I more thoroughly clean her in the bathtub, well, she wasn't really allowing me to clean her in the tub either.

    The other frustration has been that she holds her poop in during the day at daycare and can poop within 10 mins of walking in the door at night. I was getting overwhelmed because I was the first one home and I had to start dinner, while Ergoing my tired, in-need-of-soothing baby and deal with a pooping toddler. Usually the baby would fall asleep in the Ergo and then the toddler would poop, so I was presented with the dilemma of having to either undo the Ergo and wake the baby so I could change the toddler (no changing table so changes are done on the floor), change the toddler with the baby hanging upside down off me in the Ergo and now awake, or letting the toddler sit in her dirty diaper for 20 mins until DH came home. So, needless to say, diaper changes were quick and I probably wasn't being as gentle as I could.

    Anyway, long story short- things are much better. I will be super glad when she's potty trained b/c 2 in diapers is killing us!
     

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