Babies are relatively easy to handle – until they start moving, that is! Here are nine clever tips and tricks for wrangling your squirmy baby and making all those everyday tasks just a little bit easier, safer and less stressful.
1. Sling them on
This is a lifesaver when you have to go somewhere quickly, like ducking to the shops or doing the school run for older siblings. Simply pop them in the sling and voila, no more baby climbing up your shoulder trying to dive bomb onto the ground. Baby carriers are a godsend too if you have a particularly clingy baby and want to get stuff done around the house.
2. Sing out
Bursting into song is a great way to stop your squirmy bub in their tracks. They love the sound of your voice (even if you can’t carry a tune), and will usually go still as they listen intently to what you’re singing. This is particularly helpful at feeding time when they’re up to their usual high chair high-jinks and you can’t get that spoon in, but also works at other times, like changing their nappy.
3. Create a finger food frenzy
Little ones love the challenge and excitement of eating finger food (once they’re old enough). It’s a real show stopper as they put all their focus and attention on grabbing those sultanas or whatever it is you’ve put down. A perfect way to distract them between shoving spoonfuls of puree in their mouth, you can also use this tactic at other times like waiting at the doctor’s or anywhere else they might be wanting to get their wriggle on. Just make sure the food is small and soft (no uncut grapes) and don’t give any food when they’re in the car or unattended in case of choking.
4. Strap them in and get down low
This one seems obvious, but it’s very easy to forget to put that high chair belt on or the strap on the supermarket trolley. If you’re not restricting their movement in these situations you’re just asking for trouble – a fall from a high chair is not nice at all. Many a bub has also fallen from a change table or bed as parents struggle to keep them still, so consider putting your mat on the floor when you change their nappy for a safer option.
5. Laundry basket bath-time
This one is a real winner if your little one likes to cruise everywhere in the bath. Simply empty your laundry basket (make sure it’s one with holes in the side) and pop it in the bath while the tap is running. Then once you have enough water, place your baby inside with a bunch of fun stuff. No more chasing after escaped toys! They can also place their hands on the sides of the basket for support. Just be careful about them standing up and never leave your child unattended while in the bath.
6. More toys for distraction
Need to get your baby in their car seat or change their nappy? Bring out the toys. Rattles, soft toys, teething toys, whatever they’re into – wave it in front of their face and they’ll stop trying to flip over and make for the exits. If toys don’t work, try remote controls or other ‘forbidden’ objects they like the look of. And if they’re holding something when you’re changing their nappy, they’ll be less inclined to throw their hands down into their poo as well.
7. Get smarter about nappies
While we’re on nappy changing again, an awesome way to create less hassle and mess is to make a smarter choice for wriggly bubs like pull-up nappies. Not just for toilet training time, they work wonders on wriggly toddlers when you need a super quick nappy change – think swimming lessons, aeroplanes, middle of the night and public park poo disasters!!
8. Flick on the TV
We all have a love/hate relationship with screens, but the TV is a great go-to when you need to do something tricky like get your squirmy baby dressed, give your toddler medicine or cut their nails. For best results, put something on that also has music, so they can really get into it.
9. Rope someone else in
Nothing like an extra pair of hands to help hold that wriggly baby down! While Dad blows raspberries on their tummy, Mum can be changing their pants or taking a splinter out. Having someone else to help distract your little one is also particularly useful for wiping their nose – because we all know that children rarely stay still for that one.