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7 Hilarious Truths About Changing Nappies

The world of nappies can be a terrifying one for first-time parents. Our resident Dad, Pat Fitzpatrick shares some tips, particularly aimed at first-time fathers.

1. Nappy Dry Run

There are two key dry runs you need to make before baby arrives. The first is the trip where you plot your route to the maternity hospital. (It’s called a dry run because there is no risk of her waters breaking, and making a mess of your new Hyundai.) The second and more important journey is the dry run to the nappy aisle in your nearest supermarket. That’s not a trip you want to be making straight after the baby is born. (Everyone forgets to bring enough nappies to the hospital and that’s where Dad is supposed to shine.)

Trying the find the right nappy for a thirty-minute old baby is a tricky business. Trying to do it after 18 hours in the delivery ward, where your partner called you a f**kity f**k because you told her it was too late to have an epidural, well that’s never going to end well. Some of our best men have gone into that situation and still managed to come out with fourteen packs of pull-ups for a four-year-old. You’ll be lucky to get away with just a f**kity f**k after that. So, do a dry run, with your partner, and take an actual photo of the nappies you have to buy.

2. Which Nappy?

You’ll probably need a small mortgage to put nappies on the first child. Why? Because your partner will want to swathe her baby in a limited-edition affair, hand-weaved in small batches in the Atlas Mountains by a team of artisan nappy makers. This is to get one up on her best friend, who only put her first child in Pampers. Don’t worry, this extravagance won’t last. After the two of you see what your darling child actually fires into a nappy, you’ll realise there is no need for all the expense. If you’re lucky enough to have a second child, she’ll be lucky to get wrapped up in old copies of Hello!

3. But I made sure it was on properly!

Says you, to your partner, as she cuts the latest shite-soaked onesie off your child. The truth is you didn’t make sure it was on properly. There is a trick you need to do before you tie the onesie back up, where you pull the elasticated pants bit of the nappy out around your child’s thighs so that it makes a seal. You’d be surprised how much money this trick can save on replacement onesies, bathing products and divorce costs.

4. The Changing Bag

The main reason a woman wants to get pregnant is so she can spend a fortune on a designer changing bag. Ok, that’s an overstatement, but not by as much as you’d think. What you need to decide is whether you are comfortable being seen in public with one of these. (They are basically a man-bag in brighter colours, with curves rather than straight lines.) If you are the type who doesn’t care what people think, then you and the changing bag will get along just fine. Otherwise, I’d invest in a rucksack.

5. Random Nappy

You know that random nappy that’s been lying around the back seat of your car for three months? Leave it there. The ironclad rule in this area is that no nappy ever goes unused. You’ll see this rule in action when you drive Junior over to your mother’s place on a Sunday morning, after a sleepless night, because the poor little guy had a bug. Well, that bug has now moved to his arse. As a result, you’ve already gone through the three nappies you brought with you. Leaving the poor guy in his last nappy will result in you facing a War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. And then you remember – hang on, there’s a nappy in the car. And then you remember again – hang on, I threw it out because I’m obsessed with cleanliness. Well, who’s obsessed with cleanliness now? Your partner, as it turns out when you bring her child home smelling like a septic tank. (It’s always ‘her child’ when you are in the wrong.) So, here’s that rule again. Never throw away the random nappy.

6. Changing Facilities

I’ll never forget the first time I changed our eldest somewhere other than our house. She was about two months old. I was driving-test nervous.

It was a changing room in some shopping centre, small and windowless, the kind of place the cops would use as an interview spot if they were trying to force a confession. It smelled of all the children that had ever been changed in there. And then I saw what looked like the changing table. It was a heavy slab of angry grey plastic, folded up against the wall. I pulled it down to the horizontal. This is going to snap back up against the wall, I thought, preparing g for when I had to tell my wife that the changing table ate our child. Still, that would have been better than walking out there with an intact but unchanged daughter; wives hate that.

I strapped Freda down on the table (gently) and tried to rush it. Never rush a nappy change. It seemed like forever before I walked back out, nerves still jangling, with a freshly changed child.

What should have been simple, turned out to be an ordeal. Here’s my advice if, like me, you are inclined to be a bit anxious. Take a trip into a changing room when you don’t have a child in tow, just to get the lay of the land. Take note of what the table looks like, pull it down and convince yourself it wouldn’t eat your child; get a feel for the little straps. Trust me, you don’t want to wing it.

7. The Holiday Nappy

You can always spot the couple on a first trip away with their baby. They’re the one who has checked in two bags full of nappies, as well as stuffing the buggy travel bag with more nappies, to get one over on Michael O’Leary. (The buggy bag goes free and isn’t weighed.)

But guess what? People in Spain and Portugal love their kids as well. So much so, that they actually sell really good nappies, at reasonable prices, in supermarkets near where you will be staying. So, if you are heading off for the first time, just pack enough in your hand luggage to get through the first day. (Lost luggage could make things very messy.) And look, if you really need to, yes, it’s still ok to stuff the buggy bag with nappies, just to get one over on Michael O’Leary.

About the Author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city with his wife and two small kids. He gave up a decent job in I.T. in 2008 to head for the lucrative world of writing. So don't hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. Pat is a regular on the on the RTE Today show with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé and pops up frequently on radio shows such as the Right Hook. All of this is a bit too much like hard work, so he has started writing novels which will hopefully fund an early retirement to a hammock in the back garden. His first novel, Keep Away from those Ferraris, is available online and in shops outlined here http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/novels/. Pat’s kids are both under two, so if you don’t mind, he is now going for a quick lie down.

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