Real men let their wives change diapers

One day before I became a wife and mother, I was at someone’s house when her brother (who lived in their basement) offered to change the baby’s diaper. It made me feel uncomfortable. Gross. Something struck me about that. Why should this grown man be helping a young child with his diaper problem? It sat wrong with me, but at that time, I wasn’t a mom yet, so I didn’t have the experience or deep thoughts to answer why.

Even so, when my older ones were little, I didn’t hesitate to ask my husband to change blowout diapers, not because I was truly unable, but because I was lazy and wanted him to do the dirty work.

But things have changed. I am now firmly against the idea of Daddy changing diapers (or wearing babies in a carrier and getting up at night, too, but that’s for another post!)

I had thought hard about the quintessential new-parent problem of whether to use disposables or to cloth diaper. I ended up doing a little bit of both. But when I asked my mom if she’d help me potty train my daughter when she turned 18 months old, she gave me a lecture and said I must wait until she turned 3! I was aghast at the idea of buying, changing, cleaning those diapers.

The next week, a book at the library jumped out at me: Diaper Free Before 3 by Dr Jill Lekovic, MD. I got it, and got my daughter on the potty that day at 8 months old. She ended up being day and night, pee and poo trained fully by 14 months old. She excelled and was proud of herself for this accomplishment.

I have used Dr Lekovic’s method for all of my children, even pottying some of them just after birth. It’s been a huge money saver, and along the way, I’ve also observed several things about a child’s natural modesty that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned, such as:

  1. A child has a natural sense not to pee while being held, unless the child’s potty needs are not met
  2. Young babies cry because they want to void in the potty (or a bowl, or the sink, or the ground outside) and not soil themselves.
  3. Babies don’t pee in their sleep, then stir to mostly-awake, cry, and when they’re ignored (or given the wrong thing, which happens when baby is rocked, nursed or given a bottle, not an opportunity at the potty) wet the diaper, then fall back asleep, usually while continuing to cry from discomfort. Which leads me to…
  4. Night training. It’s much easier than you think. It only requires Mama to make that sacrifice and get out of bed.
  5. Some children will respond to “elimination communication” where you can make a noise to cue using the potty. None of my children have been this way, though.
  6. Most babies (all of mine) responded to scheduling. Whenever there is a transition such as out of carseat, out of stroller, arriving home, finishing a meal, waking up, done nursing or bottle, an opportunity to potty is given. After a while, the child realizes that pattern and will reliably respond.
  7. Babies regress in pottying when they are having other milestones, so that requires great patience on Mama’s part. These milestones, for my children, included: crawling, sitting up, getting a tooth, standing, and walking.
  8. Nursing, eating, or having a bottle trigger the activity of the gastrointestinal track, and result in the child having a bowel movement shortly after finishing. Every mom has noticed this. It can be used to your advantage!
  9. Children do not like to be shown off about their pottying. Having a stranger observe my little ones on the potty has always resulted in nothing to show. Children naturally want modesty, and will hold it. (What parent hasn’t experienced the phenomenon of the toddler hiding somewhere to soil his diaper? That’s the natural modesty.)
  10. Guarding the child’s modesty as a little child leads the child to guard modesty as he or she grows up. God placed the sacred parts of our sexuality near/in the parts used for elimination so that we have a built-in reason to guard them. When a child is changed by a man — even if that man is Daddy — this natural modesty is violated.

So, that brings me back to original question: why should Daddy not change the diaper? I think my reason at number 10 above answers it. Through my experience of early pottying, I have seen very clearly the natural modesty that children have. Motherly tenderness is necessary when baby soils himself and needs cleaned. Fathers don’t have, and shouldn’t have that motherliness. They should have fatherliness. They should have manliness. The trend of making men into women is devastating. Children deserve to be loved by a mother and a father, each with his or her own distinct sexuality, even down to the details.

Even the La Leche League — started by Catholic moms and their priest — is now supporting “chest feeding,” meaning stimulating a man through hormonal treatment so he can lactate. No, that’s not right. Women have the sacred trust of child care, and we must own it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s