A First Diaper Experience
The hospital where I had my daughter Ashley Lyn permitted “rooming in” for both the newborn and the daddy. I was surprised to note that my husband was one of very few who stayed overnight that first night. I insisted he go home to rest the second night.
In those first 24 hours following my daughter’s birth, my husband and I, as brand new parents, had a lot to learn. We’d never fed a baby, diapered a baby… I’m not sure if he’d ever held a baby that small until the midwife placed Ashley in his arms.
Two months later, we’ve probably changed close to 1000 diapers, but that first one remains embedded in my memory. I don’t remember the time, but it was probably very early that first morning. Ashley started crying — for the first time since she was born. “Maybe she needs a new diaper?” my husband suggested. He carried her to the bassinet and together, we unfastened the diaper from around this wiggling, crying bundle. Sure enough, it was dirty, and we both smiled. Not only was my husband’s “guess” right, but this also meant the breastfeeding was going well — through all our struggles, she was getting colostrum to help her grow. I ran to the sink to moisten one of the soft paper towels the hospital provides as wipes for newborns and handed it to my husband. As he wiped the thick substance from her butt, we realized one would not do the job. I moistened another wipe and together, we cleaned her off. Then he lifted her butt while I slid the diaper underneath, and we each fastened one tab.
The last time I had changed a diaper was approximately 16 years ago. I also remember the first diaper I ever changed, on my niece, who was a very young toddler at the time. I had put the diaper on backwards, and my sister still teases me about it! I smiled as I thought about this as I paid careful attention this time, mindful that the Sesame Street characters went in the front. My hands were shaking with every motion.
I remember a nurse coming in and watching us, marveling at the new parents working together. She politely waited until we were done to talk to us, and laughed when I told her it was our “first diaper change.” By the time we were done, the baby had stopped crying, too. We looked at each other and smiled. We did it!
It’s hard to believe that was only eight weeks ago. Since then, we’ve changed diapers on rest stop changing tables, in parking lots, on friends’ floors, and hundreds on the changing tables in our bedroom and in the nursery. But changing that first diaper meant so much more than any that followed. It was a small indication, just a hint, that if we worked together, we’d make it through this thing called parenting. Or at least the first few months.
How about you, moms? What experience from your baby’s first days will you always remember?