Like most men, I’d venture to say, I had never changed a diaper before I changed my son’s.
While the actual procedure is pretty self-explanatory, there are a couple of things you can do to make the process less of a chore and more of an experience. Baby has become quite fond of the changing table as a destination, not just a means to an end. I think he’d sleep there, if we let him—receive visitors and gifts of warm bottles and fikeys like some sort of miniature (albeit pale) Don Corleone. He’s taken to the changing table the way Robin took to Batman, his platonic love obvious, somewhat touching, borderline creepy. But it’s a safe-haven, a place to relax and enjoy the fruits of another’s labor. Kind of like a baby day spa.
As such, the key is not to rush things. Keep a fikey handy (always), but let Baby relax, get comfortable and make friends with the changing table. Much like a guy's experience at one of those troughs at a baseball game, it takes a little while to let go. Same for babies. My wife was squirted multiple times before she adopted my method, and not once since. Again, patience is key.
Put him on the changing table, but don’t rush it. Talk to him a bit, get him smiling. You are the opening act; your job at this point is to work the crowd. Unsnap his clothes, but let him bask for a few minutes in the safe, comforting surroundings with his diaper still on. Since he is immobile, this gives you time to warm a bottle (if needed) and his body time (especially if he’s just woken up) to work some of the gas or pee out. It also avoids a re-diapering situation for going in too soon.
Now, when you do take off the diaper and it’s a doozy of a doo, don’t panic. The first time I encountered a melted peanut buttery mess, I did not remain calm. It was everywhere–his legs, feet, half of his torso, and I panicked. I picked him up and escorted him directly to the sink, where I literally hosed him down for several minutes. It was effective, yes, but I now endorse the following method:
1. Grab a handful of wipes and place near Baby’s soiled region.
2. Undo the offending diaper and slowly pull back the top while simultaneously holding your own breath like you mean it. Like Ed Harris in The Abyss.
3. Grab Baby’s legs (both of them) by the ankles in one hand and pull up to lift his bottom off of the diaper. Do not release from this position! If Baby’s legs are free, they become homing missiles. And the target is that pile of poo.
4. With your other hand, pull the dirty diaper out from under and set it aside. Then grab wipe after wipe and start going to town. Don’t be shy—get in all the little crevices, up the back, belly button, etc. Discard used wipes in diaper.
5. If you have the dexterity, you can wrap up your diaper with one hand and dispose of properly. I don’t quite have the skills for that, so I rotate Baby about 45 degrees to keep legs at bay and bundle it up and toss it.
Final note: Give Baby some “air time.” Remember that he spends approximately 98% of his day in a diaper, so he will appreciate the freedom and sensation of the ambient air. Of course, privileges can always be revoked, should he show his appreciation in a liquid format; keep a cover-up diaper handy just in case.