Exploring First Signs: Nappy Change

Last week we discussed the sign for BED and how this can help you in starting to implement signing routines at home.

This week we are looking at the sign we use for NAPPY CHANGE – again, a very useful sign and one that you are likely to be using several times a day with your baby and toddler, until such time as you start using the toilet with them. 

THE SIGN FOR NAPPY CHANGE; copyright Cath Smith from the LETS SIGN series at Deaf Books

The sign that we recommend that you use is the sign for CHANGE.  We would suggest that you use this sign over the sign for nappy for small babies as the sign for nappy is rather lower down near your hips meaning that your baby will not be focussed on your hands and face – eye contact is incredibly important for secure bonding and we find, from experience, that the CHANGE sign is more useful for our parents.

How to make the CHANGE: Close your hands into fists, then place your index fingers on top of your thumbs (known as Irish T Hands); Cross your hands over each other.   (This sign varies and you may see it a little like putting some perfume on your wrists and rubbing it in).

When to make the CHANGE sign:  Just before you change your baby’s nappy.  Say ‘Nappy Change’ or ‘Change Your Nappy’ as you sign the word.

How does this sign help?  Well, from experience we have found that babies tend to be calmer when they know what to expect.  By using the CHANGE sign in conjunction with the words, you are telling your baby before you do it, what you are about to do.  This means that your baby is prepared for having his or her clothes taken off and their needs attended to and is more respectful to them.  This sign seems to be especially beneficial for wriggly little ones where you need more hands than an octopus!

What your baby may do: Your baby may find this sign quite difficult to get to grips with as it requires a lot of gross and fine motor skill development.  However the most common things that babies do are to make a washing hands motion with their hands, or, if they are moving, may head off to the area where you change nappies or get their nappy bag.

Do remember that your baby’s comprehension and understanding is at least 6 months ahead of their ability to communicate with you.


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