When you look at your newborn, you may be under the impression that they’re not thinking a whole lot.
But just remember how much your baby has to learn by age 2, 3, and 5.
Most experts believe that babies begin thinking as early as the womb. And a Berkeley study showed that by 6 months a baby is already reasoning out probabilities (i.e., what may happen and the likelihood of that happening). This was previously thought to be a much higher level of reasoning.
So the question remains: What are babies thinking during a diaper change?
1. Yay, She’s Smiling At Me During My Diaper Change!
“Mommy is my Diaper Genie. She magics away all that wet stuff from my bum. And smiles at me while she’s doing it. I must be good.”
Your infant takes in everything. She sees every response to her as a statement about whether you accept her.
When you smile and play with your baby during the diaper change, she receives the message that she is okay. She is good. You approve of her.
2. Oh No, She’s Frowning At Me!
“Mommy’s not smiling when she takes off my diaper. She seems disappointed. She’s disgusted with me.”
Infants internalize everything a parent does. This includes words, facial expressions, and body language.
They don’t have the ability to reason, “I made something stinky and gross.” Instead, they think, “I am stinky and gross.” This can lead to a child’s holding the belief later in life that there is something wrong with him.
3. What Is This Stuff Coming Out of Me?
It is generally believed that, from the moment they are born, babies are constantly thinking. They are striving to understand this big place and the humongous people around them.
Babies are noticing patterns as they process new information on their surroundings. Baby is too young to understand what she is producing when there is poop on her bottom. She relies on the “big people” around her to mirror back how she should respond to it.
Again, this is why it is very important for Mommy and Daddy to meet her needs in an approving manner. This will translate to her approval of herself throughout life.
4. Am I a burden?
Picture it: A long, stressful day. Everything seems to go wrong.
You forgot your dental appointment. You misplaced your best blouse. You dropped your eggs when you were fumbling for your house keys.
It’s 7 p.m., you have a headache and you’re finally sitting down as your favorite show starts. That’s when you smell it…
It can be hard to keep your cool. Just remember that every reaction to your child is seen as about who he is as a person. He can’t understand the stress or inconvenience.
5. Why is Mommy/Daddy Laughing at Me?
We’ve already discussed how infants internalize everything. They believe every response to them is about their inherent worth.
If you have a tendency to nervously laugh when you’re changing a diaper, your baby is likely to interpret this as laughter at her. Or if you feel the urge to call over your spouse to see the monster poop your baby just made, she may be confused at this reaction. Just being mindful of your interaction with your baby can go far.
What would you add to our list of baby thought during a diaper change? Comment below.