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How Many Hands Does It Take to Change a Nappy?

Babies are deceptive by nature. As newborns they lull their hapless parents into a false sense of security by laying perfectly still for every nappy change. However they soon reach their developmental milestones.

A very scientifically sound and important study.

Numerous nappy theories have been argued and discussed and studied over the years; cloth verses disposable, your turn as opposed to mine, and what the hell are we feeding this kid?

In this study we shall be looking at the equation concerning the ratio of hands to nappy change, with this equation:

Put simply: How many hands does it take to change a nappy?

It is a well-known fact, that the two hands parents possess are not enough for this task alone. Reinforcements are required. This study shall attempt to determine just how many extra hands are required for the task.

First we must look at the participants involved; the baby, and the parent.

The Baby (Participant one):

Babies are deceptive by nature. As newborns they lull their hapless parents into a false sense of security by laying perfectly still for every nappy change. However they soon reach their developmental milestones. The key change occurs when they learn to roll over. With this new-found skill comes the ability to test and challenge the parents nappy changing skills on a daily basis.

The Parent (Participant two):

The parent is always sleep deprived, and often distracted by older siblings of the baby. These siblings often require the parent to assist with bottom wiping at the same time the parent is attempting the nappy change. The parent has tried many distraction techniques over the years to make nappy changing a job for their mere two hands. Methods such as singing the same song repeatedly and giving a toy to distract the baby, have all failed. Many parents have looked for alternative solutions such as duct tape. This has however been frowned upon, and the suggestion is that duct tape is only to be used for DIY purposes, and some Fifty Shades of Grey inspired activities.

The Study:

This study was carried out on a change table in Participant one's nursery. Participant one was 10 months and 29 days old. It is important to state at this point in the study that Participant one is of the male species, and therefore come equipped with an extra hazard during change times.

Participant two has two children, and has completed all relevant nappy changing training. Participant two has chosen not to disclose her age as it has no bearing on the outcome of this study. Participant two had consumed her quota of caffeine, and was fit and healthy and firing on almost all cylinders at the time of the study.

The nappy being changed for the purpose of this study was a dirty one. Medium in size and measuring approximately seven out of 10 on the nose offence scale.


  • 1 disposable nappy
  • 10 baby wipes
  • 1 nappy bag

How many hands does it take to change a nappy?

Hand 1 To hold Participant one's legs in the air by the ankles.

Hand 2 To complete all wiping and cleaning of poo from Participant one's bottom area, and removing old dirty nappy and replacing with new clean nappy.

Hand 3 To catch the escaped leg of Participant 1 and stop the foot landing in the dirty nappy and smearing poo on the change mat and the nursery wall.

Hand 4 To gently pin Participant one by the shoulders to prevent any attempts to dive off the change table head first.

Hand 5 To separate the wipes that are all stuck together and coming out as one continuous wipe. Thus preventing the use of a whole pack of wipes being used on one nappy change.

Hand 6 To cover Participant one's extra hazard which has sprung a leak, and prevent Participant 2 from having wee in her eye, hair and mouth.

Hand 7 To catch any of the 'distraction' toys currently being thrown at Participant 2's head by Participant one.

Hand 8 To hold the hand of Participant one and desist them from trying to partake in any of the following activities; grabbing hold of their extra hazard, having a general rummage around down there, grabbing the dirty nappy and hurling it at Participant two.

Hand 9 To hold the other hand of Participant one for the reasons stated above.

Hand 10 To gently push Participant one's tummy down onto the change mat, as he is currently demonstrating highly advanced contortionist skills whilst participant two still has his legs in the air.

Hand 11 To wipe the poo from the hand of Participant two.

Hand 12 To retrieve the clean nappy that is now somehow on the floor.

So there we have the answer:

Further studies need to be conducted to ascertain how many additional hands are required in the event of a poonami. A poonami is by definition; when the baby produces 5 times their own body weight of poo and it cannot be contained within the nappy they are wearing.

Currently the after effects of a poonami dealt with by only two hands involve;

  • full strip down and bath of the baby.
  • full strip down and shower of the parent.
  • full antibacterial wipe down of the nursery and possible re-painting of the walls.
  • the burning of all clothes involved.

The effects of a poonami on the participating parents emotional state also requires further study. Sitting in the corner and assuming the fetal position for two hours after the event, is not conducive to good parenting.

For more poo related stories check out Life Love and Dirty Dishes