When we’re brand new parents, we tend to struggle with activities we never thought we would. After all, changing a baby’s diaper or putting a new outfit on them is much harder than one might expect!
But at some point, we’re encouraged to get past these hiccups, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor babychangerah found herself being pressured to move forward after she struggled to change her baby’s diaper without feeling ill.
With the pressure intensifying, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if her feelings were somehow wrong.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for changing my baby while wearing gloves and a mask?”
The OP and her wife equally care for their daughter.
“This issue has been going on for a few months and now our families are involved. I don’t think I’m the a**hole but could really use some unbiased advice here.”
“I (28 [female]) and my wife (29 [female]) just had our first child about 4 months ago–my wife was the one who gave birth.”
“I love my daughter so much and would do anything for her.”
“We both work from home and therefore split childcare pretty much 50/50. If she’s busy and the baby is crying or needs food/changing, I take care of it, and vice versa.”
But the OP had to come up with a unique solution for diaper changes.
“The issue though is diaper changes.”
“I’ve always been really, really squeamish and sensitive to bad smells.”
“(My wife knows, I even fainted briefly while she was giving birth!)”
“Therefore, if it’s my turn for the change, I have a get-up that helps me get through it. I wear disposable gloves and a mask, and I put a minty-smelling salve underneath my nose before I get started.”
“I keep all this in the changing room and diaper bag if we are out of the house, so it only takes me a couple of seconds to get ‘suited up.'”
The rest of the family didn’t appreciate the “get-up,” however.
“My wife has become more and more insistent that I ‘get over it’ and ‘grow up’ because, in her mind, I am not bonding with our daughter.”
“When she changes her, she likes to linger and talk sweetly to her and caress her. I don’t because I find it very difficult to get through already.”
“But I love spending time with my daughter otherwise. I hold her and read to her and play with her a lot.”
“My mom and MIL (mother-in-law) came over the other day, and I feel like my mom and my wife ganged up on me about this issue.”
“My mom said that I was acting like a toxic man and that she was ashamed of how I was acting.”
“My MIL was more sympathetic but said that I’d get used to it and that exposure therapy was the best thing to ‘help.'”
“I don’t think what I’m doing is wrong.”
“Again, I have no issue changing the baby when needed, but maybe I am being really cold and stunting her development in some way?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some affirmed the OP could do what she needed to get through the diaper phase.
“NTA. Ask your wife and mom if they would prefer you gag and accidentally vomit on the baby?” – Malachite_Macchiato
“My hangup was the drool. I can deal with any other substance that children produce but not saliva. I don’t deal with slobbering dogs well either. I will puke.”
“I have 3 kids, 2 of which I gave birth to, a whole bunch of nieces and nephews that I babysat, a granddaughter who is here half her life, AND I worked a preschool. Still cannot handle saliva. Excuse me while I go throw up from talking about it.” – eveban
“I have 6 kids and love them to pieces. If I had the time, I’d probably suit up in a full hazmat suit before changing a diaper… I have had multiple instances of blow-out diapers where I just decided (according to the weather) to just put the kid on a shower or hose them down with a garden hose.”
“And I have just thrown out multiple rompers because I just didn’t want to face the horror again in the laundry.”
“The fist few months, when they are still breastfed, it’s kinda ‘bearable,’ but when they start on solids or powder milk… It’s horrible.”
“I just hand them to my husband when I smell something and he’s around. I feel no shame. I pushed them out, I take care of them when he’s working, and unless he can grow a functional boob, he’s doing the majority of the poop diapers.” – 19niki86
“Seriously, anything that gets you through the diaper phase. I don’t care if you have to put on a level 3 HAZMAT suit. If you’re standing up and doing the job, it doesn’t matter how you do it.” – YanniRocks
Others were concerned about the message being sent to the baby.
“OP should look into perhaps getting one of those nose plugs that synchronized swimmers use so her face is not covered. Being able to make faces at your baby as you change them keeps them from rolling and flipping around so much and makes the whole thing faster and less messy. Her baby might not be super squirmy yet, but she will be within the next couple weeks!” – Muddy_Wafer
“My 10 mo old has always had crazy solid poops but he alligator rolls every.single.time and it gets flinged around and messy very fast if I lose the high ground. It takes a team of two to get him dressed when he’s in a mood as well.”
“I’m in the camp of thinking the hazmat get up will definitely make a negative impression on your tot.”
“Masks have been difficult with my LO (little one) and he sometimes becomes withdrawn and asocial if I’m wearing one around him, despite his young age.” – SpaceCatDiscovery
“OP, as others have mentioned, kids can take messages we would never intend from our actions.”
“Everybody poops, we all know that, but be mindful that your coping mechanism doesn’t convey a message of shame or wrongness.”
“Toddlers hold onto that kind of stuff, freakily so sometimes, and you want to make sure they don’t end up with potty training issues, hold onto or hide their poop, and so on.”
“The first year of bodily functions though does a fantastic job of desensitizing many parents from all sorts of nasty shit (pun intended!)” – hoppityhoppity
The OP had no ill will for her child or for the act of changing diapers, but she felt she needed something to shield herself from the act of cleaning her daughter up.
The subReddit divided on this but not in a negative way. Some affirmed the OP’s actions, saying she did what she needed to do to contribute fairly to the raising of her child. But some were worried at the message she might be sending to her child, however good it was that she was still changing her diapers.