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27th Mar 2024

Here’s why parents are banning grandparents from changing their baby’s nappies



A UK mum has sparked a debate on the issue of ‘consent parenting’ after revealing on a parenting forum she doesn’t want people other than her husband and herself to change her son’s nappy.

The new mum took to Mumsnet to explain that she wants to ‘protect’ her six-month-old baby’s privacy and was furious when her mother-in-law changed his nappy when he was crying.

Sparking the debate, she wrote:

“I’m very keen on consent and protecting my baby’s privacy and prefer that only myself and my partner are the ones to change [my son’s] nappy.

“Obviously I understand if we’re not available due to nursery eventually or if someone else is babysitting then I’m happy for someone else to do it, however, this has not yet been the case.

“A while ago my mother-in-law was over and my baby started crying and rather than just give him back decided to take it upon herself to change him. I was standing right there.

“He continued crying throughout the change and she gave him back straight after but it annoyed me as it wasn’t her place to change him. I didn’t say anything at the time as I was trying to be nice and friendly but starting to find her more overbearing and I’m getting close to drawing a line.”

‘Babies don’t need consent’

Needless to say, the majority of Mumsnet users disagreed with the mum, claiming her to be utterly unreasonable and overbearing.

“If you don’t trust grandparents to change baby’s nappy they shouldn’t be seeing baby. If you do, no issue,” one person wrote, adding:

“Babies don’t need consent no matter how keen you are on it.”

Another one said:

“So nursery workers or babysitters can change your child but their grandparents can’t?”

A third person chimed in:

“I suspect this is more about your feelings towards your mother-in-law than anything to do with privacy and consent (consent being a ridiculous concept for a small baby who has no capacity to give informed consent at that age).”

However, some parents tried to see things from the new mum’s perspective.

“Your mother-in-law should not have assumed that it was ok to change your baby’s nappy,” one person wrote.

“She should have said something along the lines of ‘is it ok to go ahead and change him’ or ‘would you like me to change him for you’ – particularly the first time.”

@brittanybaxter_x I said what I said… #gentleparenting #consent #fyp ♬ original sound – Brittany

What is consent parenting?

According to the Daily Mail, consent parenting is an approach that aims to teach infants, toddlers and children about body safety, boundaries and consent. Proponents claim it educates children about appropriate and inappropriate touch, helping to prevent abuse.

Over the past couple of year, some parents have started taking to social media to explain how they have started asking their infant babies permission before giving them cuddles, kisses, or changing their nappies.

However, critics claim parents are teaching the lessons too early and that it is their right and responsibility as a parent to make decisions about their child’s body.

Australian mother Brittany Baxter recently took to TikTok to discuss parenting, explaining she has been teaching her ‘almost two-year-old daughter’ about consent since the day she was born.

And last year, staff at a chain of childcare centres in Australia encouraged parents to seek permission from their babies to change their nappies.

The franchise sent a letter to parents encouraging them to wait before their child has finished playing before changing their nappy as they ‘don’t like to be interrupted’.

“Ask for your baby’s help, talk them through what you are doing and encourage the use of senses,” the letter read, according to The Herald Sun.

“When toddlers become mobile, nappy changing may look quite different. Continue to ask for cooperation but understand that your toddler may wish to now stand for their nappy change.”