Introduction: Change a Baby's Diaper One Handed

I've got VERY LIMITED use of one arm. It hangs like a paralyzed t-rex arm, due to minor Cerebral Palsy. As I'm about to be a dad (for the first time) in a few weeks, I was stressing how a "one armed man" might change a diaper, and clean a baby's bottom when I'm home alone. I'm going to be the stay at home parent, so this will likely be often.

THIS IS JUST HOW I DID THIS. This is NOT the only way. Also, I'm NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU, OR YOUR CHILD. If you are not comfortable with this idea, and/or your own abilities to make this.... DO NOT RISK YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH OR WELL BEING. It is important to remember, a baby's hips and legs can easily be hurt or even dislocated if you are not careful. NOBODY wants your baby to get hurt. I sure as crap don't. Use common sense, for goodness sake. Do NOT lift a baby's legs too high with this. do NOT drop the baby's legs back down too fast. etc. ... LikeI said. Use common sense. a baby is a wonderful gift. treat it as such.

Also, I'd originally only taken pictures for my own use and documentation... So this Instructable is going to be just a little rough, because there are only so many photos and only so much detailed info I've got... But upon finishing this project, I realized I ought to make an Instructable. Even if it's basic. It can be a spring-board for others to use.

If it is hard to follow, I'm sorry, I'm MIGHTY dyslexic, so this took a LONG time to make, and I've got little doubt it has funky syntax.

Step 1: The Idea Was to Make a Pulley System to Gently Lift My Baby by It's Ankles...

I wanted to be able to "grab my baby's ankles" and hold her rump up to be cleaned n' wiped. The traditional way to do this is to use one hand to grasp the ankles and lift the butt up so that with your OTHER hand you can wipe n' clean. My problem is, if I lift with my one good hand, how will I wipe? ... So I figured a pulley on an arm, with a harness. (Like what hospitals use to hold the limbs of adults suspended.) should work.

This pulley system is bolted (securely) to my baby's changing table with L brackets, machine screws, and sheetrock screws. (trust me, it is going nowhere any time soon.)

... On a side note; with all the vets coming back home with missing limbs and such, I'd thought it would be easy to find info for "one handed parents", but the truth is, there ain't much out there that is easily found on line. who knew, right?

Step 2: Find Your Parts.... These Will Vary Depending on What's Available to You.

for me, my list was this...

1 piece of 1"x4" pine lumber (sand all edges and corners, so no splinters around the baby)

1 wall sconce with a pivoting arm (I got mine from the discount table of a big-box hardware store for $5.00)

1 package of clothes-line rope (inexpensive, but strong)

1 pully (small'ish)

1 package of machine screws (long enough to go through the lamp base and the 1"x4" lumber)

1 screw driver to use with the screws.

1 eye hook and a nut to match (you could use a lock-nut) ... you will need a wrench obviously for use here

1 package of L brackets (I had these fancy lil' brown ones from another project)

1 little tie-down for the rope (I'm not sure the technical term for it. I believe it is called a "marine tie down cleat")

1 package of velcro (hook n' loop tape)

1 scrap of fabric and a scrap of soft, fake fur, like what a Muppet would be covered in

1 tube of Thread Lock (glue put on the threads of bolts to keep the nuts from coming loose)

1 tube Plumber's Epoxy (comes in a tube, looks n' feels like moist clay or play-dough.)

..... and my plastic box of screws, nuts and bolts.

I'm sure I'm likely to remember something else later; If I do I will add it along the way.

Step 3: Take Apart the Wall Lamp.

First I removed the light socket, and it's fancy little housing from the end of the arm of the wall sconce. (sorry, no photo of that, but it literally just unscrewed from the arm, counterclockwise. Then you snip the wires off, and pull the wire out. (you do not NEED to remove the wire if it is too hard to unthread it from the lamp. You could just snip off the visible parts, and the bit at the end where you will later put the pulley.)

Step 4: Put the Arm in Place.

I do not have many photos of this part, but I'll explain as best as I can how this is done.

I cut my piece of 1"x4" lumber to about two feet long (To be honest, I just eyeballed it)

I drilled a hole for the eye hook (that the clothes line rope will thread into later) and I bolted it in place with a washer and nut on the back of the 1"x4".

I placed the base plate for the wall sconce on the 1"x4" (near the top of the 1"x4") and used it as a template. I drilled two holes large enough for the machine screws, and pushed em' through the lumber. I used some of the Thread Lock glue to keep the nuts tight on the screws (you could use lock nuts instead, but this is what I had on hand) ... in my lil' plastic box I found two washers that I used between the lumber and the nuts, not needed, but I used em' anyhow, just for the extra security.)

I then took my 1"x4" "riser", and sheetrock screwed it at a right angle to a scrap of the leftover lumber at it's base. Making a capitol L shape. This was just for extra strength. Make sure the screws are going in from the face that will be towards the baby, so if they happen to be a bit too long, any pointy bits will be up against the wall, not facing your lovely little child. Nobody wants a scratched up baby... or scratched up adult hand.

Make mighty sure this whole arm and riser are VERY secure and strong!!! ... if need be, adjust how it is anchored to YOUR type of changing table. ... Mine had a real butcher-block, wood top that I was able to securely attach my pulley system to. Adjust this idea for what kind of changing table you have. Please think about your baby's safety!

Step 5: Put the Pulley on the Arm, and Put the Arm on the 1"x4" Riser

The pulley I got had a pivoting anchor on the end, with a hole in it. I used a bolt (from my little plastic box of random nuts n' bolts) to secure the pulley to the arm. I used some of my Thread Lock glue to make sure it will NOT come loose. .....

I used the nuts and bolts that came with the lamp to secure it to it's base plate on the 1"x4", but before I did this I used a large wad of the Plumber's Epoxy between the decorative base and the base plate that is bolted to the 1"x4". This was at the point where the lamp-arm connects with the decorative base. This makes sure that once the epoxy cures up, the point where the arm connects is very secure, and can not sag under the weight of your baby. Once again, I say, use common sense. Chances are your parts (be they from a wall sconce or not) were made in China... No offense to the people of China, but... well... just make sure your parts are strong enough and secure enough that your baby's feet don't suddenly drop into a moist, poop filled diaper, where her warm crap gets splattered all over you, your wall, and your child.

Step 6: Putting the Rope in Place for the Pulley System

First I found a little carabiner on an old key-chain ... (trust me, I was just as surprised as you that I had one.)

Then I ran my rope through the pulley, down the arm. (I made a little guide half way down the arm out of a small piece of wire coat-hanger. just a small O shaped loop that I glued to the arm with a small bit of the Plumber's Epoxy, and I covered this with a scrap of pink ribbon to camouflage it.)

Then the rope goes down to the 1"x4" riser, and through the eye-bolt... then down to the marine tie down cleat. look at the last pic in this step to see how all this comes together.

after this project is done, and you have made and installed the harness... when in use, you will pull the rope to raise the baby's legs, and then secure the rope in place by wrapping it around the tie down cleat a few times. Once again, look at the photo. :-)

Step 7: I Can't Sew. and Sewing Machines Are Evil. So Get Your Wife to Help You Sew the Harness.

This is NOT a misogynistic statement... It is not a sexist statement. it is the sad truth... I am NO GOOD at sewing. and my lovely wife is mighty good at it. So I got my wife to do this. Truth is, she has helps me fairly often with my projects, and I love when she does (even when we stress each other out). It is wonderful when someone can help you.

I told my amazing wife what I wanted, and she made this wonderful harness for the baby's ankles.

The back-side (facing away from the kid) is a neoprene type material (got from a craft store for a couple of bucks), and the side that comes in contact with the child is made of some fake fur type stuff that looks like it should be on a Muppet. Nice n' super soft. (also from the craft store)

The neoprene side (neoprene is pretty much just wet-suit material, strong and slightly elastic) ... that side has velcro sewn to it. The softer fuzzy face of velcro makes a long strand on one end of the strap, and a piece of the clothes-line rope makes a loop on the other end. all sewn together. look at the photos for details. (or if you ever see my wife, just ask her how she did it), because it's all magic to me.

The loop of clothes line clips into the rope.

Step 8: You Are Done.

This Instructable is simply to point you in the right direction. It is NOT the only way, and not likely the BEST way to do this. It is just the way I did it. I like it because when my wife is using the changing table, my pulley can "fold away" and not be all in her face; but when I need it, it swings out, nice n' smooth.

In your section of the universe, work with what you've got. (I just happened to have a $5.00 wall sconce, a scrap of 1"x4" lumber, and some Plumber's Epoxy on hand). Improve upon this however you are able. Find better ways to do different steps. Make sure EVERYTHING is very secure, and strong. For this project overkill is a good thing, the stronger the better. I know I keep making mention of this, but still, remember... your baby is a gift. Use your common sense. Do NOT make something rickety. Do not half-step anything. ....... In reality, If I could weld, I probably woulda' made this whole thing outa' angle-iron and steel... but like I said, work with what you've got; And use your strengths. ..... and if you have only one arm, or like me, one "working arm"... I hope this inspires you. ..... and if you have two arms..... well, bless your heart, ya' two armed freak of nature. I'll try to not stare at your freakish two armed self if I ever see you in real life... as long as you don't stare at my stunted, t-rex arm. ;)

Comments

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-10-04

Yeah. From birth to potty trained, you can go through as many as 5000 diapers. And newborns can go through several an hour. This is a very clever idea. But for those occasions when you are out and don't have your device with you, here is a trick that I have learned. Place the diaper just below the baby's butt. Grab the ankles and lift up the legs and butt slightly off the changing table. Then use your elbow to slide the diaper under the baby. Set the baby down and close up the diaper. It take some practice but I got pretty good at it. For wiping some times you just have to turn them over onto their belly.

author

I like that idea of using the elbow! Thanks!

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