Sunrise's Edwina Bartholomew calls nappy consent debate 'absurd'

Sunrise's Edwina Bartholomew has responded to a childcare chain's suggestion that parents should ask before changing their child's nappies, calling it "absurd".

Only About Children told parents to put themselves in their baby's position, saying: "If you were a baby, how would you like to have your nappy changed?"

Edwina Bartholomew and daughter Molly
Edwina Bartholomew hits back at a childcare centre asking parents to ask babies for permission to change their nappies calling it 'absurd'. Photo: Instagram/Edwina Bartholomew

Their tips for a 'respectful' nappy change included not interrupting your toddler while they're playing, giving them your undivided attention and being open-minded about how the process might change as the child grows up.

In a column for News Corp, the Sunrise newsreader described nappy changes as similar to an Olympic event.


"This is not a team sport. Instead, you are up against a mini, poo covered opponent who always seems one step ahead of the competition," she writes. "That’s why I find the suggestion that you ask your child to give consent before changing their nappy to be a little absurd."

Only About Children shared their tips in a blog, writing: "Toddlers don’t like to be interrupted when they are playing, wait for a gap in their playing before starting the nappy changing process," they write. "You may wish to give your toddler some autonomy and ask 'Would you like to walk to the change table or should I carry you?'"

Neil Varcoe with daughter Molly
Edwina's husband Neil Varcoe with their daughter. Photo: Instagram/Edwina Bartholomew

They continued: "Toddlers sense our hurry or distraction, and it can make them tense and resistant. Ask for your baby’s help, talk them through what you are doing and encourage the use of senses (the feel of the cold wipe, the sound of the zip in their pyjamas)."

When it comes to toddlers who love to move around, they suggest encouraging their independence and perhaps asking them if they want to take off their own nappy and wipe themselves.

In response, Edwina wrote: "I completely agree with the need to show respect to your child at any age."

She says she, her husband Neil Varcoe and their daughter Molly "always have a conversation about what we are doing" and have her help where possible, but when they have to switch things up if she's standing, it isn't by choice.

Edwina joked that having to change Molly's nappy while she's standing "has already claimed a number of rugs in our house as my slippery little toddler outruns the nappy and my reach".

"Asking for consent is a nice thought but just not practical on a day-to-day basis when you are juggling Sudocrem, wipes and nappies with a less than co-operative small person," she wrote, adding the advice given by the childcare centre made her feel like she's not a good parent.

She jokingly said she'd settle for a compromise: "I will start asking for permission to change my child’s nappy when she starts asking permission prior to a poo-nami. That feels like an even playing field."

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