Think of a nappy as a piece of kit that will make your life happy because without it things can get very messy!
A new baby will get through up to a dozen nappies in a day and an older baby as much as eight times a day, more if they are teething or unwell.
They come in a variety of shapes, makes and sizes. The most commonly used nappy is the simple disposable kind you see in every supermarket, but there are many more options on the market.
Let’s Start With Cloth Nappies
Cloth nappies are usually made of cotton and come in a bunch of fun colours and can be purchased either preshaped to fit around your baby or shaped into simple oblongs or squares and once you get the knack, they are relatively easy to use. They are a chemical free option and worth looking into if your baby is hyper-allergic or reacting to disposables. Their branding often uses names like ‘green’, ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘ethical’. The disposable nappy gang question how eco-friendly they actually are if you consider that each one needs to be thoroughly washed and dried, and the energy consumed in achieving this. Many parents who would like to be more eco-aware end up using a mix of these and traditional disposables. The big plus is that they are a lot cheaper than disposables over the whole period of time they are needed, especially if you have more than one child. The downside is the whole business around washing them, you have to want to go down the cloth nappy route buy into the extra work and find the space to dry them. It’s difficult without a washing machine but not impossible, the important thing is to not feel you are letting the environment down if you end up, as most people do, using a mix and match option. Feeling exhausted with a new baby means that any shortcuts you can work in should be embraced.
Some local authorities offer schemes to help offset the cost of purchasing cloth nappies btw don’t forget there will be the additional cost for the purchasing of the nappy liner which does an excellent job of scooping up a lot of the poo. Another price add-on could be the outer plastic pop-on cover for extra protection.
There are so many types on the market and the prices and quality differ greatly. Bear in mind that you will transition through from newborn sized nappies to 3-month nappies super quickly so don’t overstock and anyway you may have a larger baby and completely miss out on the newborn size.
The main benefit of a disposable nappy is its convenience, ease of use and portability. Do shop around there are some that are clearly more eco-friendly than others.
Changing a Nappy – a life-changing moment!!!
No one starts off an expert on this but you’ll be amazed how quickly this process becomes second nature. Stuff to think about in advance is not to tense your body too much and end up with ‘dad-back’. Weird as it sounds it is a special time for a chat and a bit of a sing-a-long! It’s also a way of getting involved in a very hands on way very early on.
Babies are delicate and resilient and once you know how to handle nappy changing you will get to know very quickly how to clean a baby’s skin without making them sore. Of course, every baby is different, their skin is delicate and there is nothing more breathtaking than a newborn baby’s skin.
A rule of thumb is if you think a nappy is soiled then change it. Waiting unless there is a very good reason can lead to an unhappy baby with nappy-rash.
Be prepared, know your way round all your nappy changing kit, so you’re know that you are reaching for the correct thing when you need it most!
Nappy Changing Kit
- baby wipes which are alcohol and fragrance-free or cotton wool and warm water
- a changing mat or towel
- a plastic bag or bin for the dirty nappy and dirty cotton wool or wipes
- barrier cream to protect your baby’s skin
- a clean nappy (and liner and cover if you’re using cloth nappies) and a spare if you need to change twice in a row super quick
- a clean set of clothes (just in case)
- always replenish the kit after use
Best Places to Change a Nappy
To avoid dad-back a nappy changing unit set up at a reasonable height is the way to go, a floor is an option but honestly long term it is difficult. Never ever leave your baby unattended on a changing mat, if you do need to move about make sure one of your hands remains firmly on the baby to ensure the baby cannot wriggle away and fall, or roll off the mat.
Step by Step: Changing a Nappy
- Prep the Nappy Changing Kit
- Get your baby into a safe and comfortable spot on the changing mat
- Speak or sing to your baby, don’t make this a negative experience – it is a completely normal function of life and you don’t want to convey anything negative to your new baby
- Try not to tense your back
- Remove clothes that are wet or soiled or in the way
- Open the used nappy and use the clean part to scoop excess traces of poo or urine.
- Pop the soiled nappy (sealed or in a disposable bag) into the bin
- Use the pre-prepared wipes or cotton wool and water to clean your baby, Key is to clean your baby properly until all traces of poo or urine have gone.
- Be gentle but be thorough to avoid soreness and nappy rash do gently clean in the folds of skin.
- Girls should be cleaned from front to back to avoid getting germs into their vagina.
- Boys should be cleaned around the testicles (balls) and penis, but there’s no need to pull back their foreskin. Warning – that equipment means pee goes in all sorts of directions!
- Be ready with a spare nappy just in case.
- Its nice for your baby to get a little bit of fresh air and not be in the nappy every moment, so chill, take a few minutes if possible. A nice idea is to pop them on a thick fluffy towel to play for 5-10 minutes on a warm day or in a warm room and then start the second part of the process. Okay warning here, it could all go a bit wrong and they could end up needing another cleanup but it is a good way to help keep the skin healthy
- Once their bottom is dry put on a new nappy underneath the baby’s bottom and if using a barrier cream put a small amount on your finger and wipe over the whole area
- If you are using disposable nappies, take care not to get water or cream on the sticky tabs as they won’t stick if you do.
- If you’re using cloth nappies, put in a nappy liner and then fasten the nappy. Adjust it to fit snugly around the waist and legs.
- Wash your hands properly
If you are not spotting the meconium passing within 48 hours call your health professional, who will check that the baby does not have a bowel obstruction (there are some other rare diseases that can also cause this) the rule of thumb is to be aware and if you have a concern, voice it. Don’t forget that if your baby is born early ie before their due date it may take longer for the meconium to pass. Speak to your health professional to get advice which is tailored to your baby’s birth history.
Baby Poo Colour…stuff you never knew you’d want to know
The meconium needs to clear, it typically takes 24 hours but can take as much as 72 hours for your baby’s poo to change colour, that colour depending on whether your baby is bottle or breast-fed. Bear in mind that premature babies take longer to pass the meconium, your health professional will advise you.
Poo Guide: Breastfed babies
Stools dark green which then transitions into dijon mustard
Formula fed black and a bit tarry, then greenish and then the colour of pastry, tan coloured
The colour change is due to the GI tract and bacteria in the bowel, of course, this is a general colour guide and the colour can range from greenish-yellow through to brown. However, if the poo is white or red you must seek medical advice.
Heres a useful baby poo colour guide from NCT
If you do not have a wet nappy in four to six hours contact your healthcare professional
More Daddy In Training Free Toolkit coming soon.
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