How to choose a nappy

Choosing the right nappy size for your baby is important to prevent leaking. The nappy should fit snugly and not gape open, even when your baby is crawling and playing. Some nappies have leg leak barriers that further help prevent leakage. As your baby develops, their bowel and bladder movements tend to become less frequent and larger in size, so they will need larger, more absorbent nappies and fewer changes.

Whether you choose to use disposable nappies or reusable cloth nappies depends on your personal preference. There are some things you might want to consider when choosing:

  • Some research suggests that the environmental impacts of disposable nappies are no worse than cloth nappies, as there are hidden costs associated with cloth nappies, such as the electricity, water and detergents used in washing;
  • The cost of disposable nappies is generally higher than cloth nappies;
  • Disposable nappies might reduce the risk of nappy rash by absorbing moisture;
  • Disposable nappies are more convenient, and;
  • Modern cloth nappies are better shaped to fit babies, so they are better at holding in a baby's pee and poo than they used to be.

If you use cloth nappies, remember:

  • Avoid using fabric softener, as it reduces a nappy's ability to absorb urine;
  • Drying cloth nappies in the sun or the tumble dryer will kill the bacteria on the nappy, and;
  • If you scrape the poo off into the toilet before washing the cloth nappy in a washing machine, prewashing in bleach is not needed.

Bacteria

Microscopic, single-celled organisms with DNA but no definite nucleus. Bacteria are the cause of many human diseases.

How to change a nappy

Changing a nappy is as easy as the following steps:

  • Whether you are using a change table or working on the floor, make sure you have everything you need on hand. If you're using a change table, keep one hand on your baby at all times and if you have forgotten something, take your baby with you to get it;
  • Remove your baby's used nappy and put it to the side;
  • Hold both legs up with one hand as you use your other hand to clean the area with warm tap water or a baby wipe;
  • Put the baby wipe in the used nappy and put them both in the bin;
  • Put on a new nappy, and;
  • Wash your hands.

If you are going outside the house, it is good to pack a travel kit that contains everything you need for nappy changes, including:

  • Nappies;
  • A changing mat;
  • Baby wipes, and;
  • Plastic bags for dirty nappies.

Father changing baby's nappy. 

Safety tips

You might think the biggest risk in changing a nappy is that your baby might pee on you, but there are safety risks to your baby to consider. When buying a change table, it is best to get a model with:

  • A child restraint fitted to it;
  • Storage areas to keep everything you need at hand;
  • Raised sides and a concave surface to prevent your baby from rolling off;
  • No gaps or openings in the surface that could trap your baby's fingers, hands or limbs, and;
  • A locking mechanism to prevent the table from collapsing during use (if it is a portable/folding change table).

You may also want to consider changing your baby at floor level, on a change mat or towel, to eliminate the risks of falling posed by a change table.