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Using Diapers & Nappies

A good mother must give adequate attention to the newborn’s clothing with special reference to diapers or napkins, popularly known as nappies. Do not leave all this to the care of the ayah. She may be very good but she is unlikely to be a perfect substitute for your personal touch, understanding and care.


I know of two types available in our set-up. First, cotton fabric nappies which are washable and ready for use again and again. The second type is the ready-made disposable and sterile, available from sophisticated markets. I would leave the choice to you. You can use any of the two depending on your circumstances. If you opt for the first one, see that you buy soft but durable stuff. Frequent laundering will be possible only then.

How to fold a nappy: There are four ways: First is the triangle nappy. Here, fold the nappy into a triangle. Then, put the triangle under the baby’s buttocks. One corner should lie between his legs. The other two corners should lie round the baby’s middle. Join the three corners with a safety pin in the front.

Second is the oblong nappy in which there are two ends at the back. You should bring the corner of the front up between the legs and then join to the ends of the back with safety pins.

Third, the so-called twisted nappy is more or less the same as an oblong nappy. But you are required to twist it before bringing up between the legs and then join the ends of the back to the ends of the front with safety pins.

In the fourth type, kite nappy, the sides of the nappy are so folded that it becomes wide on the top and narrow at the bottom. Using safety pins, join the front and the back ends.

Use of safety pins: Exercise due care when you put in the pin. Slip two fingers of your hand between the nappy and the baby’s skin so that the pin does not prick him. Also see that you buy good quality pins, the ones which do not open on their own. Ensure that the sharp end of the safety pin is away from the infant’s body. All these precautions will help you to prevent accidental hurt to the baby.

When to change the nappy: You must change the nappy as soon as you know it is soiled. An exceptional baby may not care if he is wet but most of them do become restless and cry. I may sound to be repeating but do not ever rub the infant’s buttocks with the nappy. Rather wash it or clean it with cotton soaked in a baby oil. Do not forget to make the area dry, sprinkle powder on it before putting on another nappy.

Remember, it is a good habit to change the nappy before and after each and every feeding session. If you are highly overworked, even then it will be advisable to find time to change his nappy either before you pick him up for feeding or after it.

Nappy washing: Before beginning to wash, remove the loose stools from the dirty nappies in the toilet by scraping or rinsing it in the flush. It is a good idea to put the used diapers or nappies in a basin containing water and soap or detergent.

It is not necessary to wash the nappies in a special washing machine. A wash tub containing water and soap or a detergent will suffice. Repeat rinsings until the water becomes clear. Usually, two rinsings suffice.

As an extra precaution, the thus-washed nappies may now be put in the Dettol solution for some 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze the water out and let the nappies dry. Finally iron them. The use of Dettol helps to prevent occurrence of nappy or diaper rash, a troublesome problem in some babies.

Diaper liners – yes or no?:The paper or treated cloth-made, if available, are certainly of help in protecting the nappy from getting wet. These are placed between the baby’s skin and the nappy. There is no truth in the saying that these harm the baby. These are of special help during travelling.

Protective pants – yes or no?:These again are of very special help when you are travelling with the baby. They should not be too tight and should not be used in the presence of nappy rash. They should be replaced frequently and should be sterilised in the same way as nappies.

These pants are waterproof, made of either rubber or plastic.

The disposable nappies containing superabsorbent material (SAM) quickly absorbs urine and keep the baby’s delicate skin dry. Moreover, they prevent faecal contamination by absorbing the urine and containing stools. Incidence of nappy rash is also cut down. If expense is not a problem they are strongly recommended.


Using Diapers & Nappies

If you wish to make an easy go of it – yes, both for the baby and for yourself – remember, your baby is going to grow incredibly fast and will before long outgrow his present clothes. Also, mind you, his skin is soft and may respond adversely to anything that tends to irritate it.

That is why the clothes which you make for your baby should be soft, comfortable, fairly loose, easy-to-wear, attractive and easily washable. Also, remember to avoid pleats, fussy frills, buttons and zippers which may poke the baby.

It is always most comfortable for the baby to have a cotton vest next to his skin. Nylon or any other synthetic vest is not recommended. Do not use tight elastic in panties, socks or sleeves. It may cause tummy pain or swelling of the foot or hand.

The baby need not be overclothed. All that he needs is a little more than what is comfortable for you. If you are okay with a thick cardigan, the baby will perhaps need a light sweater as well. Do not wrap him in one or two vests, one or two shirts, two or three sweaters and a cardigan or a coat. That will be far too much even in a severe cold.

Make sure that the wool you use for his sweater, etc. is very soft and of very fine quality. Avoid its direct contact with the skin, especially that of the neck. It will be a good idea to put a bib around the infant’s neck. It will protect against direct contact as also prevent soiling of the woolly when the child eats.

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