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Guide to nappy changing

Guide to nappy changing

Changing your first nappy can be a challenge for any new parent. From the type of nappy to use to treating nappy rash, here's the bottom line on how to do it

When to change a nappy
Change your baby's nappy before or after feeds, and as soon as possible when your little one has done a poo. They might not feel troubled by being wet, as absorbent nappies will hold quite a lot of fluid before looking full, so check every couple of hours.

How to change a nappy
Before you lay your baby down, have some wipes or warm water and cotton wool to hand, along with a nappy bag, barrier cream, a clean nappy and a spare set of clothes. Lay your baby on a changing mat on the floor or on a changing table (stay beside them in case they fall). Clean boys around the testicles and penis, but don't pull back the foreskin. Wipe girls from front to back. If using cloth nappies, place a nappy liner in the nappy and fasten it around the waist. Lay a disposable nappy down with the sticky tabs at the back and fix snugly to the front. Chat and sing to help keep your little one amused.

Nappy changing kit
It's up to you whether you opt for cloth or disposable nappies. Cloth nappies will be cheaper in the long run but cost more initially than buying disposables. You can wash and use cloth nappies again or employ a nappy-laundering service. Cloth nappies may be more environmentally friendly than disposables, but the latter are generally more convenient. With wipes, choose ones that are fragrance-free or designed for sensitive skin. You could opt for cotton wool and warm water instead. Nappy bags are particularly useful when you're out and about.

How to treat nappy rash
Nappy rash is a common complaint and caused by contact with wetness and faeces. Your baby's skin may be red and inflamed on the genitals and thighs, and shiny or pimply, with a dry or moist bottom. If your baby has nappy rash, change their nappy frequently, using fragrance-free and alcohol-free wipes or cotton wool and warm water. Apply barrier cream before putting on a new nappy, and give your little one as much nappy-free time as is practical. If the rash hasn't cleared up after three or four days, ask your health visitor or practice nurse for advice. See our article on how to treat nappy rash for further advice.

Mum-to-mum top tip
'Changing nappies is something you're going to do a lot, so develop a routine that's fast and works on the move,' says Sally Whittle, a parenting blogger at Who's The Mummy? 'I used to carry a small, folding change mat that I could use anywhere (I got mine free with a magazine), and I changed my baby on the floor – everything's easier when they can't roll off something! I also recommend a toy for baby to play with during changes (success is 80% distraction) and try to think about the temperature – nobody likes suddenly being uncovered when it's cold! On cold days we draped a muslin over my daughter Flea's legs during changes.'

By Jo Walsh

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