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Changing nappies


Changing your baby’s diaper may seem like a daunting task initially, especially if you are first time mother. Don’t worry, in a few weeks you too, will be an expert. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on the right track.

You should change your baby’s diaper frequently, as soon as it’s wet or soiled. Some babies will tolerate a wet diaper without getting sore, and some babies have much more sensitive skin and need changing very regularly. In the first week, you could well be using up to six diapers a day or even more! There is no need to use a cream at every diaper change, only if your baby has a problem such as diaper rash. You will need:
  • Disposable nappy or reusable nappy

  • Changing mat

  • Cotton wool or wipes

  • Barrier cream if your baby is prone to nappy rash

  • Nappy rash cream if your baby has a rash

  • Plastic bag or a nappy bin for disposal
                   

Before beginning to diaper, have the necessary items within easy reach. The best place to change a diaper is on a changing mat or towel on the floor. That way, if you take your eye off the baby for a moment, the baby cannot fall and hurt himself.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after each nappy change.
     
  • You will need a supply of cotton wool and a bowl of warm water (or baby wipes). It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a spare set of clothes handy, especially in the first few weeks.

  • Gently and thoroughly clean the skin. If your baby is dirty, use the nappy to clean off most of it. Then, use the cotton wool and warm water (or baby wipes) to remove the rest and get your baby really clean.
  • You may need to lift your baby gently by the ankles to lift your baby’s bottom so you can clean underneath. Don’t forget to clean in the creases in your baby’s thigh and buttocks.

  • For girls: wipe the genitals from front to back to avoid getting germs into the vagina. It is not unusual for newborn girls to have a white, mucus discharge. This is normal and does not need to be vigorously cleaned out. It is even normal to have small amount of vaginal bleeding due to maternal hormones still circulating in her body.

  • For boys: clean around the testicles and penis. You will soon find out that it is a good idea to put a burp cloth over your baby’s penis while you are cleaning him. It is quite common for your baby to pee while you are changing him. You do not need to push the foreskin back to clean.

  • Pat dry gently and apply a nappy cream if you use one.

  • Open the clean diaper. Gently lift the baby’s legs up and slide in the clean diaper. The taped side should be underneath.

  • Pull the front of the diaper through your baby’s legs and use one hand to gently hold it against the baby’s stomach. With the other hand un-tape the sides and secure it to the front of the diaper.

  •  If you are not using special new born diapers, then you will need to fold down the front of the diaper so that it doesn’t rub against the healing umbilical cord.

  • To make sure the diaper is not too tight or too loose make sure you are able to slide two fingers in the top front of the diaper.

  •  Redress your baby. It is equally important to clean your baby as carefully when you are changing a wet nappy.

  • Washable nappies should be pre-washed to make them softer. Make sure you choose the right size nappy and cover for your baby’s weight. Put in a nappy liner, and then fasten the nappy on your baby, adjusting it to fit snugly round the waist and legs.

  • If you are using disposable nappies, take care not to get water or cream on the sticky tabs as they will not stick. It can help to chat to your baby while you are changing them. Pulling faces, smiling and laughing with your baby will help you bond, and help their development.

Make sure you have a good supply of nappies-there is nothing worse than running out! If you are using cloth nappies, it might take a little while to get used to how they fold and fit. There are several types of washable nappies available. Some have a waterproof backing and others have a separate water proof nappy cover. They fasten with either Velcro or poppers. Biodegradable, flushable nappy liners can be useful as they protect the nappy from heavy soiling and can be flushed away.
 

                                              Nappy rash

Most babies, at some time or another, will probably get a rash on their bottoms. Nappy rash appears as red, raw, blotchy patches on the bottom or in the groin area of your little one. In severe cases, the skin gets broken or blistery and the rash spread out. Nappy rash can be caused by:
  • Prolonged contact with urine or poo
     
  • Sensitive skin

  • Rubbing and chaffing

  • Soap, detergent or bubble bath

  • Baby wipes, and

  • Diarrhoea or other illness.

  

There may be red patches on your baby’s bottom, or the whole area may be red. The skin may look sore and be hot to touch and there may be spots, pimples or blisters. The best way to deal with nappy rash is to try and avoid your baby getting it in the first place. These simple tips will help:
  • Keep the diaper area clean and dry by changing the nappy every time it is wet or soiled.  Young babies can need changing as many as 10 or 12 times a day, and older babies at least six to eight times.
     
  • If you are using reusable nappies, consider changing to disposable nappies for a short time because they are more absorbent

  • Clean the whole nappy area thoroughly, wiping from front to back. Use plain water and cotton balls to clean.

  • Avoid using soap on the nappy area. Rinse carefully with water at each nappy change.

  •  Apply plenty of soothing nappy rash cream or barrier cream, such as petroleum jelly.

  •  Expose your baby’s skin rash to air as often and for as long as possible. Put your baby on his changing mat in a safe place such as on the floor.

  • Ensure your baby is feeding properly as this reduces the acidity of the urine.

Any nappy rash that does not heal with treatments within a week should be seen by the doctor. It may be suggestive of a thrush infection. In thrush infection, your baby may develop a persistent bright red moist rash with white or red pimples which spreads to the folds of the skin. Your doctor will prescribe you an antifungal cream.


                                            Nappy hygiene

Nappy sterilising and washing will be a part of your daily routine for quite a while. If you use a cloth nappy, any soiling can be dropped straight into the toilet. Put as much of the contents as you can down the toilet. If you are using nappies with disposable liners, the liner can be flushed away. Don’t try to flush the nappy itself in case you block the toilet. Disposable nappies can be rolled up and resealed, using the tabs. Put them in a plastic bag kept only for nappies, then tie it up and put it in an outside bin.
  •  Store used nappies in a bucket until you are ready to wash them.
     
  •  You can use a nappy sanitising liquid in the bucket, but this isn’t suitable for all nappies, so do check. Some mothers add a few drops of tea tree oil to water, or a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar or a handful of washing soda. Alternatively, simply drop them in a covered bucket and store them dry, with may be a little tea tree oil.

  •  Wash the nappies using a non-biological washing powder.

                                         Your baby’s nappy content

Being aware of what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to the contents of your baby’s nappies can save unnecessary worrying.

Wet nappies

Most babies have between 6 and 8 wet nappies in a day. Hydrated babies produce pale yellow urine and soft stools. If your baby’s urine is dark yellow or smelly, he may not be feeding well or may have an infection. Babies can easily become dehydrated, so see your doctor if he has fewer wet nappies than usual.

Bowel movements

A baby’s first bowel movements consist of a sticky black or greenish brown material called meconium. By the fourth day, bowel movements should become the characteristic yellowish colour produced by a milk diet. Colour, consistency and number of bowel movements will vary between babies. A breast fed baby tends to have loose, seedy yellow or mustard coloured movements that do not have a strong smell. Milk formula produces pasty and formed bowel movements, which are light yellow to brown, with a strong sour-milk odour.

Some babies fill their nappies at or around every feed. Some, especially breastfed babies, can go for several days or even up to a week without a bowel movement. Both are quite normal. It’s also normal for babies to strain or even cry when passing a poo.

From day to day or week to week your baby’s poo will probably vary a bit. But if you notice a marked change of any kind, such as the poo becoming very smelly, very watery or harder, particularly if there is blood in it, you should talk to your doctor. Very pale poo may be a sign of jaundice.
 
Changing your baby's nappy
 

 

 

 



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