Grandparents guide to nappies

Baby on changing mat

Carol Murray, the midwife who started the Grandparent School, finds that grandparents want to learn what’s new and improved about nappies, and the latest wisdom on how we look after babies' bottoms. Here are some of the ideas she's been able to pass on.

In my experience, the thing that grandparents notice most about nappies at the Grandparent School is that disposables have improved greatly over the past few years, and that the new, more convenient re-usables are worth considering. Another consideration is the impact of nappies on the environment.

There’s certainly more choice now, but one thing that will never change is the importance of keeping a baby’s bottom comfortable and free from nappy rash.

Here are my tips:

I'd avoid commercial baby products during the first 14-21 days of a baby's life, when the newborn’s skin is quite sensitive. I suggest using only cotton wool and water in the early days as it usually takes a couple of weeks for the skin to toughen up a bit. Overdue babies often have especially sensitive skin, and for them, try using grapeseed oil for clearning. Save the commercial products until the baby is older.  

Use nappy cream only when a baby's bottom is red. Wiping with only cotton wool and water should reduce the chances of this. 

There are all sorts of nappies now, including re-usables, 'green friendly' and disposables. Recently designed disposables will keep babies very dry, which reduces the risk of sore bottoms. The green-friendly ones and re-usables have their advantages, too, not least the cost, so are also worth considering. Reusable nappies have improved in recent years, with different shapes and sizes that are more comfortable.

There are now eco-friendly disposable nappies on the market. For 'gel-free eco' ones, try Tushies.

The cost of buying nappies until a baby is 2–3 years old can mount up. Reusables will run you to £200–£250 (not including the cost of washing powder, electricity, water, etc.) and disposables around £750. 

There's a growing trend for parents to sell their second-hand reusable nappies on the internet. Buying these could be a good idea if you’re on a tight budget. However, as when purchasing any second-hand goods, make sure they're in good condition and launder them before use for your own peace of mind. 

Baby powder and antibacterial powders are no longer used in hospitals. Neither is antibacterial powder used when cutting the cord at birth; it's just bathed in warm water. There's a risk that the baby might inhale the powder, and besides, these products haven't been proven to reduce infection or healing time.

This article was kindly provided by BeGrand