When newborn, your baby will pass urine up to 20 times a day, as his or her bladder is very small and there is no muscle control. It is perfectly normal if urine has pink or reddish staining at first, and very dark green stools are also normal – the colour will later be yellow/orange as baby begins breast feeds, or pale brown if bottle-fed. You need to change baby’s nappy whenever it is soiled or wet to keep him or her comfortable and avoid nappy rash.
Organise things so that you have everything on hand when and where you need it, and make nappy time a lovely opportunity for you and baby to interact and get to know each other!
- Change baby’s nappy in a warm, draught-free room – on a special changing unit in the nursery, on your dining table, or simply on the sitting-room floor – laying baby on a change-mat or thick towel. You’ll need space for clean-up items and fresh nappies.
- Remember never to move away if baby is on a surface higher than the floor.
- Wash your hands before and after changing your baby’s nappy.
- Cooler air on his or her skin may make baby pass urine, so when you undo the soiled nappy keep it in place for a moment!
- Gently wipe away soiling from baby’s skin with the dirty nappy then put the nappy aside.
- If baby is under 6 weeks, simply use warm water and cotton wool to clean the area thoroughly, then gently pat dry with a soft towel or dry cotton wool.
- If baby is over 6 weeks, baby lotion or a wipe can be used.
- Apply a small amount of barrier cream if needed, before putting on a clean nappy.
Nappy rash can occur if a wet or soiled nappy is not changed for a while, or the area is not cleaned thoroughly – urine or faeces stay in contact with baby’s delicate skin for too long, causing redness and soreness. Whenever possible, at nappy-change time, leave the nappy off for a while. Fresh air is great for healthy skin and baby will enjoy kicking freely – and it’s a great time to ‘chat’!
If nappy rash occurs, use a specially-formulated barrier cream until the skin heals. Persistent nappy rash could be caused by thrush, so see your baby’s doctor, who may prescribe an anti-fungal cream.
The nappy decision…
You will need to decide whether to use washable nappies or disposable ones.
Disposable nappies draw moisture into a specially formulated outer pad, keeping baby’s skin dry. Sizes are available according to baby’s weight, so it is important to use the correct size for a good fit.
They are ‘disposable’ – just wrap them and put in the rubbish bin – but they are not fully degradable.
Washable nappies – usually of cotton towelling or muslin – can be laundered and re-used. They are available flat (you must fold them), pre-shaped, or as ‘all-in-ones’ – and held in place with special clips, poppers or fasteners. All-in-ones come complete with waterproof covers while others need separate covers, and disposable or washable liners are also needed.
Specialist nappy-laundering services are available in many areas – soiled nappies are kept in a specially lined and treated ‘odour-free’ bin to await collection.
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