Types of nappy
There are three main types of nappy available on the market today (with variations also available within each type). These three are:
- fitted cloth
Disposable nappies are fitted nappies that are used once and then thrown away. These nappies are readily available, convenient and easy to use - there's no laundry and the nappies fit easily with no pins, clips or mess. Those are the pros, the main con is the environmental concern about the waste created in landfill by disposable nappies.
There are a number of different brands of disposable nappy available and you may wish to try a few different ones out before you make your final choice - usually dependant upon performance and price. Read reviews from our viewers too - real life testers in our reviews section!
Disposable nappies are widely available from local pharmacies, supermarkets and even some nursery stores. There are also local companies providing the convenience of home delivery for bulk purchase.
Eco-brand disposable nappies are coming onto the market now too with a higher percentage of biodegradable material but with similar performance qualities and convenience to traditional disposable nappies.
Cloth nappies & fitted cloth nappies
Cloth nappies have come along way since you were a baby and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the different options available - ranging from the traditional 'squares', in different materials and colours, to fitted cloth nappies which go on baby much like a disposable (often with velcro tabs - no folding, no pins) which are available in a range of outer colours and styles. You can also source liners for cloth nappies to increase the absorbancy where it matters.
For those of you with convenience concerns, there are cloth nappy laundry services. These services usually provide nappies for you to use. Once used, the nappies are stored in a hygenic container until the service collects them (usually once a week) and drops off freshly laundered ones. Many laundry services provided both fitted cloth and traditional terry towelling nappy hire and laundry services.
If you'd like more information about cloth nappies, outside the scope of our brief summary here, have a look at the websites of the companies listed on the modern cloth nappy products page. You will find some interesting info on subjects such as how many nappies you need, how to wash them, useful accessories, etc.
Making your choice
At the end of the day, which type of nappy you use is an entirely personal preference. You may even wish to use a combination of different types of nappies - for example, cloth nappies at home and disposables when you are out. The common factors affecting parents' choice of nappy include:
- environmental issues
There are a range of nappy accessories available and you'll make your own mind up on what suits you and your baby. Here are just some of the types of products available:
- disposable nappy waste solutions - from fragranced bags to complete sanitising systems
- hygenic solutions for dirty cloth nappies
- nappy stackers (for stylish storage of nappies)
- wipes - from pre-medicated nappy wipes to cotton wool and lotions
- anti-nappy rash products - from powders to barrier creams
- change tables or change pads that fit onto pre-existing furniture
- laundry powders for cloth nappies and shaped nappies (including organic and sensitive ranges)
- nappy bags for outings
- liners for cloth & fitted cloth nappies (disposable or washable options)
- plastic fasteners to eliminate the need for pins
- swimming nappies - disposable and reusable options
- directory of retailers of nappies and nappy accessories
- parent reviews of nappies, nappy rash creams and accessories
Nappy changing tips
- use a safe changing area
- gather everything that you need and place it all in easy reach before you start each change so that you don't have to leave your baby mid-change
- never leave your child unattended on a change table, for whatever reason, and always keep one hand on your baby. As your child gets older and more 'wriggly', consider changing baby on a lower surface, or even on a change pad on the floor.
- if using powder or talcum powder, put the powder onto your hands and then apply it to your baby rather than shaking the powder. This should reduce the amount of powder that your baby may breathe in.
- always wipe a baby girl's bottom from front to back to prevent any cross infection
- make sure you clean well around baby boy's genetalia to remove all 'unwanted substances'
- little boys tend to spray everywhere, so if you don't want you, or baby, to get wet during a change, place a muslin or cloth over baby whilst changing
- a toy or mobile above the change mat should amuse baby during a change and reduce squirming
- keep all lotions, potions, pins and plastic bags well out of baby's reach
Folding cloth nappies
If you take the choice to use traditional terry towelling cloth nappies, you'll need to know how to fold them correctly. Click on the websites below for images and instructions of the most commonly used folds:
Nappy rash - signs, causes & treatment
Useful online images and links
- nappy rash article from Better Health Channel, VIC online
- description of nappy rash & treatments from Chemists' Own here
- detailed descriptions of the different types of rash from Dr Sears